This past year, 2015, was focused on the Age Group Olympic Distance National Championships in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on August 7th. The year started off with an injury that kept me from running for 8 weeks. Then, I raced a few times earlier in the summer, but my results were nothing stellar. My times were slower than 2014, and my confidence was starting to dwindle. My main reason for continuing triathlons in 2015 was to finally race in a world championship race (in Chicago on September 19). So, I still had that since I had qualified the year before, but I really did not want my last year to be a huge disappointment.
As I was nearing the national championships in August, things started changing. My biking and running were finally coming around. My workouts going into the race had me perfectly rested and my mind was ready to go. I had the race I had been hoping for, setting a personal best at that race (it has been the same course for 3 years) by over 2 minutes (which is a lot), and placing 3rd in my age group. One of the best parts was finally being content with my season.
At the world championships in Chicago in September, my only goal was to enjoy the experience, which I did...not only at the race, but also our time in the windy city.
Usually at this time of year I am ready for my season to be done, but I wasn't quite there yet. Instead of taking the break I had planned on, I rolled right into a 4 week training block for my first marathon. I greatly out performed my expectations for that race. That, along with finishing 14th in my age group in the national triathlon rankings (out of 2,013 women), rounded out a great year.
After a month of not doing much of anything, I started running again and researching races for 2016. My goals:
- No injuries that keep me from running for more than a few days (With so much running, I am most worried about this goal)
- Have fun training and race! (This has been a tough one the past few years)
- PR a half marathon (I typically do an early season half marathon, but didn't last year due to injury. This year I am racing the Marion Arts Festival half in May)
- My first 50k trail run...31 miles for the metric challenged (There are so many to choose from. After narrowing them down by date, I decided on the Afton 50k in Minnesota near the twin cities)
Training so far has been going great! I have been running 6 days a week, have not swum since my last race, and biking has consisted of commuting to work. I also go to the gym twice a week for a little weight and core work. I love it! All of the extra time has allowed for taking long dog walks on the weekend (up to 6 miles) and more time to just relax.
The most difficult part has been eating...how much do I need and how not to eat too much. For so many years I have put on a few extra pounds in the winter and it has come off when training ramps up in the spring. But, my ramp up won't be nearly as many hours of training as it has been in the past. The amount of calories I burn is decreasing, but my appetite has not. I am still trying to figure it out, and just hope I can get back to my ideal race weight before too long.
Next up is the Hawkeye 25k this Saturday morning. Part of this race is on trail, and some of it is a bit technical, so just hoping to stay upright and no twisted ankles.
Along for the ride this year are Team Zoot with Zoot Sports, We Run, and Core Fitness. Happy and honored to have them stick around with me while entering uncharted territories. And, I have Daniel Bretscher pushing me every step of the way.
I am incredibly excited to see what 2016 brings!