2017 was freakin’ epic. I finished an Ironman! I did my first official century ride! I went on amazing vacations and got a camper and spent a ton of time outside! We redid our kitchen! How the heck do you follow up something that crazy and grand?
By doing less. Oh yes, by one hundred percent absolutely positively for sure doing LESS. 2018 is about doing less with purpose, intention, and focus.
This will be my junior year with Team Bicycle Sport Shop. Looking forward to training and racing with them again!
I want to strengthen the bond between coach and athlete here. Yes, I am that person in both aspects, so this will take myself being kind, patient, and firm with… myself.
As a coach, I will schedule myself like I was scheduling another athlete. I will not put crazy sessions that make no sense on my list just to see if I can do them. I will not fill my week too full without good reason. I will consider both what the sessions mean to the athlete in the context of goals for the season and also what’s going on in life right then. I’ve been coaching myself long enough to know how I operate. I don’t do well undertrained, but I also need to watch my tendencies to want to do way too much and then disappoint myself by either failing sessions or burning out right before races.
As an athlete, I will HTFU this year. If coach does her job and schedules things better, it is my job to actually complete the sessions AS INTENDED. If I have 6×400 with a one mile warmup and cooldown, starting with drills and ending with stretching and rolling on my schedule, that’s what I do. And, I’m going to do my best that if it’s scheduled for Tuesday morning, I do it Tuesday morning because I put the session there for a reason.
I feel like this will help grow my experience as a coach and also my confidence as an athlete. If I could sum up my athletic goals in triathlon in a mission statement, here’s a go at it:
I am a strong, fit triathlete who is rarely injured because I have good stability from weight training and flexibility/form work. I have the confidence because I complete my training sessions. In races, I take that confidence and head close to the front of the pack in most races where it’s appropriate to start the swim, and I’ve closed the gap between my decent pool swimming and subpar open water form. I continue to do well on the bike because I train and race with power goals. I leave the bike and can now chase down people on the run. As a coach, I will set reasonable goals for my athletes (me and Zliten), and include only the necessary training on their schedules to succeed.
Here’s this year’s plans so far:
- Jan 22: take the little bit of training I’ve been able to do and see what I can do at 3M. My new A+ goal is to PR. With the paces I’m running, sub-2 is not reasonable right now, but my legs are showing some promise, so, on a really good day, I may be able to come in under 2:08.
- Feb 3: do an ill-advised-but-it-will-be-fine 6 hour cycling event. I’m here for the fun and to support the team and go camping. I may not hammer this one but I know I’ll survive it.
- Take at least a month after this with minimal swim/bike/run and get into the gym and lift heavy in preparation for the rest of the year.
Spring: goal is to get fit and then race a LOT of sprints to try to qualify to nationals. I want to shift my mindset at the shorter distances to actually racing for the podium vs getting my heart rate up.
Summer: cut off the racing with enough time to give myself an offseason before getting back to it for Nationals (if I make it) in August and then Cozumel in September.
Sept 30: Cozumel 70.3. I have some outcome goals here. First, sub-6:30 or better (PR). Second, I’d like to finish far enough up in the results I actually go to the rolldown for Worlds (as a super longshot, I’ve heard rumors of people being in 20-30th place and getting it). But honestly, I want to race this to force myself to figure out one of my biggest triathlon problems – I do not love hot weather but I’ve had my two best half runs in sweltering heat off of my two fastest bikes those two years (though I’ve also had some pretty critical explosions). I need to figure out how to succeed in the heat, be it training, gear, or just HTFU’ing.
After this, I’ll make some decisions. Ironman Waco 70.3 or Oilman last minute? A fall half marathon? Offseason? I’m not committing to anything after Sept 30th.
You will notice there are no marathons, no ironmans, no century rides, no 10k swims on this list. Will I haul off and randomly do a long bike ride because it sounds fun? Probably. But I’m keeping my focus (after Feb 3rd) on one thing: triathlon, and succeeding at the distance that my next race is at instead of random long base training for no reason. I’m running the longest right now that I need to run all year and that is super refreshing to me!
Less of this face in 2018, young lady!
As a human, I want to be a more patient and kinder person. I feel like in relentless pursuit of goals sometimes I get a little snitty and self-centered. I get annoyed by the MOST ridiculous things that shouldn’t even register on my radar. I joke that I’ve gone from being a people person to an anti-people person – that grumpy 80s TV dad that just wants his underwear and his recliner and silence. However, in going from a state of fluctuating between mega-maniacal (DO ALL THE THINGS) to burnout, I’m definitely finding human connection challenging to enjoy more often than I’d like to admit.
I actually like people. I am actually probably more of an extrovert on the spectrum than an introvert. I love random conversations, and I’ll talk your ear off and listen to just about anything with a few beers in me (i.e. – when I’m finally relaxed and not thinking about the next thing on my TO DO list). Sure, I’m a little socially awkward at first with people, but I’m mostly comfortable in my skin as long as it’s not a “hi, will you be my friend” situation. It’s that my brain is so far up inside itself thinking about what’s next and goals and achievements that it’s hard to focus on anyone else.
Yep, my problem is that I’ve become a bit of a selfish asshole. The way I fix that? By committing to less and really and truly being IN when I do commit. If I can have more space in my life between TO DO, then I can actually enjoy these things instead of feeling obligated to do them.
Yes, I GET to have a great group of people in my life that want my time and attention. I’m not burdened by it. That is a very negative way to live and I’m going to leave that one behind in 2017 in the rear view mirror where it belongs.
If I had to pen a mission statement for this one:
I will do my best to be present in the situation I am in, instead of having my thoughts stray to the future. If I’ve committed to something, I will give it time and attention to the best of my ability. If I’m feeling overscheduled and overwhelemed, if I’m fumbling at life, I will take a good hard look at my goals and to do list, and I will prioritize until it feels reasonable. I will approach social interactions as a pleasure instead of a chore.
It’s nice to weigh a little less than I did last time this year. Obviously obsessively tracking my food and diet quality didn’t work. I seemed to only make progress when I actually let go a little and ate… dare I say… intuitively. I gave my body a break and trained INCREDIBLY minimally. Or maybe turmeric is actually the magic anti-inflammatory bullet, so obviously I’m going to continue to take that.
So, obviously I want to continue to take steps back towards my race weight, but I don’t honestly have much to say here that’s revolutionary. Just keepin’ on keepin’ on with what’s *slowly* working.
- I want to continue (after a slight holiday feasting break) with my diet that’s at least half fruits and vegetables. I feel the best when I’m consuming a diet high in plants in their truly natural form.
- This is accompanied by making sure I continue eat my my normal breakfasts and batch cook my meals to get enough lean protein, whole grain carbs, and snack on things like almonds and pistachios instead of chips.
- I want to limit my indulgences to ones that I truly enjoy and that will will be a fun and relaxing diversion from my normal. For me, that means most of the sweets I get go into the freezer and I’ll dig them out once a month when I have a craving, but I’ll consume alcohol in moderation on Saturdays and there will be Desano’s Pizza or after long bike rides.
- If not tracking, I will at least be conscious about what I put in my mouth is going to help me towards my goals or not. It doesn’t all have to be positive diet quality (just most of it), but if it’s not, it should be for a reason and not simply because it’s there in front of me.
This is another place where my life needs focus. My eyes are now open to all the things I want to do and learn after a period of just being happy existing as a game developer and triathlete. But, in true form, I want to do and learn them all NOAW.
The last two years, I’ve had this giant, big, varied, scary to do list. I was trying to be a jack of all trades, master at none. I’m going to pull back and pick one focus this year:
2018 is the year I focus on becoming a published author of a non-fiction book.
I’m pretty sure that’s my mission statement right there. Here’s the steps I envision taking next year:
- Finish my book. I have about 3.75 chapters left to go. My goal is to finish the first draft by my birthday (or at least birthday month).
- Put it on the kindle and read it myself. No taking specific notes, no editing, just read it as if I was reading another author’s book it to see if it’s interesting.
- Ask my husband for help with his dialogue. I’m a fairly prolific writer with a lot of strengths, but dialogue is not one of them. If you could, why not ask the character what he would say in those situations?
- Edit chapter by chapter. I know I need more environmental description and cues. I can see and smell and taste and hear all the things that happened to me. The problem is, the reader can’t unless I describe them. I know I need to make things a little more cohesive because I wrote the chapters out of order (as in, don’t describe things five times, describe it once and go back and reference).
- Get some beta readers. Some that are familiar with triathlon, some that are not, to see if it’s interesting to either/both groups.
- Become knowledgeable about the industry. Read books and devour websites about publishing, editing, agents, and marketing your book. Stuff like this. While I want to know so much more about marketing in general, I’m going to take 2018 to focus on this slice of marketing.
- Continue to read in the non-fiction genre. 1-2 books per month in between my pulpy sci-fi 25 book series that will likely never end…
- If it gets this far… build a website for the book. Contact publishers about the book. Get an agent (or not). This stuff is so far away and I need to learn what half of this means, but my goal by the end of the year is to have a finished manuscript I’m proud of and at least know where to go with it next.
Here’s where I break my mold of focus and intentions, because I am me, and I am not doing away with TO DO lists. However, I’m still trying to stick with the intention of planning LESS. I’m trying to keep the first list reasonable. I am also trying to leave off a bunch of fluff so I actually do the things I really need to do, like actually see a financial planner for eff’s sake. Focus. Intention.
The second list should be FUN! I will do these things as they sound pleasurable and enriching to me, not as TO DOs I need to check off. These need to be things I GET to do, not that I *have* to do. If my sewing machine stays hidden, that’s ok. If I post weekly recaps because I’m pouring my time and energy into my book, that’s totally acceptable. They are here simply to remind myself there are better ways to spend free time rather than Netflix and dorking on social media on my phone.
Now that this is done, we can do smaller, bite size projects. After a break, that is…
Yep, a lot of this is carryover from this year that didn’t get done. Still want to do them. Will try again.
- Financial planner
- Fix our occasionally around kitty stray
- Organize our entertainment center and pantry
- Build leezard a lounging platform she can’t knock her plate off
- Probably some other small organizational projects that emerge as I check these off.
Mostly take the year off adulting because HOLY HELL we adulted pretty hard last year with house projects. Actually taking January ENTIRELY off any sort of TO DOs minus the normal cooking, keeping the house to the point where the cleaning service can do their thing, and laundry. I need a friggin break.
- Resume monthly-ish game night with friends in February.
- Camping! ‘Nuff said. Especially in the spring when it’s nice out.
- I love pictures but shy away from video. I had a blast playing with it underwater, and I want to do short videos about random stuff 3x per week, if nothing else, posted in my Instagram stories.
- More video games. I’m serious about this. I got Grand Turismo 5 for Christmas and we are going to stream “Drunk Driving Saturdays” (i.e., having a few beers and playing GT in the comfort and safety of my own couch) for a while and I want to actually feel like at least a casual type gamer again.
- Vacations: Cozumel for the half IM and then a week of diving, family cruise in May, family trip to Port A or Galveston, maybe a long weekend in Chicago, maybe somewhere snowy (with the camper?) in the winter to cross country ski or snowshoe?
- Painting… I’ve been having a lot of fun with minis but I also would love to expand to canvas again, even if only on camping trips.
- More bike adventures. I mean, the kind where it’s beautiful outside and we hop on the cruisers in the morning with backpacks and baskets and only have a vague plan for the day and coast back in at (or after) sunset. I’m open to the other kind with clips and kits and friends as well, but I want to do more where the bike is just the transportation, not the focus.
- Posting more interesting things besides weekly recaps. It really helps me when I’m training towards a goal race, but other times it’s like… yep, rode my bike some miles, ran when I could be arsed to, ignored the pool and weight room, and ate, drank, and slept a lot. You don’t care. I’d rather write something else with focus instead of this being my glorified diary all the time.
- Crafting. I recently found my beads and I really want to spend some time playing with them and making new pieces (I did one over break, and I love it. Moar!!!). I would really like to get my sewing machine out long enough to be comfortable getting it set up and stitching things.
2018. Let’s do this. But not too much of this. Because it’s the year of LESS.