Hindsight is 20-20: 2019 Year in Review
The year is winding down and there's lot of reflection going around. So why not hop on the bandwagon and roll with it?
Sorry (not sorry) for the pun. But in all seriousness, I actually wanted to share this with everyone. Every year has it's own rollercoaster journey, filled with lessons, struggles and experiences. Here, I'm breaking it down to 4 sections: 2 Major Lessons, Biggest struggles, Quick Fire Reviews, and What I'm Looking Forward to in 2020.
Fueling is always going to be a long journey for me, especially as a vegetarian, female athlete who's had a rocky relationship with food in the past. This year, I've been able to continue from my 2018 experiences to learn more about how and what I need to be able fuel my daily life and training. Now that I've been under-fueling less, I've noticed that I'm not as chronically fatigued as I was back in 2017 (where I'd had to switch with my mum driving because I would get super drowsy and unable to focus on the road). And I'm able to go about my daily life with more focus and energy.
I will go further into this topic in another post, from a prospective of an athlete (not as a nutritionist or dietitian because I'm neither), but I wanted to share three big takeways about fueling this year (apart form unintentional under-fueling):
1. Eat more on easier days. I've found that I'm usually too busy, tired or unwilling to make or eat food on heavier training days, even if it's something that I love to eat on any given day. So on easier days, I try to fuel up and
2. Protein, protein, protein. As a vegetarian, it's hard to find consistent sources of protein to meet the 130+g/day requirement. I do use whey protein powder to help supplement this requirement, but it is better to use meals and real food to meet my daily requirement.
3. Put up several filters when it comes to consuming information, especially nutrition. Coaches do this all the time for their athletes so that they can give their athletes the right information to achieve their goals and succeed. However, in this age of social media algorithms, fake news, and need for public attention, it's important to be able to take the information you see, understand it, evaluate it, and conclude if it's applicable to you personally. Even if it's labelled as "science," there may be inconsistencies in the research itself. You also have to keep in mind that companies that sponsor the research may influence the results to bring more profit to their business. Plus there's still a lot of unknowns in nutrition and human health that are either still being investigated, or just don't have the funds in order to be researched.
Confusing? Yeah, it is. Not all hope is lost though. Here's an awesome article from the Huffington Post that goes through reading and understanding scientific papers.
One of my best experiences this year was coaching swim. There were some obvious lessons such as structuring workouts and training, disciplining young athletes to complete said workouts, teaching technique, and developing endurance in the water. But the more nuanced lessons that have been the psychological ones: the ones you encourage them to try something out, even though they're not sure they can do it; the ones where you show them that a challenge can be overcome with practice; the ones where you develop a young athlete's belief in themselves and confidence in their abilities both in and out of the pool.
Because I wanted to give the best I could as a newbie coach, I dove into the world and art of coaching by listening to various different coaches and reading different resources, a few of which I've compiled under the "Quick Fire" section below. As I learned more about coaching athletes, the more I learned about my own capabilities and how I approached my own training. Don't get me wrong: it is hard to juggle a coaching mindset and an athlete mindset personally, as I become hyper-critical and analytical, taking away from the enjoyment of the training process itself.
Two biggies here are nerve agitation/calf injury and dealing with extreme mental stress in the fall.
I couldn't really find a good way of describing the nerve issues I've been dealing with, but here's the basic rundown. Since my hip surgeries from 6-7 years ago plus years of poor postural habits and the way my body is built, the nerves in my lower back and the back of my knees sometimes get the wrong signals. A lot of times, it seems like I injured something (like the calf injury from earlier), but there are no signs of actual injury. More recently, my left foot would become extremely painful to walk on as I increase my step count, and there's no signs of bruising, swelling, heat, redness, etc. Working with the PT here, I'm able to minimize the nerve agitation and alleviate those pains.
The second biggest struggle was stress. With the move to Colorado, plus grad school, Worlds, training, the nerve issues, and settling into a new place, my fall semester was one of the more stressful ones to date...and I barely was able to manage it. I was able to control my stress eventually by working with professors and using resources on campus, as well as taking some time off of training to get back on my feet. Did I throw myself in the deep end this semester? More like I dumped myself into the middle of the Pacific with no lifeboats or floaties near me.
Quick Fire 2019 Review
Favorite Discipline of Tri: Cycling
Least Favorite: Switches between swim and run (depending on my injuries and niggles 😂)
Favorite Distance: Olympic
Favorite Tri Race: Pumpkinman Triathlon (NV)
Favorite Bike Course: IRONMAN 70.3 World Champs, Nice (the views and technical sections 😍)
Favorite Bike Race: Tour of the Hilltowns (MA)
Most inspiring resource: Purple Patch Fitness Podcast (with Matt Dixon)
Most informative resource: Roar by Dr. Stacy Sims (book)
Best Overall Podcast: Ask a Cycling Coach-TrainerRoad Podcast
Best Podcast for Swim Coaches and Swimmers: Swim Coaches Base (with Chris Ritter)
Favorite Quotes: "Rather than just resist or refuse change, lean into it. And the key to this is to not be reactive or passive, instead being inquisitive and proactive." -- Matt Dixon, Purple Patch Podcast Ep67
3 of my favorite workouts:
SWIM BIKE RUN
300 swim 15 min Warm Up Anytime I could run 😄
10x50 kick, odds free, evens choice on 1:10 Hopefully this will change
3x15min ~FTP with last 2 min ~10% above one in 2020
2x300 pull, focus on distance per stroke :20 R FTP, 5 min recovery in between each
1x50 ez 1:30 5-10min Cooldown
2x200 20strokes or less per 25 :15R
1x50 ez 1:30
2x150 18strokes or less per 25 :10s R
1x50 ez 1:30
1x50 ez 1:30
(now for some fun ones from Instagram)
How Often I Bought Clothes: When I do buy clothes, it's usually because I need it, and I try to buy good quality clothes (and not at full price) to last for a long time. Here's a total count of new clothes for 2019.
Cycling shoes (1)--Because my feet apparently expanded in the past couple of years.
Running Shoes (1)--being unable to run for majority of the year means I buy fewer running shoes 🤣
Bike shorts (3)--probably the only yearly purchase because I ride so much. Already wearing down one of my shorts, so I will end up buying at least another pair early 2020
Socks (1)--Didn't actually buy this pair technically, as they came with my running shoes
Avalanche Sweater (1)--bought it second-hand and needed a warmer sweater for super cold commutes or runs
Hat (2)--1 was without a pom on top and 1 was because I wanted a cold weather Honey Stinger piece of gear
T-shirt (1)--My HS t-shirt from 2 years ago is starting to wear down. I also gained 3 more shirts from races
Cycling Jersey (1)--For the CSU triathlon team, plus two other jerseys (1 from racing and another from a friend)
Tri-Suit (2)--One from Zoot during their winter blowout (I think this was actually from 2018, but I didn't wear it until 2019), and one for the CSU Tri Team
Sports Bras (4)--I always seem to run out of bras every single week 😄
General Nice clothes (?)--actually hard to tell, because I wear t-shirts, leggings and jeans so often that any nice piece of clothing in my closest looks new to me.
What is one thing I will never do again: Crash? 😂 To be fair, I've already crashed enough times across all bikes to say that it will happen because that's the nature of the sport.
But if there's one thing I'll never do again that's doing something just for the sake of it, despite your circumstances (did that a few times this year). Not only it takes away from the experience, but it can add more stress than you expected, thus rendering the experience unpleasant.
Favorite Person: I have playing favorites, especially with people I'm close with because everyone is unique. Cheesy? Yes.
But I'm gonna turn the tables here a bit, and say my favorite beings are my two dogs. 😎
What I'm looking forward to in 2020
My focus recently has been towards triathlons. However, I really want to finally get that cycling upgrade and just do more road cycling and crit racing (maybe throw in a gravel race...or two). For me, it's more affordable and accessible than triathlons, no matter where I end up living. I'll still do at least 1 triathlon (depending on how much cash is left in my bank account), and maybe do a run race. Essentially, I'm looking forward to mixing it up next year and just having more fun with racing.
With all of the PT I've been doing for the past 5 months, I'm interested to see how my body begins to manage a lot of the weird niggles that have been cropping up. I've already started to see some positive changes, and I still have a long road ahead, but I'm excited to see the changes
And of course, I'm looking forward to writing more posts next year. Even though I've been pretty inconsistent with posts this year, essentially writing whenever I can or feel like it, I'm outlining a few ideas ahead of time so it's easier to write and share with everyone.
To cap this year off, there will be a super quick, slightly cheesy video reel of 2019. But per usual, I'm behind on editing because I spent 3 hours just trying the find the right songs and another 2 compiling all of the videos 😂. My hope is to get it up at midnight. (EDIT: You can see the video in this link here!)
Happy Training and Happy New Year, y'all! 🎉🎉🎉