I did, however, want to start the 2012 year and an actual training cycle with a different mindset - a bit more serious one - and I also decided that to improve overall, I needed to focus on the bike portion. My swimming skills aren't super awesome, but in the whopping two triathlons that I've finished, I don't completely suck at the swim. I do, however, suck in the saddle. To that end, I have spent plenty of time going to spin classes, but, more importantly, I was in the saddle a whopping FOUR times this month. Okay, that makes it obvious to anyone that I do not pretend to be a biker chick, but it is about three times more than I rode last year in January, so I'll take it as progress. Additionally, for each ride, I had a great time and even thought to myself, "I could learn to love this!".
The other change for 2012? I am determined that I will not suffer an injury (love that I think that I have absolute control over that). Last year, I endured two months without running, and I would very much like to avoid that happening. With that in mind, I have resigned myself to being a low-mileage runner. Not that I am limiting myself to two or three mile runs (nothing wrong with that, by the way), but as a weekly average, I barely break 15 miles and sometimes don't even hit double digits for the week. As a result of the focus on biking and on not injuring myself from running too much, I am quite convinced that my running game has suffered. To add to the sense that I'm a failed runner, I haven't even signed up for a running race/event for 2012 which makes me feel totally lame. At this point, a part of me fears that I will lose my running mojo and not remember HOW to kick it into gear, and then another part of me realizes that such a fear is complete nonsense. Sort of nonsense.
At any rate, I am realizing that it is impossible for me to truly balance the swim/bike/run thing and feel content with every single skill set that I do or don't have. Mainly don't have.
As for not suffering an injury - in addition to lower mileage than makes me truly euphoric, I've committed myself to continue to see the chiropractor, to weights and to pilates! I'm not 100% that the chiropractor's snaps truly help all of my IT band/joint/problematic body issue(s), but it does make me feel that I am being proactive and I do feel better on runs following visits to him. Lifting weights hasn't gone too well since I only lifted weights once in January. Maybe I'll do some tonight?! I know, however, that I need to continue to do strength-training exercises for my knee. Finally, I attended my first pilates class in 5 years last week, and the experience was transformative! I left feeling stretched out, as though my muscles and joints were finally in line. Mind you, my abs were screaming the next two days, but I really liked the class. I can't do yoga because so many poses put stress on my knees (I know that it is probably not yoga's fault but my own since yoga is miraculous for everyone - eye roll over here), but pilates rocks!
Two final notes - okay, maybe three.
One other change I wanted to make this year was to connect with a "tri-community" here in Southern CA. Let me first say that just hearing/reading that phrase sort of makes my skin crawl a bit for a few reasons. One is that I am still a newbie when it comes to the "tri" thing. Secondly, community means people and that means that I have to socialize, probably with random strangers, and talk about myself and about them and relate to people that I don't know well. I don't consider myself a social idiot, but I don't revel in meeting new people. So, this goal definitely pushes me out of my comfort zone. However, I met the challenge that I set for myself and joined a facebook group (I hate facebook, but that's an entirely new topic) and have now gone out on two group runs during which I actually spoke to interesting people. This coming weekend, I am planning/hoping to hook up for a ride. Now that will be a new experience as I actually ride WITH people!
Shew, that was a lot of talk about my body. Moving on, one of my other goals for the year is to try out two new recipes a month, and at least one has to be from one of the many cookbooks that we possess. I made it until Sunday without meeting this goal, and then I ended up cooking a new chicken dish from Good Meat, a cookbook that I gave Michael for his birthday, and trying out this pumpkin and feta savory muffin recipe. Both were pretty much successful - the chicken was a cardamon roasted chicken for which we also got to use the mortar and pestle that I gave Michael for his birthday last year (hmm, see a trend?), and the muffins are a healthy snack to eat during the day, packed with butternut squash (not pumpkin for us), kale and feta cheese. I do feel that they could use a bit more fat in them - maybe I'll add some bacon grease?!
One final note about January - I did have a pretty rockin' birthday and am, so far, enjoying my 40's. I still don't see myself as middle aged, but I do have to recognize that I'll be there sooner or later! While it would be rude (I think) to talk too much about presents, I will say that I scored with these two in particular:
A 5-inch Shun Nakiri knife that is one of the most awesome things I've ever used in the kitchen, maybe even out of the kitchen. I do worry about my fingers though!
Ah, Patagonia sweaters, how do I love thee? I was given this in bordeaux rather than seaweed (color shown above). I also think that I should be a Patagonia model. They clearly haven't discovered my talent!