Well, I am now a few weeks into my off season. I think I have managed to escape the blues that usually accompanies this time of the year. I've allowed myself a couple of weeks of unstructured training. Initially I was going to take 2 whole weeks off, but I think I may have been kidding myself. I had to get off my butt and do something. But the lack of structure has been a welcome change. I haven't been worried about the mileage, I've just gone out there and moved, and there has been a sense of freedom I've come to associate with that.
But like any good triathlete I have become reliant on a good plan to improve and progress and make myself race ready. So I have been laying the bricks for a focused 3 month off season plan and in doing so I have had to think a lot about what I want to accomplish in not just the off season, but next season as well. So as I contemplated that, I realized that I needed to take one step back and look at this past season and what goals I have accomplished before moving forward. Thus, the title of this entry.
So I have decided to dissect each race to find at least one positive that came of it, as well as what goals were achieved and what goals I fell short of.
The year started with a 5k in February. We had gorgeous 40 degree weather and I PR'd by 29 seconds. Next up was another local 5k in March and I set another PR, this time going under 20 minutes and crossing that goal off my list. I ran my first ever stand alone half-marathon in April and finished well under my goal time of 1:35.
Next up, tri season. I did a chilly sprint up in Minnesota mid-May, and despite an incident where I almost ran into a parked car and fell on my bike I managed to put up a decent time and place 3rd out of 14 in my age group. That race was a real confidence booster and the first time I thought that I could really compete in my age group.
Next up was the Bluff Creek sprint. I had a great race and cracked the top ten overall and another 3rd place finish within my age group. One week later I finished a much larger sprint 5th out of 44. I was especially proud of my swim time which was 14s/100yd faster than the previous weeks.
Six days after that last sprint I raced my first half ironman on the year. I completely blew away my expectations of myself and finished in 5:01:46. The goal was to break 5:15 and I shattered that, setting a 33 minute PR in the process.
Hy-Vee was next and this was the first time that I would repeat a race from the year before. The course was a little different but I beat the previous year's time by 7 minutes and that was without a wetsuit. Next up was another sprint and another repeat course at the Iowa Games triathlon. I beat that time by over 5 minutes and had my fastest bike split and run split pace-wise of the year. Also, it was my fourth hardware race of the season with another 3rd place age group finish.
My second Oly of the year was Big Creek. I ran a 2:22:09, a PR by 2 minutes on the same course as last year. The Pigman half was an entertaining race this year. Massive rainstorms combined with raging winds made for a fun race. While the weather made it impossible to come close to a PR, I relaxed and truly had fun with this race while still managing to beat my previous year's time by 11 minutes.
My last tri of the year was a Olympic-ish distance that came in the thick of marathon training. That led to a super fast run split and allowed me to beat last year's total time by ten minutes. And last but not least was the marathon I ran two weeks ago. Obviously the 22 minute PR was the icing on the cake there and it ended my season on a positive note.
So I really didn't know how much progress I had made from year one to year two until now. They say the biggest gains are made early on and while I really don't expect to move by the same leaps and bounds between this year and the next, I will work hard to make sure I keep moving forward. That's all I can do, right?
Now it's time to decide exactly what I want to do with next season (besides becoming an ironman, that's a given) and how exactly I want to do it. Just a few short months before ironman training begins. I better make the most of it.