Who is Ted?

I'm the father of two beautiful daughters and an amazing wife. For fun, I enjoy the long hours of seemingly endless suffering that endurance sports (mostly running, cycling and triathlon)provide. During my "down time" I'm an avid beer snob and self-described gourmet chef (in other words I like to burn things on a stove or grill).

Saturday, December 28, 2013

2013 Retrospective

When it comes to training and racing, 2013 was a bit of a roller coaster ride.  In spite of a few big setbacks, I still accomplished several goals and set some new records for myself.  On the balance of things, I would have to say it was a great year.  What follows are a few of the "big" moments from the year.  Originally, I thought of this list as more of a top 10 style, but as I sit writing this morning, that doesn't really seem to fit.  There are certainly a few things here that seem like a "bigger deal" than others, but the more I read through what I'd written, the less it seemed to make sense in terms of trying to rank them.  Instead, I've listed them more generally.  Some are good, some are bad, but all were important in the past year.

First DNF- At forty-two years old, I've been fortunate that I've never broken any bones or dealt with other serious injuries.  That changed on October 27th when I crashed my bike during Ironman 70.3 in Austin, Texas.  I wound up with the typical road rash, but also with a broken collarbone and a cracked rib.  That was almost two months ago now, and although I'm back to running and riding on the trainer now, I can still feel the effects a fair amount.  It was a difficult way to end the year, but at least it was better that it happened at the end of the year, as opposed to the beginning.  It certainly put me in a situation where I had to take some serious down time (in fact, the month without doing anything was probably the longest period of time in the last four years that I've gone without exercising).  While I'm all for a bit of a break now and then, I wouldn't recommend a full month off at this point.  While it hasn't been terribly difficult to start working out again, the post workout aches and pains are a bit more pronounced.  I know that it will still be some time before I get back outside on a bike, but in the meantime I'll keep myself occupied with my trainer.  It also looks like I might at least get a chance to try swimming again in the next week.

Result from Ironman 70.3 Austin

Early season injury-  In February, I experienced my first running injury since sometime back in 2006.  Seven years of being basically injury free had been nice, so I guess it was my time.  Training for an ultra in the spring, I strained my calf muscle while out for a run one afternoon in February.  That put a major limit on my training as I was forced to do nothing but swim for several weeks.  However, out of that experience, I learned a bit more about my needs as a runner.  Most likely, the biggest contributor to my injury was a lack of flexibility.  Running on tired legs, combined with a pair of shoes with little drop between the heel and forefoot, put enough stress on my calf muscle to give it a pretty good strain.  Even though I laid off of it for a week, I re-injured it right away.

First OWS race- While I've done a number of open water swims in training and in triathlons, I'd never done just an open water swim race, but in early July, I had the opportunity at the Cancer Sucks Freedom Swim in Denver.  This was a 2.4 mile swim at a place called Grant Ranch.  I really wasn't interested in racing the event, I just wanted the opportunity to do some swimming in open water and to get a sense of what a swim at that distance would feel like.  My performance wasn't pretty, and I struggled through the first half mile with leaky goggles, but eventually I settled in and had a nice morning of swimming.  It was also for a good cause which I was happy to support.

Yearly Totals- Between the early season injury and the late season crash, I missed somewhere between 4-6 weeks of training.  Still, I managed to log more total miles this year than any previous year since I started this triathlon adventure back in 2010.  In total it was about 43 miles of swimming, a little over 1600 miles on the bike, and more than 560 miles of running.  In 2013, I rode and ran more than I did in any previous year.  I really started to hit that level of endurance that makes longer workouts and training seem less daunting.  Hitting those same numbers in 2014 will be a challenge for sure, but I hope to stay consistent in my workouts and see what I can accomplish.
2013 was a bigger year for training

Injuries in Feb/ November impacted training time
First Century Ride- In June, I completed my first (and only) century ride.  The MTCC was actually 106 miles, and it took me a touch under 8 hours to complete.  The ride has over 10,000 feet of climbing as you wind your way up through the mining towns of Cripple Creek and Victor before heading west and eventually back up north, through Guffey, and back to Florissant.  The ride was certainly the most challenging I've ever done, and I remember how exhausted I felt at times as I inched my bike forward a bit at a time.  The first few miles out of Guffey were probably the most challenging and it seemed like I was riding straight uphill.   By the time I'd finished, it felt like I'd run a marathon!

Melisa's first marathon- In May, Melisa completed her first marathon, the Colfax Marathon in Denver.  Having finished my ultra a couple of weeks earlier, it was really fun to be in the supporting role and to watch her finish the race rather than be in the thick of it myself.  The girls and I went over to City Park in Denver a few hours before the finish time and enjoyed the beautiful spring day.  Melisa had a positive attitude throughout her training so it wasn't surprising to see her smiling as she approached the finish line.  Although she hasn't signed up for another marathon yet,  she says that she wants to do another one sometime.

Maya runs her first Bolder Boulder- This year's BB10K was especially sweet as we had the chance to run it with our daughter.  Back when she was a baby, we'd walked the course with her riding along in a backpack, so it was fun to run with her and to see how much she enjoyed it.  She especially liked all of the chances to get sprayed by a hose or dump water on her head at each aid station.  Later in the fall, she joined the cross country team at her school, and it was awesome to show up at her races and cheer her on.  She's quite the little runner and like any dad, I'm super proud of her accomplishments.  I know that running will be a family tradition, and I'm guessing that her little sister will be joining in the fun very soon!

Half Marathon PR- In August I ran the Georgetown Half Marathon and managed to PR by about 3 minutes.  Chalk it up to all of the endurance training I've done, but I was able to settle into a good, strong pace and finish in about 1:37 (give or take a few seconds).  I'd gone in with fewer expectations, so it was awesome to finish the race with a PR.  A definite highlight to my racing year.

Ultra run complete- Perhaps my biggest athletic challenge this year was to race and complete the Collegiate Peaks 50 mile trail race in Buena Vista.  The two loop course included a lot of climbing and a fair amount of hiking and I was very tempted to call it a day at the 25 mile mark.  However, I stuck it out and after about 32 miles, I wound up finishing strong, a bit sore, but still strong.   I managed to complete this race on a minimal amount of run training as well.  With time, the memory of how difficult this actually was has faded a bit.  And although I don't have an ultra planned for the foreseeable future, I won't rule out doing another one at some point.
Sunrise before a morning run
Remembering this is fun- More than mileage totals, etc., I did these things in 2013 because they were fun (capturing the data is really just a way to look back on that fun, kind of like looking at old pictures from a vacation).  The gratification that comes from setting a goal and seeing it through is matched and surpassed by the time spent just being outside and enjoying the world around. Whether that's slowly climbing a winding mountain pass, or gazing across the sweltering earth on a scorching summer's day run.  Or being first to jump into a perfect, glassy pool on a Sunday morning and cranking out 30 laps before anyone else arrives.  Sometimes it's the rush of excitement pulling up to a race early in the morning.  Or seeing the sun crack open the eastern horizon on a bitter cold morning run, when the rest of the world seems asleep.  In 2013, I remembered that it's those quiet moments alone, when you begin to flow through the elements and across the landscape.   Whether swimming, biking, or running, a rhythm sets in, and as cheesy as it sounds, you really do kind of feel like you're "one" with everything around you.  Okay, not necessarily "one," but at least a part of something bigger.  For me, it's those moments that keep me coming back for more.  That was my 2013.

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