And....the off season continues. Michelle and I got kicked out of Masters yesterday for trying to show up. One walk onto the pool deck had Nick turning us back around for the locker room, scolding us for not taking a break, and being too antsy to get back at it. Another week (at least) he said. We wined, "But it's hard" and he said simply "It's supposed to be." So, we went and saw a movie. I'm starting to get my thoughts together in a better way for next year. I'm starting to get the distance needed to look at things from a little further vantage point. Last night an impromptu chat with Troy got me thinking about fun and performance and how they link up or don't.

In 2010, my first year with CV things were fun. Really fun, and looking back, it was probably the biggest growth year I had in my 6 years of racing. A win and successful execution at my first 100 mile run race, 3 Ironmans including an AG win at AZ, and a Kona debut of 10:17 were about as good as this girl could have dreamed. In fact it was beyond my dreams.

I had fun too. I got handed the right amount of training for me at that point in my journey, and I got to do a lot of it with people that I truly loved. We laughed so much and I have really fond memories. I was like a sponge, willing to absorb whatever CV was willing to give me. Giddy with joy, and the results just kept coming that year.

2011 was the same coach, the same set up, but things didn't come so easy that year. the year started out fun, but I think everyones expectations were higher. 2010 had been great and everyone wanted to build on that. The year was a slow progression away from fun and towards performance results. And the results came, they did. The year was spent reiterating Kona Kona Kona under my breath. Do what's right for Kona, be PRO, do the right thing, over and over.

I got a PR in Hawaii that year, but it was by the skin of my teeth. I almost broke 10 hours at Cozumel, by the skin of my teeth. The year solidified that I was an executor. I can take a plan and race the heck out of, stick to the correct details, make changes when needed. And I was fit, clearly fit. It was the first and only time I broke 3:30 in the marathon, and when I look back at photos I see the strain in my brow, and the fitness in my body.

Then I lost Chuck. And I found Dirk. I still haven't met Dirk, hopefully someday. This year on paper was clearly a big step back. I felt fit, I really did. Heading to Kona I felt like I was in the best shape ever. I was seeing numbers that I wasn't used to. But looking back, this entire year was a failure in race execution. There was a bike flat, but matched with a shakka filled lax marathon. Hawaii was my first disaster of an Ironman, it was the race I have feared for 8 Ironmans and a suiting way to finish off the year I suppose. In fact, Kona was a parallel to my year, "mild disaster but with a smile".

I feel like this year was a big sweeping curve from performance results over to fun. I really had a lot of fun this year. Kona trianing with Laura, Friday Fundays with J&J including that awesome trip to Aspen on our bikes. NOLA 70.3 was about the most fun I've ever had after a race. I would say there was a brief pause in the fun and fast area at NOLA and Moab 55K, but from NOLA onwards the year was a series of less than stellar performances, riddled with execution issues.

As I look to 2013 it's hard to decide what to do. I've been all over the board and yet, all my reflection doesn't guide me much. How do I get back to what was so magical about 2010? How do I find that again? I don't have any answers as of yet. I'm in the research and development phase.

But I know where I want to head. I have vision, and I've been there before, so I can find my way back. It's about the journey, right? You can get short term results in this sport, but long term results take time. Sometimes it's not the accumulation of training that is needed, but learning enough about yourself to let go of some of your hang ups. To grow enough inside so that all the work you put in can rise to the surface. To become vulnerable to failure, and to release your fears. I had no fears in 2010. I was flying by the seat of my pants and too busy to look back, truly present in the day. But this life of ours is an ever flowing river, that changes through the seasons.