The Art of Letting Go

The Art of Letting Go - Eat Spin Run

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.

be fearless in pursuit of what sets your sould on fire

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.

asics and polar v800

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.

your mind is a powerful thing

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.

2016 Vision Board - Eat Spin Run Repeat


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.

life lists

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.

blessed are the flexible

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. ?

make today so awesome yesterday gets jealous

Then there’s running.

You didn’t think I’d become a sloth, did you? ? You guys know me better than that!

asics and polar v800

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.

running along the sea wall in vancouver

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?
Pssst! In all this mental work that’s been flying around in my mind, I put together a little framework for letting things go. I’ll be talking about it in my quarterly newsletter which will go out on Thursday this week. If you’re not signed up yet, be sure to get your name on the list!

Eat Spin Run Repeat Quarterly Newsletter - Sign Up

25 thoughts on “The Art of Letting Go

  1. I think it’s so important to be flexible. I can’t currently think of any major goals I’ve changed, but I know that whenever I second guess a small goal or decision, it’s usually because of the opinions of others–checking in with ourselves and current motivations is a great way to get around this! Good luck training for a PR!

    1. Flexibility is SO key, you’re right! It’s something I’ve had a hard time with in the past for sure, but I suppose like many other things, you don’t believe you need it until something happens and you experience it first-hand. Thanks so much for the good luck wishes, Katie, and good luck to you as well in everything you’re pursuing this year. I’ll be thinking of you and sending all sorts of speedy vibes your way on April 30th!

  2. I find this post so refreshing! I have to admit that I can be influenced by what others think of me. When you have a blog and put your goals or thoughts out there, you feel accountable to people to stick to them. But ultimately, you’re the one living your life and your happiness is what matters, not what other people will think. Good for you for following what feels right for you.

    1. You nailed it – the accountability factor is so huge. In many ways it serves as a positive thing and has been one of the big reasons why I’ve persevered with goals that truly have been important to me. But there’s definitely that downside as well. Thanks so much for your comment, Jen. 🙂

  3. Awesome stuff Angela! There is nothing wrong with doing what is best for you. Training for 70.3s is HARD. It sounds like you’re going to have a ton of fun this year, all the best 🙂

  4. Good for you!
    I had to adjust my goals in the fall because they didn’t excite me (and because I was injured). While these may be easy to admit to myself, it’s not always super easy to admit it to the world, but it’s certainly freeing when I do.

    1. Ah yes, I know you know exactly what I’m talking about, Ange! Injuries are tough because sometimes, even if you truly DO want to chase after a goal, they get in the way. However, it sounds like you did exactly what was right for your body and right for your happiness. Kudos, my friend! 🙂

  5. Do what makes you happy! I am inspired by your blog and your outlook. I wish I was good at running, but for me it hurts too much! All apart of getting older I guess. I do have a marathon on my bucket list one day. See how that life goal works with the rest of my life goals 🙂 If you ever have the desire to participate in a triathlon this year, there are a few shorter ones later in the season after the lulu! I find Olympics are much easier training wise (time required), and you can still have a social life. Good luck with your PR. I will be reading your training updates as you go. Happy Training!

    1. Hi Debbie!
      Thanks so much for your comment. I agree, Olympic distance tris are a lot more manageable time-wise. I did the Vancouver Subaru Tri last summer and loved it (it was my first one ever!) I’m definitely keeping the shorter ones in the back of my mind because last year’s experience was great. Thank you for the good luck wishes, and all the best to you in your training as well! 🙂

  6. Thanks Angela for opening up so honestly! It’s very interesting and inspiring. Time flies, we change so much without realising it. It’s a good thing that you took time to listen to your instinct. After all that happened here in Brussels (I was also in Paris…), my mind is so confused and I clearly don’t know what I want anymore. But luckily I have great friends and family, I have running, and I have yoga. I’m running marathon #2 on Sunday and I’m grateful for my long runs to help me clear my mind. Thanks for all the good vibes and for the special newsletter 🙂

    1. Thank you so much for your comment, Marine, and all the best to you in your 2nd marathon on Sunday! I am sure it will be even better than your first one and will be thinking of you lots this weekend. You’re so right about running being mind-clearing – that’s 100% the effect it has on me too and I can’t imagine life without it! 🙂

  7. LOVE this post.. Really resonated with me. I feel like back in my early twenties I knew exactly what I wanted and when it all would occur. But boy was a wrong.. Life is so unpredictable but sometimes the best things happen when you aren’t expecting it! By the way, I’m a 27 year old avid runner/hiker who freaking loves the outdoors (also a huge foodie and Dietitian). I moved to Vancouver a bit over a year ago from AB and haven’t look back. Aspects of life are falling into place but I’m just trusting in the universe. Feel free to message me if you’re looking for a weekend exercise/foodie friend!

    1. Hi Victoria!
      Thank you so much for your comment, and for sharing your experience. It sounds like you and I have had somewhat similar experiences. I’m SO excited that you also live in Vancouver. Expect an email from me soon! 🙂

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