Wednesday, October 7, 2009

2009: A Season in Review

After a few weeks of doing absolutely nothing I am starting to feel the itch to get back at it and start training again. During the last 2 weeks I thought alot about this past year there were things that went very right and things that went very wrong. The good thing is that I seemed to have learned from both and I am ready to apply those lessons and have a great 2010 season.

Those of you who are fellow triathletes/endurance athletes know that the "season" doesn't exactly follow the calendar so my 2009 season actually started on Thanksgiving at the Gobble Jog in Marietta. Running off of residual fitness from 70.3 Worlds a few weeks earlier I was able to finally break the 20 minute barrier for 5k running a 19:50 and winning the M35-39 Age Group.

The first race of the 2009 calendar year was the Wonderful Days of Winter 5k the first of January. I had a couple of my Cross Country kids to chase (at least for the first mile or so) and ended up besting my 5k time carding a 19:15 good for 8th Overall and 1st M35-39 Age Group. The rest of the Winter/Spring race season was equally as good and I was able to set new PR's for every distance (10k-39:50 Jog For A Cause 3rd Overall/1st M35-39, ING Half Marathon-1:26:51).

As April started I was starting to feel very confident for Duathlon Nationals at the end of the month. I was hoping to qualify for Team USA and be able to race at Duathlon Worlds in Charlotte in September. I made some major errors that weekend that you can read about in my race report over to the right if you are interested. Short version is that it was hot as the surface of the sun and my race went very poorly. Needless to say I didn't make Team USA and my confidence for the rest of the season took a major blow.

Two weeks later was the Gulf Coast Half Ironman in Panama City Beach, FL. This was my first Half Iron in 2003 and I have done this race every year since except for 2005. I was looking to exact some revenge on this course for my poor showing in Richmond and felt confindent that I was going to have a good race. Again if you are interested in the details you can read my race report which is archieved to the right of this post. The short version is that the swim was either long or the currents were bad because everyone had a slow swim, to make up for the slow swim I went entirely too hard on the bike and then ran about a half mile out of T2, turned back around and turned in my chip for a DNF. What little confidence I had left was completely gone now after another poor showing.

The next weekend was the Brasstown Bald Buster Century ride in the North Georgia Mountains. While not a race, it is a very tough ride encompassing 11,000 feet of climbing over 100 miles and finishing at the highest point in Georgia, Brasstown Bald. The ride lived up to its billing and the last 20 miles were as tough as I have ever ridden, but I finished and reclaimed a little bit of lost pride.

West Point was the next event on the calendar and I was excited to get back out there and see if the changes I had made to my training plan were the right ones. Short story is that the swim was a little long (storm the night before blew the buoys off course) but I felt great on the bike and run. My finish time was almost exactly the same as 2008 but given the long swim was a much stronger effort.

My most sucessful triathlon of the year turned out to be the Sgt Audie Murphy Sprint triathlon at Ft Rucker Alabama. This is a small race (only about 200 people) that is put on by the Ft Rucker MWR at Lake Tholacco. I spent some time at Ft Rucker during my years in the Army and still have a few friends down there so it seemed like a great reason to go down. I ended up 2nd Overall and would have won had the Army not brought in their ringer from the All Army team. It was still a ton of fun and I plan on doing it again next year.

Due to the fact that I had run a sub 40 10k earlier in the year I was able to get a sub seeded number for the Peachtree Road Race. Normally the Peachtree is not what I would consider a PR type of course since it is a bit hilly and there are people you have to run around even up front. Fortunatly I didn't have to dodge too many people and was able to PR running at 39:41.

I had signed up for the Cardinal Harbour Half Ironman earlier in the year since we were going to be in Kentucky visiting at the time anyway. I knew that the course was going to be tough since it encompassed the majority of the IM Louisville bike course and had an upstream/downstream swim. Fortunately we had unseasonably cool weather roll in for race day and it turned out to be a fantastic race.

The TRI Peachtree City Sprint is one of my favorite races around. Kim Bramblett and her group do a great job of putting the race on, and the course is very fast. I felt like I was in great shape and was really hoping to get a Top 3 Age Group. The swim was fast, the bike was fast, and the run was solid. I was 1:15 faster than 2008 and ended up 17th Overall and tied for 4th AG, 25 seconds out of 3rd, 45 seconds out of 2nd and 1:01 out of 1st.

The week after PTC was IM Louisville and I went to spectate with a couple of friends. I had 4 athletes doing the race and many more friends who were doing the race also. It turned out to be a great weekend and everyone who competed had a great race. Even though I didn't compete I still had the "Ironman Hangover" and really had a hard time getting out the door to train. This wouldn't have been a big deal except that my season wasn't over yet and I still had Augusta at the end of September.

Augusta was a big disappointment but it was my own fault for not training properly leading up to the race.

Overall the 2009 season had more highs than lows and it's true that we all need to have bad races to truely appreciate the good ones. I hope to take the positives and the failures of '09 and build on them to have a great 2010.

My goals for 2010 are to become a better swimmer (going to Masters to remedy that situation), be more disciplined as an athlete (having a coach instead coaching myself should take care of that one), and run better off the bike (see previous statement).

Thanks again for reading. I hope that those of you who compete had a great 2009 and an even better 2010.

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