My bike and run training went amazing this year. I missed very few sessions and laid down some amazing times, even on the Tinman course. Swim training was a bit more frustrating. Coach Karen and I put down an extra swim a week this year but my times even in training stayed more stagnant than they ever have during a season before. She DID lower the distance of each swim so that overall volume wasn't much higher, and maybe that had something to do with it. I don't know.
Even though they aren't an "official" race, the first time I really got to see if all the early-season training paid off was at the Time Trial series. When I set a PR at the FIRST ONE, I was pretty excited. I managed to PR two or three more times despite never tapering or resting for them, and that and my training rides out in Tupper Lake had me feeling good about my bike. (And hey, winning "Best Dressed" thanks to my Betty bike kits didn't hurt. ;-D )
Tinman was next. Despite the goggle disaster in the swim and 85 degree sun on the run, I actually had my best Half execution ever. (Aside from my meltdown on miles 2-5 on the run). The fact that this Polar Bear managed to eek out a tiny PR despite all that had me pretty happy despite being 10 minutes off my 6:40 goal.
|After Tinman's ridiculous weather, started practicing heat training. Proof I'm Coeur material: My ass sweats hearts.|
|Caught in pea-sized hail on a run - SO unusual for this part of the country!|
Then came Big George. I just wrote about it so I won't rehash too much, but I let the tough conditions completely tank my head game, and that was the biggest loss.
|An embarrassingly small portion of my S/B/R wardrobe. Doesn't even include any of my Coeur gear.|
It was nice to be able to end on a high note with the PR at Mohawk Hudson. Sonja talked about "gazelles" vs. "bulldogs" in her Kona race report, and that's made me realize that I am definitely a "gazelle" athlete. I find joy and execute best when everything is coming together in contrast to being able to pull out the grit on tough days. Definitely something I need to work on since the biggest thing that leads to "bulldog days,"the weather, is completely uncontrollable.
So, not sure where that leaves me for 2015 after such a shaky 2014 season that vacillated between PRs and disastrous races. I do know some things:
1.) As mentioned in my Big George recap, I'm glad to be taking a break from focusing on 70.3 racing. I'll definitely do at least one as a run-through for IMLP and maybe another coasting on my IM fitness like I did in 2012, but in either case it won't be an "A" race.
2.) I need to work on finding my Inner Bulldog. It's a bit harder being BOP because I can't just focus on chasing the podium instead. A definite keep will definitely be to figure out what can drive me on tough days.
3.) I also need to work on my swim in a major way. The new Masters class has definitely helped already despite that we only swim about a mile each week. All the focus on form (and being forced to do things I hate like Single Arm Drills, and kicking with no fins, etc.) and getting corrections from the deck (especially when I get tired and start to fall apart) is REALLY awesome, even if right now my form is SO broken down I look more like a drowning brick than a swimmer. Plus it's much more fun to swim with friends. I even have a swim buddy - we always share a lane and she's just a TEENY bit faster than me, which helps to push me to keep up with her.
And also, another changes as well that I'll get into in my next entry. Hope everyone's enjoying off-season!