Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Training Year in Review

So 2013 has finally come to a close.  All my 'gaudy' training numbers from the past year will reset back to "0".  Kind of a bummer when you look at your numbers in January, but it is what it is as they say.  Let's not dwell on that, but look at how we did over the past year:

338,564.6 Yards
127 Hours, 39 Minutes
142 Swims
High Week: December 9th 12,800 yards
High Month: December 42,950 yards
Slightly more yardage than last year (337K).  That was a little surprising due to the first part of the year was more drill based than yardage based.  Pushing for more yardage in 2014 because, well you know, I really stink at swimming.

5,087.9 Miles
234 hours, 12 minutes
21.72 mph average
129 Rides
High Week: July 8th 309.7 miles
High Month: July 835.4 miles
Slightly less than last year (5,139) but I had some longer rides, and some more intense rides.  Was psyched to get a 300 mile week in.  Overall speed average was higher (yes I know that doesn't matter and I shouldn't be looking at that, but I just can't seem to help myself.  Hopefully a powermeter will cure me of my speed obsession.)  Can we get 6K in 2014?

1,510.9 Miles
180 Hours, 35 minutes
7:10.3 min/mile
183 Runs
High Week: February 18th 54.9 miles
High Month: March 224 miles
Many more miles than last year (1,031) due to the marathon training.  Also at the beginning of 2012 I was still getting over my hip bursitis.  I felt really good through most of the year and was happy to have such a good run base.  On the flip side, I feel it burned me out toward the end of the year. So I prolly won't be logging so many miles in January and February.

Lift Weights
20 hours, 15 minutes
81 Lifts
Less than last year (23 hours), but the blasphemy of lifting weights will continue!

6,791.2 Miles
562 Hours, 41 minutes (with lifts)
454 SBR workouts
8% Increase in time from last year (521:06).

So that puts me at 14,517 points for the year (using the ST points system).  Next year I definitely want to hit the 15K point mark.  I should be close as I'll probably have more swim yardage and bike miles, but less run miles.

Overall I'm pretty pleased with the year in training.  I guess I'll always be trying to find ways get more rides or longer rides in.  And try to find motivation to swim big yardage come August.  Mentally, I usually hit the swim training wall about then. Hopefully this coming year with the Masters group and Chattanooga it won't be an issue.  So Goodbye 2013, and let's get ready to wreak some Big Sexy havoc in 2014!!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

2013 Race Year in Review

So I thought I'd put down a few thoughts on each of my races from the past year to formally "put it behind me", and get ready for my 2014 Schedule.

01.01 Baxter Trail New Years Trail Run (8M) 1:01:07, 1st Overall (71 finishers)
This was just a fun 13K trail race with pretty low competition.  It was fun and I was happy to win it.  It was a good way to start off the year.

02.23 Charlotte 10 Miler 1:01:00, 1/27 AG, 7/154 Overall Men
Basically a tune up race before Boston.  I was pleased with my fitness level to average 6:10 per mile (short course) and with my ability to fight off people down the stretch.  Gave me a lot of confidence.

04.15 Boston Marathon 3:16:32; 875/1,691 AG; 4,430/10,368 Overall Men
The pinnacle of running.  The experience is everything that everyone talks about and more.  I finally ran a marathon where I didn't crash and burn the last 10K.  I easily beat my modest goal of 3:20 and had a great time.

05.18 Over the Mountain 2:22:19, 1/22 AG, 11/142 Overall Men
My first tri of the year went really well. Smashed my PR on the swim, 7th overall bike time and then hammered the first 3 miles of the run in 6:06's.  I easily won my age group and almost cracked the top ten.

06.15 Slide Into Baxter Sprint 1:04:45, 1/70 Overall
The local sprint tri.  I've done this race all 4 years of its existence, but this was the first time I won it.  It was the first time I won any triathlon, so that was awesome!

07.04 Wawasee Flotilla Road Race (8M) 47:23, 1/? AG, 7/? OA
The annual Fourth of July road race at my parents summer place in Indiana.  Small race, but was pretty happy with my run fitness to crank out 5:55's for the 8 miles.

08.04 Stumpy Creek 2:23:51, 2/38 AG, 15/208 OA
A bit of wake up call for my swimming ability, as I couldn't make up for my swim time.  Still, I felt OK as I had an "off" day and still took 2nd in the AG.

09.08 Ironman 70.3 World Championships 5:06:30, 97/237 AG, 599/1372 OA
The "A" race did not go as planned.  I picked a bad day to have a bad day as they say.  It was still a great experience, and not just a "learning" one.  But now, whenever I race a tough course or conditions,  I can say that at least it wasn't as bad as Vegas.

10.13 Rev3 South Carolina 4:37:59, 3/45 AG, 17/277 OA
I finished up the season on a positive note, grabbing some 3rd place AG swag.  This is a tough course, so I was glad to lay down a decent time.

Now that I look back on it I had a pretty good year.  When your worst race of the year is your "A" race, it's a pretty big bummer.   But now that I've had some time to think about it, I'm pretty happy with how it all went down.  It helped quite a bit when I found out that I again was a USAT All-American.  I wasn't ranked as high as 2012, but still you can't complain about being in the top 5% in the country in your age group.  USAT now does state and regional rankings as well.  It was kinda cool to see that I was ranked third in all of South Carolina in the Male 40-44 age group.  I was 10th in my age group in the entire Southeast Region.  It surely sounds impressive, whether it is or not.

So all in all it was a great year.  I raced the Boston Marathon.  I won my first overall at a triathlon (plus an overall win to start the year).  I raced in the 70.3 World Championships and the USAT Long Course National Championships.  And I made my first triathlon team!  It is definitely something to build on for 2014 as I will do my first swim race, 3 halfs, and my first Full Ironman.  Bring it ON!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Masters Swimming

So last winter I got a swim coach to work on my form.  I only met with her every couple of months.  She'd tell me how bad I sucked, and give me drills to work on it.  There were a few glaring things and once I worked on those, my 100 repeat times in the pool dropped by 15 seconds.  It was pretty impressive, and I felt good.  I even broke 29 minutes in a wetsuit Olympic lake swim.  I was quite pleased. 

At the end of the year, my results were not as pleasing.  I had a couple of non-wetsuit races in which I just got killed.  Then the stark realization of how slow I was swimming set in at Rev3 Anderson.  I swam 40 minutes for a half with a wetsuit.  It was a lake swim much like the one I did at the Try Charleston Half back in April of 2012.  So pretty much comparing apples to apples, a year and half later I was 1 minute slower.  Yes slower in the open water.  My pool times had really improved, but I just wasn't seeing that translate into races.

I decided to mix things up and start going to a masters swim group.  In the mornings they meet every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  They don't meet until 5:30am and its an additional 10-15 minutes from work.  It doesn't fit into my schedule really well, but I wanted to make it work.  I went on a Friday initially because I typically slide into work later on that day anyways.

The Rock Hill Aquatic Center is quite a nice facility.  The above pic shoes the cool pool in the foreground and the warm pool in the background.  Its kinda out in the middle of nowhere but parking is ample.  Of course you park on the opposite side of the building from the entrance.  Still trying to figure that out.  I first went on a nonmasters day just to check everything out (and get my palm code setup).  There was literally no one in the cool pool when I started.  Only like 4 of us by the time I got out.

I contacted the head master(?) or coach(?), well, the person in charge.  She was going to be out a while and she directed me to Jamie.  Jamie helped me a bunch that first session.  The hardest thing was figuring out what group I should swim with.  I knew I should be on the slow end and she put me a couple lanes from the end.  I swam with Jamie the first few times I went and it worked out well.  The workouts are fair, not crazy hard.  They do a LOT of kicks, which is good for me.  I have the worst kick in the history of organized triathlon.

This last time I went, we ended up doing 3,400 yards.  But it went by really quickly.  In fact I was surprised when I went back through the workout we did and added up all the yardage.  I swam with Barb, who was great.  She really kept us on track with the rest.  When you do a workout by yourself, sometimes you take a little extra rest.  Sometimes you take a break in the middle of a 12x100 and give yourself a minute rest.  Not in Masters.  You get lazy on an interval and come in 5 seconds before the start of the next one, you get 5 seconds rest.  That's it.  It really pushes you.  That's what I need.  I wish I could go more.  For now I plan on every Friday and Wednesday when I can.  I went Wednesday this past week and that helped me get in 11,500 yards for the week.  Not crazy, not my best, but its a start.

They also host a bunch of open water swims when it gets warmer.  I really want to get in on some of those.  I need to practice that more.  Like I said, for some reason I've gotten faster in the pool, but slower in the open water.  Fear is a great motivating factor.  As I told my wife: don't think that the 2.4 mile swim in Chattanooga doesn't scare the ever livin' crap out of me . . . cause it does.