Wednesday, December 10, 2014

2014 Race Year in Review

Since I'm not training heavily, I have plenty of time to reflect on my year of Racing.  It felt like I really didn't race that much.  I did do nine races, and for some people that probably isn't very much.  It felt like not very much as I basically didn't race for June, July, or August, not counting the first day of June or the last day of August.

Any racing season that ends with a Kona qualifier is an amazing year, but let's see how it all played out.

01.01 Ring in the New Year 5K 24:35, 1st Overall (46 Finishers)
A fun little trail run at my "backyard" Greenway.  Ran with family and friends. Devastated and enormous field for the W.

03.01 Howl at the Sun 5K 17:51, 1st Overall (360 finishers)
Another fun little local 5K fundraiser for my son's middle school.  Again, devastated the field.

04.05 Come-See-Me Half 1:21:15, 2nd Overall (134 Finishers)
The first 'real' race of the year.  Pretty good gauge of my shape (6:04 avg thru 9 miles before the hills).

04.19 TryCharleston Half 4:12:56 (short), 1/26 Age Group, 5/144 Overall Men
The first triathlon of the year went quite well with a surprising 5th overall.  I had a good swim (for me).  I was the 2nd fastest person on the day after the swim.  I won the AG by 18 minutes.

05.17 USMS Open Water Swim 2.4M 1:15:16, 4/5 AG, 23/62 Overall Wetsuit
My first swim race ever.  It was part of the Chattanooga training weekend in which we rode and ran the course.  It was a 'face your fears' type of race, and it gave me a lot of swim confidence moving forward.

06.01 IM Raleigh 70.3  4:29:51, 2/279 AG, 13/1262 Overall Non-Pro
Some good competition up in Raleigh.  I got edged out (again) by David Hall of Greenville.  I had a real good bike, but the run legs just weren't there.  Still pleased with an Ironman 70.3 podium finish, though.

08.31 Atomic Man Half 4:26:27, 1/101 Overall, First Half Iron Overall Win
This race was a good test of fitness after the last 3 months of training.  I went as hard as I could on the bike, and still felt fine on the run.  It was fun to get the overall win.

09.28 IM Chattanooga 9:29:19, 6/402 AG, 11/1,594 Overall Non-Pro
The "A" race.  My first full Ironman. The greatest test of physical endurance the world has ever . . . well you get the idea.  But I nailed my first 140.6, and it feels amazing.  I guess I feel validated.  I wasn't crazy to race my first full as hard as I could.  I didn't take it easy to try and 'just finish'.  My goal of a KQ at my first Ironman wasn't idiotic.  It can be done without a coach.  It just takes determination, hard work, an understanding spouse and genetics.  It wasn't luck.  There was no luck involved with the number of hours of training that I put in.

Going into Chattanooga was such an unkown for me.  At least with Ironman Augusta 70.3, I had one half iron race under my belt.  With Chattanooga, I had nothing to compare it too.  I just had to be confident in my training.  I felt pretty close to being ready about 2 weeks out, from my last workout of the week.  I had done a 3 hour ride above IM pace (and averaged 21.7 mph) in the morning.  That afternoon I ran 10 miles: a 2 mile warmup and then 8 miles where I averaged 6:05 pace.  I felt good.  I felt strong.  I felt (almost) ready.  I never really felt totally ready.

That training run gave me the confidence I needed.  As I said before, at about Mile 3, I threw out the 7:45 pace goal and decided I needed to go faster.  That decision led to my "Rinny-esque" performance on the run.  8-1/2 minutes out of a Kona slot at the start of the run, I made up 9 minutes to slide into the last spot.

10.27 Charlotte SouthPark Turkey Trot 8K 31:51, 8/209 AG, 86/3452 Overall

Just a fun "afterthought" race with my wife and some friends.

So overall, this easily has to be my best year of triathlons yet. As of right now my USAT age group ranking is 62nd in the nation.  My 4 triathlons were all my highest USAT scoring races ever with the exception of Rev3 Florida.  That was my single highest score, but that's because the swim was cancelled and it was a bike run.  Kinda my strengths.

I'm second in the South Carolina M40-44 (third in all of the Southeast).  Someday I'll figure out how to beat David Hall of Greenville.  So I'll be USAT All-American for the 3rd straight year.  I'll also be an Ironman All World Athlete Silver based just on my points from just 2 races (Raleigh and Chattanooga).

But none of that rankings crap matters because I qualified for Kona.  I'm just gonna let that sink in a bit.  I'm going to freakin' Kona.  The Holy Grail of Triathlon.  And it's in Hawaii!  Well, time to go drink some beer before we start ramping up another Championship Year in 2015!