2017 is in it’s final stages and it is hard not to reminisce a little on the year that was. I have found myself doing it often lately when I am asked about my goals for 2018. The funny thing is that every time I have set myself goals for a year, I rarely ever execute them. I don’t know why that is. I think that maybe I am not super motivated by large lofty goals that can take an extended period of time (but are also limited to a 12 month period.) Instead I prefer to set myself larger goals that require constant work and can potentially take much longer than 12 months to complete. Having said that, I do always set myself some mini targets or rules for the year that I try to live by. 2018 my focus is absolutely on drinking less. I have written it many times but I am a stress drinker and 2017 has been a year with lots of stress for me. Looking back on the year I am actually not surprised that I did drink more than I have in the past. I am not talking about all night benders (I think the latest night I managed was my brother’s bucks party – 4am.) Instead I have found myself having a couple of cold ones a few nights a week. But it is a practice I am determined to get out of.
In preparation for 2018 I have actually been researching a number of low alcohol or no alcohol options. My Dietitian, Chloe, suggested I try kombucha and that that has been a big success. I have also found a few different brands of alcohol free beer that I really enjoy (trust me, there were some terrible ones sampled too.) But using these strategies I am confident I will spend 2018 drinking less which in turn will benefit my athletic performance and health as well!
But I have gone off topic! This isn’t a post about my goals for 2018. This is a post looking back at 2017. After the success of 2015 and 2016 and in fact the great start this year got off to, I expected 2017 to be a big year for me. I was due to finish uni, I had been consistently getting faster, leaner and healthier. Everything seemed to be on track. It’s funny though how things are working until they aren’t working anymore and after my starting the year with a big PB, I had a bike crash in Thailand and followed it up with my slowest ever 70.3 time in Melbourne. Obviously things outside of my control happened and I was happy just to finish. In fact, the fact that I ran a run split PB meant I didn't walk away feeling useless. I took a break and even skipped a race to better prepare for other races later in the year. My confidence was still quite high.
I have also written about how I overtrained a bit this year. This is due to a number of factors, training with someone who does Iron Man, impatience with not getting faster as quickly as I would like and the ridiculous belief that more is better. Now I had a serious bike crash in February, yet a long ride in the middle of this year did far more damage than that crash did. I noticed it at the first half marathon I ran. My time was actually slower than last year. However, I came 2nd and won prize money so I convinced myself it wasn't a problem. Then it happened again, I did another 70.3 and after a good swim and bike I fell to pieces on the run. This was different to other times it had happened. I wasn't sore or unfit. I was exhausted. But again, this was in Indonesia where it is hot. I managed to find excuses for it. Then it happened again on the Sunshine Coast, good swim and bike and horrid run. Ok, something is really going on and finally when I worked out there was a serious problem, when I ran another half marathon and barely managed to crack 80 minutes, the exact same result as the year before. I had identified that there might be a problem but that last run really cemented it for me. I had put myself in a hole and had no one to blame but myself. With overtraining came the other side effects too. Little niggles appeared and one of them hasn't gone away. The fact that I managed to make the podium at any races this year is actually quite a surprise to me considering some of the problems I have had.
Here is the thing though, as much as these problems have shaken my confidence, they also have been a blessing in disguise. While I may not have gotten too much faster this year and have been dealing with a few injuries, they have forced me to re-evaluate my approach to training. If I had not have overtrained, I would not have had shoulder problems, if I didn't have shoulder problems I wouldn’t have sought out a physio, if I hadn’t started to see a physio I wouldn't not have started working on my glutes and putting an emphasise on strength and conditioning. To me, one of the most significant improvements of 2017 was that I started to work with the team at Precision Athletica. No longer am I neglecting to work on my strength and stability. Instead, I have a team of people who are invested in my success.
So yes, if I wanted to sum up 2017 in black and white terms I would have to classify it as a failure. I didn't make the improvements I expected and I felt like a lot of my peers left me behind this year because of my own stupid mistakes. However, I am a lawyer and lawyers love the grey areas! So that is why I think there are still a lot of positives to come out of 2017. Do I look back with regret? Most definitely. But I am also excited now too. I am excited to see where I am at once I overcome my fatigue and my injuries. I am excited to see what sort of performance I can deliver when I am making smart food choices all the time and when my mindfulness practices become second nature to me. I am excited to see how much closer I am to my goals after overcoming all of the obstacles that I have faces in 2017. For that reason, I am glad that 2017 has happened the way it has. While I could say it feels like one step forward, two steps back (which it has felt like most of this year) I am instead choosing to look at it as one step forward, two steps back, 10 steps forward.
I am excited for next year and all that it will bring. I have already seen so many changes for the year to come begin and they don't scare me, they excite me! We also put together a special episode of Think Fit all about New Year resolutions and sticking to them, which will be out on January 1.
So with that, I hope you all managed to get something out of 2017, I hope you are ready for a big 2018 and as always I hope you all remember to TRI!