Now that my triathlon season is done for 2012 I have been reflecting on my goals that I set back in November 2011 for the 2012 season. This season was truly a breakthrough season for me and I am very proud of my accomplishments. The previous two years were spent learning the sport and having fun. Last year after Pumpkinman I decided that I wanted to become more competitive and thus I needed to crack down and become more serious about training. I won my AG at Pumpkinman, but honestly I don’t consider it to be a true win. There was only myself and two other girls in my AG. We were not a very competitive AG. If you look at the overall female results, I finished in the bottom of the pack. I want to be towards the top. I knew my strengths and I knew my weaknesses. My biggest weakness was running. I hated running and I was slow. I don’t think anyone truly understands how frustrated I was with my lack of running prowess and thus I made it my number one goal to improve on in 2012.
When I began working with Mary, she had me write out five goals for the 2012 season. Here are my goals and my reflections on them.
1. Improve on my running – Running has always been my worst nemesis. I hated it. I was slow and I was making some improvements, but not as much as I thought I should be. My father openly joked in front of friends and family that he walked faster than I could run. I knew if I ever wanted to reach my goals and dreams then I needed to make some serious improvements in my running. My coach helped me turn into a runner this year and it is by far my proudest accomplishment this year! I had some pretty frustrating runs earlier in the year. The Cape 10-miler went horribly, mostly because I was running while sick (again). I’d complain and she told me that I WILL find my inner running goddess and I just had to put in the hard work, be patient, and believe in myself. Much of my problem with running was all mental. Running hurt so mentally I would just give up. After taking Mary’s advice I did have that breakthrough run the end of March where I found my inner running goddess and really fell in love with running. Since then I have really enjoyed running. Sure, I still have days when I don’t want to lace up my shoes and get out the door, but after I start I am happy. I’ve learned how to push myself into that uncomfortable pace and stay there. Beach to Beacon was a huge race for me this year. I had never done a 10k before and when Mary gave me my plan for the day I thought she was crazy. I thought for sure I could never hold the pace that she gave me. However, I totally nailed it! There are a lot of motivational sayings going around the Facebook world that state things like “It doesn’t matter how fast you run a mile, but that you still ran that mile” or “You’re lapping everyone that is still on the couch.” I guess I have always been a runner, but I never let myself believe I was until now. I believed that I wasn’t a true runner unless I could run x amount of speed. This year I overcame my own mental hurdles of hating runner to really becoming a runner and it is a huge accomplishment for me.
2. Work on my endurance so I finish every race strong – Going into this season I knew I wanted to do an Ironman in 2013. I knew in order to successfully complete an Ironman in a time that I view respectable for myself I needed to build a really good endurance base. I had big races this past season that I really wanted to perform well in, but I was very much looking forward into 2013. I feel that I do have a very strong base and I will continue to build an even stronger base going into 2013.
3. Finish the bike (56 miles) under 3 hours – I missed this goal by about 2 minutes at Rev3 and I’m definitely disappointed in it. However, I did have a good bike leg. I kept a pretty steady pace and stayed consistently within my HIM power zones so I really can’t complain. My VI wasn’t perfect, but it’s slowly improving. I definitely feel that my bike fitness is lacking. I have always felt that it was my strongest leg, but this year has proved that it is not. However, this year was a big year for me in terms of developing cycling technique. My coach has really taught me how to ride a bike. It sounds kind of funny to say because how hard is it really to ride a bike? You just hop on and pedal! Not true. There is actually a lot of technique and skills required to successfully ride a good bike leg. The best investment I have made (other than hiring a coach) has been my powermeter. Not only does it help me pace myself smartly throughout a race, but also tells my coach how I am riding. She can see my cadence (which has historically been low, but is now improving) and when I push too much power and ultimately “light a match.” Too many lit matches in a long course tri and you’ll be a goner on the run. I definitely have made some huge improvements on the bike, but I have much more hard work to do over the winter months. It’s going to be one long winter on the trainer….
4. Build core strength and flexibility to remain injury free – I spent A LOT of time last fall/winter working with a trainer once a week and attending a boot camp at least once a week. Early spring I did a core class twice a week. I also tried to get to a yoga class at least once a week over the late fall/early winter months. I made HUGE improvments in my body composition and strength in general. I have lost close to 25 pounds and 6% body fat. My range of motion has improved and I really think focusing on strength training helped with fixing the “pause” in my swim stroke and also improved my running biomechanics. I have also been working with a really awesome chiropractor that helps keep my body functioning in top notch condition. I stayed injury free until late July when my right hip locked up. It is still bothering me a bit and now I have a lingering right foot pain. Hopefully, both will be fixed soon!
5. Improve my nutrition – I spent a lot of time reading and researching about nutrition. Last fall I weighed about 145 pounds and at my height of 5’4″ I was borderline overweight even though I was very active. I decided that I needed to make a change. I always thought I ate a pretty healthy diet and I pretty much did. The biggest thing I did in my nutrition was to change the way I think about food. Food was no longer a treat after a workout. Food was fuel for my next workout. I also learned a lot about nutrient timing and what to eat and when. I also made the focus to eat more plant-strong with small quanities of dairy (i.e. Greek yogurt) and meat. As I mentioned above, I lost a lot of weight. I believe much of it was due to my training load, the extra lean body tissue that I had built through strength training, and also diet.
Some goals for 2013:
- Learn to pee on my bike! – This one is mostly for you all because I’m sure you are all tired of hearing me talk about it!
- Finish my first Ironman – Obviously, Lake Placid is my “A” race of the season. I kind of have an estimated time that I would like to finish under, but I know that I shouldn’t put very high expectations on myself for such a big race. Anything can happen at an Ironman and the goal is certainly to finish!
- Build bike fitness and strength – As I mentioned above I feel that my bike fitness is lacking. Lake Placid is a tough and hilly course so I want to be strong and ready to conquer that course in a decent time. Plus, I still want that sub-3 hour bike split in a HIM!
- Improve body composition – I made HUGE improvements in my body this past year and much of the fall will be spend improving my body composition more. I have a goal race weight for Lake Placid. I know I can carry some extra weight over the winter months and I should be able to drop it quite quickly once IM training kicks in, but I really want to focus on losing some body fat and building lean tissue. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to work with a trainer again this fall/winter because it’s just not in my budget, but I’ll work my tushy off again at the gym and take some bootcamp and yoga classes again.
- Continue to improve my running – I made enormous gains in my running fitness this past year and I want to continue gaining in 2013 and the future. Much of this fall will be spent running, as long as my right foot stops hurting. I had considered running a fall marathon back in July, but decided against it because I wasn’t sure I could manage the training with working two jobs and my last semester of graduate school. Instead, I’ll run at least one half-marathon this fall and some more in 2013.
- Continue to improve on my nutrition – I still have much to learn about nutrition, especially for my upcoming Ironman training and also race day plan. I plan to work with a sports dietitian during the winter month to develop a good nutrition plan for training and racing.
- I would like to qualify and compete at the 70.3 World Championships in the next five years. I definitely have a ton of work to do to qualify, but I don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibility.
- Okay, please don’t laugh at me for this one because this is the first time ever really telling anyone this but… I want to qualify and compete at Kona. I know it is totally a long stretch for me, but I hope to make it happen. But I guess I should probably do my first Ironman first…
- Compete at Nationals. I actually qualified last year at Pumpkinman for Nationals, but didn’t race due to the fact it was the weekend before Rev3. Plus, I really don’t think I deserved the qualification and probably would have finished at the bottom of my age group.
- Become a triathlon coach. I’m hoping to get my certification next year but it depends on affordibility too since I would have to fly somewhere to get it.
~ Happy Training!