Sunday, December 20, 2015

Rewind: My 2015

One of the keys to success in anything is to examine the past and apply the lessons learned to the future. Every December I take a look back at where I've been in the past year-- my highlights and my lowlights. It helps my set my goals and plans for the coming year. Scroll to the bottom for lessons learned.

January - March: A CrossFit Focus
I even swam, which I hate!
I spent the end of 2014 and the beginning of 2015 working at building and maintaining the strength and skills I would need in the CrossFit Open. I worked on progressions for the muscle up and did lots of thrusters (which I hate with a passion). I stopped running anything longer than 6 miles, and it felt like torture. My muscle ups never came, which sealed my fate in the Open-- even in the Masters' Division, muscle ups are a necessity. I just didn't spend enough time working on that one piece.

I was at a pretty low point after failing at those muscle ups, and so I drowned my sorrows in the Orlando BattleFrog Race. It proved to be exactly what I needed-- a spontaneous race (I registered less than a week before the event, and I hadn't run farther than 6 miles before the race day 9ish miles). I had a blast and was smiling again.

I also competed in the Florida Open. I surprised myself in how well I tackled the thrusters and row in 15.5. But then I struggled badly in a workout involving double unders and an awkward heavy carry. I lost focus, allowing a small working space and pressure to get to me. It wasn't all bad-- Read the full FL Open recap here.


April - September: A Return to Running
Feeling a little disillusioned and lost, in terms of competing, I did a 5k for charity at the beginning of May. I think I was more nervous for that race than the OCRs I've done lately. It had been a long time since a 5k. The following day-- again, on a whim-- I did the Wings for Life World Run. And I fell in love with road races again. Wings for Life is a unique run because there is no finish line. Runners begin and run until the "catcher car" catches up. I was able to log around 10 miles before my race was over.

Later in May I also did the Down & Dirty.  I placed second and was pretty satisfied with the race.

And so began my return to long runs. By this time I had set my sights on World's Toughest Mudder. Everything for the remainder of the summer and fall months revolved around training for WTM. My theme became just one focus: long. Long runs, long lifts, long wods and longer sessions involving all of those.

October-December: Prepping for WTM
I had 3 races on the books for October. Last year, I won the Goliath Gauntlet. This year, I was DQ'd because I couldn't complete the Walking on Water obstacle (a lily pad type thing that I would see in the Terminator and at WTM). I was the 2nd female across the finish line, but this time I stashed my medal in my bag and headed back out on the course to train for WTM. Although I rolled my ankle on the 2nd lap, I was able to walk it off and complete 4 laps in total.

Two weeks later I ran the Miami Terminator. I struggled with an A-frame wall climb; unable to complete it, I did my burpees and moved on, but I was already out of the top 10. Again, after finishing, I returned to the course. And again, I rolled my ankle. This time it really hurt. I couldn't stand at first, and I was scared. I began to hobble off the course, worried that putting more miles on the ankle would keep me from WTM. But after about 50 yards, it loosened up, I made a 180 and finished 3 laps.

 
World's Toughest Mudder: A Category of Its Own

This was THE EVENT. I can't get World's Toughest Mudder out of my head. I find myself looking longingly at pictures, like it's a boyfriend who dumped me. And now I understand why many have gone back every year to be there. Of my performance there-- I'm proud and ashamed and humbled and thrilled. It was enough, but not. I desperately want to go back, and I never want to go there again.

Lessons Learned
1. Find what you're good at and do it. I'm good at the basics involving barbells-- bench press and dead lifts. And I'm kind of good at running (I said good, not fast)
2. Find your weaknesses and overcome them. For me, it's the muscle up and other gymnasty skills in CrossFit. In my case, I was so busy working on all of the other CrossFitty things (things I like to do better than muscle up progressions) that I couldn't master them all. That's the nature of the CrossFit beast-- varied.
3. Do what you want to do. At the beginning of the year, I wanted to excel in CrossFit. Then I felt like running. Then I felt like facing the biggest scariest challenge of my life (aside from childbirth and marriage). And now I'm feeling like running a marathon. And all those make me happy.
4. Help people. Hands down, the greatest joy I experienced in any training related activity was helping others-- either boosting them over obstacles, working together as a team, or coaching in the weight room.
5. Laugh lots. You should never, ever take yourself too seriously. That is truly the path to misery.

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