I think I’ve been kinda of dreading the whole recap post because when I think back on my 2012 race season, it wasn’t one of my best. I had a few good, shorter races / results here and there, but as a whole, all of my “bigger” races did not go as planned. Despite wishing my races had been more successful, I managed to take each “bad” race with a grain of salt, learn something, and move on. Hence why I’ve been a little less excited to reflect back on races I’ve vowed to move on from. 🙂
Looking back, I had three big races planned for 2012 starting with White Lake (and I only consider it big because of its distance, not necessarily its importance), Eagleman 70.3 and Worlds. Each race left quite a bit to be desired on the results front (or lack thereof) but I can confidently say that each race taught me a very valuable lesson about either myself, my training, my nutrition, course selection, etc.
White Lake: Long and short of it was, I woke up ~25 min before my swim start and then my left adductor starting absolutely killing me 1/2 way through the bike ride. I headed out on the run in pain and unable / unwilling to suffer through 13+ miles in 90+ heat. DNF’ing at any race, big or small, A, B, C-race, long course or short course, pretty much sucks. But, I made the decision to call it a day with fear I would further injure myself and I’m proud that I was able to do so. I never really got to the bottom of what exactly caused my leg to hurt so badly, but I imagine a lot had to do with a new bike and a new fit. So I learned a lot at this race – 1.) set two alarms 2.) that it takes quite a while to get adjusted to a new bike fit 3) that my new bike fit (little did I realize) was pretty darn aggressive for a longer distance racing 4.) that you shouldn’t attempt a 56 mile ride, on a new bike, with a new, aggressive bike fit, on a pancake flat course, when the longest you’d ridden on the bike prior was ~45 miles and lastly, 5.) that its possible to wake up, down an eGel for “breakfast”, sprint to a race site on your bike, set up your transition, get your chip (thanks to my sister), get in your wetsuit and get to the start of a race in less than 25 minutes. Hopefully I won’t need to be practicing that ever again!! I think the bike issues have worked itself out as I have zero plans to get a new triathlon bike for at least the next 47 years and I’m more than comfortable at this point.
Eagleman: I stretched at mile 0.25 on the run only to have my entire hamstring tie itself in a ball. What I learned / confirmed is that I don’t do well in the heat. Period. I learned a lot about salt intake for 90-100 degree temps and confirmed I don’t like pancake flat races. I finished here in ~5:40 I believe (truly cannot remember), my slowest 70.3 race by a lot after the longest 13.1 mile death march of my life….but I gutted it out and earned my medal and I’m happy that I did. 🙂
Worlds: Well, I think of all the races that didn’t go so well, I learned the most at Worlds about preparation, mental toughness and changing your race day plan / expectation on the fly, which we so often have to do in triathlon. From the minute we arrived in Auckland, my race day plan needed revision and so did my bike set up. I had only brought along my deep dish wheels and with winds of 40-50 km/hour, I learned to come more prepared. Given my bike bag can hold two sets of wheels, going forward, I’ll be sure to take advantage of this. I also learned after the first 400 meters of the swim that I was going to have to revise my race result expectations and even more so, after about 10 miles into the bike ride after pulling over two times for various mishaps. Instead of giving up, I used the bad swim and crappy bike ride to fuel me for a great, “enjoyable’ run and vowed to smile the whole time. Turns out, smiling is infectious! Adjusting your expectations on the fly is a crucial part of this sport.
Though I didn’t have the day I’m capable of, or that I hoped, in any of these bigger races, 2012 did have a lot of ups that I am truly proud of! In no particular order…
1. I raced my first year in the “open” category for the NC series (huge tail between my legs moment) and was delighted to finish as the 5th overall female for the year.
2. I joined MAC Masters – a program I’ve heard about, been encouraged to join, been tempted to join for over 3 years, but never had the courage.
3. I came within a minute of an Olympic time trial gold medalists time at the Lowe’s TT and posted a top 3 female times ever (21:49).
4. I led two Olympic distance races for the first ~2 miles of the run and despite getting passed, managed to hold on to 2nd in both. (There will be no getting passed in 2013!) 🙂
5. I won the NC State Time Trial Championship.
6. I upgraded from a Cat 4 to a Cat 3 road cyclist.
7. I ran a 5k PR (20:10) and a 13.1 (1:36) PR.
8. I hired a new coach whom I adore, is understanding and truly my friend.
9. I got an new awesomely sweet bike that makes me go really fast.
10. I got a great promotion at my “real job”.
And, last but maybe the most gratifying of them all…
11. I coached 18 amazing athletes to PR’s, new distances, and great seasons of their own!
All in all, I’d say 2012 was a very successful year!
As I do every year, here are my totals for 2012 as compared to 2011.
As a whole, it was a great year for me training-wise. Given my focus on shorter distance, my volume is lower than it was in 2009 and 2010, which is to be expected. I suspect 2013 will include a lot more swimming and quite a bit more of everything, which makes me happy. I credit 86 hours of strength training, which is primarily in the form of yoga, for keeping me generally very healthy and injury-free despite training hard with little down time for 5 years now!
I hope everyone takes the time to reflect back on their race season, their big races, their good races, their not so good races and pats themselves on the back – regardless of the results. Whether you finished 1st or 101st, you trained day in and day out, you had the courage to toe the line and you got yourself to the finish line – and that’s what really matters!