2014 was my triathlon year. It was the year of Ironman. In retrospect, I over trained an I had drifted too far from my original passion…running. I swam over 125 miles and biked over 3000. I no longer enjoyed either. That same year, I ran a decent (but not overwhelming) 1580 miles.
The plan for 2015 was simple…get back to running. I would do a few sprint triathlons to keep me cross-training, but the goal was to do a lot less swimming and cycling. This would give me a lot more life/work/family balance, and it would free up a lot more time to run. I lined up 5 marathons and an ultra-marathon. I had visions of some impressive run totals by the end of 2015.
This only partially worked.
I did a lot less cycling (300 miles instead of 3000 miles) and much less swimming (12 miles instead of 127 miles), but I still felt that I had no life balence. I felt that I was now overdoing it on the run…and it was burning me out.
I have already planned to cut down my running totals next year, and to get more balence. I “knew” that I used up too much of my swim and cycle free time and just ran instead. I never reached the balence point.
However, I completed all of my races, and I was certain of a mighty impressive year end running total. I just tallied the mileage so that I would know if I needed to do a little more to get to a 2000 or 2500 mile benchmark.
I surprised myself. The 2015 total was…1139 miles.
My running total had gone DOWN…by over 400 miles.
I was dumbfounded.
I cut my cycling and swimming by 90%. I felt that I worked at least as hard as the previous year.
Perception can be a funny thing.
It is clear I didn’t work anywhere near as hard as 2014. I was not up every morning at 3 to work out for 2-3 hours. I was not logging 20+ hour workout weeks. I was at home a lot more, and getting a lot more sleep. And I still felt burnt out. I probably was.
This testifies to the potency of a big dream. A dream that can empower you and motivate you past your breaking point. Ironman did that in 2014. Nothing did that in 2015. The numbers show it. The fitness level shows it as well. I am 1-2 minutes/mile slower then last year…with a similar perceived effort. I am nowhere near any of my PR’s from 2014.
This also testifies to the potency of a clear and specific training plan. I had a thirty week plan that I followed very closely in 2014. I went by “feel” in 2015. I did slap on my Garmin and downloaded the results…and never looked at them again (unlike 2014 where I obsessed over every little detail). In 2014, I knew when I was slacking off. This year, I ignored the data and convinced myself that I wasn’t.
I should not have been surprised. This year was a letdown from 2014…but that was an incredible journey that I will always treasure and never repeat. Logging 1100+ miles this year is still an impressive total…one that I likely will not reach next season.
For now, I am enjoying the swim and the bike again. I think I am ready to do the same with the run. I am finding that I enjoy being fit and active for the simple joy that it brings me. Obsessing over speed and numbers were empowering for a time, but now just seem to get in the way. It is time to just enjoy the ride…and to see where it takes me…