by Philip Hauserman
2016 has been a year of change.
New job, new house, and a new baby. Not to mention a two-and-a-half-year-old with an ever-changing definition of how much sleep is necessary for her parents to function. Personally, this has been an incredibly fulfilling year. Athletically, this has been an incredibly difficult year. I’ve had to learn to adjust athletic expectations, which certainly hasn’t been easy (especially for a Type A competitive perfectionist like me). Sure, I’ve turned in some pretty good results this year, but I only had the opportunity to race three times. And I had to miss my “A” race as a result of a hectic schedule.
Philip being cheered by Ashley and his daughter at Chattanooga 70.3
In the process, though, this year has been a great experience that has given me new perspective on a variety of things. Here is what I’ve learned:
1) Change is good. Repeat after me, Change. Is. Good. Now say it seven times fast. And louder. Still not convinced? I wasn’t either, until I had no other choice but to change my approach to work, life, training – you name it. It’s kind of like a new bike fit – you don’t know what you’re missing (or how comfortable you
might actually be) until you let go of old routines and habits and start fresh. That doesn’t mean throw everything out the window, of course, but it does mean that you should embrace change where change is the best possible route to success.
2) Routine is just a seven-letter word. It may sound crazy, but hearing that seven-letter word was almost as comforting as the act itself. For the last seven seasons, I did my long bike ride on Saturday and my long run on Sunday. It just worked with family schedule. This year, however, I was forced out of my comfort zone and into a new routine, which was essentially “do whatever you can, whenever you can, for as long as you can.” After years of saying “quality over quantity,” I actually started to believe my own advice.
3) Fitness is more than just physical fitness. Moving out of your house and into a 900 square foot apartment for seven months with two adults, one child, two cats and one dog was just one piece of the accumulated stress puzzle. The others? The death of a long-time mentor, the aforementioned renovation, a mid-year job change, managing a two-and-a-half-year-old, getting ready for baby No. 2, and ultimately
becoming a family of four. Each of these life events produced a certain amount of stress and strain that added up over time, creating a mental and emotional exhaustion that carried over into physical activity. To most, I probably seemed like my normal self, but it wasn’t until late July that I went on a long bike
ride and the miles finally ticked by like seconds as opposed to hours. Sure, I was in great physical shape, but it took me a long time to clear my head and stop thinking about…anything. That’s when I discovered how to breathe, take it all in, and manage what I could and let go of what I couldn’t. Easier said than done.
Emma embracing the opportunity to run with Dad!
4) Embrace opportunity. Opportunity comes at different points in all of our lives. While I didn’t have (or create) the athletic opportunities I have come to expect of myself over the past several years, I had wonderful opportunities to excel in other aspects of life – being an even better husband, father, son, employee, colleague, neighbor, friend, etc. The list goes on and on, with “triathlete” being a characteristic rather than a defining quality. Ultimately, the past 10 months helped me achieve an even greater balance, though at times it felt like anything but.
5) Triathlon isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, and neither are my teammates. Last year I wrote about how triathlon is a “team sport.” That belief was reinforced if not solidified this year. My teammates at Podium Multisport always seemed to know when I needed a pick-me-up (or a complete bike change two days before a race), but that’s another blog for another day. See all of the above on how to
deal with that; also see (read: praise) Matt and Co. for making it happen on time and without issue.
Friends and teammates can help embrace the changes and worthwhile stressors life can bring.
As much as we may want to, we can’t always control what life throws at us. What we can control, however, is how we use those challenges to grow. By those standards, 2016 was a great year. I can’t wait to see what 2017 brings.
Philip, Ashley, Emma and Henry…a family of 4! Change is good!