Before this summer, I had only done 1 sprint triathlon in 2006. I had wanted to do one in 2007 but with the "little" things like graduation, a wedding, honeymoon, changing cities and starting a new job, I stuck to running events. The transition to work and being away from DH was a little tough, so after about 4 months in the "real world" I signed up for Kansas 70.3 How's that for motivation?
In all, this summer I did 4 triathlons - 1 sprint (Bike Source), 1 70.3 (Kansas), 1 international distance (Jackson County Triathlon) and 1 sprint-turned-splash-and-dash (Olathe Women's Tri). So while I only had one race under my belt in May, I now have completed 5 races. I also did a 1/2 marathon, 110-mile bike ride, 4-mile fun race, and a 10k trail race.
I didn't actually finish the 70.3 due to lightning on the course. But other than that, I have to say that would have been my favorite distance. The long course was fun, too. Sprint races are fine, but at this point there is no sense of accomplishment. I hope that on any given weekend, I can slog through a sprint, no matter how I've been training. For me triathlons are about pushing the limits and sprints just don't have that affect anymore. I guess that means I'm improving.
Top 10 Lessons Learned:
- Never donate blood 2 days before a 1/2 marathon.
- Always practice with gear before a race (wetsuit).
- Particularly in cold water, warm up and get acclimated BEFORE the race. (Did this twice. When will I learn?)
- BBQ is NOT a good pre-race meal.
- Pizza, in moderation, is a great pre-run fuel.
- Don't leave nutrition to the last minute.
- I can go harder on the bike than I think.
- Ditto on the run.
- If the t-shirts are men's, order a small.
- Runs longer than 4 miles require socks.
- I am allergic to the little plastic-y strip at the bottom of bike shorts. Do not wear these shorts for more than 2 hours.
I know it was 11, but the last one was important. I didn't figure that one out until 2 hours into the 110 mile ride. I couldn't take my shorts off for another 8 hours. Sunburnt hives are not fun.
It was a good season if for no other reason that I can call it a season. I raced fairly consistently and I have a good idea on how I'll adjust my season next year. It took several races, but by the Jackson County tri, I felt comfortable and felt like I actually was a triathlete, pre-race rituals and all.
I'm starting to look at next season. I'll do the Bike Source tri again, sub in the Boise 70.3 for the Kansas one, eliminate the 110 mile ride for the Shawnee Mission triathlon, repeat the Jackson County tri, and possibly add the Midwest Meltdown (which was cancelled this year). I'm still up in the air about the women's tri.
As for running events, I'm doing the Kansas City 1/2 marathon in October. I may do the Mahaffie 10k again this year since I won my age group last year and I'd like to see if I could repeat. After that, I have this crazy idea to do an ultra-marathon in February, on Valentine's Day, no less. DH is also running that race, so what better way to spend the day? I'd like to do more trail races, and depending on how this trail stuff goes, I may attempt another ultra next fall. (I'd like to keep my summers open for triathlons)
Next, I need to register for Boise, and find registration dates for the other races. After that, I'll put together my next 6 weeks of training and do a long-term training plan for Boise. I love putting together training plans. And I do it the old-fashionined way - a calendar and pens, preferrably different colors for differen workouts. Laying out workouts on the computer just doesn't have the same satisfaction for me.
The last thing on my list is a racing log. I'm planning on starting a spreadsheet with all of my races, dates, distances, splits (where available) to keep track of my times as I continue racing. As an engineer, I love numbers and numbers don't lie. I just haven't taken the time to put all of the information in one place yet. It's good to look back from time to time to see how far you have come. Particularly when it's hard to get out the door, I find seeing how far I've come to be great motivation. And speaking of that, I'm looking forward to a 9 miler on the schedule for tomorrow.