October 8th 2011 was an awesome day! First off, it was my birthday, second, it was my first Half Iron distance tri... but third... it was my last tri of 2011. WIth the exception of the ING NYC marathon, MY season was over. Bittersweet as my first year of competition crawled to an end, under the gorgeous skies of Myrtle Beach SC, surrounded by my family, we toasted to a great year, filled with many first, and pondered what to take on next. My original goal, seeing as how I did my first sprint tri in august of 2010, my first Half Iron in october '11, the natural progression was to attempt my first full iron distance race in 2012. seemed only natural to progress through the distances. I took most of december off. I ate, I drank, and relaxed without any care in the world. It was refreshing, but found myself longing for that sense of competition I couldn' get in my daily life. By the middle of december, i was already back in the gym once a week, and started to think about my goals for the season. Do I set the bar so high that it is almost unattainable? Do I try to finish a full? Or do I meerly settle into the sprint and olympic distance races that I have enjoyed, buit acheived minimal success in.
After some careful thought, and a little soul searching, I decided on my present goal... To qualify for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in September 2012. A lofty goal indeed. One that is sure to get my juices flowing, but is it that unattainable goal that I would not be able to reach, and therefore get me so frustrated that I stop trying?
Two weeks ago was the first race of the season. After training since January, all be it for Half Iron distance races, It was the first opportunity to see how I fared against the rest of my age group. A Super Sprint, which should highlight any weeknesses I have, You have to be FAST at all 3 sports, and transitions. Endurance means nothing at this point. 400m pool swim, 6mi bike, and a 2mi run... This does not look good for me. I consider myself a poor swimmer, and on longer distances on the bike I certainly can make up what I lost. My run is ok, but with shorter than a 5K ahead of me, it doesn't look good for the home team!
THe race is set up very well. Swimmers seeded themselves in time slots they thought they would swim the 400m pool swim down and back through 8 lanes like an amusement park ride. Run out of the pool to transition, hop on the bike and do a quick 3 loops on the bike course. The run, was a 2 lap sprint to the finish which was right under the aquatic center. Geat for spectators. The conditions were down right nasty. Cold and breezy, with rain int he forecast, I just needed to wait till 9:00! Then I don't care what the weather does. Just get me through the ride which is all I wanted. Fast forward through the race.. I finished 10th overall, and 3rd in my age group. I am pleased. I can be explosive if I have to be, although still not nearly as fast as I would want to be, but had I been training for that, It certainly would've served me better.
Yesterday, 5/6/2012 was the first endurance race of the aseason for me. The Escape to the Palisades half marathon. The run was held at the BEAUTIFUL palisades park on the NYC Ironman run course. 1650 feet of elevation await, and I go to bed sick the ngith before. Both kids being sick, I knew it was coming, but bad timing none the less. I finished 76th overall witha time of 1:39:32. A PR, but not where I wanted to be. although the hills didn't help me, and neither did the temperature that I had going in.. but no excuses here. I am pleased again. In 2 weeks i test my medal agianst some of the fastest people on the planet. 70.3 Flrida is on 5/20/2012. I am just about there. It will be my first opportunity to see how I will fair against my age group. I better bring my "A" game, because I am going to need it!
All in all, The rust is off... and 2012 is underway! Next weekend we have a duathlon, then the big one! wish me luck, as I am sure I am going to need it!!