Wednesday, October 1, 2014


It's high time to break the radio silence on my blog.  A lot of you are aware of this already, but I might as well make my situation public knowledge for those of you who feel out of the loop.  I'm finishing my dissertation this winter, and I reorganized my priorities over the summer in order to accommodate the larger time and energy requirements of this final push.  Among other things, I decided to take a break from triathlon training and racing until after I defend my Ph.D.

I've always been the girl who tried to do it all, and earlier in the year I'd been (naively) optimistic that I could continue to train and race normally at least through the summer before things got too crazy with school/work (as a graduate research assistant, they are the same thing).  On some level, I knew what was coming and tried to front-load my race season.  But even back in the spring, training was never a priority this year the way it has been at many times in the past.  I have continued to discuss things with my coach at SBR as the situation has evolved.  As my work got increasingly consuming back in July, I lost my ability to complete even half of the workouts on my training plan as written.  I had signed up for two August races far in advance (Age Group Nationals sprint and Chicago Triathlon Olympic), so for a short time we tried to reduce my training load further, to a bare minimum that would help maintain my fitness.  Even the reduced plan of no more than an hour a day proved too much for me to reliably complete, and the workout failures only added to my overall life stress.  I finally pulled the plug on any sort of training plan in August.

Athletics have always been an outlet for me: an emotional release, a safe space.  To preserve my sanity, I haven't given up exercise completely during this time.  Instead, I have removed all expectations: of performance, of acceptable frequency and duration, etc.  Instead of training, I'm "working out" occasionally: to do things like spend time with my athlete friends, celebrate a productive day, or clear my head during a stressful one.

I've been doing my best to pare down the demands on my time to the things I consider the most essential: focusing on my work/career, getting enough sleep to be able to think clearly and stay healthy, and maintaining good personal relationships.  So if you've noticed that Summer has seemed a bit "off" recently, that she hasn't commented on your Facebook posts, that you haven't seen her attacking Strava segments, that she hadn't written a blog post since Rev3 Knoxville- there's your explanation.  In addition to completing research and writing, I'm taking advantage of U.W.'s career services and any other helpful resources I can find.  I'm looking into and applying for job opportunities and fellowships.  There just isn't enough time to keep up with everything that's going on with everyone I know, or to do everything that I find fun and interesting.  If I've missed something that you consider important, I'm truly sorry, and I promise that it was unintentional.  It's taken a bit of experimentation to find a new balance for myself this year, and it's an ongoing process.

Though I am done training and racing for now, I'm doing my best not to neglect the triathlon scene completely.  It's a special time for Rev3, as their new partnership with Challenge Family means that the event branding and age group team will transition to Challenge in 2015.  I am spending much less time on social media these days (with the exception of LinkedIn, for career purposes), but I take my commitment to Rev3 seriously and you will continue to see occasional updates from me about Rev3 and the rest of the Team Rev3 sponsors- PowerBarSBR SportsPearl Izumi, and BlueSeventy- throughout the rest of the year.  The support from these brands and the people behind them has been incredible, and I am grateful for all they have done for me in the past two years.  I will be continuing on with Challenge in 2015.  If you're interesting in joining the Family as an age-group triathlete next year, you can find the application here.

At last, 10 years of "college" is coming to a close and it's time to join the workforce.  Am I nervous?  Oh yes.  But I'm trying to think of the jitters the same way as I would the nerves before a race: as simply my body's way of preparing to do something awesome.

The race is on.

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