Monday, December 29, 2008

End of the year review...

What went well? What worked? What didn’t? What the hell was I thinking?

This past year of races were pretty sweet. I hit all my goals and felt I was getting the returns on all my training. I focused early on my swimming and did on ave. about 4x more a week than last years training. I’m mostly happy about the number of times I got into the open water: 28

The high point of this years swim came the week of the Seafair Tri. I swam the Fat Salmon the day before - 1.2 miles in just under 40 minutes. Then the next day I did the swim leg of the Seafair Tri in 14:20, on a team with Eileen and Alley. EIleen did the bike and Alley finished out with the run. Those two races then a week later was the Escape from Federal Way Olympic Tri with the .9 mile swim. That was an amazing few weeks there of just putting on the hours, miles and wet suit, over and over again.

With the swim coming along well, mid summer I turned my focus over to track running, Something I’d never done before. I’ve run for about 8 years, but never hit the track. With the help of Joe Tysoe and crew from Emerald City Multi-sport, I turned out and pushed down some pretty set walls in my run training. I got to a point of averaging about 5:58 per mile pace on a 4.5-5 mile tempo run. For me that was about 45 seconds faster than I would of ever thought was possible.

The goal heading into the track training was to do my first Sub-20 5K at the Foot Zone in Redmond. I was primed and felt good the morning of and all things went as planned.

The pain of attempting to reach for what you want was pretty heavy on the mind that day before and during the race. I was talking with someone a few days before and she said about her first 70.3, ‘ I have to know the pain is going to come, I have to know how long I can handle it, how I’m going to react. I can’t starting hoping that it doesn’t come.’

Throughout the year I was putting time in on both George and Luke. I started training with George (last years race bike). I had this thought that I didn’t want to start training on Luke and never feel that huge difference between the two bikes. Especially if I was out of shape when first jumping on Luke ( New bike).

Hill training was a big part of my training, mostly because I actually enjoy climbing for some reason. Also, I wanted to compete in a time trial style bike race and managed to talk Eileen and Tony into joining me at the Cougar Mountain Hill Climb. Alley, Shell and Lil’K, were there for support and at one point drove next to me cheering me on. The support is usually what gets me, or us, through the tough parts of any event. It’s always fun during a race to see were they find to cheer you from.

My goals for the year were;

Olympic Distance tri - Federal Way Escape, 5th in age group 30th overall
Sub 20 for a 5K - 19:42
Top 50 in the Kirkland tri - 57th Overall - 50th Males
Improve Open water swim - Totally!

I Hit all my goals for the year and got a marathon added in to boot. The marathon could of been better, but I was happy and satisfied considering the achilles and I.T. problems I had in training.

What I learned?

This year I learned right from the beginning that you can’t limit yourself to what you think you can handle or achieve. That when it comes down to it you’re the only one standing in your way. I wanted to come out this year and just throw it down and feel like a triathlon racing for a place, rather than just trying to survive the day.

I love the race, personal race, that plays in my head during events. Tempting to raise the pace, giving feedback on sustainable efforts, screaming to run my own race. Comparing race effort with training effort and where the “redline” lies for the day.

The support that Alley gave me this year was amazing. Long hours away on the bike and run. Then coming to make sure I made it back to shore during key swim workouts. All the race support and making sure I’m out the door with everything, cheering and explaining to strangers why I kept yelling “mango!” : )

Before every race I still get nervous and wonder what the hell I’m doing. I failed PE once for sure, maybe even twice during high school and always think someone’s going to call me on that before a race, saying something like, ‘Sorry this is the wave for the real athletes’. I’ve just had this feeling like someone was going to realize, ‘hey you can’t start doing this now!’

This year went a long way to change that outlook, not in a cocky, boastful why. I feel confident to push my limits and get up the next day and push again if needed, or in the next leg.

On the first starts a new year and a new tri season. I can go in with plenty to work on from this year. As well as plenty of things that I learned about myself

- I can hold my own, I can compete, I can place, I can tri...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

10k at Nookachamps sounds good too...

So I've decided to do the 10k at Nookachamps next month rather than the half marathon. I wanted to do the half, but I just don't think I can get the training in to hit the time I want. After this last summers races and the times and paces I had, I was thinking a winter race would be a good chance at hitting 1:30 on the half marathon.

Over the last few weeks I've seen and enjoyed the sport around me, either through seeing events first hand, reading other peoples blogs or watching on the tube.

Last weekend watching the Ironman in Kona on TV was a great boost of making it through the winter to get back into the rythem of training again. The thing that kept running through my mind, watching the finishers cross was, 'I want to be there. I want to give that'.

Now, I still have no interest in doing a full Iron Man, not yet. What I mean is, looking at them, I want to be in that space of time, - frame of mind, working it to the finish.

I want to be there, I want to give that.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Seattle Marathon ...all 26.2 this time...

Last week I got to go out and cheer on AK plus thousands of other runners at the Seattle Marathon. This is the first year either of us had anything to do with the full marathon, we’re both run the half a number of time’s over the last several years, but never the full. So this was going to be pretty cool.

The morning started with a light mist that was suppose to burn off by 10-10:30, that was what most the local news stations were reporting. And for the most part that was true.

Except that instead of the fog burning off it doubled in thickness and moved in pretty heavy over the course.

AK was off and running and I had 40 minutes to make it to the I-90 tunnel and cheer her on. Takes about 15 minutes to drive straight there, - about 38 to get there around the course, park and run four blocks down and over, back up under the bridge to see the runners cross the bridge.

I got there, took 2 pics of the crowds and stood up on the jersey barrier and didn’t realize that Shell and Lil’K were standing about 10 ft down the road from me. I laughed and said, “ What are you doing here?”.

TK had joined AK on the opposite side of the tunnel and was going to run with her from the tunnel out and back to Mercer Island, pretty sweet. I know that’s going to be a high light to her 2008 running season.

AK was running on great pace for her would-be finish time of 4:40 and the days weather was perfect for running. After TK left her she was headed out to Seward Park.

I caught back up with her at mile 17 and she was still smiling and looking really strong and steady.

The fog rolled in and got really thick at the bottom of Madison. Mile 21 was at the top of a really nasty hill and AK pushed steady through the hill and was still smiling.
I hung out at mile 26 for about 10 minutes before I saw AK and that was really a special place. The course ducks under Hwy 99 so the runners disappear for about 2 minutes then pop up right at mile 26. So all the support people wait and wait and keep saying he/she should be here, should be here, should be, not them, close - what time do you have, what were........

The feeling and emotion just about rips your heart out. So many times during the day having to hold back tears from just watching that raw emotion pour out onto the street.

At mile 16 I saw a girl hobbled, in serious pain and fell into her mothers arms saying,”I knew you were waiting and I had to make it to you.” The mother loaded her in a car and kept repeating “I’m so proud of you”

I think the best way to put your sport of choice in perspective is to sit it out and watch it from the sidelines. I always gain more or regain my respect for running/racing/trying by watching and seeing all shapes and sizes just go out and put it on the line. It seems to remind me of how much is needed to reach my own start lines. How much is needed to willingly start the whole process. And how much is needed to remember this is fun, this is work, this is what I want.

What AK wanted was 4:40, what she got was 4:33:06 - Pretty Sweet!