Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Looking Forward to 2014 With a Glance Back at 2013

I used to look back over my year and try to set goals and plans for the coming year.  Then I found that goal setting and planning didn't work well for me.  Maybe it's because I have two boys - both active in sports; both excelling in school (one in college and the other in middle school); both vivacious, out-going people that others love to have around.  Maybe it's because I'm married to an officer for going on 22+ years and his job has the potential to put the "ka-bosh" on any plans laid, no matter how well in advance.  Maybe it's because I get caught up in "winning" side of racing (which is not a bad thing) and that's not really where my heart is.

So, this year when I looked back, the first things I saw were the incredible accomplishments: qualifying for the Boston Marathon (for the third time) by nearly 15 minutes; leading a pace group for the 2nd consecutive year at 26.2 with Donna:  The National Marathon to Finish Breast Cancer; setting PRs in the 30K, 5K, and 10K; finishing my second 70.3 (5th in my age group for the second consecutive year) and PRing by nearly 20 minutes; and completing my first 140.6 event (finishing 9th in my age group).  

Then I saw the even more outstanding achievements:  my first born "graduating" from high school at practically the same moment he crossed the finish line of IM 70.3 Honu (Hawai'i) on June 1.  Standing by and watching as he chatted with Pete Jacobs and Craig Alexander and accepted his slot to IMWC Kona.  Watching him go at it as the youngest competitor  in Kona from 7,000 miles away and seeing him come down the chute and hearing Mike Riley call him an Ironman.  Every time I watch that video I cry.

I have seen my "baby" take on the rigors of middle school.  How children survive the middle school years these days is beyond me.  Kids are so cruel and mean and snarky.  The tender-hearted ones suffer the most and you don't want them to harden too much, but it's a challenge to know how hard to teach them to be.  I have watched this sweet soul try to not let the "world" get to him, but it does.  And, as any parent knows, it's hard to watch from afar.  I have seen this same pre-teen decide that he is going to race triathlon and enter a race his brother never did.  He is well on his way to greatness both in the pool, as an up and coming breast-stroker, and on the triathlon course.  Look out 19&U he's coming for you!

Isn't he intimidating looking?
Speeding toward the finish.
And, yes, that is a SMILE on his face.

3rd Place - 19 & Under
Last but not at all least, my wonderful, ever-supportive, best-Sherpa-on-the-planet husband aged up to 50-54 and completed his first Olympic distance triathlon; sherpa'd TWO 140.6 distance races on opposite sides of the world in less than two weeks, AND was promoted  to Lieutenant just after Halloween.

But, after looking at all the tremendous achievements and accomplishments and "growth spurts" of a year in the Abbey Life, I found there were some points worthy of reflection that really make goal setting hard for the coming year.  My first 140.6 was supposed to have been a "girls trip" with one of my greatest ever Girls (she happens to also be one of my biggest fans).  Sadly, she was unable to make that trip a) due to health reasons that prevented her from completing the training, and b) due to family complications could not even go and be at the finish line.  2014 will be a "Take 2" kind of year for her.  I have already committed to being there with her, so 2014 brings with it another 140.6 where there was only one originally planned.

So many people in my "circle" are struggling with so many things:  round after round of cancer; surprise diagnoses of cancer and sometimes worse; unchanging, hostile domestic environments; estrangement from family; battles with depression and bi-polarism; employment.  The list goes on.  I know that for them goal setting is a day-by-day activity.  I feel that it would be flippant to set what others might consider lofty, and luxurious, or shallow goals.  Therefore, I have set realistic, healthy goals for 2014:

I.  Train safely, intelligently, and completely for any event on my calendar.  Right now those are few and far between:  GWTC 30K, but maybe only the 15K; 26.2 with Donna, I have a "streaker" status to maintain; Boston - if the finances align, and if they don't, OK; at least one 70.3 in the late spring - likely it will be either IM 70.3 Florida or Gulf Coast Triathlon; maybe an olympic or a sprint here and there, and some local road races for fun and tune-up; and Beach2Battleship in October - the crowning jewel of my year.

II.  Maintain my relationship(s) with my family both near and far; love and support them in what ever their endeavors and choices may be in the new year.

III.  Have fun!  Because, truly, if it isn't fun it's time to find something new to do.  That is one of the primary reasons I am looking forward to Big Sexy Racing.  Already it sounds like it will be more fun than work, and I like it that way. 

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Mac's "SwimSTRONG" Foundation

Mac's "SwimSTRONG" Foundation
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