Wednesday, November 18, 2015

2015 Review

This time of year, I like to take a look back and really examine the last 8-10 months of training and racing.  As a young swimmer, I was taught well to constantly review past performances in order to learn and improve future races.  Back then, it was pretty simple as my 'real life' considerations were limited to the challenge of staying awake in class.  Now that life is a bit more complicated (and rewarding), looking back over the 2015 season takes on a bit of a different dimension.  The year started with a head full of hair and a few lofty goals:  Win or podium at each of the Challenge USA races, learn to walk, break 8 hours at the full distance, and get a full mouth of teeth.  I'm happy to say that half of these goals have been accomplished, but it has been a wild ride.

Early on, all of the goals seemed in reach and training was going well.  I picked up great gear support from Peluso Open Water, Dimond Bikes and Wattie Ink in addition to my long time sponsors (BlueSeventy, ISM Saddles, First Endurance, Utopian Coffee).  Training was going well and I maintained a tricky schedule focused on balancing the demands of triathlon and fatherhood.  As I moved from the trails to the track, my running speed showed up and I was confident heading into my first "A" race at Challenge Knoxville.  However, before Knoxville rolled around we were dealt with some pretty troubling news:  the Challenge races that I had targeted were no longer offing a professional prize purse!  Having to change plans and my race schedule so late in the game was tough but luckily fatherhood has taught me to be flexible and adapt.  I put together a new race schedule while Sidney continued to develop her mullet hairstyle and awkward balance.  We were both in a weird place but chose to make lemonade out of lemons.  Knoxville still had a prize purse and there were other races to add to the schedule. 

What just happened?  New Plan!
Of course, I did not plan on a trip to the hospital in Knoxville so much of my scheduling and all of my run work went unrewarded.  First new goal for 2016:  stay on the bike.  The next two races on the schedule were spectator events for me as my leg healed.  I am very fortunate to have great support because the months following the crash were not fun times. There were days when I was pretty sure I was done racing but I knew I had unfinished goals that would not let me quit.  Again, lemonade was made as we used the time to enjoy life and gain a bit of perspective.... on boats!

The second half of the year ended up being a bit ambitious with two Ironman races planned within 6 weeks of one another.  Having never done two full races in the same calendar year (last year's IMMT DNF prevented that!), it was going to be a tall ask. Fortunately, I was up to the challenge and raced relatively well. My running still has some work to do, but breaking 3 hours was encouraging.  I wasn't able to break the 8 hour mark (which I know will take the right course) and couldn't crack the top 3 at either race, but I was able to make a bit of diaper money.  Second new goal for 2016:  Break 2:50 off the bike and make the podium. 

My final race at Challenge Florida was a rewarding win and partial fulfillment of an early season goal, but more importantly it reminded me just what is important.  Over the past few years spending time with friends and family has become more rewarding than collecting PR's or even winning races.  Perhaps I'm maturing or perhaps I'm being influenced by the strong examples around me, but I continue to evolve my perspective.  I don't need Sidney to know that I won a few triathlon races or that I used to be able to swim fast.  I need her to know that I worked and sacrificed for lofty goals by doing things the right way.  Ashley has always been my biggest fan, but never cared about how fast I raced.  The three of us have big goals ahead including winning an Ironman, a surgical fellowship, learning to talk and potty training.  With this crazy year coming quickly to an end, 2016 and beyond promises to be pretty great.  Final new goal for 2016:  Remember what is important. 

Walking, Full mouth of Teeth, and preparing for what comes next!
Thank you for reading!

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