The new year is always an opportunity reflect on lessons learned and commit to changes that will make the coming 365 days brighter and more successful than the last. With that in mind, I thought I would take a few minutes to look back on a couple of 2017’s highlights and lowlights, and share with you my resolutions for 2018 in the hopes they might inspire you to make some of your own – I would love to hear yours as well – share them with us below so we can all inspire each other to be better in the coming 365 days!
It wasn’t so much my top-20 finish at Yucatan WC that was the source of my happiness over this race; it was coming out of the water in the main pack, just 20-seconds behind first-out-of-the-water Summer Cook. In my two years racing professionally, my constant focus has been to develop my swim to a level where I can compete at the top races of the ITU world circuit. This was a huge step in the right direction and confirmation that I was learning from the disappointing races that preceded this event and growing accordingly.
Holiday festivities with my families
2017 was a year of ups and downs professionally. That said, I believe that if most of my annual lowlights stem from less-than-stellar race days, then I have a lot – and I mean, a lot! – to be grateful for. To achieve the goals I have set in triathlon requires the same time commitment that a top executive role requires, and that means fewer visits with family and friends than I would like. However, this holiday season, I was able to spend more than the short break between workouts with my family and even share some nights out with Adam’s and my friends. It was extremely grounding and refreshing – just what I needed in the off-season in order to regain the vibrancy and motivation for the hard work required for my current build to 2018.
I went into CAMTRI Des Moines fitter than I had ever been and confident that if I simply executed on the day as I had been in training that I could earn my second podium finish of the season. I am typically the queen of consistency, so I was not worried. However, when race day came, fueling errors and fatigue that I hadn’t been aware of snuck up on my body and mind. The result was a horrendous swim, lack-luster bike, and average run.
The lesson from this disappointing day? I am human, and I may not always execute to the level I’d like. That said, there are some concrete ways to stack the cards in my favor: Greg and I looked at adjustments to my taper and to fueling in the days leading up to each race. These tweaks have led to more confidence that my body will do as I wish on race day—especially as we seek to increase my level of racing in 2018.
Some might look at my race in Edmonton and jump to the conclusion that I didn’t have the fitness to keep up with my competitors. And they would not be alone in that sentiment; I shared those same thoughts in the hours immediately following the race. But upon reflection, conversations with Greg, and consultations with my competitors, I realized that was not it at all. In draft legal racing, your race can’t be made in the swim but it can certainly be lost.
My biggest takeaway from WTS Edmonton was the hard lesson that you cannot view the swim simply as a 750m/1500m open water time trial. The opening 200m sprint to the first buoy is what will define the rest of your day—for better or for worse! I learned that my approach to this kind of racing had to change drastically, and my mental and physical training has changed to reflect that to I don’t repeat my mistake.
3 Resolutions for 2018
Be compassionate to myself
In my quest to defy expectations and excel at the top of the sport of Olympic triathlon, I can be hard on myself. But this year, I was reminded that I am human; I’m not perfect…. And that’s OK! By allowing for failure and bad days, it is possible to open the door for unimaginable accomplishments. I am seeking to be kinder to myself on those inevitable bad days.
Re-focus on process
Results are what I’m after, but process is how I get there. Sometimes I can neglect my process-orientation and get overly focused on what I don’t have, forgetting where I’ve come from and what I do have. Balancing the process, celebrating the everyday gains, and balancing those with my hunger for results is my goal.
Kick some butt
That said, when the gun fires, sometimes you have to throw caution to the wind and just do it! In 2018, I’m embracing the fierce competitor inside that sometimes in the past I’ve been scared to let out. We’ll see where that takes me!