At 40+, Rach McBride (they/ them) may be a rare breed in the pro triathlon world, but not even a pandemic could keep them from checking off some major goals and clocking in some PRs in 2020. Here are some tips from “the most interesting [person] in triathlon” for how to start off the new year with goals that celebrate more of you (versus the “new you” adage).
Tis the season of New Year’s resolutions, goal-setting-galore and big bucket list ideas scheduled into the calendar. Coming out of 2020, I feel a sense of incredible possibility that it certainly couldn’t get any worse than the year we just endured, yet also feel some mild trepidation of uncertainty without knowing what lies ahead. Perhaps you can relate.
For me, my off-season is always about spending quality time with my family, staying up too late working on puzzles, replacing my blistered toes with blistered fingers from playing my cello, and, of course, planning for the year ahead.
As a professional athlete, I live for start lines — opportunities to test myself. Yet what I learned in a year with fewer start lines is that I actually don’t need to have organized global events to truly test my limits. In 2020, I logged my biggest training week on a bike, ran the fastest half marathon of my life and set a new PR for an 80km bike time trial. It’s possible! However, after over a decade of racing and planning my life around race days, training blocks and recovery windows, I wouldn’t have totally accepted this to be true. What these experiences taught me (and that I’ll bring with me in the years ahead) is that quite simply knowing who you are and what brings you the greatest joy could in fact be the most audacious goal to set.
When I reflect on 2020…
I logged over 900 hours of training and only bailed/readjusted/rescheduled 3 of those hours. Who I am as an athlete lies in the commitment to the daily grind, day in and day out, over anything else. I feel like the best version of myself when I’m committed to my craft.
I travelled to new places with my partners to explore new trails, new routes and new limits of my body.
Who I am is an adventurous spirit who has an insatiable desire to explore the world, especially my own Canadian backyard, ideally from my bike or on foot in my Topo trail shoes (the Runventures 2s are my favorite!). I care deeply about traveling minimally and leaving light footsteps behind on Mother Earth.
I proudly came out as gender non-binary, recorded copious podcasts, interviews, and was asked to speak to several different audiences.
Who I am is authenticity-personified and, beyond sport, a human who will stand up for the conversation of equality for everyone to be their most expressed version of themselves. (Spoiler: this is a lot easier for some people than others. Please be kind.)
When I plan for this year ahead, I’m swiftly reminded that the token slogan doesn’t fit for me. It isn’t about a “new year, new me,” yet rather it is a new year to be more me than ever before: to stay committed to my daily practice as an athlete, to find adventure in the everyday and continue to be a voice.
Don’t get me wrong: I have start lines and finish times, bucket list destinations, and a few big, hairy goals on the docket as well. Sub-9 hours at Challenge Roth is calling my name! Ironman World Champs are locked and loaded for October. And it’s about time I hit the start of a gravel major.
My most audacious wish for you this year is that YOU can be more YOU than ever before. The other goals are a bonus.
See you at the races,
Follow Rach’s journey through 2021 @rachelmcb.