Fitness Goal Achieved…Now What?

Back in December I blogged about fitness goals for the year and how we Americans have to be a little extreme in our culture to be fit. One of my goals for this year was to improve my performance at the Wintergreen Ascent (a bicycle hill climb/time trial held near Charlottesville, VA). I did the climb last year, but had to stop along the way so I could get my heartrate back under control. 🙂

This is a major climb, friends, on a winding road up to a small ski-area. We’re talking 15% grade in a few spots, gaining around 2600 feet of elevation in a bit under 7 miles. Why this was my goal when I live and train in the flat, flatlands of Virginia’s Coastal Plain, I don’t really know. Maybe it’s like hair (just go with me on this), you always want curly when you have straight hair…so you always want hilly when you have flatland?

Anyway, there was something basic and simple about my goal: finish the climb without stopping in under 1 hour. Before the race, I visualized myself riding by my usual stopping points on the climb. I managed my heart rate over the false flats and steeps (though that didn’t matter at all towards the top when my legs were burning and it was all I could do to push the pedals over!). I kicked it in at the finish and I made it without stopping. My time was 1:02.21. Not under an hour but close enough, and I shaved 2 minutes off last year’s time. YAY! HOORAY! Good job, me.

So now what?

The phenomenon of a post-achievement let down is so common it carries the name “post-race blues.” Maybe a little like “baby blues,” but without all the hormones and the screaming young’un. Common remedies include taking a break from the sport to rest and recover, documenting your journey so you have a place to return to and remember, and choosing a new goal. The first one I have down: I took the entire week off the bike and focused on other activities: reading, catching up with friends and family, laundry. I will have to stick the other solutions in my back pocket. I didn’t think to document my training, mainly because I wanted to keep it simple.

As for a new goal, well, that hill will be there next year…waiting.

Have you ever had a post-achievement let down? What did you do to kick yourself forward? Any MORE big fitness goals for this year? 🙂

Photo credits: Julie Fink and Ruth Stornetta. Thanks!

8 thoughts on “Fitness Goal Achieved…Now What?

  1. I was so relieved after my one big fitness event–a marathon–was over, particularly because I had no desire to do one again. 😉 I have “crashed” emotionally after big events and accomplishments, however. I think it’s a natural response… Resting is as important as achievement, IMHO. Happy to hear that you’re keeping it simple and trusting that more will come!

    • Kecia Adams says:

      Thanks, August! I guess it’s not odd that something you’ve done so much for the past several weeks holds no appeal for a while. But I do love to ride my bike, so I know I’ll get back to it. And it is in the recovery after an effort where you get strong.

  2. journalpulp says:

    I’ve gone through that — many times, in fact — that empty, post-coital-like feeling of desolation after racing — the feeling of now what? What for death? Running used to be a big part of my life, did you know? Running paid my way through college (before I dropped out), and I ran beyond college as well. I combated the empty, post-race feeling by boozing, smoking, drugs, whoring. It invariably helped.

    I kid there, of course. But I do NOT kid when I say felicitations, Kecia! A 15 percent grade and a 2600 foot climb in seven miles is no joke. You should be proud and not blue at all.

    • Kecia Adams says:

      🙂 Thanks, Ray. I did have a celebratory glass of Shiraz or two. I know, go crazy, right? Athleticism is SUCH a mental game, I’ve found. But that’s what makes it great too…

  3. Emma says:

    Congrats Kecia. My own fitness leaves a lot to be desired. I used to do yoga but when I moved I never found another centre I quite liked. Think it’s time to get out the old mat and do some yoga at home :0

    • Kecia Adams says:

      Love yoga and want to do more of it. I found a great app on my iPad for yoga called Pocket Yoga. My favorite part is at the end in relaxation pose when she says, “All you need to do is breathe and relax…” Something I need to be reminded of now and then. Thanks, Emma!

  4. emmaburcart says:

    Congratulations! I used to have the problem when I ran marathons. It can actually become pretty addidctive. To beat off the let down, I would make a new goal right away and start working toward it. I never took the time to celebrate, aside from the massage the day after the race. Then it was back to training for the next race. Now that I’m not running I’m having an easier time celebrating my accomplishments. My current goal is to be able to do real pushups. I’m not sure how long it’s going to take, but I’m sure going to celebrate when I get there!

    • Kecia Adams says:

      🙂 That’s a very cool goal. Let me know how it goes, pushups are always tough for women because our center of gravity tends to be in our hips (same goes for pull ups). You can do it, though! Thanks, Emma.

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