Tuesday, January 14, 2014

2014 - The Year Ahead

This year will be exciting, challenging, fun, and different.  I hadn't put a ton of thought into my 2014 race schedule when I started putting things in writing.  Thus my plan and my season developed around 1 (or maybe 2) key races.

As you may have read about here, I went up to Lake Placid two times during 2013.  Once for a long training weekend and once to sherpa for Ironman Lake Placid.  Prior to these two trips the thought of completing Ironman Lake Placid had never crossed my mind.  Hilly, difficult, possibly cold once the sun begins to set.  After riding 4 loops of  the bike course during the training weekend and another loop during race weekend and after 6 swims in Mirror Lake I was sold - ok almost.  The setting was gorgeous, the bike course amazing - a test to your discipline on race day.  As I sherpa'd my way to almost 26 miles of sherping I tossed the idea around in my head, but once Adam crossed the line focus was on him - recover, food, celebrate, more food, etc. The next morning I headed down to Mirror Lake - took a nice swim and then back to the house to join Adam at the athlete celebration.   I had noticed and known some people who lined up extra early to claim their spot at IMLP 2014.  I still wasn't sure - and I sure as heck wasn't about to hand over my credit card for something I wasn't sure about.  I made myself one promise, if the race fell on July 27, 2014 (3 years after my dad's accident, to the day) I'd register.  Thanks to smartphones it took no longer than 1 minute to realize race day would in fact be - July 27, 2014.  After taking the longest route possible to get to the room directly next to where Adam and I had been sitting I was surprised to see about 16 computers set up with smiling volunteers behind each one - and absolutely NOBODY ELSE in the room to register.  It was all to easy - name, age, credit card, email address.  Done. I had been looking forward to perhaps Ironman Arizona or another visit to Louisville (not cold).  On that day, I knew, I'd be in Lake Placid and I should be in Lake Placid on July 27, 2014.

My 2013 season wasn't even close to over - I still had some goals to reach and PRs to set in shorter distances but thoughts were already churning to put together a successful 2014.

After Augusta 70.3 I reached out to a few coaches.  After communicating with each of them I chose one and I am already beyond happy with her passion, involvement, and knowledge (by the way my training plan doesn't even start with her until February 1st).  Around the same time I was making a coaching decision, I
was also excited to learn that I had been selected to be a member of the 2014 DC Tri/Snapple Elite Team.  A close group of fellow athletes to train with, be inspired by, and learn from.  A group that is made up of athletes that have found success in almost all arenas of triathlon.  Not to mention awesome sponsors to help me break down barriers.

As I began bouncing ideas around with my coach my 2014 racing calendar began to fill in.  It's still not 100% complete.  The big ones are there, the goals are set, and the work is about to begin.  I know the first few months of training may be difficult, frustrating, and mentally and physically draining.  In the end it will pay off..

A Peak at the 2014 Racing Calendar
May 10, 2014 - Kinetic 1/2 Iron Distance Tri
June 22, 2014 - Syracuse 70.3
June 29, 2014 - Chicago ITU Age Group Race
July 27, 2014 - Ironman Lake Placid
August 24, 2014 - Northeast International Triathlon
September 28, 2014 - Augusta 70.3 

Have you planned your race schedule for 2014 yet?  What changes will you make to your training this year, if any?

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Final 2013 Race Recaps

I finished up the 2013 season with a few low key running races.  A chance to get out and have fun with friends and family while keeping tabs on my fitness level throughout the month of November.

Veteran's Day 10k

I was alone for this one - which was kind of nice.  A quick bike ride down to race start and packet pickup woke me up and got me moving to start off the morning.  After receiving my race bib and deciding on layerage for  a warm-up I did a little jog along Ohio Dr.  I had a min heart attack when I attempted to power up my Garmin and the empty battery logo appeared and the unit powered off.  How could this be?  I had it plugged in all night  Oi!  This is a big change for me over the past year - a year ago I probably would't have
been found with a Garmin on my wrist at a race.  Now I was convincing myself that I'd been training with it and I would be able to execute on race day without the watch.  I continued to warm-up and shed layers and calm myself down.  As I headed toward the start line I gave my Garmin one more chance.  Wahooooo, success!!!!  I seeded myself toward the middle of the front.  The weather was perfect  for a good day on Hains Point - low wind, cool temps and sunny.  The first 3 miles came easy, I nailed my goal pace and was feeling good.  Miles 4 and 5 were the hardest and may pace slowed just a bit.  I was able to hold on for the final 1.2 for a 10k PR!

Backyard Burn

I enjoy a nice trail run every now and then but racing on the trails isn't something I've come to be eager about.  I really enjoy the low key environment of EX2 races.  I headed down to Prince William Forest Park with my brother and one of our friends.  This would be there final prep before taking on the JFK 50 the following week.  The race started out with a short out and back on the before heading down a fire road and then diving into some real trail running.  I felt good the first couple miles but was soon suffering severe abdominal pain.  This familiar pain has happened before but only during training - so I'll stop for a few minutes let it subside and continue on slowly.  I had to slow down considerably for the middle portion of this race due to the pain.  I was able to pick it up again for the last mile or so and I finished the race feeling pretty good.  I even landed myself  a spot on the podium!  After cooling down for couple minutes I snapped some great shots of my brother and Brian finishing the 10 miler.

Del Ray Turkey Trot - 5 miler

This was the 2nd year we've had a small gang go down for the Turkey Trot before prepping the Thanksgiving Feast.   The course was a tad different than last year and the crowd was a bit bigger!  I randomly snuck into the starting chute and ended up right next to Abby!  We started out together, having to dip, dodge, duck, and dive around all sorts of characters.  The first two miles were fast and the cold air didn't seem too bad with the sun beating down on us. Around mile 3 things started o feel tough, getting air in became difficult, any sort of attempt at a deep breath was a fail.  Getting some water in helped a bit and I was able to pull it together for the last mile.  After this race I started realizing I have a really hard breathing in cold air, no wonder I've always enjoyed warmer climates.  It was a fun 5 miler, a PR, and a great start to a family and friend filled Thanksgiving!