2013 started with the passing of my father on December 31, 2012.  I also lost my mother-in-law, an amazing and wonderful woman, in April.   In the same year, I celebrated my 25th wedding anniversary and my 50th birthday, and my youngest son officially became an adult, and legal, when he turned 21.  I don’t know that I am any wiser for having lived half a century, but I have learned that life can be both terribly sad and incredibly joyful, even at the same time, and it is the experience of both that makes us who we are.  You cherish the joy, and deal with the pain, and grow.  2013 was that kind of a year for me.

Athletically, 2013 could not have been better. Despite some injury frustrations earlier in the year, and a spectacular bonk at my first tri of the season at the Bassman HIM, hard work and determination paid off with some results I am proud of. Highlights of the year for me included:  nailing some super tough workouts that I thought I couldn’t do when I first saw them in training peaks or CT class; a totally unexpected second AG finish at Syracuse 70.3 that was an absolute delight; the experience of a world championship race at Vegas; a top five AG finish at the NYC Triathlon, with the second fastest run and fourth fastest bike; lowering my Olympic distance PR by more than 25 minutes; some fun AG podium road races; and a very tough and humbling first-ever marathon in NYC in November.  One of my happiest races was a small one, when I finished third woman overall at the Central Park duathlon in September.  What a thrill it was to do that at nearly 50!  And one of my most enjoyable was in early December when I was a “running buddy” for  9-year-old Tiffany during her first 5 K as part of a great program called “Girls on the Run”.  Tiffany was feisty and determined, and ran the entire length of the race with me, telling me afterwards it was the best experience of her life.  That day was also the 14-year anniversary of my mom’s passing, and while my mom wasn’t the least interested in athletics, s

he was one of the most giving individuals I have ever known, so there could not have been a better way to celebrate her life.

Syracuse 70.3, triathlon, Ironman

A few things I have learned about myself as a triathlete this past year:  I love, love running and riding, and even that swimming thing is growing on me; I have become a little obsessed with this sport, and embrace the hard work that comes with it; I am strong on the bike (the bike has been such a revelation for me this past year); I don’t give up when I come out of the water in last place, but I don’t like it, so that is going to change; I recover best with a post-race meal of a glass or two of wine and lots of chocolate; I do best when I don’t over-think things (which is my natural tendency) and just do; and it is possible to balance family, career and a personal passion, but it is not always easy.

I also learned that it is impossible to do any of this without the support of a great family, great coaches and a great team!  A THANK YOU is hardly enough for everything they have done – my husband Kalim, my sons Jibby and Zak, my coach Greg, my CT coach Erik, and my terrific teammates and training partners.

So I finish 2013 with some sadness, thinking of my dad and mother-in-law, but also grateful for what was wonderful.  I am so ready for 2014. There is much I am looking forward to, I have some big goals, including my first ironman in Austria on June 29, and I feel incredibly blessed to be able to do what I do!