This time of year allows me to step back and look at what an incredible year it has been for Vision Quest. The years seem to fly by and we need to remind ourselves to stop and reflect on the journey. For those of you who took on huge challenges like Leadville, Ironman, marathons, centuries or first triathlons, spend some time thinking about all the incredible things that happened along the way.
I have been reflecting on a few of my personal experiences this year. As many of you know VQ took on Leadville with over 50 people signing up for the challenge! When game day came, we had 36 riders cross the line as Leadville finishers. The 50 riders had the journey of a lifetime. Collectively, we lost over 500 pounds of weight. Many of us, approximately 80%, learned how to mountain bike for the first time. All learned about the effects of altitude and how best to control efforts and maximize the ability to deal with the thin air. All learned a bit more about one another and many went from casual acquaintances to true friends.
Things happen on race day that prove these friendships. One example of a very selfless act from one VQer to another: Kris Siudak was riding along during her Leadville race day adventure when she came across a fellow VQer who had crashed. She waited 30 minutes with him to make sure he was taken care of before she continued on with her race. Why? Because the training process galvanizes the bonds between us all and the final event is just a culmination of the stories, fitness, friendships, mental battles and knowledge gained through the process. This is why almost all of us cried when it was over. They were tears of joy, relief, happiness and even sadness that this event is now over and even a look ahead to the next adventure. And then there is the quality of the people training with Vision Quest. Kris is just one example of the high standards Vision Quest athletes set for themselves.
This can also be seen during other events from this season. The Sub-5 Century pushed many of us beyond our comfort zones. We worked together and saw the value of teamwork. I can tell you things done as a team are much sweeter than things done on your own. The sharing of stories and similar experiences are heightened when relived with others, while tough times and disappointments are easier to bear with the support of a team. I know many of you have felt these same feelings this year in your journeys. I encourage you to spend time reflecting and recording these adventures. They will continue to gain meaning over time.
Now on to the fall… Most of us think we need a break from working out, but we don’t. What we need is a break from the structure and the type of work we have been doing. We all need to mix it up a bit and take a break from our routines. Pros need a break because they train 30 hours a week and are totally beat up or injured. They also need to take time to reflect on their seasons as a whole and make adjustments to their plans for the following year. We do not train that hard. A break, even a short one, from exercise puts us a little behind the eight ball, causing a need to overcome that loss in fitness. De-training your sport a bit is fine, but keeping active and doing things that keep you moving is critical. The best thing is to do something fun that puts more balance into the body. Becoming athletic again and really enjoying the elements are fun ways to stay in shape and stay motivated to keep fit. I am looking forward to riding the trails, returning to my functional training workouts and playing in the leaves with my kids.
Enjoy the fall and all the smells, sounds, excitement this time of year brings. Be sure to keep making the juice worth the squeeze and bring back into balance your top priorities.
I hope all of you carve out a little time not only to reflect but to write down some of those reflections. Use them to appreciate the opportunities we all have like running, biking and swimming. These reflections will help us learn how to be better for our next adventures.