So, the year is over. Like everything in life, it was some of what I'd hoped for, some of what I didn't want to see, and some of what I'd never expected. Here's how it broke down.
Running: My goal was 1200km, so my total distance (1254 km) should be seen as a success. Still, after Around the Bay, my montly mileage declined every month until October. In that sense, no wonder I didn't put in the half marathon or 10km times I'd envisioned. Still, I PB'd in both distances, and it's not like there wasn't a good reason for running's decline.
Swimming: This turned out to be far more than I'd bargained for in January, and all in a good way. Somehow, I drifted from lane 1 (slowest of the slow) to lane 4 (fastest of the slow), started doing over 2000m regularly, and lowered my 100m times noticeably. Along the way, I tossed off a 750m swim like it was only 500m.
Cycling: The only one of the three that's seasonal. 866 km of training tells such a small part of the story. I commuted to work on the bike. I fell in love with the bike. I fell in love with The Bike. Cycling took over my thoughts. It stole into my dreams. It threatened to supplant running as my favorite sport. Is that a bad thing? Goodness no!
Cycling was such a small part of my overall training this year, but it was a huge part of my enthusiasm, my success, and my anticipation for next year.
Best Training Run: So hard to chose. Ottawa remains a fantastic place to run. Still, if I had to pick a favorite route, I'd say Wolf Trail. I didn't make as many trail runs as I would have liked this year - they were just too hard to fit in, but every run in the Gatineaus was memorable.
Best Swim: *blush* I'm sure I had a more technically excellent swim this year. I'm sure I had a more fun swim this year. But I'm a sucker for big distance. 3000m is a mark I won't be chasing anytime soon.
Best Ride: You know what? None really stand out. All I can really think of is the commutes to and from work. And those shouldn't count.
So I'll leave this entry blank, with a mental note to make darned sure to fill it out next year.
Best Road Race: I set 5 PBs this year (well, ok, some more than once), so you'd think it would be tough to chose. And while some of them were pretty darned sweet (especially this year's Around the Bay, the choice is easy.
Well, easy now....
The race of the year, for me, was the Great Barrier Breaker 5km. I'm still a bit in awe of that day. I think that, for whatever reason, I was totally "on" on that day. I wasn't really physically ready for the run, having not done much speed work or even running leading up to it. And yet, I nailed it. My pacing was excellent, and I dug very deep. With preparation, I think I can beat the time from that race, but it may be quite some time before I have that steady and strong a run again.
Best Triathlon: So tempting to say all of them. Every single one of them was fun. Every single one of them was special. If I had to pick, though, I'd lean towards The Canadian.
It was my longest triathlon, and I nailed it. I exited the water thinking I'd nailed a 500m swim and had lots of energy left, when in fact I'd just nailed a 750m swim. The 30km ride, on my spiffy new bike, was decent. Maybe not my fastest ride, but my most fun. I was all excited about my 22:12 5km run at the previous tri, but the Canadian came it at 22:25, which isn't as bad as I thought it was. Especially in a longer race. Plus, I got to watch the Iron distance triathletes.
Yeah, the Canadian was a special, special day.
Highs and Lows:
Biggest Disappointment: The National Capital Half Marathon. No question. It hurt to be foiled again by the distance. It hurt that I'd gone faster in training. The half remains my bogeyman.
Biggest Success: Triathlons. The reason my running fell off this summer. I love being a runner, but it's possible that I love being a triathlete even more. I might never be a great swimmer - heck, I might never be all that great at any of the disciplines, but it's possible that I'll never be "just" a runner again.
If nothing else, all this added swimming and such that triathlons have brought upon me have me in (yeah, I say this too much) the best shape of my life. Never one to do weights if I could help it, swimming is conditioning my whole body. I only have to attempt a plank or try a few pushups to realize that I'm way stronger than I was a year or two ago. I'm in a great spot right now to resume my pursuit of endurance goals. The added strength and variety of training activities can only help me in my pursuit of "just a little bit farther".