In a recent podcast episode where Nely and I sat down with a good friend and fellow triathlete and coach, Angie Brown, the term seasons of life kept coming up. Our discussion pertained to the seasons we go through as weekend warriors, triathletes, runners, etc. In some of those seasons, we are fully committed and hyper-focused, in others its more laid back and casual and in others it seems somewhat non-existent. This discussion led me to think a bit more deeply about the various seasons of life we go through in all areas of our life and how being open to getting the most of these seasons and allowing yourself to ebb and flow through them can be a very helpful mindset.
I think most people are resistant in some way to change. It disrupts the norm, makes us adapt and pivot and pushes us out of our comfort zone. So the idea that our lives are a bit fluid and we move into and out of phases of life continuously might not be very comforting or exciting. However, a change in our mindset can bring a more calming and accepting approach to this.
From the years 2015-2019, I was all in on being a triathlete. I always had a race on the calendar, had goggle-eyes most days of the week from swimming, wore spandex outfits 60% of the time, and couldn’t ever go too long without a mini-meal or snack. I looked at all my workout data, made goals for myself and worked hard to attain them. This season came to an end in 2019, when I finished Ironman Texas with the goal being to finish with a smile on my face, knowing I was going to walk away from the sport… for awhile anyway. During that last training segment for IMTX, I was overwhelmed by trying to fit that level of training into my work schedule and family time. There simply wasn’t enough time in each day to do that level of training anymore and the stress of having to get it done was a burden I no longer wanted to carry. So I “retired” for a bit. I knew going into that race that it was a good-bye of sorts and I would be moving into a new “season” of my life where training was no longer a critical component.
From there I went through a season (2.5 years) with little to NO races on the calendar and no actual training. Yes I still worked out and exercised and remained focused on living healthy but the term “training” no longer applied.
Two and a half years later, I’m revisiting the idea of what it means to be a triathlete in this particular season of my life, where I have a different job/career than I did two years ago, and my kids are at very different stages in life. It’s not that I have more or less time now than I did – I simply have different time. My kids are independent and have active social and athletic lives that mean I spend a lot of time transporting them to/from all the things. But I have more time in between all of those things because I’m not nearly as cool to them as I used to be and they want to spend more time out and about with friends.
While I don’t have the time for serious, hyper-focused Ironman Training, I do have time to do some short distance triathlons and perhaps a half marathon…. This new season is less about accomplishing goals and more about finding the joy in the activities I once loved – swim, biking, and running and the wonderful friends that brought into my life. In this season, signing up for a race is much more about making memories than milestones, and I’m 100% ok with that. Perhaps one day, I’ll get serious about training for something again but for now, this casual season is a good fit for work/life/personal balance.