Coming back

As soon as the calendar flips over into January, I am ready to pack Christmas back into a box and move forward into all of the promise that the new year holds. Some of the crazy thoughts I was having before the holidays (like how I was going to return to the practice of law full time and quit doing triathlon), have subsided a bit and I feel more like myself.  Like most people, I have thought of ways to be a new and improved version of myself in 2015.

Athletically, I am finally trying to address my two greatest weaknesses: the fact I can barely swim, and my lack of strength. On the swimming front, I enlisted the help of tri coach and Olympian, Susan Williams, to film my stroke and give me some feedback. She invited me to join her masters group one day and it was such a good workout that I actually returned! Between the time Susan analyzed my stroke (early December) and my second swim practice (yesterday), I had not gotten in the pool a single time, which is not how it is supposed to work. Ideally, if you are going to take the time and pay to have someone film you, you would spend some time working on the stroke flaws identified and hopefully come back a little bit better. I still need to work on that part, but I am committed to trying something a little different – attending masters with someone on deck who is looking at my stroke. An added benefit is that I have met a new group of women triathletes and maybe gained a new training partner or two.

On the strength front, it was clear to me that I lacked the discipline to go to the weight room on my own and lift more regularly than once or twice per year. Instead, I decided to try out Cross Fit, which I realize is a favorite target of scorn for triathletes, myself included. My main reason for going to All Pro Cross Fit is that is it co-owned by my longtime friend and triathlete Kathy Waite, who is the type of person I will endure some silliness to be around because she is so energetic and positive. Kathy did not care at all that I lifted the baby “triathlete weights” while all of the meat heads were grunting and groaning. For some reason, Cross Fit involves lifting weights fast, while timing yourself, but I ignored this part of it. Instead I just tried to learn some of the moves and, ideally, not injure myself in the process.

The only downside to starting a strength program is that I am incredibly sore after each session and rather than feeling like I am getting stronger, I feel like someone has beat me with a baseball bat, which is a disincentive to returning. I don’t have much interest in replacing triathlon with Cross Fit, but it’s been a fun way for me to lift a few weights and maybe strengthen a few areas.

Almost like a switch was flipped, when the kids returned to school this week, I started to think about training again. I haven’t done anything crazy, like put my bike on the trainer or strap on my heart rate monitor, but I felt like after all of the soul-seaching I had done this fall about me, my place in the sport and whether I still wanted or needed Ironman, I decided that I was ready to move forward with some athletic goals.

You know how sometimes someone asks you about a goal and you have never thought about it before or said it out loud, but then something comes out of your mouth and you realize it was there all along? That happened this week. I told a room full of strangers that I was hoping to PR in the Ironman at Louisville this year. And just like that, I realized I was ready.

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