Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Collecting My Thoughts

I apologize for my absense lately, it's been a while since I've posted. And my commenting and reading blogs has been lacking as well. But, as my title suggests, I've been collecting my thoughts. I have to do this from time to time, and the past couple of weeks have been that time. The bad news is - I have so much to catch you up on it will take me forever...and the good news is - I feel great, refreshed, and excited about '07!! I don't know if I am the only one who gets this way, but my life can get so hectic at times that I don't know if I am coming or going, and I don't know why I even do some of the things I do. I just go through the motions. Having this blog really caused me to reflect on the past year, as lots of bloggers were doing, and as I did that I realized that I needed to make some changes for 2007. And I'm not talking about shedding a few pounds and getting more organized.

I'm talking about really asking myself why I do the things I do.

I'm talking about lining up my priorities along side what takes up my time and checking that they match.

I'm talking about being true to myself.

Somewhere along the way, I had let things get out of line. I ran a 4:08:28 marathon in Vegas in some tough conditions, and soon afterwards I had a hard time smiling about it because it wasn't under 4 hours. I think back to the end of tri season last year, and what I remember is feeling burned out and pressed for time. I can also remember scouring through previous race results and beating myself up for not finishing ahead of "this person" or not doing as well as "that person". The normal prerace routine for me was filled with self induced pressure to make sure I was able to expend every single ounce of energy inside me. I had to make "Competitive Lana" proud. One thing that comes to mind is meeting Michele on the run course at the Mach Tenn Triathlon. She yelled and cheered for me, but I was so intent and focused on using all my energy on that run, that I could only wave and force a smile at her. It's a 4 mile run, guys. We're not talking about anything major here. And even if we were, there's no excuse for that. I mean, even the IM pros talk to and encourage each other on the course. And I'm just a middle of the pack age group triathlete at best!!! How lame. And that's why I get so burned out. That's why I don't seem to enjoy it as much as I did at first. And that's why, if I don't turn things around, I won't be doing this for life, like I intend to do.

So...in December I rested. I gave all my attention to my family - they have earned it. Then during the first few weeks of 2007, I collected my thoughts, rearranged my priorities, and formulated a plan to accomplish what I want the most....which is...call me a kid if you must...to have fun!!!! And what do I consider fun?

*Time with my kids and husband
*Learning new things
*Teaching my kids new things
*Swimming, biking, and running
*Racing - without the unhealthy obsessive compulsiveness I had in '06
*Baseball games!!!
*Mountain biking
*Being with friends
*Meeting new people
*Pushing my limits, improving myself and reaching goals

And the list goes on...but you get the picture. I've got to bring the fun back. I mean, I'm not a speed demon, and that's just the way it is. If I get out there and put the time and training in, though, I might be able to finish ahead of a lot of people...but if I don't...it's okay. OKAY. It's still fun! It's still great for my health. It's still a great way to do most all of the things I mentioned above.

I have thought about doing my first Half Ironman at the Gulf Coast Triathlon in May for a while now. But the thought of the pressure of a rigorous training schedule with the "old obsessive compulsion Lana" completely turned me off. Not only that, but my swim really stinks. And it will just stink even more for 1.2 miles in the Gulf of Mexico. So about 2 and a half weeks ago I startd following BeginnerTriathlete.com's Winter Maintenance 8 Week Swim-focused Plan. I promised myself that I would follow the schedule, but not overload myself with pressure. At the end of that 8 week plan I will reevaluate how I feel. If I feel good, I might decide to go ahead and go with a more specific Half Ironman plan. If I feel pressured or burned out at all, then I'll slow down and do something else. But after two and a half weeks - I feel better than ever. I think mentally I am refreshed and stronger than I've been in a long time. I have been following the plan and swimming 4-6 times a week. And let me tell you, the water and I have been getting to know each other like never before. Lately, when I walk up to the edge of the pool, I don't complain and dread making the plunge. I've also been able to take Briar to the rec center with me and run a mile or two with him beforehand. (Briar is back on the swim team for the time being, too - YAY!) And when I take off running, I'm starting out slow, and then before I realize it I am running faster and feeling better than ever! I've even got in a few bike rides between the spurts of winter weather we've had. And when it's too cold, I've ridden the trainer if the plan calls for it. And I'm loving it. It's fun. That's how it should be.

I'm going to try my best to get in a MTB ride this weekend with Briar and hopefully H &K. And I might even go check out a cyclocross race in Columbia on the 27th or 28th. All because it sounds fun!!

I'm working my race calendar for 2007...but it's probably going to be fairly "tentative". Because any triathlon that includes a kids tri or is of the distance that Briar can participate is going to take priority. We're gonna have some fun this year. I'll try to get the calendar done soon, and I'll get back to posting and commenting regularly on my training.

...Here's to a fun 2007!!!


david said...

Bravo! It is not easy taking a hard look at yourself and deciding to make adjustments. I salute you because I too struggle to to walk the tightrope of balance in my life.

Ashley C aka Kitten said...

Congratulations on finding balance. It's tough to be introspective, but you sound like it's been good for you. Have a wonderful and FUN filled 2007!

walchka said...

I think you should do a JT remix called "Bringing Fun Back"

Congrats on taking a step back and figuring out what you really want this year. It's not an easy thing with our competitive natures.

LeahC said...

hey lana-

oooh walchka got to "Bringing Fun Back" first... :-)

I always think that time off helps the mind find the fun. If you have any questions on the Pfitz plan feel free to e-mail me at jasonleahrun@gmail.com. I think it's a very hard program.....especially in the winter :-) However, in the summer it wasn't so bad....it's time consuming, but doable, especially with those long summer days.

Thanks for the shoutout for the BP :-) It'll be fine I know :-)

Kate said...

Good idea! Triathlon IS fun, but all those other things are too, and racing is quite fun even when some of the pressure comes off!

I've really liked focussing on my swimming these past few weeks- I haven't quite got to 4-6 times a week, as I'm still *in season* but it's been great for my form and for my mind as well.

Have a great rest of off-season

Cliff said...


This is going to sound so corny but ain't u a bit old to be in the kid's tri :P..

glad to hear u are thinkin gthings through. One thing i admire about some of the pros is that despite the pressure they still able to go at it having FUN.

HIM is not as challenging or high pressure as u think. Best part is that u don't need to be speedy. I am kind of a gradual slow death kinda guy so long distance is perfect for me.

TriSaraTops said...

Sounds great to me! We do beat ourselves up a bit, don't we? I am so guilty of this, too. It's something I'll continue to work on this year--just getting out there and having FUN.

Triteacher said...

What a great post! Sounds like you're re-focused and ready to go.

Laurie said...

I think that sound AWESOME< Lana. I have been checking ur blog daily and didn't see anything, and somehow I sensed a little Burn-out. It happens to me, too! Lose of the "spark" or something. A little time off ALWAYS does the trick for me! Glad to see a new post. They inspire me!

jkrunning--Just Keep Running said...

Sounds like a break is just what you needed.
I look forward to reading the schedule.

tri-mama said...

Enjoy the year! It's tough being in a competitive sport without getting overly competitve yourself-and it's fun to be competitive to a point. I wish you well in your quest for fun. :-)

TriJack said...

the balance between enjoying the moment and targetting the destination is a tightrope... it's one step at a time, and realize (it appears) you have a huge safety net waiting to catch you if you fall...

Lance Notstrong said...

That sounds like a good plan Lana. I always plan about 3-4 bike rallys where my son can go with me (and I ride the shorter distance - 40 miles and lower). I might even do more but I try and do them when it's warm so that he won't freeze and so that he has fun.

Joe said...

That's a healthy new attitude, for sure. If you concern yourself with who beat you and who you didn't beat, you'll drive yourself crazy. As the sidebar on my blog says: "Don't bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself."

E-Speed said...

I am on the exact same page is you. It's nice to know I'm not the only one!

Rae said...

I think in the grand scheme when you look back on your life it isn't going to be how fast or how high you placed in some race that's really going to matter. I think the feeling of self accomplishment and enjoyment of what you achieved will come through. Fun is the theme of 07!