Happy last day of 2012, friends! How are you spending the last 24 16 hours (and counting) of this year? Will you set resolutions for 2013? Even though I’m not one to set goals when the clock strikes midnight (you don’t have to wait for a new year, month, or week to make a change), I do like reviewing what happened this year–on the running and triathloning fronts, of course. Seeing which races and distances proved successful—and which turned into struggle fests—I can better make my 2013 training schedule and race calendar. This post has been circulating the running, triathloning, and healthy living blogs recently—and a big thanks to Miss Zippy for conceptualizing this idea—so with the new year only hours away, it’s time to reflect on 2012.
Best race experience?
Running: The Seneca7 (during pre-Fitness and Frozen Grapes days). (The Boilermaker 15-K was a close number two!)
This seven-person relay race around Seneca Lake promised everything—running (three legs and double-digit mileage for the day), eating (the swag bags contained nut butter and chocolate!), and lots of laughing. At the beginning of the day, I didn’t know everyone on Team Run-On Sentences, but there’s nothing like running 77.7 miles to bond people.
It was literally one of the best days ever, and four of the original Run-On members are looking to get a team together for 2013; I’ll keep you posted!
Triathloning: Cazenovia Triathlon.
It was my first triathlon in my hometown—I got to swim in “my” lake, bike on “my” hills, and run on “my” roads—and my family showed up in full force!
Even though I completed brick workouts in the weeks leading up to the event, doing a true triathlon ignited a passion in me that I thought died during collegiate basketball. After I crossed the finish line, I was totally hooked; deciding to give this triathlon thing a “tri” (sorry, couldn’t help myself) was a huge turning point for me, and I can’t wait to see where it takes me in 2013.
Worst race experience?
Running: Tromptown Run (half-marathon). In hindsight, training for my first triathlon and half-marathon simultaneously wasn’t the best idea. Doing my first multisport event provided enough of a challenge (not to mention a learning curve!) that I could’ve done without increasing my mileage; if I hadn’t spent so much time running, I could’ve worked more on my swim and bike. Anyway, this race itself proved to be my toughest run (mentally) of the year. On the bright side, I can only improve, and looking forward (wayyy forward), I know I can and have run 13.1 miles … for when I train for a half-Ironman.
Triathloning: Honestly, I didn’t have a disappointing triathlon (thanks to low expectations—ha!), but the swim portion of the DeRuyter Lake Triathlon ended up being especially brutal. Wind and choppy water equated to my slowest swim split of the season.
Again, that just means there’s room for improvement.
Best piece of new gear?
Running: Mizuno Wave Elixirs.
I’ve been an ASICS girl for the longest time, but I’m really glad I switched over; these sneaks feel so light!
Triathloning: As a swim-bike-run rookie, I had to get all the necessary gear—tops and shorts, wetsuit, bike, everything. Today, especially during the winter, I’m grateful for my CycleOps Fluid2 trainer.
If I didn’t have this apparatus, I wouldn’t be riding regularly.
Best running/triathloning advice you received?
Running: “Run the mile you’re in.” (I think I read it in Runner’s World.) While running, it’s easy to get caught up the distance or time remaining. During the summer, heading out for a 10-mile run seemed daunting, so I’d break it up into smaller chunks. Sometimes, I could handle running five and then another five, or maybe eight plus two, but there would be those days that making it to the next mailbox was the goal.
Triathloning: A lot of running advice translates to triathloning—don’t try anything new on race day, always have several (“A,” “B,” and “C”) goals and races, etc. Overall, though, I’m still learning so much about the sport, and my cousin MB has been great putting up with all my questions and offering tips. Most recently, she told me about her general fueling strategy on the bike.
Most inspirational runner/triathlete?
Runner: How can I pick one runner?! Everyone has overcome obstacles, challenged themselves, and pushed past their limits, which sounds inspirational to me.
Triathlete: Again, same thing. (Although I do have a total soft spot for Craig Alexander now.) Each triathlete has a story to tell, and each has a unique journey that lead them to the swim start. Inspirational people are everywhere; you just have to look. I’ll freely admit to tearing up while watching the Ironman World Championships in Kona–crossing the finish line means much more than swimming, biking, and running. And after being inspired by these athletes, how can you not want to do it too?
If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be?
Challenging myself, going outside my comfort zone, and ultimately making a lifestyle change.
Tackling new distances—like my first 10-K—volunteering at the Ironman 70.3 Syracuse and with New York Runners in Support of Staten Island, and finishing my first sprint triathlon.
Where I was mentally during my half-marathon; and honestly, the end of the triathlon season bummed me out. In terms of confidence, I hit a turning point during my third tri, and I felt like I was starting to somewhat figure out what I was doing. That’s off-season motivation, though!
Surprise of the year?
The fact that I started triathloning—and having people call me a triathlete. I still can’t wrap my head around it sometimes! If you told me one year ago—when I was a wee college senior—that I would be swimming, biking, and running after graduation, I probably would’ve looked at you in complete disbelief and had a good laugh. Now, though, it seems like such a logical transition, and I can’t picture myself not triathloning.
Let’s hear about your 2012: favorite race? Best piece of new gear? Surprise of the year?