Thursday, January 2, 2014

2013 Recap (2/3) : A year in races

In 2013 I took the "one race a month" recipe and I cooked a great season, filled with new PRs and more smiles than ever while crossing the finish line. It was perfect in all the ways that I can think of. I met all my goals, which were not to die, pass out or puke, and I did not collect any acronyms starting with DN. I had a few close calls, but overall only good memories to bring into the new season.

In January hubbs and I did the Virtual Half Goofy Challenge, organized by Cori to support her fundraising efforts for Team in Training. It gave us a boost to add some longer than usual runs for this time of the year and enjoy the crisp outdoors in the middle of the Canadian winter. Thankfully it was much warmer than it is right now (-30C today, whaaaaat?!).
In February we continued increasing the mileage and in March, we ran our first "full" Around The Bay 30K (not in a relay as in the previous years). My coach said to run it as a training run, with a 10K tempo in the middle. As a good student, I did exactly like he said, but managed a 30K PR anyway. Boom!
I wasn't planning to race in April, but rather pace my boys in their first 5K race, the Run 4 Hope, organized by my triathlon club, pretty much in my backyard. But eventually Zin volunteered to pace them, so I was left with a last minute decision which turned into "race hard and show coach what you can do" type of thing. It ended with another PR and a 2nd in my AG placement. Woot woot!
Just a week later, I was supposed to do my first half marathon of the year, hence the reluctance in racing the 5K a week prior. But going all out in a 5K must have put my legs into overdrive, because at the Goodlife Toronto Half Marathon I ended up with another PR and finished under 2h for the first time ever.
As soon as June came, the triathlon season started and I could not wait to get back in the lake and ride my bike. What I had not anticipated, was that the first race was going to be a mud fest under the pouring rain. I was really happy that they did not cancel the swim and I could go out there and test my fitness in challenging conditions. I had a smile bigger than my face the whole day at Guelph Lake Olympic Triathlon. I love racing in the rain!
Another month, another Oly. In July, we took on the Toronto Triathlon Festival which is becoming a family affair. It was also Zin's first triathlon. We both had stellar races and I finished under 3h, beating my previous year's best by 22 minutes. Not too shabby!
Our A race of the year, Ironman Muskoka 70.3 came fast afterwards, at the beginning of September. We trained for it the whole year, we even traveled to Muskoka and rode the course twice before the race, to get acquainted with the relentless hills. I won't lie, it was challenging, it was exhilarating, but in the end it left me wanting for more. I had a great day out there, enjoying every km, even if they seemed like going on forever sometimes (this IM is longer than the regular 70.3 by 2.5 miles and the only flat part of the race is the swim). I finished under my 7h goal and I could not be happier with the way I handled my effort and nutrition out there.
Coming back from Muskoka, I could not fathom that my racing season was over though... I recovered from the race very quickly and decided to continue training for a November marathon. I wasn't going to put in the usual mileage because I knew I could finish it anyway, but I did put in quite a few 20km+ long runs in the weeks prior to the race. I decided to travel to Picton in October and run the County Half Marathon as one of these training runs.
It started and ended under the pouring rain, again. I got soaked to the bone, but I had one of the best days ever. One day I will run the full marathon there, that's for sure.

Last but not least, the Hamilton Marathon arrived on a chilly, but sunny day of November and I had once more, the time of my life, setting a long awaited marathon PR. I don't regret a single minute spent training and racing it. It really felt like the culmination of my racing season and reaching a goal that had been eluding me for more than a year.
I finished the season feeling happy and accomplished. Even though I injured my hip a month later, it doesn't take away the fact that it's been my best racing season so far. I had a lot of fun racing with family and friends, and all these experiences cemented my love for triathlons and racing long. I can't wait for the next season, hopefully pain free and with a new distance PR, the mighty 140.6.

No comments:

Post a Comment