Tuesday, May 20, 2014

TriTalk Tuesday - Goals of a Cupcake Triathlete

Happy spring Tuesday to everyone!  The sun is out, the weather is perfect for training (or barbecuing or sitting on decks, as you like it....) It's once again the day of the week to link up with Cynthia at You Signed Up For What? and Courtney at The Trigirl Chronicles  to continue our chats about all things triathlon-related.  We've previously discussed the swimthe bike, the run, transitions, and what to wear while doing all of these.  Now that's we are more or less settled covering the basics on how to do triathlon(ish), we thought we'd spend a week talking about GOALS.  How to set them, what yours are, what reasonable goals look like, etc.  We'd love for you to link up with us as well below - the more ambition the merrier!

When it comes to goal setting, I'm a fan of setting three series of goals.  Short-term, medium-term, and long-term.

  • Short-term - small goals that can be achieved in days or weeks.  Having these types of goals keeps you motivated on your path and allows you to measure and keep yourself accountable on a day-to-day basis.  Added up, these goals contribute to your larger goals.  Some examples of these types of goals might be smaller increments of weight loss (1-2 lbs a week for a month), getting up early x number of times in a week, or running a certain number of miles in a month.  These goals should be challenging, but attainable, lest you derail and depress yourself before you even get started.

  • Medium-term - goals that are achievable over the next several weeks or months, or within a training season.  These can be (but don't have to be) related to your "A" race for the year.  Examples could be increasing your bike speed 1-2 mph, lowering your stroke count per length, losing a more substantial amount of weight, or other larger fitness metrics.  Again, these should be reasonable and attainable.  If you start a training cycle as a 10:00 mile runner, it's not reasonable to expect to race a half-marathon at 8:00 minute miles at the end of a 16 week plan.  

  • Long-term - here is where you get to get a little nutty.  To dream big and throw out the really big "Mt. Everest" ideas.  What you'd like to do someday if there was nothing holding you back.  These may or may not ever be destined to happen to you, but if you never dream it, it is sure that you will never achieve it.

So getting personal, I will share my short, medium and long term goals as they stand right now:

Short term goals:

I have two races coming up - the Greendale YMCA sprint triathlon on June 1st, and the New England Trifest Olympic distance triathlon on June 29th.  I'm not quite where I had hoped I'd be going into these races, but I'm feeling pretty zen about things.  I've done some really good work towards short term goals so far this year.  Through my Total Immersion classes, I've become a more comfortable strong swimmer.  I've been getting in a lot of time on my bike.  I'm also past my recent bout of illness and feel pretty strong and ready to go.  So short term:

  • Push the bike speed up past 15 mph.  I'm not sure if it's the hills I train on or what, but no matter what I do or where I ride the darn Garmin seems to say average speed 14.5.  Always 14.5  Once it was 14.6.  God give me a flat course some day and I will crush that little 14.5.....
**Update before publishing Tuesday morning - my ride last night ended up at 15.9 mph.  Goal met.  This blog is self-fulfilling.  See what I mean about short term goals being attainable??**

  • Steady, smooth breathing in the cold cold open water!  I've done a couple of open water swims in the last week, and while they were fun, we were more acclimating than actually doing a lot of swimming.  Of course, I was the goofball that figured out if you put your SwimSafe buoy under your head it's like a pillow and you can relax and float, but I DO need to actually practice swimming in the open water now.  Such that when Greendale does roll around and I'm required to swim 1/2 mile in said water, I can do so in a calm, smooth, collected manner.  Without ordering "pond water-tinis".
Non-athletic Open Water "Swimming"
  • Depending on what my physical therapist and the orthopedist says about my hip(s) this week, I am hoping that I will have the fortitude to stuff my ego down the front of my sports bra and just walk the run leg of the Greendale sprint if necessary, and turn NE Trifest into an Aquabike.  This is a mental challenge.  One that I may very well fail at.  Especially since I have a ton of friends at Greendale with me, and there will almost certainly be a part of me that wants to prove something to them, random bystanders, and myself.  Of course, if the doctors say that I shouldn't be running at all, that thing that I'm proving will be that I'm a stubborn idiot....

Medium-term goals:

  • Related to the last bullet, I'd like to do whatever is needed for my hip to heal.  Honestly.  I hope that I will still be able to take my daughter running, and do the occasional 5K with friends, but if that is it, I am ok with that.  I'm at peace.  However, if I do start to be able to take on longer distances, I want to get into trail running more.  I love the woods and I should be playing more in my element instead of trying to keep up with my super speedy roadie friends.

My new studio
  • I'd like to establish a more regular, focused yoga practice.  I love yoga.  I'm just such a much better person when I do yoga on a regular basis.  I got a groupon for ten classes at a new (to me) local studio and I adore that place.  I've been twice in the last 4 days.  I feel calmer, my joints and muscles are less painful.  So much of my goals with triathlon are to calm my depression and anxiety - yoga does more for this than nearly anything else.  I need to talk to my coach about this goal, actually, as I don't know how to fit three 90 minute yoga classes into a full triathlon + life schedule.  But it might need to be done for my physical and mental health....

  • I'd like to try a stand-alone open water race.  Without the kerfuffle of the bike and run after.  I feel like it would help me focus my swimming in a new way and be enjoyable.  I'm not sure about ocean versus fresh water.  I have this gut feeling from all my scuba days of being pushed around by waves and currents that, if you are going to be in the ocean, you should be allowed the advantage of fins.  So I have some soul searching (and web surfing) to do towards this goal....
Long-term goals:

Ahh.... this is the good stuff.  You'll note a lack of triathlons so far on my list of goals.  I'm afraid you'll not find an Ironman here either.  That's because to me, triathlon is a process - a means to an end.  I enjoy the regimen of training, the structure and variety of the triathlete lifestyle, but a race isn't my finish line.  Whether it be because I'm just not that competitive in athletics (no one would accuse me of not being competitive in other aspects of life), or because I just can't wrap my mind around the training volume required for long-course triathlons, I just don't aspire to do them right now. 

What I do dream of is the day that my kids are off to college and the Jedi and I are on our own, not yet in our 50s, and still in great enough health to do all the things we dreamed of doing when we were younger.  Of being the silver haired couple that rides century charity rides together.  That hikes on the weekends.  Of being the older woman at the pool that swims three times a week because she truly enjoys it.  Of someday being free of the cloudy of anxiety that has followed me every day of my life since I had my first panic attack when I was 18 months old (my mother will attest to this).

Aside from those touchy-feely amorphous goals, I do have some "bucket list" goals.  The first one will be a sooner-rather than later goal:


  • The Pan-Mass Challenge.  The PMC is the mother of all charity rides in our area, benefiting the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. - while there are multiple routes and lengths available, some day I would love to do the 2 day route from Sturbridge to Provincetown.  111 miles one day, 81 the next.  Even tougher than getting ready for the ride itself is the fundraising needed to participate in the PMC - but someday I will make it happen!

  • Thru-hike the Long Trail in Vermont.  I wanted to do this before I had kids, but Mini-me made her entrance into the world before I had a chance.  Mini-me and I have talked about hiking the smaller MidState trail (that bisect Massachusetts) over the course of several weekends once her legs get just a little longer.  Maybe by the time I'm able to do the Long Trail she'll want to come with me for the whole length on her teenage legs.  Maybe?

View from the Long Trail
  • Maybe... maybe.... do a Half Ironman some day.  Maybe Timberman up in Vermont, or a destination race-cation with friends.  Maybe with Cynthia and Courtney?  This is in the dream world where I have the time in my life to train properly and my body isn't injured.  There could be a race in a place pretty enough with enough good friends, wine and chocolate to make me register.  It could happen....
Whatever set of goals you are pursuing, make sure that you take the time to look back and see how far you've come.  Always pushing forward and looking for the next challenge is great, but if you aren't enjoying the journey, and you don't appreciate where you've been, you are losing out on a lot of the value.  This weekend we visited my parents for their birthdays.  We used to live quite close to them.... the day brought us to a playground where we used to take the kids when they were small.  Watching the other parents there chase their toddlers around the mini-slides and push babies in the swings I remembered my days as a diaper-wielding, baby hoisting, sleep deprived mom of babies.  

The Jedi and I linked our fingers together, I rested my head on his shoulder and said, "Wow - we've come a long way together". 

And we have.  As parents and as people.  That is to be valued.

Stop and smell the flowers

Remember what is most important.

 Best wishes to all of you in pursuit of your goals, triathlon and otherwise.  Have a beautiful week!

Do you talk triathlon on your blog? Link up with You Signed Up For WHAT?!The Cupcake Triathlete, and The TriGirl Chronicles on Tuesdays for Tri Talk! We’ll discover a new theme each week and talk about triathlon training, tips, and general chatter. Be sure to link to your specific post and not a general link to your blog so that your post can be found in the linkup archives. Links not triathlon-related will be deleted.  Next week's topic will be Bike Maintenance, for you advanced planners!


Courtney Fields said...

One of my bucket list dreams was always to hike the Appalachian Trail. Perhaps I should tack that one back onto the list. Also, maybe you could try power yoga to combine your strength and yoga into one?

Amanda said...

I love the break down of the goals. I hope to do a century one day as well. My goals have changed so much this year. Maybe it's burn out or just valuing my family time a little more. Gone are the days when a full Ironman was high on my list. For now I'll finish off this half ironman and maybe stick with shorter races next year. I spend too much time training and I miss doing races just for fun!

Salt said...

Amazing goals. ALL of them! Your new yoga studio looks beautiful. I am a better person when I practice regularly as well. It's so good for your body and your mind. :)

Morgan said...

I love writing down my goals & then re-visiting them in a few months to add/change them! I think goals are like ever moving water, constantly changing & moving just like us :) I added yoga to my training plan this year & it made a huge difference mentally & physically for me!

Tara Newman said...

Miranda - nice goals. Very measured. I am glad to see a respect for the process of triathlon. So many people just want another bumper sticker for their car. I am not judging that. I just think you miss all the wonders the sport has to offer by rushing ahead.

Kristin @ SweatCourage said...

Joining the link up for the first time this week and wanted to say hello! I really enjoyed reading your goals. I live in Massachusetts and I did the Tri Fest Half Iron last year. I'm sure the Olympic will be a similar course... it was gorgeous! The run was really hard though (just an FYI, lots of hills!). I hear you on doing more yoga... I wish I had more time for it because I love it and it's so good for the body and soul. I also love to hike! It's nice to find another triathlete who hikes:)

Miranda Greenhalgh said...

Thank you Tara. My goals have a ways of getting away from me, so the journey is much more important :)

Miranda Greenhalgh said...

Thanks for the input Kristin! All the more reason that taking the Aquabike option might be smart for the NE Trifest race... alas. Either way it will be fun!

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