I have never really set “improvement” goals for athletic activities. Seriously, I am happy most mornings to get out of bed and pump out my 60 minutes of cardio before climbing back in my PJs.
This is kind of funny because I actually love goals. I regularly say “sure I will try this new bigger thing to see if I can do it.” Half marathon, triathlon. But once I cross it off the list, I am ready for the next thing.
My dime store psychological evaluation of this probably has something to do with just wanting to finish, not feeling confident to push myself further, blah blah blah. Bottom line, I do new stuff – I don’t improve on the old.
But I like triathlons. A lot. Not in the moment – a lot of times I hate triathlons while I am doing them, but I find myself constantly wanting to add another, and another to the calendar. Which makes me think maybe I need to rethink my whole ban on improvement goals.
So here we go, my public declaration of my improvement goals for 2016, shouted loudly for the 2 people who regularly read my blog. Accountability, friends. I tried to mix it up with some comfortable stuff, some reach stuff, and some silly stuff. So here we go:
- Hills! Okay, so we are throwing measurable goals out the window from the start. One of the biggest lessons I learned from this season is that me and biking on hills need to come sort of meeting of the minds. Gears! Saddles! All of the technical things that blow my mind … I commit to working on learning how to ride on hills (even if I will continue to look for “no hill” triathlons …)
- Run farther (further?)! My dislike of running is well known as it is a frequent topic of my whining. That said, I recognize that the more you run, the more comfortable you are running (you come here to read controversial statements, right?). So this “off season,” I need to do more, longer runs. First push is training for the Richmond half marathon coming up in November …
- Swim regularly! Unlike running, swimming is something I actually really enjoy. However, I have little myths that float around in my head that I can’t seem to squash – things like “swimming does not burn as many calories as running or biking.” And for someone who has spent a good fraction of life tied to the scale, this is quite the mental hurdle to overcome. That said, my swimming is like a toddler’s walking – confidence that WAY outweighs skill and speed. And the best way to work on this is to do more of it. One or two times a week, at least.
- Go international! I started 2015 signed up for an international distance triathlon (1500 m swim, 40K bike, 10K run). And then life (i.e. a 2 week work trip to Indonesia) got in the way, and so I dropped back down to something more comfortable (sprint). This was the right choice for where I was in June 2015 – but next year, I want to push myself on this distance … international/Olympic distance, here I come!
- Shave! I have a post-race ritual. It goes something like this: come home, turn on steaming hot shower, undress and get in shower, scream in pain when the water hits open wounds under my arm pits. I have nothing against being hairy (I used to be a hippy) – but I seriously do shave every night. But then something happens between the evening shower and the morning race that turns into a nasty, rashy mess. I kick myself after every race and promise I won’t let it happen again and will shave race morning … may 2016 be the year I finally learn.
- Fashion choice: bras! That ritual from above … yeah, arm pits are not the only gapping wounds. But those who know my lack of shame well (Michelle … MOM…) will be pleased and surprised to see that I will not provide photographic evidence of other wounds. If fat bottom girls make the rocking world go round, big titty girls do the same thing for the makers of Neosporin and vasoline. Girl needs a better sports bra … I will keep you updated (sans photos).
- Fashion choice: shoes! The time has come to upgrade to clipless pedals. For serious.
- Swim faster! I have never been able to beat my first swim time in a triathlon (2014 Patriot Sprint – 14:53). I don’t know how this happened and still frankly think it is a mistake as I have never come anywhere close to this again. So I really want to beat 15:00 in a triathlon in 2016.
- Bike faster! This is a leg I have gotten better at over time – my best 20K was my last tri … er, duathlon at 45:49. I will be honest, I am pretty happy with this as a time in general. But I would love to beat 45 next year.
- Run faster! Best 5K time so far was my 2015 Patriot Sprint time – 28:28. I would kill to beat 27, but realistically this means running faster than a 9 min mile, so let’s go for 28 for the win.
- (Bonus) Lift heavy shit! That “swimming doesn’t burn calories” myth? Yeah, I have one of those for lifting too. Bull, I know, but there it is. I have had an on-again, off-again relationship with strength training, but I am hearby recommitting myself to the weights. Or at least the kettlebell. Hmmm, kettlebell…