Monday, January 6, 2014

2013 Recap and Review

Living

I am going to start here because I do not have a lot to say and I really have to be in the right mood to say it. I did a terrible job making the most of each day handed to me in 2013 which is poor form on my part. I spent most of 2013 being stressed, anxious, and mentally fatigued. I felt a bit overwhelmed by the naysayers in my life, from a super negative constantly complaining coworker to nagging criticisms regarding my training and racing schedules from friends and acquaintances. I let too many people have a negative impact on my outlook until I decided to go all Michael Jackson on that crap and make a change. I took a more active role in influencing/ignoring the attitudes of those around me rather than getting pulled down into the Sea of Negativity. For the most part, it worked . . .


I will admit I struggled to balance the things I wanted to do with the things I had to do. Making time for the fun things I wanted to do made it difficult and stressful to find time to do the things I had to do (which is why I got pulled over twice for having expired tags, whoops). Letting my registration expire is one thing but letting some of my more valued friendships slip through the cracks is unacceptable. I had to stop and re-evaluate my goals and priorities while instituting an action plan. I opted for the small-steps-make-big-changes-plan which helped me focus on obtaining more successes and letting go of my failures.  

Training

I did a lot of it. In fact I put in 355 more miles in 2013 than I did in 2012 when I was training for Ironman Cozumel. I know the increase in miles is due in part to suffering a running injury early in the year. In March, I pulled something in the back of my right knee. To this day I am still not sure what caused it. Maybe walking a mile to the Federal court house in high heels . . . and back (stupid), but I dunno for sure. It was a frustrating injury because I could do everything else but run. And the act of running did not hurt either, well until the next day, which made it really hard to gauge how much I could handle. It was a slow and incredibly frustrating process. I did not return to my pre-injury mileage until September. Thankfully, things changed exponentially when I started to see Dr. Greenapple at Greenapple Sports and Wellness. He put my knee on the right track literally and figuratively. 

Swim - 467.4 miles
Bike - 7,501.9 miles
Run - 1,247.5 miles
Total - 9,216.8 miles (800:04:49)

Not being able to run allowed me to put in quite a few miles on the bike. After the injury, I was riding 200+ miles a week, week after week. The result? 329.5 more miles of riding in 2013 than 2012. I also attended two separate training camps, one in Asheville and one in Georgia. Both added a lot of variety and challenge to my time in the saddle.
Top of Mt. Mitchell, Accelerate3 Training Camp 2013
I ended up running about 160 miles less than in 2012 but I was running faster. Running consistently in 2012, a late season ironman, and huge block of bike training put me in a really good position to run off the bike at my last two races of the year, Carolina Half and Rev3 Florida. As late as September,  I had my doubts about my fitness but my coach, Brian Stover, told me very sternly to let him worry about that. So I did.  It is incredibly liberating let go of all my doubts, expectations, and arbitrary timelines. I trust my coach because his #1 priority is making people faster. Despite the early season set back, I ended the year right where I wanted to be. Now that's some good coaching!

Pie anyone?
I did not realize it until now but making a small change in my swim schedule allowed me to increase my miles in the pool by 58%. I had been swimming with SwimMAC down in south Charlotte. I would make the 50+ min round trip three days a week. I love the program and I miss swimming with my guys but the commute means more time driving and less time swimming. Making the MCAC my primary stomping ground allowed me to be a lot more efficient with my time and the benefits are self evident (and some could argue the company is a lot hotter).

Me and the AM tri crew

Racing

Despite my early season injury I had a good year of racing. I also had a nice variety of races including 4 sprints, 3 time trials, 2 olympics, and 2 half ironmans. Of these 11 races only two of them were repeats from previous years, Lowe's 10 mile time trial and Stumpy Creek. While I was originally planning a half ironman heavy season I am pretty pleased with how it all turned out. I gingerly tested the health of my knee with my first couple of sprints, Buck Hurley and Lake Hickory. I was not sure I was 100% ready for Stumpy Creek but finishing the race pain free allowed me to return to my training with a little more confidence. A flat tire at Lake Norman Sprint forced me to throw my hat into the sprint race in Wilmington since I was seriously lagging in races to compete in the NC Triathlon series. I rounded off the NC series with a win at the Carolina Half. It was my 5th race and my 15th undefeated race in the three years I have been pursuing the series. It was a great run but I am excited to move on.

Goodbye NCTS

I ventured out of my comfort zone and did two single sport races. I will admit competing in the NC and SC 40K Time Trial State Championships is not exactly far out of the zone of comfort but they aren't triathlons either. I managed to snag both state titles as well as a sub 60min PR. Another bonus to an early season bike block!

ICE representing at the NC TT State Championship
And finally, I raced my first race as a professional athlete. How cool is that!?! Cooler than being a Forensic Chemist  . . . I ended my season with my pro debut at Rev3 Florida. I headed down to Venice with two of my ICE Racing teammates. The city welcomed us with open arms, white sandy beaches, 80 degree temps, and one most excellent race. I finished 9th in a pretty stacked field of former Ironman winners and ITU pros but I took home another paycheck along with many memorable moments of hanging with my homies. For the year, I ended up taking home just over 3K in prize money. I won't be quitting my job anytime soon but not bad for a rookie nonetheless. 

I love me a good spreadsheet

Blogging

In the past I have debated keeping/maintaining this blog. While I enjoy it, finding the time to do it, and do it right, is difficult. I know a lot of triathletes keep a blog. I would consider it a "trend" among us tri-dweebs. I have a list of about 30 blogs I like enough to subscribe to. Sadly I only actually follow about 3 triathletes. Most triathletes blog so irregularly there is simply no need to maintain a subscription; I just have to wait for a tweet or FB post and I am all caught up. I ended up with 6 more posts in 2013 than 2012. Not stellar but better. Mid-way through 2013 one of the bloggers I follow wrote about blogging. She made me realize that if I want to keep a good blog I need to make it more of a priority. If it is something I do haphazardly the results will be . . . wait for it . . . haphazard. The post also made me realize I don't have to expatiate about training and hash out cathartic moments in all of my blog entries. I can post simpler ones which represent me as an individual because ultimately that's what shapes me as a triathlete. Check out my page every Saturday for the latest "Caturnalia." For those of you who do not know your ancient history Saturnalia was a festival to celebrate the Roman god Saturn. Follow me . . . "Caturnalia" is dedicated to my life with four cats. It has been fun so far so I hope to continue with it. I also started a regular post dedicated to the food I have been eating. One of the main reasons I train is to eat so it is time to talk food! I have very definitive goals for my blog in 2014. Hopefully I will produce something worth reading. In the meantime, here is a look at my top 5 most popular entries of 2013:

I left 2013 with these thoughts: 
  • I am the maker of my reality 
  • Goals and expectations are not the same thing
  • Always make lemonade
  • Prioritize what you want from life and everything else will fall in place
  • There are two kinds of people:
    • 1) The kind who encourage, cheer, and make everyone around them better
    • 2) The kind who don't

Which one will you be in 2014?