The year is coming to a close. Soon, we will move on to 2019, just like that.
As usual, this is the time of year where everything reaches a fevered pitch. The holidays are coming, preparations are being made, family is visiting, cookies are baking, presents are getting wrapped…the list goes on.
This is when I begin to lose my mind a little. Just a little. Two weeks ago, as I took stock of my ever-expanding to do list, I realized I was behind schedule. Not just with getting out Christmas cards or shopping for gifts, but with my fitness goals.
This past year, I had set some goals for myself, as usual. In 2015, after I had my fourth baby, I met my goals of completing a standard distance Olympic Tri and a marathon. I sprinkled in some half marathons and sprint distance Tri’s as well. I was happy with that.
Then, I moved into 2016 and completed 2 marathons and a 1/3 Ironman triathlon. Again, I sprinkled in some half marathons and some sprint tri’s, and was happy that I checked all of my boxes that year. Mission accomplished.
2017 was a good year, but it was a busy year. Only one marathon, my first 30k, a 70.3 triathlon, a few sprint triathlons, duathlons, aquathlons, etc. I didn’t quite get everything I wanted to do done. I did, however, hit a mileage goal for the year that left me feeling like I was unstoppable. I had hit 4000 miles for the year, which may not sound like a lot to some endurance athletes, but it meant a lot to me. After working 3 jobs and raising 4 kids with extracurriculars, I was surprised I did it.
So, 2018 came around. I told my husband, this was the year that I was going to hit the trails more purposefully. I dubbed it “the year of the k”. I had intentions of working my distance up to a full 50k, but didn’t know if I could pull it off. I started the year with a trail series, 20k and 30k. As my training ramped up for my annual half Ironman, my running dipped a bit, but I did still manage some 10k’s and 1/2 marathons. I also pulled off a couple of sprint tri’s and another aquathlon, a couple of 20k’s, then hit my annual marathon. Whew. It was time for my first 50k, which I survived. Lastly, I finished the year off with a swim meet.
I would consider this year a success….but, wait. I began to tally up my mileage….and I wasn’t going to hit my yearly goal. Yes, the goal itself was arbitrary. Yes, it isn’t logical to think that I will have the same mileage when I did more trail running than road and I had switched to zone training which was time based, not mileage based.
Yet, I still want that 4000. Why? I don’t know, really. It’s really just for me. I did some math, realized I was going to be horribly short, and then committed to make it happen, regardless. With just 10 days left, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. For the past two weeks, I’ve been trying to get in 20-25 miles per day combined. I use combinations of swimming, biking, and running to get the miles in. There have been a handful of days that I’ve actually completed a full Olympic triathlon.
Am I tired? Yes. Am I sore? You bet. However, it is keeping me sane. It’s keeping me motivated. THIS is something that I can control in the midst of all of the other chaos going on around me. This is something that gives me a sense of completion. I can check this box every day, and know that I am working toward something. And it feels good.
In the meantime, it’s kept me honest with my daily to do lists. I have slowly, but surely, caught up with the holiday schedule. My Christmas cards are mailed, the gifts are bought and mostly wrapped, the gifts for teachers are taken care of, the kids’ parties are done, projects for work are done, and school is almost out.
I can see that I will hit my goal, if I keep at it. I can’t slack off now, not when I’m this close. And when I hit that magical number, you can bet there will be a HUGE smile on my face. It will all be worth it.
Now, what do I plan for 2019?
Run Happy. Run Long.
Amy is an ultramarathoner and triathlete, a mother of four, an Exercise Physiologist and a Physical Therapist. She lives with her husband, Dan (also an ultramarathoner and triathlete), and kids in Ohio.