Obligatory year-in-review/upcoming year post

It hasn’t really been much of a secret that I spent the last few weeks of 2014 in a bit of a funk.  The changeover from year to year is always a time of reflection for me, and this year I couldn’t shake the feeling of dissatisfaction due to my issues with writing.

I got a dose of perspective on New Year’s Day while I was out for a bike ride.  The day was beautiful and clear, and I was taking it easy, chatting with other cyclists on the trail and smiling and waving at people I passed by.  I also had a lot of time to think, and what I realized was that I was being quite myopic about my year.

Here’s what I wrote on my personal Facebook page after I came back in from my bike ride:

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So I’ve been feeling kind of blah this holiday season, and I’m pretty sure the reason why is because I was dwelling on all of the things I haven’t accomplished this year, specifically my issues surrounding writing. (Those of you who are creatively inclined know how this can feel, like someone’s blocked off part of your heart.)

But this morning while I was out for my bike ride, I realized I was being totally stupid about this, because in many ways 2014 was a spectacular year for me. I would say 2014 was the year I really started to come into my own as an athlete.

Allow me to brag for a second:

  • I broke four hours in the marathon.
  • I was fourth female overall in my first ultra.
  • I ran my first 50-miler and was first in my age group.
  • I took part in my first open-water race.
  • I completed my first half-Ironman.
  • I was the first female across the finish line in three of the five 5Ks I ran.
  • I joined Kennedy Law Racing, which really kicked things up a gear. After I joined the team, I found I was either regularly AGing at races or I was at least finishing in the top 10 percent. Training with faster people has in turn made me faster.
  • I set a new PR in the half-marathon.
  • I ran my fastest ever mile.

The best part of all is that I feel like I’m only starting to scratch the surface of my potential as an endurance athlete. I’m excited to see what the next year holds for me. If it’s anything like 2014, it will be pretty damn amazing.

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I’ve documented a lot of these things on this blog, but I wish I had written more. Like, can we talk about the exhilarating feeling that comes with being the first female across the finish line in a race?  Even a tiny race?  And can we talk about how competition can sometimes drive us to achieve what once seemed impossible? And how fun it is to train alongside others when you are used to training in solitude?

So that’s part of my goal for 2015, to take some of that focus and discipline that helped me achieve the aforementioned athletic goals in 2014 and to spread it around a bit so I don’t feel so lopsided come New Year’s Eve 2015.  Here’s what I’ve got in mind:

  • I would like to return to blogging more regularly.  I talk a lot about the importance of just showing up and doing the work when it comes to training. It’s time to apply those principles to writing.
  • I have been wanting to write a book for a couple of years.  This year feels like the time to finally knuckle down and get to work on that.
  • I want to get certified as a guardian ad litem (my training is currently underway) and then I want to put my best effort possible into doing this work, because while most of what I do is all about me and my needs, this work will be all about someone else.  A younger, more vulnerable someone else. I have no intention of letting that someone else down.

Of course, as always, I have athletic goals:

  • Right now I’m training to run my fifth marathon – the Albany Marathon – in March.  But this won’t be just any marathon. No, I’m going to try to actually qualify for the Boston Marathon.
  • I would like to ride a century this summer.
  • I want to break six hours in my next half-Ironman (the Hutchinson Island Half-Ironman in September).

—-

Okay, now your turn.  What did you do in 2014 that you are most proud of?  And what do you hope to accomplish in 2015?

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30 responses to “Obligatory year-in-review/upcoming year post

  1. I ran a VERY small 5K once when I first started running, and despite the fact that I probably ran no faster than a ten minute mile, I won my age group. Since that’s something that is pretty much never going to happen usually (I’m solid middle of the pack when I check race results) you KNOW I was jazzed.

    I ran the LA marathon back in March of 2014. While it was my slowest marathon, it was also the marathon I felt I was the best trained for (as in, despite the heat that day, I felt pretty good on the last 6 miles and didn’t crap out like I usually have). I also ran a few half marathons – I’m at a point in life where I’m not getting faster, and getting slightly slower, so they weren’t remarkable in my skill, but considering most people out there don’t do it, I still come out ahead.

    I also managed to survive a layoff and reorg! So this year is about learning a new job in the same company. Fitness this year is mostly just maintenance this year, I think. No big race plans.

    • Congratulations on your marathon! I think even in ideal conditions – which it sounds like the LA Marathon did not have – it’s an accomplishment to stay strong through those last six miles.

      It’ll be good to have fitness-as-maintenance while going through the fallout from a reorganization at work. We’re going through one now as well and having to re-learn a lot of your job can be pretty freaking stressful. Being able to blow off some steam-as-sweat helps with that.

  2. You had a great year! My favorite accomplishments of 2014: ran my 4th Boston Marathon, and traveled to Europe for the first time. Goal for 2015: keep running (even it’s just a little slower and shorter) in the face of the craziness of wedding planning!

    • Three of the women I work with are either getting married or got married in the last couple of months, and so I’ve seen firsthand just how stressful wedding planning can be. Good luck with all of that, because omg omg omg. (And congratulations again on your engagement!)

  3. Congratulations on your very exciting year! I completed my first duathlon and sprint triathlon in 2014, which I had to learn how to swim for. Realizing I could do that was what got me to sign up for my first marathon, which I’m training for now. Your blog has been inspiring through my relatively recent athletic journey. Thank you!

  4. I read your posts all the time. You’re a beast! I just ran my first 1/2 marathon on the 3rd. My left knee went out in mile 2, but I finished at 2:34, which is all I could hope for. Good luck qualifying for Boston!

    • Yikes, sorry to hear your knee gave you trouble, but you still pulled out a good time all things considering! Aside from the injury, how did you like the half?

  5. In 2014 I did my first International Distance Tri, which is huge, but got overshadowed by being 16 weeks pregnant when I did it. In 2015, my goal is to find balance and feel like my body is my own again.

  6. My big 2014 accomplishment: I finally wrote and finished the first draft of my first novel. I am so proud, I am practically sleeping with that hulking manuscript under my pillow (when I’m not editing, that is).

    Speaking of books, I will 100% buy and read anything you write/publish.

    Congrats on all of your amazing fitness accomplishments! I did my first real pushups this year!

    • Oh man, good for you for finishing the first draft of a novel. That must have been an incredible feeling. Good luck with the revisions. I take it you plan to try to get it published? What kind of novel is it?

      Speaking of books, I will 100% buy and read anything you write/publish.

      Aw, thanks! Hear that, agents? At least one person will pay to read me! 😉

      • Thank you! It was an overwhelmingly positive experience – I couldn’t have gotten it done without NaNoWriMo. I do plan to try to get it published, although I have *never* done that before, so it’ll be a learning experience. It’s a Young Adult novel set in the Deep South, which I know some people scoff at, but I think YA is *super* important for teen girls (and teens in general), especially when done right.

        Yes, agents, there are many loyal readers here who will buy and read Caitlin’s work!

  7. Wow. That is amazing.

    Your writing clearly resonates with and inspires a lot of people. Is it possible that your standards or expectations for it are a little high?

    • Oh, I know they are actually quite a bit more than a little high, which is a thing I am trying to work on. My standards are so high that it’s paralyzing me, which makes those standards basically useless because who cares if you have high standards if you have nothing to show for it. If that makes any sense. Anyways, it’s a thing I’m working on.

  8. Sounds llike you had a fantastic year!
    My biggest achievement last year was running a 70 mile ultra marathon. Although I wasn’t particularly quick and I definitely had zero style by the end of the race it was something I set out to do before I turned 30 and I went and achieved it!
    Good luck for your BQ marathon this year. 🙂

    • SEVENTY MILES OMG. Good for you for achieving that goal! I know what you mean about having zero style by the end. When I finished my 50-miler I looked like someone had sprayed me down with salt, snot, GU juice and sunblock, then left me out in the sun to bake. And the chafing…ye gods. But – and I’m sure you felt this way too – you probably felt amazing despite all that. 🙂

  9. My biggest fitness achievements last year were run/walking 2 5K races and logging 30,000 steps on my Fitbit in one day! I had a kind of frustrating end of year as well, just realizing that I had set myself up for failure in some ways, fitness wise. This year I want to do at least 2 or 3 races and improve my strength- I’m finally getting started with barbell training, yay! You have really inspired me and I agree with other commenters, I’ll be right in line to buy your book! 🙂

  10. A wonderful list of goals! Let’s keep each other accountable! Is that the Hudson-Mowhawk River Valley marathon? If so…that was my first! And I totally spent the last few weeks of 2014 in a funk as well. I’m already finding 2015 more motivating, productive, and energetic. Here’s to a good year.

  11. I love your blog and am looking forward to your posts in the coming year!

    This year was a crazy one. I skied three long cross country ski races in one month (42k, 51k, and 54k) and went to Norway for a race a few weeks later that was canceled an hour before the start.

    I also moved to Colorado after living in the same state my entire life. My new job is tough and I’m not super happy there, but Colorado and the mountains bring me immense joy! I’m trail running up canyons during the week and xc skiing on the weekends. I’m trying to stay positive with the new job and appreciate all that is great rather than getting down on myself, which can be a huge challenge sometimes.

  12. Oh, I SO can relate to the issue of having part of my heart blocked off by the lack of writing. I’m working on getting back into it, because I’ve missed it dearly — and as a fellow perfectionist, I know how easy it is to paralyze yourself with your own high expectations for your writing (you put it perfectly in your earlier comment). That said, your writing is excellent, and I think it resonates with a lot of people.

    I also give you a ton of credit for being a guardian ad litem. Helping those who are so very vulnerable is an awesome thing to do (I’ve thought about signing up for it too, so I’d love to hear more here about how it works and, to the extent that you can discuss it, what you wind up doing). Here’s to an excellent 2015!

  13. I was assigned a guardian ad litem as a child and did not have a great experience. It is so important that good, thoughtful, sensitive people like you work to amplify children’s voices in the court system. I’m glad you’re doing this!

    I’m training for a BQ this March, too, and would love to read your writing more regularly, even if it’s “boring” training recaps!

    • I am really sorry to hear you didn’t have a good experience. Would it be okay to email you privately so you can tell me basically what not to do? I’d hate to do whatever it was your GAL did.

      Yes, I saw that you’re training for a BQ too! Isn’t it scary as shit? Oy, glad to see I’m not going through this alone.

  14. I was so afraid you were leading up to an announcement that you were shutting your blog down. I’m really glad that you will continue, as this is one of my favourites.

    • Thank you so much! I’m going to try to just start blogging regularly and maybe not hold myself to such high standards. We’ll see if that works. ❤

  15. Hi there! I am doing my EPQ primary research. Please please please help me to do this survey which is about body image issues among teenage girls! This may only take 5 minutes!! If it is possible, please help me to ask some of your friends to do this survey. Your help is HIGHLY appreciated:) THANK YOU:D
    https://eSurv.org?s=LHLJLL_2eb29a1d

  16. WOW – you have a lot of athletic accomplishments, and you are still blogging! You also have a great way of reflecting and putting those goals down on paper, which many people can’t even do. I’ll be looking forward to more blog posts 🙂 You got this!

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