Hello, 2014 (a little late!)

Welcome, 2014! Err, I mean, 18 days ago. So, I’m a little bit late to the “new year post” party, ooops!  I think it’s safe to say, that when the clock struck midnight and the ball dropped, I sighed a huge sigh of relief and smiled that 2013 was finally behind us. 2014 is here, and it’s time to look forward and rediscover my optimistic view of the world. That might read like 2013 was the worst year ever for me, which is certainly not the case. I certainly had my share of happy moments, laughs and amazing races. There were so many adorable babies born, engagements that I celebrated, weddings that I shook my tail feather late into the evening at, and not mention landing a job that I absolutely LOVE. On top of that, I have a husband that loves me unconditionally and can find the silver lining in absolutely everything. I really am very, very lucky.

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Sadly, 2013 was full of a lot of bad news. I said to a friend recently that I can’t remember a year with more cancer diagnosis’s and deaths. Not to mention,  fear and anxiety that brought my beloved city to it’s knees in April. To top it off, there were some sketchy and terrifying crimes in my neighborhood.  But, dealing with these hard times is a part of life and as my mother’s extremely ill best friend said to me recently, life is really just one foot in front of the other.

I’ve decided that my only new year’s resolution this year is to live life to the fullest. Take advantage of every opportunity, savor every second and remember to laugh. If 2013 taught me anything it is that life is very, very short. Unfortunately, I can’t leave all bad news in 2013, but my new mantra for dealing with unfortunate and sad news is to turn lemons into lemonade. I am going to focus on trying to find the silver lining in every situation and do something positive to help ensure that someone else doesn’t need to suffer in the future.

To kick off this resolution, 2014 will also be my first time training and racing with a team, the Boston Triathlon Team! Acceptance onto this team is very competitive and I’m honored and psyched that they have so graciously welcomed me onto their team. After just a few events, I have learned so much about cycling and the sport of triathlon. I’m so thrilled to be a part of the team, make new triathlon friends and proudly wear blue and green while racing!

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I am hopeful that with the help of my new team, an indoor trainer and time in the saddle, 2014 can be the year of the bike. Prior to the 2013 Kona Ironman world championships Mirinda Carfrae said in order to win she “had to get faster on the bike.” and I am employing that same strategy. 2013 was the year I purchased my bike and I surprised myself with how much I came to enjoy my new sport, but I am very far from an expert. 2014 will be the year I build upon that foundation, learn more technical knowledge and simply spend more time on the bike trainer and on the road.

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So far I have three triathlon races on the calendar: Patriot Half Ironman, Cohasset Triathlon and Ironman Timberman 70.3. I’m eyeing the Twin Lights Half Marathon and Mashpee Superswim and I’m looking forward to adding a few more. Are you racing any of these races? Let me know! Do you have any suggestions for races that I should add to my schedule?

There are plenty of other exciting things that will be happening in 2014, and I can’t wait to share all of them!

What is your new years resolution? What are your goals for 2014?

Pretending to be a cyclist

2013 has certainly been an interesting and very busy year – I could bore you with all of the ups and the downs, but right now my eyes are on the prize: Successfully finishing the Timberman Half Ironman with a smile on my face on August 18th! 

So far, training has been great. I’ve been nursing my hip injury from Boston training and the running portion of my training plan is definitely behind, but I’m not nervous. Strengthening and avoiding future issues is definitely my #1 goal. 

To compensate, I have been swimming at higher volume than in my prescribed training plan.  Swimming is my strongest leg and where I feel the most confident. I am extremely grateful that I started the sport at such a young age and my swim club had such heavy emphasis on stroke and technique. I listen to fellow triathletes complain about the swim portion of the race constantly. As they talk, I nod my head and usually insert a quip about what a novice I am in the sport of cycling, but silently I am thanking all of my swim coaches over the years. Imagine if I had anxiety about swimming AND cycling? I think this whole Half Ironman game would most certainly be over if that was the case. I’ve adjusted my training plan as follows: when my plan calls for 1,000-1,500 I am traditionally swimming anywhere from 1,650-3,000. Part of this is to try to over compensate for lack of running, and the other part is: 1,000 yards swimming is a joke for me! In order to feel like I have done anything at all, I really need to swim at least a mile. 

The other part, is aggressively trying to wrap my head around the sport of cycling. I have been slow to get started with my new “hobby”, but luckily I have some really patient cycling friends. They are willing to give me parking lot tutorials on how to clip in and out, proper technique for starting and stopping and generally avoiding getting killed by crazy Boston motorists. They will even wait for me at the top of a hill when I’m too nervous to go up clipped in and half to walk my bike up to the top (this has happened on multiple occasions) and of course they are always willing to smile for a photo as I constantly need to document every single aspect of training. 

Here are such a few of my cycling sensi’s & myself in Lexington a few weeks ago – Proof I can do this!

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And, cycling is VERY hard, especially on Boston’s first warm weekend of the year. #unattractiveselfies

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All in all, I know this will pay off in a big way at Timberman, but I’m TERRIFIED. I looked at the elevation chart and HOT DAMN, there are some crazy, crazy elevation grades. If you don’t believe me, just check out this course map here. I just feel like there is so much to learn, and so much strategy behind it! Luckily the internet has a breadth of cycling and triathlon tips, tricks, videos and articles. Thank you, internet!

The other source of cycling anxiety is my general “fraidy cat” ways when driving a car with an engine, let alone a road bike with tiny wheels sharing the road with crazy Boston motorists. I’m hoping this pays off since I am overly cautious, but I definitely have a tendency to psyche myself out in a big way. I just need to repeat to myself “keep calm and pedal on.” (Side note, I need this shirt!)

I know in order to succeed, I need to stay calm and focus, so here are my goals over this next month of training:

  • Get increasingly more comfortable on the bike
  • Tackle as many challenging hills as humanly possible (without having a total mental breakdown)
  • Amp up running mileage once I get the OK that my hip is cleared to run longer than 3-4 miles (hopefully this news will come very soon)
  • Practice transitions. Luckily I have a triple brick work out planned on Cape Cod with friends on June 15th followed by the Oh My Goddard Olympic Triathlon June 23rd and the Cohasset Sprint Triathlon June 30th

So there we have it friends, someday soon perhaps I can remove “pretending” and instead shout from the roof tops about how much I love cycling. Something tells me it will be awhile before I get to that point, but I am certainly in it for the long haul to give this new sport the good old college try. It also wouldn’t hurt if I took a step back and reminded myself of this…

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Do you have fears of cycling? What steps have you taken to help ease your fears and build up confidence?