If You Give a Mom a Goal – 5 Ironman Races in 2020

January 22, 2020 5:01 pm Published by

A belated happy new year – and new decade (!) – to all of you. I’ve heard that people are more likely to keep their New Year’s resolutions if they tell a friend about them. This principle of accountability has kept me on track in the past.

So you, my friends, are about to hear my goals for 2020. And, please, hold me to them.  It will help me more than it will help you. I’m selfish like that. (Kidding, I’ll gladly do the same for you, if you’d like.)

Thanks to my college-age daughter’s interest in the trendy new Enneagram personality test, I recently learned I have the “achiever” personality. Big surprise! This may explain my growing collection of marathon medals: 180 and counting.

Big or small, the sense of accomplishment is oh so satisfying. So much so that I’ve learned to operate my everyday schedule around the sense of achievement. I make lists of what needs to be done each day / week and joyously check off each completed task. Of course, there usually are no spectators to cheer me on as I get these tasks done. However, the intrinsic satisfaction of marking something off my to-do list gives me a similar sense of fulfillment as crossing a finish line. Setting goals has always worked for me, so I keep doing it.

My overall mission this year is to improve upon life balance. (I know, lots of you probably share this goal.) I often become overwhelmed while juggling the responsibilities of life. How do I feel about this balancing act you ask?

(Thanks to my good friend, Marjorie, for posting this meme.)

In all seriousness, I know I can continually improve on delegating my time and prioritizing what is truly important. With the start of each year, I work to pinpoint some way to improve – whether it’s to carve out more one-on-one time for each family member, incorporate a new exercise into my fitness routine, or set aside more quiet time in the presence of God.  This year, in an effort to give each of my family members more attention, I plan to take each one on a marathon trip. Haha. Just a little joke. I can promise that not all of our family’s time together centers around my 26.2-mile hobby. My family never takes a backseat to my hobbies, no matter how focused on my fitness goals I appear to be. That being said, some of my best memories with my kids are on such one-on-one trips, and I can’t wait for more of them this year.

Other than the general goal of “keeping the main thing the main thing,” I have a few fitness-related resolutions for 2020 too. Remember, you are holding me to these. Okay?

1. My top fitness resolution this year is to post a Boston Marathon Qualifying time (BQ) in Washington D.C. In 2019, I completed my biggest marathon goal to date: I posted a BQ in each of the 50 states! As I write this, I am still in shock. It took me so long and some repeat attempts. Now, I have one in each state. Unfortunately, there is one caveat. I do not have a qualifying time in Washington D.C.. (Allen’s eyes are rolling already.) I wouldn’t normally worry about going for a Boston Qualifying time in D.C. (It’s not a state!), but one of the two running clubs that formally recognizes the people who have completed a BQ in all 50 states also requires that I earn a BQ in D.C.. The validation seeker that I am wants to be recognized as a legitimate finisher of the 51 BQ times, so I will go back to D.C. until I accomplish the goal of getting one there. I tried to check off this requirement in 2019 at the Marine Corps Monsoonathon, but, alas, I had one of my worst races ever. Thank you, Mother Nature! (It rained a lot.)

2. I also want to complete five full Ironman races this year. I am literally laughing as I write this. I know I sound completely nuts after all that mumbo jumbo about life balance. But, hear me out: The plan is to train for the first Ironman on the calendar (Santa Rosa in July) and then do one event per month for the next four. This will allow me to train once and race five times, all while maintaining my base fitness. There’s a reason behind this madness, of course. I want to go to the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii. There are only two ways (that I know of) to get there – either qualify with a fast time at a different full Ironman race (not ever going to happen in my case) or complete a total of 12 Ironman races. I have already done seven. What’s another five?

3. Relating to my triathlon skills, my last fitness goal for the year is to earn my Ironman coaching certification. I’m in the midst of the course now and have already gained some valuable information. I really want to get to Kona, after all. As I’ve stated here, and in the book, I’m a below-average swimmer and not the best cyclist either. My shaky abilities in these areas, plus the curse of the flat tire, makes finishing these endurance events somewhat questionable. I’m hoping the knowledge I gain through the coaching certification will make me a better triathlete. Knowledge is power, right?

I clearly see I have my work cut out for me in 2020 (pun intended). But nothing worth doing is easy, right?  There will be setbacks and plenty of times when I will want to throw in the towel, literally and figuratively. Reminding myself to stay positive, as well as giving up on some perfectionism tendencies, will be key. I can’t wait for everything 2020 has in store for my family and me, and I hope you keep following along on this great journey. Remember, I’m counting on you for your support.

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This post was written by Michelle Walker

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