Over the past week I got a couple of emails with questions like…
“Angela, you didn’t do an Ironman Victoria 70.3 training check-in for March… How’s training going?”
“Angela, you didn’t post your half Ironman training schedule for April… is it the same as March?”
“Angela, you haven’t mentioned triathlon in a few weeks. What’s going on?”
You guys are a pretty sharp bunch, and if the title of this post is any indication, it probably confirms what some of you who asked are thinking.
If you’ve ever read one of my Gorgeous Guides to Goal Conquering, or if you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you already know I’m all about setting big goals, as well as mini goals to make the big ones feel more manageable. In that guide, I also talk a lot about reviewing goals regularly, and letting go of ones that no longer feel important given where life takes you. What you choose to focus your energy on should be things that truly mean something to you, and whatever that something is will be different for everyone.
Two weeks ago, I had an entire week off work before I began my new job at lululemon. (More about that here if you’re just catching up.) I didn’t travel or do anything super epic from an observer’s perspective, but for me, it was one of the best weeks I’ve had in a very long time in terms of getting mentally clear on where I’m at and where I’d like to go. There were long sea wall runs with sunrise scenery, walks, lunches with friends that I haven’t seen in way too long, and SLEEP. Lots of it. And all of this got me thinking.
I thought back to last year’s vision board. The year prior, one of my goals was to move to Vancouver. After various opportunities had fallen through, I decided to stick it out in Waterloo a little longer and start looking for Vancouver jobs again in fall 2015. The universe obviously had something else in mind, because my phone rang in February that led to my cross-country move in March. Better early than late, I suppose, right?
Then there’s my 2016 vision board, with the central themes of ‘connection‘ and ‘do what matters‘. I declared in January that I wanted to do work that matters, and expand my personal and professional networks. As far as that ‘work’, I was referring to both my full-time gig and this little biz I run here on the side. I didn’t know it would come so soon, but lo and behold my phone rang again in March. After 1 week of my new job, I think I can very safely say that I am going to be doing work that matters, and that has got to be one of the best feelings in the world.
During my week off, I thought about how strange (and also how very cool) it is that both of these BIG goals – a cross country move and making this amazing career move – happened when I very least expected it. I like to plan a LOT, and although I’ve been thinking about both of these goals for several years, in the moment, they both caught me by complete surprise.
Wondering what the heck this has to do with triathlon? I’m getting there, I promise.
I also thought a lot that week about my other big goals. One morning I was laying in bed, staring at my vision board across the room. Everything on it made me want to spring out of bed and chase those goals in every way I could, except for one. ‘PR at Ironman Victoria 70.3’ stared right back at me, but it didn’t have the same effect on me that the others did.
I opted for a run rather than a bike ride that morning. On that run I fully admitted to myself that, with the exception of spin classes with my Method buddies, whenever I’m cycling and swimming, I’d always rather be running. I realized that although I thought I wanted to do another half Ironman (and was totally physically capable of doing so), it was the one goal that wasn’t jiving with all the rest.
Am I saying it’s not possible to do a big athletic event AND have an awesome social life AND do a killer job at work AND grow a business on the side? No – I’m sure it’s possible and I know a few remarkable individuals who do. But if I was going to commit to the race, I wanted to give it my most solid effort which meant, well, hours – mostly of training and rest. In most of life’s situations, I’m either a ‘hell yes!‘ or a ‘hell no‘, and there was no way I wasn’t going to give it my all if I’d committed to Victoria 70.3.
During that long that run I decided that making my athletic endeavours my biggest focus (at least for the first half of the year) wasn’t what I wanted to do. The connections with friends, the relaxation and the sheer beauty of the spontaneous decisions made in that week off made me realize how great it feels to enjoy those things just as much as I love a great sweat.
Then I took my own advice.
In the Gorgeous Guide to Goal Conquering, I wrote about letting go of things that no longer serve you. Goals that don’t set you on fire and make you leap out of bed in the morning.
Part of me felt like I should hang on. After all, I’ve met so many triathletes over the past couple of months who I can train with, I’d already blocked off race weekend on my calendar, three months of training were already complete, and I’d declared to the world via this blog that I was going to PR at Victoria 70.3 this year.
But the other part knew that in the end, justifying to others why I decided to let go of a goal meant nothing. It meant nothing because being happy, living life with love and passion, and feeling completely fulfilled is everything. It doesn’t mean I’m not going to do another half Ironman, it just means that it’s not going to happen right now.
So what’s happening instead?
Well first of all, a lot more FUN is happening! As I’ve said over and over, Vancouver is such a beautiful city and I feel like this spring and summer are shaping up to be amazing already.
There will be getting outside like I promised myself I would because it feels SO good.
There will be picnics and walks along the beach.
There will be weekends spent climbing up and down mountains.
There will be spending time with new and old friends because there was nowhere near enough of that last year.
There will be doing things I don’t normally do, like barre, dance, pilates, and yoga. Lots of yoga.
There will be new and very exciting things happening to this blog. (Brace yo’selves!)
There will be sleeping and not waking up in the 3’s on weekends to get super crazy long trainer rides in. ?
Then there’s running.
You didn’t think I’d become a sloth, did you? ? You guys know me better than that!
In all that real talk with myself, I reaffirmed that running truly is where my heart’s at when it comes to sweat. I’ve tweaked my calendar for this year to focus on 3 races:
- The BMO Vancouver Half Marathon – May 1st
- The Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon – June 26th
- The lululemon Seawheeze Half Marathon – August 13th
Half marathons are nothing new to me, but during the course of triathlon training last year I lost a lot of my running speed. I miss the feeling of being a fast runner, so athletically, getting back to that place again is my focus.
The ultimate goal is going to be a new PR at Seawheeze, and currently my best half marathon is 1:28:30 on a very flat course. There’s a LOT of work to be done between now and then, and right now it feels like a lofty goal. However, seeing as recent amazing big things seem to have a way of happening earlier than expected, maybe it’s not as far away as I think!
[Tweet “The Art of Letting Go (because life’s too short to be should-ing all the time)”]
So tell me…
- Have you ever experienced a situation where you needed to let go of a goal? Did the opinions of others hold you back? How did it feel when you let go?