Saturday, January 9, 2016

2016 The Runner Becomes a Triathlete

2016 is going to be a big year!  To begin with, my singular New Year's resolution is to begin posting to my blog once again.  What a blessed outlet it will be to the chronicles of this new year, which includes some great goals and exciting races.  After a year long comeback from yet another Achilles injury, I proceeded to injure it again within a week of finally declaring it fully healed (something having to do with putting spikes on and running all out 200's on tired, fatigued legs, not recommended).  This re-injury took place in May of 2015 and laid waste to my running and triathlon plans for the Summer and Fall.  But this is all in the past and things are once again healed and I am moving in the right direction to get back to form. Just in time for some 2016 goals!

Goal #1 - Back in October 2015, even though injured and under-trained, I, along with John, competed in Ironman 70.3 Arizona (in Tempe, AZ).  I worked hard on the bike to try and overcome my lack of overall endurance and weak running.  Two-thirds of the race (the swim and bike) went rather well resulting in a slot to the Ironman 70.3 World Championships to be held September 4, 2016 in Sunshine Coast, Australia.  This is now my main goal and focus for the year and in order to make this opportunity a dream-come-true , I have to let go of the "runner" in me and embrace the "triathlete" in me.  Up to this point, my involvement in triathlon has been from the perspective and training strategy of "a runner who sometimes does a triathlon." This year I am fully a triathlete.  To solidify it I sought the expertise and experience of one of our local legends, Fred Maggiore, to help me put three sports together into a seamless, perfect race.  With John Abrami coaching my swim and Nash Jimenez coaching my running, Fred is making me into a cyclist and helping me pull it all together.  I am grateful beyond words and want to make them proud.

Goal #2 - Set up a racing schedule that both satisfies the runner in me but also gets me ready for a triathlon world championship.  This includes three key running races lined up for February and early April, and one key "B" race 70.3.  

  • February 6, 2016 - USATF National Cross-Country Championships (Bend, OR)
  • February 28, 2016 - USATF National Masters 8K Road Championships (Brea, CA)
  • April 3, 2016 - Carlsbad 5000 (Carlsbad, CA)
  • May 7, 2016 - Ironman 70.3 St. George (St. George, UT)
Each of these races are important to me and each one will serve as a building block toward the ultimate goal.  

After a short "off-season" in late October through November (in which I worked on an endurance base, gaining back strength post-injury, and a gentle reprieve from intensity), we began adding back quality and speed into the training schedule in preparation for the upcoming XC race in Bend.  We welcomed back early morning intervals on the grass, trail runs on Romero Canyon (these were new) and brick workouts amidst the normal regimen of Masters swimming, bike rides and long runs.

Enjoying a swift sunrise - exhilerating

With a slow build of strength, I am beginning to feel the pop and spring return to my feet and the excitement of competition is again beginning to seep back into my pores. Santa Barbara must be one of the best locations to train in the Winter. Early morning hard efforts in 50 degree temperatures is about as good as it gets.  The sunrises are spectacular and running with others with common goals is priceless.  I am drinking it all in, thanking God for so many rich blessings.

XC Training at Chase Palm Park

On January 1, 2016 it was time to run a time trial and find out where I am at this point (I hadn't done a serious competitive road race since March 2015). The perfect opportunity to do this was via the SBAA 2016 Resolution Day 5K and 10K.  The 5K was the time trial and the 10K was the strength-builder.  The day could not have been more perfect.  No noticeable wind, crisp and sunny with ideal 55 degree air, and an excited group of runners and walkers ready to start the new year on the right foot!

I have only recently been feeling good again so I was so excited to toe a starting line with motivation and an ambitious goal.  I really just wanted to run with confidence, run hard all the way to the finish line and I hoped I would be happy with the result.  I had a super awesome group to race with and was fortunate to be tucked in with them for the first couple of miles (Matt Trost, Jamie Haggar, Gary Dempster and a few others). A strong group and a great way to settle into a solid pace for as long as I could.  My disappointment came only in the fact that I couldn't hold the pace for the last mile and fell off a bit.  It was what it was and told me exactly what I needed to know.  My speed and leg strength is good, my endurance and VO2 are still a work in progress but at least progressing in the right direction.  I was hoping for something around an 18:20 but ended up with an 18:48.  So now I know where I'm at.  Mission accomplished.

Resolution Day 5K Finish 2016
And so it begins.  The first steps into 2016 with exciting goals ahead.  Armed with incredible coaching and mentoring, amazing training partners, a power meter, heart rate monitor and dreams.  Every day is an important step, every workout an essential piece. This will be the year of no regrets because I intend to give everything I am to these God given opportunities and live life to the fullest.

I'll see you out there!  I know I'm not the only one with 2016 goals.  May all of yours be set and accomplished as well!

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