Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009, a year in review

2009 is done! And I feel like I have grown tremendously as an athlete. I finally moved far beyond just being a recreational cyclist to someone who "races" and someone who is striving to do longer distances.

2009 was the year of the Timberman. That was my goal for the year and I beat it by 5 mins (goal was to go sub 6 hours). I learned a LOT from that race and it is shaping 2010, which will be the year of the Half Ironman. So far I am signed up for 3 HIM next year! Yikes!

2009 was also the year of the marathon qualification. I qualified for the 2010 NYC Marathon via their 9+1 program. You race 9 and you volunteer for 1. I did all of that and learned that my legs have some speed in them afterall! I started setting AND breaking PR's. It was super fun and really taught me that if you put in the work, you are going to see results. Its actually rather easy!

I learned to like running.

I learned how to "really" swim. Thanks Bob (aka my super swimmer coworker)! If it weren't for him, last season would not have been as pleasant. Basically I was getting really frustrated with my swimming form up until last April. I could barely swim 2:00/100 yards and I was exhausted after 100 yards. He swam competitively through college and went to the Master's Worlds. He basically waved his magic hands over me, had me do two weeks of drills one on one, and suddenly, I mean OVERNIGHT, was able to swim a 1:45/100 yard pace. He also showed me how to go faster in the pool which resulted in some decent swim pacing, including shaving over 2 mins off of my .5 mile OWS time.

2009 was also the year of the blisters. I got to the point where I was taping up my right foot on every single run. And the crazy thing is that the blisters got the worst by Timberman and the thing that cured them was Timberman itself. They had callused up so much by that point in the season, that the run just rubbed off all of the dead skin and I was cured. The blisters, I later figured out, were due to speed laces which do not hold your shoe as tight as regular laces. Learned my lesson on that one!....which is convenience comes at a steep price.

In March, I repeated my first ever race from 2008, the Prospect Park Duathlon, and destroyed my previous time by an ETERNITY!!! (that felt goooooood).

I had a rough half marathon race with unseasonable high April temperatures of 80+ degrees and a super steep climb. My goal was to break 2 hours, and I came in @ 2:00:10. Heartbreaking yes, but there will be other opportunities.

By the middle of May, the temps cooled WAY down into the 50's and the rain began, on the day of the Montauk Century. This was my fifth Century ride, and by far the coldest and wettest ride I have ever done. Never have I ever been so chilled to the bone with 50+ miles to go. I built up some mental toughness that day!

Then came triathlon season. TriRidgefield turned out to be one of my favorite races of all time and I ran a 23 min 5K....a new PR and I came in 4th in my AG.

(I must have been feet aren't touching the ground!)

Then came my most put together race to date, The Stamford Triathlon, where EVERYTHING came together and I shaved 20 mins off of my Olympic distance time. I came around the corner to the finish line, saw my time, and blurted a few expletives in shear happy glee. I was hurting on that run, but boy did it pay off!

By the end of July I learned that my body and humidity don't agree with each other. I learned this on the run course to the NYC Triathlon. I put up a great time and PR'ed again in the Olympic distance by 6 seconds, but that run was one I wish I could have redone.

(Look at those arms! Farmer's tan anyone? Yeesh!)

By August, Timberman was looming quite heavily and I was SO GLAD to have gotten that race done and over with. I had a great experience and beat my goal by 5 mins, but I learned that going out too hard on the bike will lead to you paying for it on the run. I also learned that humidity and I still don't get along.

(Neoprene is sooooo 2009)

Quickly after finishing I decided to give the half ironman distance a rest for a year. I wasn't satisfied. Three days later I was chomping at the bit to go at the distance yet again. Little did I know that I would be signing up for 3 for 2010!

Because I broke my goal of 6 hours, I rewarded myself with a new bike. A REAL time trial bike!

I rode this new (fast) baby for 4 weeks gearing up for the ITPMan triathlon, which my relay team came in 2nd and I broke my previous speed record by 1 mph to hold a 21 mph flat pace. I had the 14th fastest bike of the day! (I am VERY proud of that!)

(Im a shorty....but put yourself next to 6'5" and 6' tall guys!)

Then things sloooooooowed way down. The bike was mostly put away and I didn't hit the pool seriously for about 8 weeks. I would go through spurts on the bike where I would get it back and then lose it again but the pool basically became distant. It was ok; it was the off season!

The running heated up though during this period. I focused soley on a standalone 10K way down on Long Island. I broke both my 5K and 10K records at the same time. The resulting recovery was long, but it was SO worth the effort! I found the speed in my legs again by holding a 7:39 pace.

After the 10K race, I went into autopilot mode, found my fins in the water again and just ran, ran, and ran.....and ran some more! Which gave me a monthly distance record for November (73 miles) and an even newer one for December (80 miles).

The biggest things I learned are that pacing your bike correctly will lead to a good run. I made the mistake of going too fast twice which gave me subpar runs.

I learned you can get through an Olympic distance on a bottle of water and 2 Gu's and some water on the run. You can NOT get through a HIM on 2 bottles of liquid, 3 Gu's and 2 bars on the bike and make it through the first 7 miles of a half marathon before bonking. Eat once you get off the bike is my lesson learned! And to repeat this again to myself, GO EASY(er) on the bike!!! Yeah, I finished the bike 25 mins faster than I expected, but the cost was a 23 min longer than expected run.

How did your 2009 play out? What were your hi's and low's? What were the biggest lessons you learned?


  1. 3 HIM in one year are going to be sweet. I probably don't race enough anymore, but I am impressed that you are committed to the distance. Obviously you learned some important lessons and I appreciate you posting those so everyone else can learn from you.

    I was having trouble with blisters during races and never thought that they could come from the Yankz I was using. Thanks for the tip.

  2. Congrats on the successful year!

    Thanks for your comment on my blog. You'll have to stay tuned to see my 2010 goals otherwise there is no incentive to come back... haha. Actually my plan is very similar to your - 3 HIM's.

  3. You had a stellar 2009 race season! 2009 is the first year I did tri's. My goal for 2010 is of course doing the Moose, but not just finishing, but finishing with a time I can be proud of. I have some races I want to repeat; NYC Tri for one. Like you the humidity does me no favors. I also threw my back out the day before that race so was unhappy with my performance, but I finished which was a feat in itself.

    I also want to be a much stronger swimmer. It is my weakest leg, but the one I love training for the most. In a month I went from 2:49/100meter to 2:37/100meter. Today I did a 400m time trial and averaged 2:27/100m! So I'm getting there.

    Three HIM's is impressive. I'm toying with the idea of the Montauk HIM in October too. Just thinking.

  4. Enjoyed reading your year in review. Thanks for sharing, and good luck in 2010. New York would be a great place to train and compete in.

  5. Wow, you had quite the busy year! Looking forward to what next year brings. Happy New Year!

  6. A wonderful race year indeed! I've enjoyed following along!

    2010 will be even better!

  7. I'm Soo proud of you Honey! Keep up the good work!


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