This is first of a two part series called “Time Traveling.” This first post, Looking Back, will look back at my previous year of training and a even a bit further than that. The second post, Looking Forward, will share my upcoming training plan and goals for the upcoming year.
The Photo Book
First off, I took advantage of an offer Bryan @ Training Payne had and created a photo book of my 2010 racing season using Picaboo. It arrived the other day and it looks great. If you want to see what it looks like, you can view this preview. The offer was for a “free” book. Well, it was free for the first 20 pages – a $30 value. My book ended up being 36 pages, so it cost about $40 for the extra pages and shipping. This was my first time using Picaboo to make a photo book. I have used Shutterfly and Blurb in the past, but decided to give Picaboo a shot because of the offer. I am super happy with how the book turned out. The quality is top notch. However, the creation tool they offer pales in comparison to Shutterfly’s or Blurb’s tools. I feel like it took me twice as long to create the book with Picaboo than it would have with Shutterfly or Blurb. Can’t complain too much though because the discount code saved me $30.
The book turned out great and I hope to create one for each year going forward. I may even go back through my old photos and put one together for previous years as well.
Even though we are still 2 months away from the end of 2010, I feel like I should recap my 2010 season now while it is still semi-fresh. I still have a few more small races that I am tentatively doing this year, but they are mainly fun runs – nothing I am training specifically for.
- Total Races: 15
- Total Triathlons: 6 (3 HIMs, 3 sprint)
- PRs: 11 (although a lot were new distances or sprint course PRs that are unique to the distances)
- Total States: 1 – Yep, keeping it local this year
- Two marathons and two marathon PRs. My first marathon of the year was the Martian Marathon. You may recall that I dreamed my race time the night before the race. At the time, I didn’t believe my dream of 3:34 and was hoping for 3:40. Dreams do come true and I finished in 3:34:19. Then, after a season of triathlon training, I tackled the Grand Rapids Marathon for a second year finishing in 3:26:35.
- Three HIMs with increasing success. One thing that I have learned about racing triathlons is that no two races can really be compared to each other. And in some cases, no two years of the same race can really be compared. How do you even begin to compare a relatively flat course like Ironman Steelhead with the ridiculously hilly course like Breakwater. Even though my Breakwater time was 10 minutes slower than Steelhead, I am most proud of my performance at that race this year. Sure, I am thrilled with my 5:29 at Steelhead, but not only do I feel like I worked harder for my 5:39 at Breakwater, but it was also a mental turning point where I really felt like I could take the next step to an iron distance race. It doesn’t hurt that I took 2nd in my age group at Breakwater either.
- Drastically improved running times. I think my running benefitted the most from my training this year. My running race times dropped considerably and I PR-ed in every distance I ran this season except for the 10k (5k, 4.5mi, half marathon, 25k, and marathon). Unfortunately, my improved run performance didn’t translate over to my HIM triathlons though. I still struggled coming off the bike in each race. My goal had been to run a 1:50 off the bike and I am still 10 minutes away from that goal.
- I finally feel like a triathlete. This is primarily a mental victory, but this is the first year where I felt like a triathlete first and a runner second. The previous two seasons, I really felt like a runner who did triathlons. I never felt like a true triathlete. I don’t know what it was. Maybe it was my first century. Maybe it was doing open water swim training for the first time. Maybe it was biking into the cold of December last year and then itching to get back on the bike as soon as the snow melted. Whatever it was, it feels great. I am a triathlete.
- Volunteering at Ironman Wisconsin. I know I have mentioned it many times already, but my time spent volunteering was a blast. It was really cool to see a race from the other side of things. I am definitely going to try and volunteer again next season.
The Long Look Back
While I was cleaning my office, I stumbled across some pictures from my first marathon – The 2005 Bayshore Marathon. Without further adieu:
Yes, I am wearing baggy basketball shorts and a cotton t-shirt. What the heck was I thinking? Not only that, but these pictures were taken by Jennie with her old point and shoot film* camera. When Jennie saw them, she laughed at their poor quality. I should also note that this race was almost exactly one month before we were married so Jennie knew exactly what she was getting herself into ahead of time.**
My first marathon went horribly. I tweaked my knee two weeks before the race, but was
stubborn determined to run. I ended up having to walk/run the entire second half of the course. I actually met up with a woman (in the finish picture above) who I sort of knew. Her daughter was killed in a car accident earlier in the year while on vacation with a second family. I graduated with a member of second family whose parents were also killed in the accident. She was wearing a shirt “In Memory” of he family members who died. We chatted about bit and she really helped me push through to the finish.
Immediately upon finishing, I was craving Taco Bell of all things. I proceeded to eat three large Chalupas*** and giant pitcher of Mountain Dew. Probably not the smartest move, but I wasn’t thinking clearly after the run. After the 3 hour drive home, I was so stiff and sore that I nearly had to crawl up the steps to our apartment.
I was down for the count for nearly the entire summer. While the post-marathon soreness wore away in a couple days, my left knee was toast. Every run was greeted with a sharp pain. After a couple months of complete rest, I slowly built back up my mileage, determined to run another marathon. And here we are today with 8 marathons under my belt.
As bad as that first marathon was, it will always have a special place in my heart as the beginning of a long and wonderful journey.
Thanks for reading! I should have Part 2 of this Time Traveling series done tomorrow or Monday.
Have a great weekend everyone!
*Remember when you had to buy film, then bring that film back to get developed and then wait 3 days to get it back? Yep, those were the days.
**Jennie even got her first entry into the world of photographer, cheerleader, and pack mule. She even surprised me at the finish line with a 5lb bag of ice, zip lock bags, and aspirin for my knee. She snuck off to the store while I was running in anticipation of my needs. Isn’t she great??
***I can’t be certain, but this might have actually been the last time I ate at Taco Bell. Probably a smart move.