So Begin Again.

As I was walking out of the iLab yesterday, I noticed this quote in the middle of the room (the iLab allows people to write inspirational quotes all over the walls — I love it; it really adds to the inspirational nature of the space).

One especially struck me that particular evening.

So Begin Again.

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It can be easy to feel like we’re stuck; stuck in a training rut, in a string of bad workouts — or stuck when it comes to ideas, school, friendships or otherwise.

Maybe the key is just beginning again. Whether that means writing a note to a friend to tell them how much you appreciate them to start over, tackling that difficult workout one more time so you can finally finish it, clearing your head and starting over when it comes to goals — taking a moment to breathe and start again is so important.

Especially as type-A endurance athletes who are obsessed with our performance, progress, improvement, and fitness, it can be difficult at times to accept that sometimes situations warrant us starting over; beginnning again.

Taking a moment to reflect, move on and start over isn’t giving up. It’s improving — making things better.

Along these lines, my recent workout (and walking to class) jam is “Cannonball” by Lea Michele.  Lea sings about starting over, closing old doors and focusing on new beginnings.

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Which is exactly what we need to do. I’m focusing on this when it comes to my “Fitness Rebuilding Phase” — working my way back to my old pre-injury fitness level steadily; trying not to get frustrated with myself for small setbacks.

I’m trying to remember — when negative voices persist in my head — that there’s always room for a new beginning.

So Begin Again.

How has a recent new beginning helped you in your training/life?

Tri Hard,

Caity

Reflections – “Where to Go From Here?”

Lately, I’ve been very reflective. Pausing a lot to think — think about where I’ve been, where I am, and where I’d like to be (both in racing and in life). This summer was a big step for me — I completed my first Ironman at age 18, which had always been a goal of mine. It was an incredible feeling to cross the finish line with my dad; a rush of emotions and adrenaline that can only be experienced race-day.

This fall has been a transition period for me; moving from summer triathlon training to intense schoolwork, rowing, and otherwise here at Harvard. It took some adjusting to last year, but this year I absolutely love Cambridge. I have amazing roommates, other closer friends who make my experience here enjoyable and fulfilling. But besides all the exciting parts of being back at college — football games, social events, regattas, triathlons, meals out with friends, trips to Boston, and more — other things can become a bit overwhelming.

When I get overwhelmed, I tend to deal with it in a number of ways. One of them is reflection. I’ve found that this approach — both internal and external — can help manage the “Where do I go from here?” feeling that can eat away at not just me, but myriad other college students, athletes, adults, and more at various times in life.

Sometimes, especially at Harvard, I feel like everyone has everything figured out. Like people are rushing from moment to moment, place to place, class to class, without even thinking. Like people already have their entire lives planned out in their minds — graduate. Work in finance or consulting. And so on and so forth. Which makes me feel a little bit out of place, especially because I’m still debating what I want to concentrate in (Harvard’s word for majors, we have to decide by mid-November)! And I don’t have set concrete plan for the rest of my life.

This applies not only to my situation at college, but also with training. Sometimes, after finishing a big race or attempting a new milestone, we can come to a point where we need to decide where we want to go. Pick a direction. Pick a spot; a niche.

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Sometimes it’s okay to not know. To sit back, reflect, appreciate, and think.

I think that sometimes, that’s the problem with our way of thinking. We don’t take enough time to reflect. To get lost. To understand that sometimes, it’s okay to not know where exactly you’re going from your current location.

This was best brought to my attention by Kaitlin — after she wrote a piece for YoungTri that included how she liked to get “lost” on runs (as in, run wherever the road takes her), but that she made sure to take her phone with her when she did so. So that she made sure to couple adventure with security.

And it kind of hit me that that would be a wonderful way to approach training all the time — and even life in general.

And as such, as of right now, I’ve been taking some time to let myself reflect. To know that wherever the road takes me will be the beautiful, right road where I’ve always meant to end up. Training, school, work, and social life are all a part of our puzzles — and they all have a way of working themselves out as long as we’ve pointed ourself in the general right direction.

It’s okay to not know exactly “Where to Go from Here?”. It’s okay to reflect. That’s what life is for. For figuring things out.

What have you been reflecting upon recently? Do you ever feel as if you’re at a stepping stone in life (but you don’t know where it’s taking you)?

Tri Hard,

Caity

Easy.

If it’s easy, it’s not always worth as much — right?

Often, the best things in life come with a little bit of work. I think that the key is both a mixture of direction and a sense of “que sera, sera” – that whatever will be, will be. Work your hardest to achieve your goals, coupled with the mindset that things will work out they way they’re meant to be.

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I’ve found that the best things in life take time.

More on this soon.

Tri Hard,

Caity

The Science of Happiness. {Do We Have it Backwards?}

Recently, I’ve come across quite a bit of content about the science of Happiness. My professor for SLS 20 (Science of Living Systems 20, an intro Psych class) Dan Gilbert has written quite a bit of material on this topic. On my official visit to Harvard senior year, I stumbled (ha… when you see the title of his bookupon his book that peaked my interest on the topic of happiness and how it affects our overall well-being and success levels.

Happiness affects so many aspects of our life — our self image, the way we view the world, others, and daily occurrences in our lives — but it seems to fall by the wayside in many people’s lives.

Why is this?

Many of the videos I’ve watched recently state that we have it backwards — that it’s not that we need to be successful to be happy — it’s that we need to be happy to be successful.

Check out some of the videos below and let us know what you think.

The Science of Happiness – is it true that the more successful you are the happier you are?

Professor Gilbert’s TED Talk on the surprising science of happiness

The Science of Happiness – An experiment in gratitude

Do you think that you need to be happy to truly be successful — in sports or otherwise? Or do you think that it’s the other way around?

Tri Hard,

Caity