… but mostly triathloning.
Can you believe 2013 is coming to a close? As part of Miss Zippy’s yearly roundup, bloggers post their “year in running” recaps, and since both Jen and Jamie shared their reviews, I decided to follow suit. Below are some 2013 highlights.
Best race experience
Whew, starting with a toughie! Three races stand out from this season, so I’ll briefly talk about each. Going in chronological order, my first swim-bike-run contest of 2013 was the Nautica South Beach Triathlon.
As my first official race “flying” the Full Throttle Endurance colors, this event served as a benchmark; it gave me an accurate idea of where I stood in terms of my training and showed which areas needed more work. Due to the waves, the swim was hands down the most challenging one I’ve completed, but I put together a decent bike and run to take second place in my age group.
Another reason I loved this event? I got to race, cheer for, hang out with my teammates!
Taking place in late June, the Stamford KIC It Triathlon was another favorite. The race had an edge in terms of logistics: located close to New York City, a.k.a. no overnight stay required.
The event’s atmosphere made it one to remember too. The volunteers and crowd support were awesome, and even though the bike course kicked my butt, I loved almost every minute. The pictures from this race speak for themselves.
Last but certainly not least was USA Triathlon Age Group Nationals in Milwaukee. This was my first trip to the “Big Dance” of short-course racing, and wow, what an experience: perfect venue, ideal course, and an exciting atmosphere.
I got my butt handed to me, but I loved racing and hanging out with my teammates. I can’t wait to get back on this course in 2014 and see how much I can improve!
During the end of my season, I used to run long with one of my pace group teammates as she prepared for Timberman 70.3. These outings were always fun; we slowed the pace, chilled out, and talked literally the entire time. And during my half-marathon training, I had a lot of quality runs with my coach and teammates. Gotta love going long, right?
In terms of best run off the bike, I finally started to get close to the lactate threshold “sweet spot” at the Darien ITPMAN Triathlon. Giving credit where credit is due, my coach yelled at me, which helped a lot. And I also wanted to leave everything on the course; after all, it was my last race of the year.
Best piece of new gear
OK, so I’m obviously pumped about my Slice (my parents bring it tomorrow!), but since I didn’t use it this season, I’ll go with my wetsuit. As a wannabe swimmer, I need all the help I can get! My new saddle comes in at a close second. Again, I didn’t race on it this year, but it’s made my offseason CompuTrainer/indoor bike trainer workouts so much better. (For the trigeeks, I went with the Cobb Gen2.)
Best piece of running/triathloning advice you received
This has been drilled into my head: “Shorter, shorter, quicker, quicker.” The principle of taking short, quick strides has revolutionized my running. I’ve become a midfoot striker, which has alleviated nearly all of the calf pain I experienced last year. Also, reminding myself to run this way makes it easier to turn over my legs, maintain an ideal cadence, and overall hit and hold paces coming off the bike.
Most inspirational runner
Between teammates and customers at the store, I see inspirational runners everyday. One woman does stand out, though. Earlier this month, she stopped by to get a pair of sneakers because she just finished chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer. She used to run half-marathons all the time, but things changed with her diagnosis. Even after everything she’s been through, she absolutely radiated positivity. We had an hour-long shoe fit and found two options that would help her start running again. Working with folks like her in this component of my job make me feel like I’m actually making a difference.
If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be?
Swim, bike, run, improve, repeat.
How did your year of running/triathloning go?