2015 is done and dusted, and it’s time to tally the results. It was a really mixed bag, but as they say, you either win some or learn some, and there was a lot of both things in the last 12 months.
Do some soul searching and figure out what is important to YOU for 2015 race-wise, since you may be on a different schedule than Zliten for at least half if not more of the year. Race the marathon Feb 28th only if training is going well. Make appropriate goals as such. No arbitrary January 1st goals on what you’re supposed to PR or tackle next year, just the promise that each race will be for a reason.
Well, sort of. I raced a lot less this year than I have in the past, with doing only five triathlons and four running races, and that was by design. I’ve learned that I don’t love jumping into a bunch of races if my intention isn’t to either a) PR or b) use that race for a specific purpose. So, I actually focused more on the training than amassing a bunch of t-shirts and medals.
Luckily, after winding down after the Woodlands Marathon (and vacation, and recovering, and getting sick before I could actually train again), Zliten bounced back rather quickly and we found ourselves mostly on the same schedule, so I had my training partner back much more quickly than I expected. While I’m a bit more of a higher mileage pony overall and ducked out for some extra sessions/add on miles/split off to do our own thing the last part of runs or bikes during periods of 2015, we mostly attacked the same training.
I had some really awesome races. The Woodlands Marathon may have been slower than I’d hoped, but I ran the whole thing and felt really strong that day. I PR’d race after race after race after race after race in the spring and summer. Rookie and Cap Tex netted me some insane PRs and I showed I was a better athlete this year by improving at Pfluger and Jacks by about 1.5 minutes each time.
I crashed and burned at the end of the year. One time, it was due to circumstances outside of my immediate control. One time, I just lost steam and my brain and body gave up on me. I’m still trying to put together exactly what happened and restore my shaken confidence, after 4 months of training resulted in 2 SPECTACULAR blow ups, but I definitely learned a few things from both the good and the bad:
- I’m able to put enough training to be decent (and maybe soon starting to be AG competitive) at the shorter races. My head holds together pretty well and executes well up to the 2-3 hour mark. I’m able to dial in a goal and most times hit the targets (or at least come close).
- There’s something about the longer stuff I just can’t seem to fully grasp. I had decent luck at running a full marathon without stopping, but I had spectacular crash and burns at 70.3 and another 26.2.
- Still, I find enjoyment in training and dreaming and racing the longer stuff. Or I’d just stop doing it.
- Racing a hot marathon on 6 weeks of training banking on post 70.3 fitness is always doable, but never going to be your best shot at a great experience.
- Even if I’m having a fantabulously shitty day and want to give up and DNF, that’s not what I do. And that’s something to be proud of, if nothing else.
Polarized and periodized training seems to work. Continue with this. Easy days easy. Hard days on point. Base periods without electronics or focus and embracing the joy of movement with really loose volume suggestions instead of nailing a certain mileage/pace. Months out of your A race – 85% easy 15% hard. Closer – more goal pace work.
I think I did the best at this than I ever have, though I have room for improvement. I did push the intensity a bit too much leading up to Lake Pflugerville (almost all quality sessions), which I would dial back because I was missing a little give a shit on race day from too many hard workouts in a row. But, I did much less throwing a lot of easy volume at things and trained much more specifically.
1k run miles, 3k bike miles (less on the trainer), 100 swim miles.
Run check (1,022). Bike, so not check (1893). Swim, also not check (45 miles). I definitely had a different focus than I did years before – but when you have 5 months out of the year focused on marathons, 1 month of offseason, and only 1 long triathlon to train for – the volume goes by the wayside.
However, I can tell you that it was the most INTENSE year for swimming and cycling. I did a lot more focused workouts with sets and paces and watts and goals, and I got faster at both. Funny how that works.
Work strength and stretching in as I can.
I’ll have to go back and count this up later because dailymile is being cranky but the gist of it was I sucked at it the first half of the year and was pretty excellent at it the second half, minus December.
DDR is a great plyometric workout.
And my mat broke and the workout room is full of junk. Moving on.
Run streak January.
Nailed it! Doing it again this year, I’m already on day 6 and loving it!
Figure out a time for offseason. True offseason, same as July for you this year. At least 1 month.
Nailed it as well. Had a great 5 weeks focused on water park and lake time above all else.
No booze January
In which I held out for 11 days, reset my tolerance for a bit, but with a new promotion and job stress and trying to also clean up my eating and not spend any money, I spent the most miserable and boring 2 weekends of my life and decided that moderation is the key instead of abstinance.
A bunch of other stuff…
I tried to continue to do the lower-grain thing and found it wasn’t the weight loss panacea I had hoped. In fact, I gained some lbs and was kind of cranky about it. I worked with a nutritionist in July and found out
a) I know how to lose weight, I just forgot how. Counting calories, hitting macros, actually sticking to it.
b) It’s counterproductive to try to lose weight during season. Workouts are hard, racing suffers, and I get hangry.
c) I’m still looking for the way to fuel my workouts and sustain me during season without gaining a shit ton of weight, because his plan piled on 12 lbs in one month that I still can’t seem to shake.
I did feel a lot freer being able to eat things in bread and out of flour tortillas and rice and pasta, and I was able to lose weight during offseason (5 lbs in a month) doing that. So, eating a damn sandwich is not off limits. That was nice after a year of bread being the devil.
The promotion that was up in the air happened. Sadly, reorganization also happened which made doing my new job a whole lot more stressful.
- While I felt like a damn duck, looking calm and composed on the surface, but paddling like hell underneath a lot of the time, my team and I rocked this year.
- I feel like this position is probably one of the best fits I’ve ever had in terms of taking my experience and letting me fly. I kind of feel like this is something that my entire professional career has been leading up to, if that makes any sense.
- I played a lot of my games. I’m not as caught up with everything as I’d like, but I’m getting closer.
- Holy hell, let’s talk about that paddling like mad thing. I feel like I blacked out some really stressful periods of 2010, which was my first year of being producer. I’m pretty sure I’ll look back on this year the same way. I think I held it together pretty well on the surface, but I don’t think I’ve needed a 20 day vacation more than I ever did this December.
- I got bad at leaving the stress at work. I’ll be honest, I’m not a stress eater, but work definitely drove me to drink at some points.
I didn’t give away 1 thing every day like I wanted, but I did have a giant garage sale and donate a bunch of bags after it to charity.
Don’t go into a training hole…
I think I balanced the social calendar pretty well. I had to pull back a bit in March for marathon recovery/getting sick, and again in August-September due to family visits/work stress/mental recovery, but I don’t feel like I missed out on too much.
Less facebook/twitter, more short posts here, less weekly recaps.
Well, um, let’s move on, shall we?
Complete the TX tri series with a combination of volunteering and racing.
Do something that’s a hobby, not dying in front of the tv, once a week for more than a few minutes.
I actually got really into reading this year. Some periods of time, I did well with gaming. My sewing machine, necklaces, and piano are untouched. 🙁
Actually go scuba diving in lake travis this summer (or somewhere) so I don’t noob it up in the winter.
Yep. It was totally awful. I hope to not have to do that again for a while.
Spend as much time in the water I can.
End the year with 3 words to describe 2015 that are as positive as “grateful, fun, and focused”.
This took me a little while, and while I considered “stressful” as one of them, I tried to look beyond that.
Minus the last two unfortunate races of 2015, I really feel like I came into my own this year in a few regards. I have ZERO imposter syndrome anymore at work, I rock at what I do and I know it. I REALLY nailed some races this year. I’m a lot more confident on the bike though I know I have a long way to go. Of course I still have those worries if I’m doing the right thing at times, but I have confidence in the things I chose being the best decision I could make at the time.
Again, in so many regards, I spent the year saying, “rock and roll, let’s do this” and then having to follow through (and doing it). The major stuff – I didn’t quit. Even when it was hard. Even when I wanted to. Sometimes this caused a bunch of stress, but, I feel much better about following through with the hard stuff and learning the lessons. True, it tested my strength and pushed me to the limits of my capacity and sanity at times, but here we are, and I’m ready for more.
This is kind of a two parter. I found so much joy, so much healing, so much… love in the water this year. Paddling, swimming, racing, kayaking, snorkeling, scuba diving, waterpark-ing, and sometimes just existing and kicking back. I am not me when you remove my water… I am a pisces through and through.
Also, I found fluidity in life to be my savior this year. The January streak and the whole Woodlands training block made me realize that “run – a lot – whenever and whatever” is actually a decent way to train for a marathon. Work threw me curveballs and waking up in the morning sometimes was hard, but I learned how to run with a headlamp or at lunch or just sucking it up and training in the heat like a dang animal. When work projects started to go sideways, we always got things back on track by having a little fluidity in the plan and being able to attack a problem from many angles.
So there you have it. 2015 had it’s ups and downs, but at the end of it all – confident, committed, and fluid are not terrible ways to sum up 365 days of life.