Now what?: New Directions

If we don’t change the direction we are headed, we will end up where we are going.   
–Chinese proverb

I’ve decided to change my destination; once my January marathon is in the books, I’m giving up triathlons and racing for awhile.  Be more social.  Try new things.  Rediscover some old things I had let go of.  Follow the road not taken… or at least not taken for a long time now.

When I started thinking about planning out my racing season for 2009, the overwhelming feeling was “…eh”. Not excited, not motivated … I didn’t even really want to think about next year.

And then I started thinking about taking a vacation that didn’t include running, biking or swimming… and THAT got me motivated.  What – you mean I could NOT have to train for something?  I could NOT have to plan my weekends around long rides or long runs? 

Wow.

That’d be different!

So, in my head I’m tentatively laying a roadmap for next year:  hiking trip in the spring/early summer.  Vegas in June.  Maybe a cycling from hostel to hostel kind of trip in the fall or even head to the mountains.  Pick up another softball league (might as well play while my body will still let me!).  Find another sport to take up (perhaps racquetball? or maybe something new!) and devote energy to it.

In the meantime, I’ll still keep running. The act of running is good for my soul — it’s one of the ways that I manage to stay on this side of sane.  And I think I’d like to spend the year helping other people with their running — pacing, training, whatever someone might need.  I know that kind of help is something I’ve always wanted and would appreciate to no end, and once the marathon is done since I won’t be training for anything specific, I can give that help to someone else.  Helping someone else cross a finish line is as much fun as anything else in racing!

I’m also hoping to forge a zen-like bond with my bike.  Now, one of the reasons that I’m taking a break from triathlons is that I’ve come to dread the long hours of training by myself — let’s face it, I’m not always the most scintillating of company! — so, perhaps this idea seems counter-intuitive…. but, it would be on my own terms.  I could ride with others when the opportunity arises without worrying about what type of workout I’m supposed to be executing.  I can join a bike club and ride with others, hopefully others who also like the socializing more than actual biking.  🙂  And hopefully, in the midst of laughter and conversations, without even realizing it, I’ll become all BFF-like with my bike.

And I’m really excited about getting back to one of my favorite hobbies — hiking and backpacking.  I love the mountains, and often think that I would love to move out to Colorado or Montana or Idaho or anyplace where the skyline isn’t quite as flat as it is here.  But, I don’t even need mountains.  Up until recently when my training schedule started dictating my weekends, I used to make it out to Starved Rock at least twice a year and I’d also try and pick out somewhere else fairly local to drive to and spend the day exploring…. which is something I haven’t done in years now.  And I’ve really been missing the whole nature thing, like a part of me was going unfulfilled.

So, that’s the plan.   At the moment it seems like the most “right” decision I’ve made in a long time.  One of those things that once I made the committment to the decision, I could feel the relief.  No more hard training (unless I want to!), no more race-day pressue, no more having to dread long swim sessions or lonely 4 hour bike rides.  I suspect that once the season gets underway, there will be a part of me that misses it — at heart, I know I’m a competitor, and I enjoy getting out there and mixing things up a bit — but I think the break will be theraputic and motivating and energizing.

And plus, I was running out of triathon topics to cover here anyway… 😉


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3 comments

  1. Hi!
    I am quite proud of you for doing this. I know you will miss the competition, but I know you will love the “fun” of biking and running!

    Good luck and maybe, just maybe I will head out to Vegas with you in June!!!!

    Julie

  2. It’s going to be the summer of softball! At least for you. 🙂
    I think this is going to be a great year for you and I’m willing to be you’ll be more focused and determined (if that’s possible) when you do return to competitive racing.
    Rest and recovery are necessary and while it looks like you’re not planning on sitting on your couch eating bon-bons, the change in activities will surely rest your mind. And if you do plan on sitting on your couch eating be sure to call me.

  3. Your summer does sound fun. You’re a girl. You’re young. You’re healthy. It’s supposed to sound fun!!! Good luck Laura! This was a tremendously couragous decision for you. Embrace it! 🙂

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