Two Thousand Seventeen in Words.

Weekly Wrap. Week 2.

Good day to you all. With the luxury of Christmas and pre-New Year’s eve period behind me, 2018 and it’s first and second weeks were off to a challenging start. I am getting to a point of understanding that my coach is placing me into “two session per day” territory and might be that my leisure times are over. I have not done double-days since late August, when I finished training for Ironman Copenhagen, but seeing as these sessions come up more often in my training calendar – I think that soon might become more of a norm, rather than exception. I would use “scared excitement” to describe the feeling around those “double days”. But in a good way. With current training plan and sessions, I definitely feel having my boundaries pushed forward with almost every session, with the structure of the plan. And it feels great to move forward and to sort of be comfortable with the direction of that movement.

Previously, when I was structuring the training plans myself, there were a lot of second-guesses and questioning, of whether I am right or wrong, or maybe I should rest a bit. Nowadays, I feel how I empty my tank during the sessions and how they challenge me, but it also gives me enough space to reinvigorate myself and have the energy to tackle the next-big-thing in my training calendar.

And today, I wanted to create my first overview of the year behind me. Despite previously not being fond of statistics, reviews and data analysis, I start to prefer it and to sometimes need it. It definitely comes from my work experience and requirements, where a lot of decisions I make are based on analysis, data extrapolations and modelling. As well as the enjoyment I receive from reviewing all different kinds of “Top 10 something of 2017″. Kind of excited that I am able to construct one myself and share it with someone. So without further introduction, welcome to my year in review.

Sports

This year I have not done that much racing, as I planned to or registered for. I think that there is a tendency in that already. During last year I started noticing that I register for more events that I attend to. This year, was no difference. In overall, I managed to finish only 3 events throughout the year, despite that I have registered for 8. This year, I have had my first ever DNF (did not finish) at Vilnius Marathon. I have however finished 1 70.3 Ironman and 1 Full Ironman and an Olympic distance triathlon. Improving my time in 70.3 distance by full 15 minutes and joining the sub-5 hour finish club with 4 hours 59 minutes finish time. Full Ironman distance gave me some beating and I was unable to improve upon my last year’s result, but there was a lot of learning and a lot of new experiences out of it.

Overall, I managed to stay focused on the main events during the year and despite different kinds of problems – I finished those events and I came out as a better athlete and a person. Breakthrough race for me personally was Ironman 70.3 Elsinore, where I performed well above my comfort zone. To me it was something I have not done previously – I managed to give it all out during a race and run a very quick half-marathon, despite all the dis-pleasantries of running at your lactate threshold for an hour and a half. In addition to that, as you probably have read – I had a very rough night, with our neighbors having a mega-party,  right before the race. So despite a myriad of things, dictating that I might not have raced to my best – I still managed to do so.  Completing this entry, numbers from distances and activities during this year have grown:

Running: 1435 kilometers
Bicycle: 2503 kilometers + 51-ish hours indoors;
Swim: 44 kilometers (70% indoors – 30% outdoors) ;
Strength training: 102 hours.

There is a major increase, in comparison to the last year – I have run 500 more kilometers this year and biked about 800 more, however swimming started to pick up only during the end of year, thanks to my new coach.

AWA

As an added bonus, I was again recognized as a silver All-World-Athlete within Ironman Triathlon rating, however I dropped down to a second place from the last year in Lithuania’s ranking for Male 25-29 year old group. Congratulations to my colleague, finishing 3 races and becoming Lithuania’s first ranking Ironman athlete!

Books

Reading books became an interesting hobby for me and a way to fall asleep faster / have something to do during flights and when I do not have access to my computer. Steadily it started growing up on me and I have read the biggest amount of books during a year throughout my entire life. It is a small achievement for myself and nothing extraordinary, but it will become a benchmark for me for 2018 and set a direction to move forward. The books are in the same order as I have read them:

  1. John L. Parker “Once A Runner”
  2. Walter Isaacson “Steve Jobs”
  3. Jim Butcher “Storm Front”
  4. Haruki Murakami “Dance, Dance, Dance”
  5. Haruki Murakami “A Wild Sheep Chase”
  6. Andre Agassi “Open”
  7. Haruki Murakami “Norwegian Wood”
  8. Sarah Jensen & Maynard James Keenan “A Perfect Union of Contrary Things”

I definitely was looking for guidance in biographies/autobiographies for both work and personal life. Out of all these types of books, the one with biggest impact was “Steve Jobs”. It is a while already that I have stopped being an Apple fan, but Steve Jobs’ biography delivers an astonishing realization of how does a drive for a perfect service and impeccable delivery look like. It was fascinating to read and sort of imagine the “fights” he had to take with stakeholders, engineers, designers to fulfill his vision of a product. Personally I think,  thanks to that – we are living in a better future. On another side, we have a disappointing biography about my favourite band’s lead singer and song-writer Maynard James Keenan. His lyrics have influenced a bigger part of my life and it was their impact that made me apply to university and study philosophy. In addition, knowing his background from different bits and pieces – army man, art-college dropout, lead singer of a great bands and a solo artist, winemaker in Arizona desert and a purple belt in Jiu-Jitsu – that is one great “smoothie” of capabilities to learn from. However the book itself was written more in a prosaic way and despite my liking did not focus on the things I have expected. For example, intricate song-writing process of mindbending songs is narrowed down to something like “they worked hard, had a lot of practice and came up with it”. Me, being a fan of Tool, A Perfect Circle – I was looking for much more depth and intricacy.

With 2017 and Murakami’s “Kafka on the Shore” will end my admiration for this author, at least for some time I think. I started reading him from “Dance, Dance, Dance” and even though I started in the middle of the trilogy, that book was the best for me and all the other books just fell down in establishing the same emotional link. Stories were becoming less and less relatable and to a point of complete ridiculousness in Kafka. A disappointing end to my quick love for his books, especially because his series looks so well in a collection:

img_20180112_201948.jpg

Music

At the moments like these, I wish I had listened to all my music in Spotify, because it tracks how many hours of what did you listen to. I have not done that, but have listened great amounts of it. However the most influential releases and findings were a soundtrack from the game “Infamous: Second Son”. It just clicked with me and I would not be able to explain to full extent how and where. I have listened to it by far the most out of all soundtracks. Other notable discoveries were:

  • Marilyn Manson “Heaven Upside Down”
  • Michael Kiwanuka “Love & Hate”
  • Nick Mulvey “First Mind”
  • Bonobo “Migration”
  • Probot “Probot”
  • ROOP “Ghosts”
  • Moderat “III”
  • Strawberry Girls “American Graffiti”

I was lucky enough to attend “Open’er Festival” and see Moderat live, on a second to last show, before the band announced their split. That live set will stay as a magical hour for me, where I was just free within music. In addition to that, I saw Foo Fighters twice and both shows proved to me that Dave Grohl is the “Steve Jobs” of music business. Foo Fighters live shows are inspirational to a point, where I can not comprehend how can they pull off each show with such amount of energy and charisma anywhere, anytime.

Influences

To be very honest with you – I am an easily influenced person, but two things stood out to me. First, was finding of “Triathlon Taren” on Youtube. He became an uplifting boost to me and my training, whenever I was feeling down and my interest in triathlon was dropping. At some point, I was religiously waiting and viewing his videos daily and was honestly missing them, when he did not put out any. As a bonus, I am adding his video, which made me and Dovile laugh out hard and appreciate his future videos:

Second thing, which managed to squeeze into 2017 was Star Wars: The Last Jedi. And I can bet that you would not guess in what way did it influence me – I stopped eating meat after that.

porg

That creature on the “right” made me re-think my approach to food and whether I should eat meat.

Didn’t I tell you wouldn’t guess it? To me the scene, where Chewbacca was eating Porgs and the rest of them were looking at it – was heartbreaking and I quickly used my imagination to switch myself with Chewbacca and instead of Porgs – cow / chicken anything. At that point illusion within me broke down and I understood that I can not be going on and saying “how I love animals” and eat them at the same time. So the day after official premiere, when we watched Star Wars – I am trying to be vegetarian. It is a bit over a month already and I am more than happy to be honest. I will write down another blog post about it and what do I eat / diet next time.

Videogames

Now to the thing which consumes another big chunk amount of my time – videogames. I have finished many of them this year, all on Playstation 4. Eventhough, some of them were promised to be groundbreaking and life-changing – to me they were not – Nier: Automata. I tried to understand that game and gave it so many shots, finishing all the endings and reading up on it afterwards, however at the end – it just did not click. As for the most amazing gaming experience I have had during 2017 – I will leave it at Final Fantasy 15 and Dishonored 2. I have finished these games one after another and both became the ones, which stay with me to this day and have that special experience, which lingers, whenever I remind myself of themselves. Final Fantasy was an amazing journey throughout a beautiful world with different downfalls and small problems, but it felt right at home. To this day, I remember myself running through the fields of that world and being transported there through imagination. Dishonored 2, on the other hand, became a game which allowed me to toy with its world, physics, mechanics immensely. Providing possibilities for different approaches to finish the task and having an impressive world built out just for it, which takes you right in at the moment you launch the game.

As I was typing this, I realized that I finished Last Guardian this year and it is another game, which was heartbreakingly beautiful to me. To this date, this is another game (the other one is Journey), which made me cry at the end. It might be because of my attachment to our pets, but the game, where you have to withstand a lot of difficult things and battles and you have a cat-dog-bird as your pet and can do this with him:

It was just beautiful.

Random

Song of the week: Infamous: Second Son Original Soundtrack – Scraping the Sun
Reading: Haruki Murakami “Kafka on the Shore”
Game: Assassin’s Creed: Origins (PS4) / Starcraft 2 (PC)
Average Weight: 77.5 kg

Hope you enjoyed my review of 2017 and I am looking forward to my future posts. As per some feedback and suggestions – I have started using thumbnails for pictures, which will make viewing them a bit easier. If you have any suggestions – feel free to share it with me.

Thank you for stopping by.

2 thoughts on “Two Thousand Seventeen in Words.

    • Hi Gama,

      Thank you for stopping by. Major races that I am planning to participate in are – Ironman 70.3 Mallorca in May 14th and Ironman Emilia-Romagna in September 22nd. In between those races, there is a “Lithuanian Triathlon Cup” at https://www.triatlonotaure.lt/, where I am planning to attend most of the Olympic distance races. My last big input before the full Ironman will be another local even at Triathlon Cup – a 70.3 Distanced triathlon. And what about you? do you have any of your races planned already?

      Like

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