Never judge a full year by its beginning. 2015 didn’t start out as planned but it turned out to be one of the best years ever. I fell in love, raced in Kona, found true happiness, and traveled more than ever.
I mention this as a reminder to myself and to everyone writing goals for 2016, that the year is long and it’s OK if it doesn’t start out as planned. Keep at it and stay focused on goals day-by-day. Results will come if you’re patient and consistent.
OK back to the year in review…
Early in the year when I started training again post-Ironman Cozumel, I was consistently sidelined by colds, strep throat and nagging aches and pains. I missed 3 races in the first 4 months of the year as a result of these setbacks. I opted for spectating and volunteering at races instead. When I finally was able to motivate and train consistently again I felt slow and sluggish. My running paces were a joke and I couldn’t find my rhythm in the pool (I know, I’m hard on myself). Even to this day I don’t understand what caused this early-year sluggishness, but I’m glad I kept working at it and didn’t give up. Because this was the year of Kona and there was nothing getting between me and Ali’i Drive!
Coast Ride Bliss
As bad as it was, there was one exception to the “bad start to the year” theme: the coast ride with Chris Hauth and SAGMonkey. We rode our bikes down the Pacific coast 410+ miles from San Francisco to Santa Monica over 4 days. I hadn’t been training and was still sick, so I didn’t think I’d be able to finish it… but I did! I had never even driven down the coast before so I was constantly in awe with every mile that past. Hellooo Big Sur, you are beautiful! Seeing the coast slowly from a bike, where you can smell the ocean and really take in the jaw-dropping beauty of the coast was the greatest experience ever. I also had never ridden my bike on back-to-back days before, so doing 4 in a row with over 100 miles each day was no joke. My booty was definitely sore! But riding outdoors with great friends looking at epic scenery was worth every ache and soreness. Can’t wait to do it again sometime.
Once May 2015 arrived I was starting to gain some momentum in my training and did the Monte Rio Olympic Triathlon as the first race of the year. It wasn’t super fast or anything but I was happy to finally be racing. And that was the weekend that Mark and I started dating. 🙂 Coincidentally (or not), this was when 2015 turned a corner with brighter days, successful races, and lots of fun.
Throughout the summer I was really consistent with my training and feeling much stronger. I enlisted the help of Coach Duane Franks to craft a training plan leading up to Kona. I did Vineman 70.3 in July and PR’d by 7 minutes. Mark and I did the Devil’s Slide Ride century which was 104 miles with 9,000+ ft of climbing. That was a tough one! We also did the Marin Century and Lake Tahoe Half Iron Triathlon together. I love being able to train and race with Mark — he’s so much fun, patient and absolutely the best boyfriend-training-buddy-race-spectator-extraordinaire ever!
One of the best training experiences of the year was completing the Tour of Napa Valley Century in August. It was the best heat training, TT bike training and mental toughness training I could’ve asked for. It was BRUTAL out there. I rode by myself the entire 100 miles (mental training) meaning no pacelines and nobody distracting my thoughts from the intense 106 degree heat. It was a hilly course and when people climbed past me they couldn’t believe I was riding a ‘stiff’ triathlon bike. “It’s good training!” I shouted back. It was one of the hottest days on record in Napa and a great opportunity to test myself before the heat of Kona.
IM World Championship in Kona, Hawaii
Before I knew it I was hopping on a plane to Kona! I wrote a pretty extensive race report about the experience so I won’t belabor the point. But it truly was an incredible experience and really enhanced my passion for triathlon. The best moments were: coffee at Lava Java, watching the sunsets, swimming to the coffee boat, doing the underpants run, taking a selfie with Jesse Thomas and getting on Triathlete.com, going Manta Ray snorkeling with other triathletes, visiting a coffee farm, hanging out with my family, and seeing them on the course with their incredible signs, and obviously… the finish line. It was an empowering experience and one I’ll remember forever. Thank you everyone for the love and support leading up to, and during the race. It means a lot.
In summary, 2015 had its ups and downs (more like ‘downs and ups’) but isn’t that what life is all about? It’s a rollercoaster ride of managing tough moments and being extra grateful for the good ones. Hope everyone has a great 2016 and I look forward to seeing you out on the bike, on a run, or in Aquatic Park!
For the stats geek here is my 2015 mileage and hours according to Strava:
How was your year? Accomplish something great? What are you changing for 2016?
Swim. Bike. Run. Eat Plants.