A Year in Review: 2013 – Part II

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Yesterday I reviewed 2013 by month in photos. If you missed it then check it out HERE. I recently reviewed my Year in Review posts from 2012 (here and here) and have realized that I have come a long way personally and professionally. 2012 was a good and rough year for me. In reality, the past couple of years have really been BIG growing years for me as a person.

I’ve always felt that I aged a decade or two after losing my mom at 22. Losing your mother at a young age can definitely do that to a person. I learned quickly to enjoy the moments with your loved ones and live life to the fullest because you never know how long you may have left on Earth. I know it sounds super cliché and I honestly hate clichés, but it is true.

2012 gave me an incredible triathlon and athletic achievement year, but personally it was not such a good year. I learned important lessons about myself as a person, which allowed me to grow further as a person in 2013. I finished my master’s degree in December 2012, which was huge accomplishment that I had worked for 2.5 years to complete while working fulltime. Finishing my degree also meant looking for a job in 2013; a process that was ultimately very stressful and difficult because the economy and public health job market was not yet recovered.

First, I’ll begin with a review of my 2013 goals:

1. Become an Ironman! Check!

2. Learn to piss on my bicycle! Nope, still failed! 2014 maybe?

3. Increase my bike fitness and finally achieve the perfect VI so I can get an A from my coach! Epic fail here! I did well on the VI aspect in that I learned to pace myself well at long-course events. I rode strongly at IMLP. However, my bike fitness and functional threshold power suffered greatly due to my 2012 fall running (and subsequent bike) hiatus from injury. It was my own fault in that I let my aerobic fitness suffer over the fall months. Training for an Ironman also did not help my case in improving my FTP on the bike.

4. Focus on doing at least 10-15 minutes a day dedicated to mobility, soft tissue work, and core strength. Kinda. I would do well with this for a stretch and then would fail miserably for a while. I certainly did much better with this after my IT-band/knee issues began in April and lasted throughout my Ironman training.

5. Continue learning and seeking out knowledge and advice from the leading health and fitness professionals so I can continue helping my clients and athletes reach their health and athletic goals. I definitely met and surpassed this goal. I am constantly reading and researching exercise physiology and training techniques.

6. Continue working on achieving a healthy body composition through proper nutrition and training. Yes and no. I never got down to race weight this year and I believe it was because I did not train well in the proper HR zones at the beginning on the season. Also, I did not starve myself like previous years and thus that is a small victory in itself. My 2013 aerobic fitness was not the same as my 2012 aerobic fitness. I learned a lot of lessons because of this.

Now, for a greater, more philosophical review of my year:

Athletic/Triathlon – Overall, I am disappointed with my 2013 season. I had such a solid 2012 that I was hoping it would continue into 2013. I met my main goal and that was to complete my first Ironman. However, I do find this year a blessing in disguise. I find that I am the type of person that learns best from her mistakes. I made a lot of mistakes this year and I have learned what not to do in the future for myself personally and the athletes/clients that I coach. I would often have to tell my clients to do what I say and not what I do. That’s truly a bad business motto and thus I will focus on not making stupid decisions and mistakes in 2014. Athletically I suffered a lot in the beginning months of base training because I was super stressed from my work situation, working three jobs, and being sick for several weeks on end. That was critical time I needed to build my aerobic base in running, cycling, and swimming. I did the best that I could, but in retrospect, it was not enough. In April I began to have IT-band/knee issues, due to my chronic right hip issues. I was devastated with the diagnosis and I worried that I would not be able to toe the start line at IMLP. I had several people tell me not to do it. Umm… would you not do an Ironman after you stood in line for 3+ hours and paid $700 the year before to do it? I realized that many people thought that I was crazy to attempt such an event and I found myself having to defend my sport and desire to compete long-course events. Despite my reluctance to give up on my dream of becoming an Ironman in 2013, I knew that if my injury was not going to heal then I would have accepted the DNS. I’m not that stupid.

Health – I was under constant stress at work for a large majority of the year, which took a huge toll on my health both physically and mentally. I never really talked about the situation at my old job and I still am not going to because it’s in the past, but I was put into a really shitty situation and I just wasn’t able to deal with the stress of it well. My immune system took a major hit, which lead to a major cold that turned into a sinus infection and then later developed into a fever of 102. Being constantly sick and stressed led to my poor aerobic fitness in the early season that I was just never able to regain and build later in the season. Because I had a bad aerobic base, and the fact that I did not prioritize strength training enough in the early base phase, I developed painful IT-band/knee issues that succeeded to plague me throughout my Ironman training and made me re-evaluate my goals for IMLP. A lot of the stress and injury prevention could have been prevented from the start. It was my own fault and I own up to it. However, when I returned to running again in the later summer/early fall I developed some serious right hip issues. Working with my brilliant chiropractor I think we finally nailed down what is wrong with my hips and why I continuously get chronic overuse injuries. Going into 2014 I feel confident that I have all the knowledge and tools I need to “fix” my hip issues and hopefully prevent any serious injuries and lingering issues in 2014.

Professional – I finished my MPH degree in December 2012 and began my “big girl” job search. As I have mentioned above, I was put into a shitty situation at my job and dealt with a lot of stress from that. I was also working part-time at a gym training clients. I loved that job, but quickly realized that I did not enjoy working in the traditional gym environment. I left my gym job in July to pursue my interest in starting my own endurance sport coaching and personal training business, and thus Big Sky Multisport Coaching and Personal Training was born. I interviewed for my “dream job” in June, but was second choice due to my lack of supervisor experience. I was genuinely heartbroken, but I realized that I was going to have to work harder to find my next job. At this point I began to realize where and what I really wanted to do as a career. I really enjoyed personal training and nutrition, but I knew that it was not my future career. I love doing it on the side as my passion. Through a lot of reading, researching, and evaluating my personality and passions, I discovered that my true career goals lie in international development and health care systems. I was lucky in August to find a few job advertisements in the state of Maine that were related to health care systems and health care reform. I quickly applied for the jobs and had several interviews. Once again I was second choice for a few of them, which left me disappointed. But, at the end of the day I was offered a fabulous job at a non-profit that I have come to love quickly. The job environment is about 1000 times less stressful and I am really enjoying the work that I am doing. It is the perfect “first career” job and I look forward to working here for a few years before heading back to school for my PhD. It was a long bumpy ride professionally in 2013, but at the end of the day, everything worked out for the better. The bumps in the road made me a stronger person today.

Personal – I have evolved and grown immensely as a human being this year. My graduate education has led me down a road that I never predicted and I have researched and discovered new views on life and the world. I’ve always loved travelling and experiencing new cultures, but I was unable to do so this past year. Thus, 2014 has some big travel plans! As I grew as a person, I became more aware of the crowds of people I associate with in the past and present. I have some amazing friends. Some I see often, while others not as much. I’ve come to realize that some people in my life are toxic and I need to let go of them, while I need more contact with the good people. I accepted the mistakes I have made in past friendships and I hope not to repeat them in the future. I realized that I’d rather have a few good friends that I can count on then a bunch of friends that will be available only at certain times. I have branched out and formed new friendships that will hopefully last for a lifetime. I have discovered my strengths and my weaknesses and work towards accepting the things I can change about myself and the ones that I cannot. I have learned to speak my opinions despite what others may think. I have learned to accept the negative things that happen and find the lesson and the good in each to grow as a human being. I have learned to live a life of love, happiness and passion for oneself and others.

2013 was a growing year and I have accepted the mistakes I have made and only hope to grow further as human being. Bring on 2014!

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~ Happy Training!

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