Before getting started, as you'll recall, 2014 marked a pretty big change with respect to racing, as I decided not to renew my USAT Elite license. Basically, I wanted to take a step back from training and racing in order to let other aspects of my life take up more of the extra time. Looking back, it appears I achieved that on the training front, but still raced a ton! So, here is where we stand:
|Little Rock Half Marathon
|HTC Scholarship 8k
|Heel and Crank Duathlon
|Bridge Street Half Marathon
|Cookie Dash 5k
|Gulf Coast Triathlon
|Cotton Row 10k
|Alabama A&M 5k CC
|Racing Rivals Triathlon
|Huntsville Spring Triathlon
|Swim Hobbs Island, 5mi
|Army 10 miler
|Liz Hurley 5k
Halfway through Run #2 in the Heel & Crank Duathlon. And yes - there is no one else in sight.
From there, the summer was unplanned, but I ended up still racing quite a bit (but training even less) Mach Tenn was a race I had never done before (no prize money) but signed up on a whim, had an awesome race, and won. In addition to being an awesome distance (800m/16mi/4mi), the post race food was top notch! Fresh corn cakes and beans, beer, and all the other standard post race fair. And, it was just a few miles from Lynchburg, TN, and Jack Daniels' distillery, so there was a little bonus trip on the way home.
Me and World Famous Bruce Gennari after finishing 1-2 at Mach Tenn
After Mach Tenn it was time for the local trio of races - Racing Rivals, Huntsville Sprint, and Rocketman. I was hesitant about Rocketman because it wasnt in my (tentative) plan at the beginning of the season, but when my friend from college told me he had registered, I knew I had to join him. In the end it went really well and I was able to put together a strong swim (thanks Bruce!) and strong bike (thanks Trek!) to mask an astonishingly mediocre run and hold on for a healthy win over a pretty strong field.
Coming in for the 'W' at the Huntsville Sprint Triathlon
From there all sights were set on Swim Hobbs Island, a 5 mile swim in the Tennessee River around, you guessed it, Hobbs Island. This was another race I was peer pressured into (thanks Suz and Suz!). Thankfully the competition for this first year race wasn't epic so I was able to come away with a pretty easy win. Really though, it was cool to swim 5 miles! Not having swum as a kid, that was definitely the furthest I had swum in one workout. I'm not sure I'd want to go much further, but I do really enjoy open water swimming.
The podium at Swim Hobbs Island. Yeah, I won a swimming race
After the swim I tried to turn things right around and get in shape for the fall's annual running races. This, unfortunately, is where things started to unravel. I managed to pull out a decent performance in the Army Ten Miler and continued pressing, hoping I could get (back) into shape for the Rocket City Marathon in December. However, by late October my hamstring had had enough and any hopes of a fast run at RCM were out of the picture.
#bros post Army Ten Miler
Looking back, my training was fairly consistent in the spring, but horribly inconsistent over the summer. That, combined with my frequent racing, meant I was toasted to a crisp by the fall. I was able to fake my way through late summer races with good swims and bikes, but it was apparent my run was just not up to par and just hanging by a thread. The nail in the marathon's coffin, then, were Rocketman and Swim Hobbs Island - training for these caused my RCM training to be delayed, then rushed, then ultimately doomed. Retrospectively though, that was fine, because Rocketman and Swim Hobbs were both awesome events, and there are plenty of marathons ahead... like Boston! And, "other life stuff" is going really well, so mission accomplished.
So yeah, I'm registered for Boston 2015 and look forward to the experience. I may be getting too old to set any PRs, but if I can stay healthy I'm still hoping to run reasonably well. From there I should have plenty to prep for the annual series of late summer and fall races. Should be fun!
But back to lessons learned for this year:
1. Training for a marathon swim and marathon run require very different types of workouts. Do not try to attempt both at the same time.
2. You can fake swim and bike fitness much longer than you can fake running fitness.
3. Racing is fun, but much less so when you haven't been training. Make sure to adjust expectations accordingly.
Cheers to a great 2015!