When the Only Way Out is Through

Here at Slowtwitch's Tundra Outpost, we're fast approaching the 60 days of darkness while also enjoying our first snowfall of the 2023-2024 season. We're down to 10.5 hours of sunlight per day and fading quickly. Runs before 7 AM require a headlamp, as does anything that starts after 5 PM.

In other words: it sucks.

"It sucks" has effectively summed up my athletic endeavors for another year. Despite my best efforts following breaking my wrist earlier in the year, I was unable to take the start at IRONMAN Lake Placid. Instead I worked. A lot. And learned that carbon running shoes are necessary to beat around for 20+ miles on race day with a bunch of camera equipment. I then was registered for a combination of IRONMAN Atlantic City 70.3 and IRONMAN Arizona. Both of which I'll be taking zeroes on. By my count, since my last attempted triathlon at IRONMAN Lake Placid in 2019, I've finished exactly six in-person races since then.

--Ran, as part of a relay team, ~50K during 2019 VT 100 on 100;
--Raced my local cyclocross event in 2019;
--Rode Rasputitsa in 2022;
--Ran a 5K with my wife and daughter;
--Ran a big Turkey Trot for my first real 5K in nearly 8 years;
--Raced the Copper Cup as part of our ski vacation in April

I'm relatively positive my start rate to entries sits below the Mendoza line in the last few years. It's been a pretty barren cupboard since then.

Instead it's been a lot of life training instead of race training. Over that same period of time I've grown a lot professionally, now with the title I hold here at Slowtwitch, while also launching our podcast this year. The same has held true for my wife, who is busier than ever with work. We together produced three races this year, including almost doubling the size of our youth triathlon in Keene, NH. And then there's our daughter, who is swimming and skiing to her heart's content. "Training" consists of getting in whatever the blue hell I can, when I can, around a firehose of schedule juggling and writing.

And ultimately, that's all we can ever do. The idea of balance is bullshit; we don't really ever achieve balance if we can't ever lean into certain things. Sometimes that's work. Sometimes that's sport. Sometimes that's family. But there are times you need to be all in. And conversely, there's times where you need to be all out, too. My racing life has taken a big backwards step over the last few years in order to support work and family.

But that itch is starting to build a little bit. I'm stubbornly (or perhaps stupidly) entered into Lake Placid again. I like big, seemingly unattainable goals. They work for me. Or, at least, they have in the past. One of the steps to get myself on the way is the forthcoming launch of our Annual 100/100 Challenge, which will see registration open on November 15th, with the running to begin on December 1st. And then we'll see what else we can stack up along the way.

It's time to let the athletic life come back a little bit. Fingers crossed I'll see you at the races next year.