Thursday, January 8, 2015

2014 Year in Review

I always have my best thoughts while I'm working out. Unfortunately, I usually do not have a pen/paper next to me so have to rely on my memory when I actually go to write my blog.

I was hoping to write a 2014 recap prior to December 31st, but figure now is just as good of a time to reflect on last year. I've noticed a pattern in my racing (bear with me, I am a "numbers" person after all): odd number years suit me really well.

In 2009, I ran my first sub-3 hour marathon.

Christmas gift from the parents to celebrate my first ever sub-3!

In 2011, I established my still-standing marathon PR (granted, this was the most recent time I've raced a marathon to date).

Never planned to PR, just planned to COMPLETE a pain-free marathon!

In 2013, I set PRs in every distance (minus the marathon, but only because I did not attempt it) while triathlon training.

Pretty accurately summed up my feelings on a 2+ minute PR at the U of I 1/2.
 One of the most memorable races of my entire life.
Shamrock Shuffle the day after PowerMan Alabama + 12 hour car-ride home.

So in 2015, I plan on PR-ing in every distance. Why not set the bar high? Worst case, I improve some of my times? I'll take that.

2014 started off with a bang for me. Ryan and I dedicated our whole winter of training to peak at IM Cabo in hopes of qualifying for Kona round 2. I had a breakthrough performance and ran a 3:10 marathon (this is mentioned only because it beat Ryan...;)) to cap off a 2nd place female amateur finish.

The 3:10 marathon at the end of an Ironman thing showed me that I could at least break 2:50 in the marathon, maybe even get down to that desired 2:42:xx. So, after some heavy thinking, I decided to train for the Olympic Trials standard of sub-2:43. This would require a LOT of sacrifice, but I was willing since my attempts had been cut short multiple times in 2011 (partial hamstring tear, twice).

After feeling totally ready to go, and having my coach/training partner run a 2:43 in Boston, I was fairly confident that if all things went well (aka weather), I'd be claiming a slot to the Olympic Trials. Well, 6 days away from Grandma's Marathon, I banged my knee on one of my student's chairs and developed a deep bone bruise. Even running with 40% of my body weight on the Alter-G was painful, so we pulled the plug.

The frustrating part of all of this was that I took time off of biking and swimming...for what? Now not only had I NOT even attempted to qualify for the Trials, but I lost fitness on the bike and swim for my training for Kona.

I'm not going to dwell on Kona anymore (here is the recap) as I do realize that I am fortunate enough to just be going to Kona, but I have to reiterate that my 2014 Kona performance did NOT show what I am actually capable of in the Ironman., we signed up for IM Cozumel. Ryan and I both were frustrated with our Kona races and had decided before Kona that we'd think about IMCoz after Kona in hopes of using our fitness gained from training for Kona to earn our slots to Kona 2015. Sure enough, we both used our frustrations from Kona to propel us to a 2nd (Ryan) and 3rd (me) place overall finish, which was good enough to claim our slots to Kona 2015.

We both took three weeks off after Cozumel. I mean, we raced THREE Ironmans in one year, with two of those a mere 7 weeks apart. How many people (excluding the pros) do this? It is taxing on your body not only physically, but also mentally. We are lucky that both Mexico trips provided us with great results, but mentally we were pretty fatigued as well. We allowed ourselves to enjoy ice cream and cookie dough and pizza. We worked out for however long we felt like. We went to movies. We went shopping (though, trying on clothes when not in training is not something I'd recommend). We stayed out late with friends. We adopted the "standard" late-20s-married-couple routine and just took a break from the structure we had been consumed by for the past year.

I wish I could say I loved every second of it...but I'd be lying. Those who know me know that I thrive when I'm in a routine. As I'm writing this, I am OUT of my routine, as this is currently our second "cold day," meaning no school. I've done some reading and some thinking on my own and have come to realize that, while I thrive while under a routine, I need to be able to thrive under all circumstances. Nothing in life is perfect, so I need to figure out how to make on-the-fly adjustments when necessary so that I don't lose focus on my goals.

2015 is going to be a BIG year. My goals completely scare the crap out of me but also get me real excited when thinking about them. As the saying goes, "If your goals don't scare you, they're not big enough." Goal blog to come soon.... off to run a workout in an attempt to make my DREAM a reality.

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