2013 Season in Review

My 2013 season was probably my most successful season yet.  I got to experience some new races and places, set new PRs, and coach myself.  I learned a lot about myself as an athlete, and a coach, and I hope to continue the upward trend for 2014!  2013 was a focus on speed, shorter races, and getting back to the fun of training/racing.  (I was also broke so I couldn’t race as much as I wanted)

My season started off with a PR 1/2 marathon in March in freezing cold weather leading up to the Boston Marathon.  During this time I was mainly run focused and I was still being coached and it led to an amazing Boston Marathon race.  I don’t want to get into details about the race or my experience since I already wrote about it but whenever I wear my Boston Marathon shirt I still have flashbacks to the good parts of the race but mostly to the terrorist attack that happened while I was on the train heading to the airport.  I am still amazed that a different decision here or there could have led to me still being near the finish when the explosion happened.  It still brings chills to me.

Finish line picture I took before the race.  The first bomb went off just a bit closer to the finish.  Still in disbelief.

Finish line picture I took before the race. The first bomb went off just a bit closer to the finish. Still in disbelief.

Starting line!!!

Starting line!!!

A few weeks post Boston I made the decision to learn something about myself as an athlete and a coach and go the self coached route.  My coach had been great and it had nothing to do with her.  I just really wanted to see what I could do alone and how I could train and race with all the pressure being on me.  I thought I did pretty well with that. I had a few races before 70.3 Muncie which would be an “A” race of the year but nothing super successful.

70.3 Muncie ended up having PERFECT weather and was even wetsuit legal.  The year before the race had to be shortened because of the heat so it was pretty nice to have great weather because I knew if I put a race together I would be able to put down a good race.  And thankfully that happened.  Swim was mediocre at best but thankfully my wave was early so when I got on the bike course it was clear and I took advantage of the nice weather and flat course.  Worked my way up then got on my runners and now was where the “money” was made.  I had a time that I wanted to run, 1:25, but the run course was hillyish so I figured it might not work out but I kept pushing and pushing and ended up in a battle with another athlete for the last mile or so that I ended up winning on a sprint right before the finish, which is crazy because this happened in 2011 when I raced here too.  That race I ended up the 10th Amateur and 3rd in my AG which was amazing.  I ended up beating some pros which was super cool too.  Granted the race a totally different race but I’ll take it!

Screen Shot 2013-07-15 at 1.50.30 PM

The weeks kept ticking by and training kept going well.  I geared my training to the Age Group National Championships and the Chicago Marathon.  So training for the swim/bike were shorter more intense and the run was keeping mileage high and working on getting speed in prep for the marathon.  Raced the AG Nationals to a BIG PR.  It was great to race a good race against the best in the country but it humbled me since I was only 38th in my AG which means I got SMOKED by a lot of people.  I had a blast either way and loved the course.

Love this picture!  Thanks Chi Tri bloggers for the pic!

Love this picture! Thanks Chi Tri bloggers for the pic!

The final triathlon of the season was the Chicago Triathlon but after the AG Nationals I was more focused on the Chicago Marathon so my triathlon training lacked and basically involved little swimming, see things I learned in 2013 below.  But I was fine with that because I REALLY wanted to race my best race at the Chicago Marathon and that would mean sacrificing some triathlon fitness.  Race day was hot, and I had to wait a while for my wave to go on but thankfully I was in the Elite AG wave so I went off before any other of the Olympic waves.  Ended that race struggling through a hot/humid 10k to finish 9th in the Elite wave which was pretty good.  I had a great bike that day too but I learned a few lessons on the bike about hydration that I will use in 2014.

Finally it was all about running.  The Chicago Triathlon was my last swim until a few weeks after the Chicago Marathon.  I was 100% focused on that race and I got hooked up with a great run coach Scott Fishman and he helped eek out all of the run fitness I had in my body and it paid off 100%.  My goal after Boston was to run a sub 2:50 marathon and I achieved that goal by going 2:48:46 on a perfect day in Chicago.  My race basically comes down to good pace and race tactics.  I made sure to race my race and it turned out great.

Tossing my gloves to Jessica!

Tossing my gloves to Jessica!

All in all I am super happy with my 2013 race season.  I hit good times, worked my butt off, made training work with my schedule rather than my schedule work with my training, and I got a job!  I am really looking forward to racing in 2014.  Right now the big race is Ironman Wisconsin but I have signed up for Rev3 half iron Wisconsin Dells and ITU Chicago but I am sure I will add other to the schedule in the near future.  As always, thanks for reading and I hope I can provide some insight to training and racing strategies and other fun stuff.

Things I learned in 2013

  • I need to swim more
  • I need to NOT cut swim workouts short
  • I am good at following a training plan made by myself
  • I am getting better at racing in the red
  • Have more than 20 oz of liquid on bike for hot Oly race!
  • Embrace the suck–but do it better in 2014
  • Have fun!

Waves Mirco Towel

One of my friends came to me a few weeks ago asking if I would test out a towel for her friend and let her know how she thought it would be for a triathlete.  I had the chance to get the Wave Mirco Towel and test it out a few times within the last few weeks.  I normally just use the towels at the gym when I swim because I am way too lazy to bring my own towel and have to wash it and all that so I wasn’t sure how I would like it.

The towel is SUPER compact which is great.  I carry one of those drawstring bags to the gym to swim so I don’t have much space to put things in but this fit with plenty of room left over.  The towel itself is nice.  It is soft since it is microfiber.  The first time I tried it it felt pretty weird because it doesn’t slide when drying like a regular towel but after a few swipes I was dry.  It does a great job of drying the body and hair and it never felt like it was soaked with water.

While I can’t say I would bring this to the gym everyday since I am just too lazy to add more laundry to my hamper but for open water swims, races, and pools without towels this would be great.  As a triathlete I carry enough crap with me to every race it’s nice to have something small that I can use as a transition towel and post race towel to dry off.  Check the towel out and if you own a boat then this would kill two birds with one stone!