2013 Season Recap

Posted: September 20, 2013 in In Transition, Motivation
Tags: ,

There’s an old saying I picked up from somewhere that life is like an egg.  When the egg breaks from outside, the life within it ends.  However, when the egg breaks from the inside, then that life continues to grow and flourish.  I don’t recall where I heard this exactly and, at the time, I probably dismissed it as more pseudo-hippy mumbo-jumbo but, lately, this particular proverb – wherever it happened to come from – is ringing a bit more bells with me.

This year did not go exactly the way I had originally envisioned it, like, at all.   At first, I had hopes of becoming a short course speed demon and, well, that simply did not happen.  Sure, I enjoyed some success and even ended up on the podium a few times in those stupid, unsatisfying swim-bike competitions but, ultimately, these proved to be very unrewarding.  My one and only Sprint triathlon was largely a bust and, my Olympic distance triathlon a few weeks ago in Brockville wasn’t much better when compared to my former pre-Ironman glory last year.  Furthermore, I didn’t do very well at losing weight either as this ass of mine still overflows on my bicycle seat as much as it ever did…maybe even more.  Who am I kidding?  My ass literally drips off the bicycle seat now like a melted ice cream cone.  So what did I accomplish this year exactly?   It’s all so confusing.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words and, all in all, my entire 2013 competition season could be summed up in this one:

Yeah, just like that.

However, that’s not to say that the season was an entire bust.  I did accomplish some pretty awesome things when I stop to think about it.  In fact, I checked off a lot of other more personal ‘fun’ goals off my life’s “To Do” list.  So that’s good, right?  So while I’m starting back into a regular running and strength building program anticipating a return to long course competitions in 2014, I think it’s prudent to review what those major successes were for me this year as those will inevitably be my inspiration throughout all those long, cold off-season training months that are right around the corner.

1.  “Frank & Friends 10k Swim for Strong Kids” – This was my first foray into real long endurance swimming, and all for a great cause.  I didn’t initially set out to do the whole 10k but, once I got started I figured, hey, why not?  I am going to continue working in the pool in the off season with completing this charity swim again next year.  Likewise, I also plan to compete in the Toronto Island Lake Swim as an opportunity to do something completely different competition-wise.  Hell, I might even be a contender.

2.  Similarly, I had a great swim at the ‘Thousand Island Olympic Triathlon’ in Brockville, Ontario a few weeks back comfortably exiting the water in second position.  Despite being a good swimmer, I have never been that far up front of the main pack so I was thrilled to be able to hang my hat on that performance.  Of course, the rest of the race was a bit lackluster (the run particularly) and I ended up finishing 20th overall but, still, I liked that feeling of being in the lead; albeit however brief.  I am certainly going to continue working hard in the pool through the winter to experience that sensation again.  To that regard I have started a new swim program of workouts designed by former Olympian and multi-sport specialist Sheila Taormina (review to come shortly).

3.  In July, Kelly and I completed our momentous near 1000k cycle trip around Lake Ontario as part of the Tour du Lac charity ride.  Seven days of perpetual pedaling, power bars, and butt cream…lots and lots of butt cream.  For the most part, it was just a joy to share my love of cycling with Kelly, even if she is still a bit hesitant about ‘hills’.

4.  My season might have not have started out the way I would have hoped, but I did manage to podium twice in swim/bike competitions; 3rd in Woodstock, and 1st in Binbrook.  And while the elation and grandeur of competing in what’s now known as a ‘Aquabike’ event over that of a triathlon is, well, kind of like comparing cheese on toast to a gourmet grilled cheese, any podium finish is better than no podium finish I guess.  It’s good to know I can still bike hard when I need to.

5.  HRH and I competed in our second Peachbud 1k event this year which was awesome.  Hey, we even improved our finishing position from nearly dead last to the 55th position (an improvement of 10 seconds!).  ‘Booyah’, kid bitches!  It’s also worthy to note that I then proceeded to immediately follow up that performance with sub 25-minute, 6th place finish in the Women’s 40-45 age category.  Yes, you read that right.  Am I a stud or am I a stud?

6.  Also this year, I made my presence felt at the SunRype Tri-Kid’s triathlon series at the bike mount line at both Ridley College in St. Catharines as well as in Milton, Ontario.  Furthermore, I got to see HRH participate in and thoroughly enjoy her first triathlon ever.  Although it does bother me somewhat that in her race photos, she is absolutely beaming from ear to frickin’ ear.  Who knew this child would be so photogenic during her FIRST triathlon. Hell, I’m practically a pro by now and had zillions of race shots taken and I can’t seem to do any better than looking like I’m having a full bore cardiac arrest in my race photos. Pisses…me…off. I mean, good for her but…geez! It’s like she’s rolling in a basket of puppies or something.

7.  Earlier this year, I even managed to visit a few local schools here in the area and promote triathlon as a sport with the Grades 1, 2 and 3 classes.  I thoroughly enjoyed this experience and I hope that the future brings more such opportunities to do just that.

8.  In June I competed in back-to-back races at the Welland Triathlon Weekend; namely the Welland Sprint triathlon and then the Half Iron as part of a relay team.  While this in and of itself is no big whoop, it was a start to beginning to build back some of the mental toughness I’ve lost this year post-Ironman.  It’s part of my current strategy to compete in a similar back to back events next year, although not as part of a relay team but all on my very ownsome.  I need to build that mental and physical confidence I used to have prior to competition and I hope that an opportunity to do something similar to this next year will get me well on my way.

9.  The Big Move has become a bit of a staple in my season.  It’s not a race or a competition of any sort, but I sure do love participating.  This was the fourth consecutive year that I have been the last to cross the Starting line, and the last to cross the Finishing line.  Such is the folly of the Sweep Rider.  I genuinely love this opportunity to assist in other less-accomplished riders complete their own personal goal of completing a 100k cycle ride to support local cancer research.  Each and every year I meet some incredibly motivated and motivating people and this year proved no different.

10.  Most recently, I’ve taken some very significant steps forward (literally) in reestablishing my run program.  I’ve initiated a plan of action for the coming off-season I’ve aptly named the ‘We Can Rebuild Him’ plan to reacquire both my running form, strength as my former level of fitness.  I’ve begun a rehab program as well as initiated a gluten free diet to hopefully assist with both weight loss as well as help reduce the inflammation and chronic achiness my body seems to be riddled with.

So things are pretty good.  I’m starting to refocus again and actually eager to start my off-season preparations in order to achieve great things again next year (stay tuned for a tentative competition schedule).  I certainly wasn’t this jazzed about getting back to gym, winter running, etc. at this point last year but, after a considerable time off from anything resembling serious ‘competition’ and ‘training’, I feel recharged once again and as motivated as ever.

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