This post has been a looooong time coming.
I’ve been trying to figure how I want to string these words together basically since I completed my first half ironman back in July, and I’ve decided I just need to write and see what comes out!
If you hang out with me on Instagram or Facebook, you’ve probably noticed I’m posting far fewer pics from runs and bike rides. If you follow me on Strava, you probably think I don’t do ANYTHING 😅 And while that’s been kind of true, I’m also just really bad at syncing my Garmin to Strava.
The fact of the matter is that since that race on July 23, I’ve gone for two bike rides and one run. Surprisingly, swim sessions have been slightly more frequent, although it’s been about three weeks since I’ve been to the pool.
So what gives? Am I just parking my ass on the couch all day?
Not quite. 😉
When I set out to train for this half ironman this year, I had a lot of signs pointing to “don’t do it”. After dislocating my shoulder last fall, I missed out on that productive “swim-building winter” I had my hopes on. Big volume sessions weren’t in the cards for me for quite a few months, and to be honest, even when it didn’t hurt I was afraid of over-doing it.
When it came time to make my yearly vision board, I could not find a picture or words or ANYTHING that resembled “half ironman” or “70.3”, despite having countless triathlon magazines at my disposal. Weird, right? I had a hunch that was a big sign not to go for it, but I decided to ignore that sign 😉
By the time April rolled around, I was supposed to be getting serious about my training, but I was also working 60+ hours a week on a few different projects that required much of my attention. I sprained an MCL, crashed my bike and got a concussion, all while dealing with the worst ITBS flare-up I’ve had since all these issues started back in 2013.
Suffice to say, this year of training diiiiiidn’t really go as planned. So all things considered, I think I did pretty damn well on that race! 😉
But once the race was over, I found myself at a point where I was done pushing.
Done pushing to fit all the training in amidst everything else I had going on. Done pushing myself through hard training session after hard training session. Done pushing in my fitness. Just. done. pushing.
It was all starting to feel like work. And even though training is work, it didn’t always feel that way. There wasn’t as much fun because my body was hurting, my brain was tired, and I wasn’t performing at the level I know I’m capable of.
I met with a sports physician after my race to discuss all this IT band noise and the results from the MRIs I had. Included among her suggestions for my recovery plan were an abstinence from running for at least six months, and taking 2018 off from racing.
When I heard those words, a number of thoughts started running through my head.
“But I race EVERY year…that’s my thing! What about the medals?”
“What am I going to train for? What will I structure my workouts around?”
“Can I still call myself a triathlete even if I don’t do any triathlons next year?”
I had a one-woman pity party for the next week. I was really really bummed out. And to be honest, I still am.
But I eventually realized all those thoughts and worries stemmed from my ego. All that “what will people think” and “what does this say about me” crap needed to go.
I started to look at this from a new point of view. What would this absence of triathlon create space for in 2018? What new things could I try? Where else could my attention be shifted to?
I spent a lot of time with my thoughts and my journal, and I identified a few key areas this year without triathlons could leave space for (and when you’re training 12+ hours a week, that’s a lot of space!)
- Improving my posture, mobility, and joint stability so I can prevent any more shoulders from dislocating 😉
- Focusing on my business and taking it to the next level so I can make an even bigger impact
- Reconnecting with old forms of movement I love, like dance and yoga
- Playing outdoors through hiking, snowshoeing, and snowboarding
- Approaching my health from the holistic standpoint I preach, and not from a “what’s going to make me a better triathlete” stance
To name a few!
Don’t get me wrong – it hasn’t been easy for me to shift my focus. I still get major FOMO when I get emails about early bird discounts for races I wanted to do, or when I see a pretty medal that I MUST HAVE NOW.
But those feelings pass. The disappointment moves on, and in its place comes excitement for what else could be in store.
When I started doing triathlons, it was never with the intention of winning any races or turning pro. It was simply a new way to challenge myself and feel like a badass. And – surprise surprise – I can accomplish those things without having to do a race.
I’m sure you can relate to all this. At some point or another we’ve all had to change fitness goals, either because of work, an injury, unexpected situations in life, or just a realization that what you’re working towards isn’t serving you in that current moment.
It’s hard, but there are a few simple ways you can work through it.
1. Allow yourself to feel whatever comes up. Maybe it’s anger. Maybe it’s frustration, sadness, or resentment. Whatever it is, don’t stuff those feelings down. Let ’em flow, sister! It may be a “silly fitness goal” (and really, it’s not), but whatever feelings you’re feeling about letting go of it are totally valid.
2. Ask yourself what you’re actually upset about. Why was this goal important to you? What was it going to do for you? How was it going to make you feel? And how can you fulfill those desires through a different avenue?
3. Brainstorm all the different things you can do now that this goal isn’t on your radar, whether they’re fitness-related or not. Maybe you’ve had a nagging little twinge in your hip that’s never really been a problem but has always just been there. Now is a great time to work on getting rid of it! Maybe there’s a new hobby you’ve wanted to try, or some completely random form of physical activity, like circus classes or exotic dance. This is your time to try it!
Above all else, understand that changing directions does not mean you’re a failure. When you’ve identified that something is not serving you now in the way it was before, turning your attention elsewhere does not simply mean you gave up. It means you were strong enough to recognize there was something else that needed your attention.Abandoning a fitness goal does not mean you're a failure Click To Tweet
For the foreseeable future, my attention is focused on healing my mind, body, and spirit, so that when I’m ready to race again, I can do so with the strength, intensity, and fun I know the sport deserves.
Have you ever had to change up one of your fitness goals? Or abandon one completely? How did you cope with the experience?