April 3, 2013

2012 Goals Revisited, Lessons Learned, and 2013 Goals

Although it already is long past, I’m still reflecting on 2012.  I’ve been wanting to post this for some time now, but life got in the way.  So here it is, better late than never.
Goals Revisited:
My long term training goal for the 2012 season was to design my own training program and to be able to successfully complete the “I’m All That” multisport series on Labor Day weekend….a Sprint triathlon on Saturday, and then three separate races on Sunday (a 1 mile open water swim, a 2 mile bicycle time trial, and a 4 mile run).   I also had a goal to get below a 7:00 {minute} pace for a 5k by the end of the year.  If you’ve been following my blog, you know that I’m huge proponent of goal setting – and for putting them out there for others to see.
I planned out all of my workouts and races for 2012 on my own….with the help of several books, magazines, and random advice/info picked up on the fly.  I had this funny little calendar that I plotted workouts on – there were many crossouts/arrows/etc., but I didn’t do too badly.
Labor Day races:  Sprint Tri 4th in my Age Group (AG);  Escape the Judge 1 mile open water swim 6th AG…I had a last minute goggle malfunction so not bad considering I had at least one or both eyes closed during much of the race; 2 mile bike time trial 3rd AG;  4 mile run 3rd AG;  I’m All That – cumulative score from all races- 1st AG….now my dad would ask how many women were in my age group for each race – remember that my goal was to successfully complete the races, which I did -  so I’m not telling.
In November, I ran a 5k in 21:25…a 6:55 pace.
Lessons learned in 2012:
Although it was a challenge to put together my own training program, it was too inefficient and random.
Equipment doesn’t matter much except for cycling, where it matters a lot.  You can buy speed on the bike.
Equipment for the bike matters a lot, but the engine (rider) on the bike matters most.  No amount of high tech equipment can make up for a weak engine. 
There is a lot of strategy to a well raced triathlon.  Most of the strategy occurs during preparation.
A triathlete has to have endurance, speed, strength, and flexibility.  All are equally important to long term success.
Women in their 40’s are strong competitors.  Tom Hanks would be happy to know that there’s no crying in triathlon.
Coach Kelly was right – you have to set several goals and be sure that some of the goals are ones that are reliant solely on your own performance – for which all factors are within your control.  Why?   Because you never know who is going to show up at a race or when it will be pouring rain or when the age-up rule might bump you out of even the slightest chance at a spot on Team USA.
That I need help with training and strategy.  I had two race strategies in 2012.  The first one was……”Swim - Get in front of as many people as possible;  Bike – Stay in front of as many people as possible; Run – Pass as many people as possible”.  The second one was “Swim like there’s no bike, bike like there’s no run, and run like someone is chasing you.” (I read that last one in someone’s tri blog and thought it was catchy and fun for sprint tri’s).  I don’t think that either strategy is particularly bad, but do know that neither one is very sophisticated.
2013 Goals
To follow a structured, efficient training program 6 days/week for an average total workout time of 6-7 hours/week….enter Coach Eric.
To become comfortable riding/handling my new tri bike and improve my average sprint tri race pace to at least 20.0 mph.
To participate in the USAT AG sprint tri nationals in Milwaukee and qualify for a spot on Team USA for the 2014 ITU World Championships.
To complete an Olympic distance triathlon.
I’m happy to look at these goals and think that it was only 2 years ago that my goal was to simply complete a sprint triathlon.  I have had the fortune to talk with others about fitness and about goal setting.  I’ve even had the opportunity to talk a few people into signing up for races.  But out of everything that I’ve worked towards, my greatest accomplishment is inspiring my daughter to complete a triathlon for kids this summer…..well it was probably the promise of a finisher medal and a tshirt that clinched the deal, but regardless, it’s pretty great.