Monday, December 17, 2012

Last Blog of 2012?

Lately, I am concerned with my blogging about trivial things.

Then again, what is trivial?

For example, I work in a somewhat subjective (sic: trivial) piece of a strongly objective field. However, that subjective piece (usability and web design) play a pivotal role in determining the viability of the fruits of objective labor. "What are you writing about Bryonman?"

It's like this: I can write the most standards compliant HTML, CSS and JavaScript and use the most tried and true server-side / database logic available and the end-result can still be 99% failure if the subjective piece (the user interface) is garbage. If the user's can't find what they need in the matter and time in which they expect ... they will leave.

I digress.

I feel fortunate in life.

I am in the habit of taking NOTHING for granted and I like it. I do not 'woe is me' as much as I once did. Generally speaking we (the collective we) have a choice on attitude ... and I find it easier nowadays to choose the positive path. I am not talking about choosing the "head-in-the-sand" approach. I am talking about taking the challenge of being positive in a negative world. It is my way of fighting back without using hateful words or thoughts. It also defends me against feeling sad and depressed by the news in the world. Sadness breeds deeper sadness. Mourning and sadness are separate things. I mourn all the bad news that I read and see ... but I search until I find some glimmer of positivity and work from there. Otherwise, what do I have?

So what is on tap for 2013?

Mission Statement 2013: Get Carrie healthy while having fun.

Are we going to race? You bet. Are we going to race as often? Probably not. We shall see. All I know is that we plan on being just as active and even more together than we were in 2012. She has allowed me to accomplish my GIANT goals - now it is time for me to play support dude to her own goals - whatever those might be.

I have three things on my list for 2013 that are set.

1) The Desert Classic Duathlon (if it is held). This will be my 3rd consecutive year for this race ... and this is the one that started the multisport craze for me.

2) A special spring-time race ... to be unveiled ONLY after the race is over.

3) The Pikes Peak Ascent - I qualified with my 1:37:22 half marathon time. This race is in August.

Other than those three things we have some tentative things on the schedule that will allow us to train together as a duo to get Carrie back on track. She's already run her first 13.1. As her knees continue to improve and we get more treatment we should see even more big goals accomplished. It's up to her. I will support no matter what.

Don't set resolutions for the New Year. Make the change now and start today.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Race season retrospective.

2012 was quite a journey. It transcends races, training, nutrition and time. It is now a set of memories that I can draw from for years to come. I have learned so much that I now know less than I did when I began.

I started a new job on January 3rd. That is always an exciting and interesting time. Yes, I still work at that same job.

In January I raced my first ever half marathon. I came into the race injured and still managed a 1:37:22. I will remember this race for beating me down like I have never been beaten down before. Physically and mentally I was spent after this race. I remember my hamstrings causing my problem on race morning rather than my feet. Most of all I learned how to REALLY push myself at this race. I was fourth in my age group.

In February I raced the JCC Sprint Triathlon. All things considered this is probably one of my top performances ever. My swim was less awful. My bike and run were both strong. I won my age group by over three minutes.

We also closed on our latest home in February. In typical fashion, we immediately started remodeling it. We are nearly finish with the inside now. It looks great. We like the neighborhood and the proximity to the hiking trails.

In March I raced the Desert Classic Duathlon. This course is tough. I like the challenge. The second run course was amazingly steep at the end. I want to race this again. I had bike problems at this race and it probably cost me 4 minutes on my time. I was 9th in my age group. What did I learn? Triple check the bike before the starting gun.

In April I raced the MaRquee Olympic distance triathlon in Tempe. This was only my second Oly distance to date. I came in to this race a little overtrained and ill-prepared for this distance. I was only three weeks away from Ironman St. George and all my training had been endurance-based rather than speed work. I was slow on all three and could not get deep breaths during the run. I still had a decent time (2:36) - but I can do that distance much faster and I will in the future.

Later in April I redeemed myself with a 3rd place overall finish at the Seville Sprint Triathlon in Gilbert. This was a confidence builder going in to St. George and this rates as my highest finish in a race yet!

In May I completed Ironman St. George. I do not have an official time but I have the medal. I can honestly say that venue was a blast and a challenge. The run was painful and fun at the same time. 14hrs. 25mins. of cardio bliss. I suppose I would not change how this turned out because I actually did talk with and hang out with Carrie, mom and dad that day.

In June I wanted redemption. I considered doing the 70.3 in Boise but it would not fit on my calendar. I did both the Chino Valley sprint (7th overall and 1st in my age group) and the Payson Sprint (11th overall and 4th in my age group). At Chino I felt great. My run was a little slower than I wanted. At Payson I was out of gas on the bike but had a better run on a tougher course.

In July we went to Hawaii - the big island. It was awesome. We hiked, swam, snorkeled and hiked some more. We celebrated our 15th anniversary. It was a great trip. Things to remember for a lifetime.

Also in July, we went over to California for a zipline and hiking adventure with the group we met when we were on the Motion fan hike. That was fun. We hiked to the top of Mt. Baden-Powell.

In August I turned 39, but not before I competed in the Mountain Man 70.3 in Flagstaff. This is hands down the toughest race I've had yet (and that is post two full Ironman finishes.) This race is tougher than the infamous Olympic at Bartlett Lake ... but only because of the distance. If Bartlett were a 70.3 that would be one of the harder races on the globe at the traditional distances. Why was it so tough? 1) Elevation. 2) Hills. 2) Calf cramps for 9 of the 13 miles on the run. I was 5th in my age group.

In September we hiked and worked on the house. Honest truth is - the Mountain Man beat me down a little bit. Not the same beat down I received at the half marathon. The MM beat down was not as painful but lasted much longer. Plus, my bike was all jacked up there for a while.

October was glorious. I got my training legs back a bit. We also hiked down to Reavis Ranch and back with Baron. That was great.

We headed down to Douglas, AZ on October 13th and the crew of Sally Borg, Carrie Howell, Brian Folts and I set out to ride the Cochise County Cycling Classic. 167 miles of cycling goodness. What a great day! This is probably my favorite race of the year simply because of the ENTIRE situation. I was 6th overall and 1st in my Age ... but the best part was nearly a 21mph average for the day.

Eight days after Cochise I embarked on the 70.3 SOMA race in Tempe. It was fun. I think I was a bit wiped out from Cochise but I managed to keep things intact to finish in 5:17:16 - which is a PR for me at the 70.3 distance. I think if I had been fresh that I could have gone below 5 hours for the race. I was 13th in my age group and was in the top 16% of finishers for the day. On paper, this is probably my best performance for long course races.

November was insane with the last minute decision to go ahead and do Ironman Arizona ... which I still can't believe happened. It is just amazing how infectious the endurance dream becomes.

On Thanksgiving Day I did the reverse sprint triathlon - only four days after Ironman. I am glad I did the race because I secured my 3rd place finish in the 35-39 age group for the 13-race series for 2012. I also learned to not push my luck with sinus infections. I ended up in bed for a couple of days after this race. BOOOOOO!

On December 2nd we headed off to race the Rock n Roll 13.1 in Las Vegas. I was pacing Carrie in her first 13.1. She exceeded her expectations and we left Vegas with two super cool medals, a great experience and no injuries. She's on the mend!

On December 8th I raced my first 5K since 2010. On four hours of sleep and some questionable foot issues I put down a PR for the 5K distance - 20:22 by my Garmin. I wanted sub 20. It is there. I will get it.

All things told - this has been a great year ... but not without challenges. Time management is a real thing especially when your loved ones are effected by a somewhat trivial pursuit.