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  • About VJ
  • January 14, 2023 3 min read

    As 2022 came to a close, it’s only natural to reminisce on the year and its most memorable moments. It’s fun (and enlightening) to reflect… 

    • Where did I fall short?
    • How did I grow/what did I learn?
    • What were my favorite parts?

    My somewhat-abbreviated answers to those questions are as follows:

    Where did I fall short?

    I set a lot of goals for 2022. I didn’t even come close to accomplishing them all. But I think that’s how goal-setting should be. Our goals should keep us striving. If they’re all achievable in the very near future, we might not be dreaming big enough.

    One big goal of mine was to set the HYROX Doubles World Record with my teammate Brakken Kraker. We earned our slot at the World Championships with a win at the North American Championships only to be unable to compete due to freak injury. That goal had to wait.

    Another big goal of mine was to be a podium contender at the Spartan Race Ultra World Championships. This race ended up getting cancelled a week before it was set to start due to fires near Lake Tahoe. So that goal had to wait too.

    After Tahoe was no longer happening, I shifted my sights to World’s Toughest Mudder. Seeing as the race was my first Tough Mudder and anything but the mountains I had been training for, I wasn’t nearly as confident. But I still made it my goal to be a podium threat. Instead, after holding third place for a little over 16 hours, I got hypothermia and barely squeaked out an official finish. The list of Cali Schweikhart in space blanket and VJ Shoes Ultra 2022 goals left unachieved got even longer.

    How did I grow/what did I learn?

    I definitely grew through all of the above disappointments. Each time something didn’t pan out, I learned to set my sights on the next thing. I learned to reframe each low point as the preface for a hopefully much higher point down the road. Being able to use big let-downs as motivation to put my head down and work even harder is a big lesson that 2022 reinforced for me.

    I also tested myself in some completely new disciplines, learning a lot about myself as an athlete in the process. I competed in the first ever GoRuck Games and Battle Bunker and discovered that I absolutely love rucking and carrying heavy weight. This was a strength I didn’t even know that I had and I am extremely excited to hopefully pursue it more in the future. In addition, I finally tried the ultra distance (something I have wanted to do for a couple years now) and confirmed my suspicion that ultras would be some of my favorite events to compete in.

    What were my favorite parts?

    In terms of race performances, there are certainly a few of which I am extremely proud, and it’s hard not to list them as favorite moments. Taking 1st female and 2nd overall in the Utah Spartan 50K (my first ultra race ever) is a day I will never forget. Rucking along the beach at 0600 carrying the American flag with a group of competitors is a memory I will cherish forever. Even sitting in the pits at World’s Toughest Mudder at 5am, hopeless and hypothermic, is a poignant memory from this past year that will always be special to me.

    But even more memorable than the intra-race memories are the moments surrounding these crazy events we compete in (and the people we share them with): the shakeout runs, the creek dips, the pre-race peanut chicken stir-fry dinners, the post-race recovery/exploration runs, the impromptu wake-surfing, the sunset hikes to the top of chairlift towers. These experiences are the parts that make me look back on the year with overwhelming gratitude. They are the moments that make me think that, regardless of the goals I did or didn’t accomplish, I must be doing something right.

    - Cali Schweikhart @cschweik