I always enjoy the end of the racing season, more so with this season than in the past .  I’ve had some great race results this year, have stayed injury-free and healthy.  But mostly it’s the end-of-season fitness that I’m really enjoying.  I just love the feeling that I can jump on my bike for 5 or 6 hours and ride

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, or head out for a run for 2+ at any time.  It’s a feeling of confidence that extends beyond athletics and into all the other aspects of my life.  A friend once commented that it amazed her that completing an Ironman race threw a psychological safety net under the rest of her life.  No matter what sort of problem she encountered, she knew she could get through it because she completed an Ironman distance race.  That’s the essence of relentless forward progress, and the biggest benefit of an endurance sports lifestyle.

I think it also helps that I don’t have “racing pressure” on myself at this point in the season.  I’m wrapping up my training for the New York City Marathon, but I’m doing the event as a bucket list race.  While I want to do well and have a soft time goal in mind, I’m really doing the event for the experience.  I want to run hard, but mostly I want to enjoy the spectacle and chaos of 45,000 runners and a million spectators and a guided tour of the five boros.

I’m also loving the feeling of carrying this fitness into the winter, and planning out my 2014 season.  Since I’ve trained and raced well this year, I’m not going into 2014 planning with a sense of dread or burn out.  I’m truly excited for the upcoming season!  I’ve got some big events on the calendar (Ironman Arizona, Challenge Atlantic City relay) and am starting to fill in the schedule with smaller races and training events.  It’s going to be a great year!

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