This came in the mail a few weeks ago and I was going to call that week one of year two of being a professional triathlete, but I still wasn’t training and was just doing the waiting to see if I got better thing, which meant sometimes instead of swimming I would end up drinking margaritas and feeling bad about myself, so it didn’t exactly feel like week one of anything.
Only now it’s 2018 and yesterday everyone posted their inspirational well-filtered photo declarations of how this year will be different and better and more. AND. I’m back on an actual training schedule now, albeit a light one. So let’s go ahead and call this week one.
Did you know I trained 640 hours this past year? Even with the fact that the last two months have been minimal at best. That’s a lot of hours.
Generally, I’ve done year in review posts about what I achieved, what I raced, where I went, what I did good and what I did bad. But Dec. 31 is sort of arbitrary. It feels delayed, behind the actual race season we care about. I already looked back at my first year as a pro. It happened. There were some things learned, some successes. The best thing about the year? And this will sound hokey as fuck, but still. I made a lot of friends. I think I only paid for a hotel at one race, because friends put me up and homestays let me crash and teammates gave me their extra bedrooms. I saw the same people over and over, and we went through the same things, and then we saw each other again at the next race. Who knew there really is a community in pro triathlon? At least a little bit. And thank you to Smashfest Queen and Dimond Bikes and Freeplay. This year was the first time I felt like a real sponsored athlete and actually knew the individual people who were behind the companies. It was like they were invested in me as much I was invested in them.
I went to L.A. and San Diego and Arizona and Seattle. Canada, of course, but Victoria and Mont-Tremblant/Montreal this year. I got to go to Costa Rica and visit New York for the first time in well over a decade. I don’t know how much traveling all over Northern California counts, Tahoe and Santa Cruz and Monterey, and wine country is basically every one of my long rides. Then there were a couple weeks in Chicago and Kentucky. Things happened.
I made a concerted effort this year to focus on triathlon, which meant a lot of the time I felt like I wasn’t doing as good a job in the other half of my career. Freelancing is defined by cycles of crises, and the cycles came so frequently this year I almost learned to just let them wash over me. But in between, I actually did some work I liked. And a lot of that had to do with finally doing more work in and about triathlon, almost as if I have some sort of expertise in the sport and industry.
- You should read my monthly ‘Salty Triathlete’ column in the print version of Triathlete Magazine.
- Not to mention the other stuff I’ve written for them.
- My LAVA Magazine story about Costa Rica, in the Sept. issue, was one of my favorites this year. ‘Going to Work in Coco Beach.’ You’ll have to subscribe to read it.
- I wrote a ton of training stories for MapMyRun and MyFitnessPal. Almost as if I know stuff about this stuff.
- And I wrote about ‘Why whitewater racing world champion Juliet Starrett turned to CrossFit — and to standing desks’ and ‘Jesse Shofner, the first woman to play pro ultimate frisbee, now hopes to be a voice for change’
- I also got to be on the radio this year, a couple of times. Even if pouring through reams of studies on plastic bags was mind-numbing, I was really proud of answering this question: ‘Are Plastic Bag Bans Actually Helping the Environment?’
- And I finally started my triathlon-ish newsletter I’ve been wanting to start. If you haven’t read any: last week’s episode was a pretty good breakdown of the new Ironman pro system, the issue on the Wanda Group I thought was decent, and this essay I wrote for ep. 7 may be one of the better things I wrote this year.
- Oh, and we have a podcast.
People keep asking what my plans are for this upcoming year, what races I’m signed up for, where am I going, what am I doing?
I don’t know. I don’t know because four weeks ago I didn’t even know if I’d be racing at all. I don’t know because even though I’m back to training and starting to half-form plans, I still need to take it day by day. I don’t know because I’m really not *that* Type A.
I’ve gone a month now with no heart issues. I’m back on a training plan. Three weeks ago, it felt like I was exercising and working overtime just to go backwards, to still lose fitness. Now I’m actually starting to see efforts and times I sometimes normally see. I’m signed up for Way Too Cool 50K in March. I’m planning to do it, if everything goes according to plan. It’ll be my first 50K. My first real race back will be Wildflower, though. Everyone is doing Wildflower. It’ll be awesome and the start of my triathlon season. After that? Who knows. I’ll probably do Santa Rosa, possibly some other random stuff in there. I have a vague idea I’m going to race later into December after such a late start to the season, do a half or two down in S. America. I want to do Swimrun, and one of the races that sounds crazy and fun, maybe IM Wales, maybe Challenge Roth, maybe Super League, maybe something else.
No one really knows what’ll happen in the next 365 days, even if they say they do. I’m just being honest about it.