Monday, November 5, 2012

2012: It's a wrap

The storm that swept through Florida for the Rev3 Florida race last weekend was an unfortunate parallel to my 2012 season and the concluding race of my 2012 season.  Due to high winds and a strong rip current, the swim was cancelled at the race and a 1.5 mile opening run was added in its place.  So my last triathlon of the season was turned into my first ever duathlon.  With the swim being one of my clear strengths, I was very disappointed to have the swim cancelled.  While I do believe that the professionals should swim under pretty much any circumstances (after all we are professional athletes); the Rev3 team did all they could to make the swim happen but were ultimately shut down by the lifeguards.

So after a little bitching with the other swimmers in transition, I prepared myself for what lay ahead and started to become excited about the race.  While I knew some of the race dynamics would be different; I  still felt very confident in my bike and my ability to run a good half marathon.

We set off on what I would consider a pretty solid pace for the first 1.5 (somewhere around 4:40 pace). I might have had a mile PR during this segment!  After a quick transition, I set out on the bike knowing I wanted to push the pace early to split up what could have been a very large bike pack.  At about mile 20, I was feeling pretty strong and was preparing myself to put the pressure on during the second half of the bike.  And at this point the parallels to the storm started to become evident.  I received a penalty for being in the wrong lane.  (I will be the first to admit that given the course layout I was in the wrong lane.  However, due to some a lack of coning situation I was unaware of what lanes were open to ther race and which was weren't.  I was not gaining any advantage or endangering anyone by being in the lane that I was in. I do wish that there was a warning system available for officials.  A warning would have given me the opportunity to move into the correct lane; while the penalty I received, completely took me out of the race).  Following the penalty, I pushed hard to try to get back into the race and while I was able to keep the time gap to the group consistent for a period of time, the wheels completely fell off my race around mile 40.  Last year I had some back issues; and until this race I thought they were behind me.  My back started to cramp and I could not longer stay in my aero bars.  I rode the last 15 miles into what was about a 30mph head wind and felt like I was a giant sail.  I was pretty beaten emotionaly and physically by the time I got to T2 and did what I could to finish the run.  It was not the day I was hoping to end my season with; but, this happens in racing and it keeps me even more motivated for 2013.

I'll continue my analogy to a storm when describing my 2012 season.  I had some of my best finishes as a professional, which allowed me to achieve one of my goals for the season in finishing top 5 in the Rev3 Series.  (I finished 5th)  However, I also had several races that went like the race in Florida.  While I know racing and triathlon has a lot of up and downs, I feel that 2012 was a little more of a roller coaster year than I could have expected.  I know that I made a lot of improvements this year and I plan on having a healthy and consistent winter to work one some weaknesses and continue to improve as a triathlete.  2012 was my first year as a full time professional and I am already very motivated for 2013.

For the first time in my career I felt like I had a true support system and a team behind me.  Especially with my coach Grant Holicky and Apex Coaching, Todd Plymale-Mallory of Integrative Healing and Acupuncture ( who took care of my body all year and kept me healthy, and my Apex Coaching teammates.  The group that I train with is very important to me and I will continue to be a major driving influence in my development as an athlete.  I also had the help of some great sponsors.  Especially Clif Bar, Orbea, Rudy Project, Normatec, Champion System, Williams Wheels, Reno Running Company, Blue 70, SRM, and Roll Recovery.