Best Race Experience?
I think this is obvious, but Ironman Louisville was the best race experience of 2014.
This is the face of an Ironman
A close second would be the Runner's World Half and Festival. I had so much fun getting to know all of the other bloggers and the race was pretty amazing too!
Crushing my sub-1:50 goal
Worst Race Experience?
Mike and the rest of the first runners at the start of Cast a Shadow
We didn't race as often as we normally do this year, so 99% of my races went well. If I had to pick a "worst" race experience it would be DNS-ing Cast a Shadow because of my injury.
Best run, swim or ride?
So many. This year was pretty amazing to say the least. Lots of PRs, lots of runs, rides and swims with friends. I can't pinpoint one specific instance so here is a photo collage of our year!
Best new piece of gear?
Exiting the water at Ironman Louisville
I didn't buy a lot of new gear this year, but I will go with my TYR Torque Lite Swimskin. Ironman Louisville wasn't wetsuit legal so Mike and I both made the decision to buy swimskins prior to the race. While I don't think it helped me that much, I do think it helped reduce the amount of drag I experienced during the swim.
Best piece of triathlon-ing advice that you received?
Before the Runner's World Half and the Philly Marathon, my friend told me to "hustle". I think that was pretty good advice for me this year. I also believed that I could do it!
Most inspirational runner/triathlete?
Instead of one person, I have quite a few this year. Here they are:
Us with Crystal after her marathon in May
Crystal - What can I say about her that I haven't already said? She crushed her own sub-4 hour marathon this year, all while getting ready to move from Cape Cod to Alaska. She continues to support us, and all of her friends, from afar. I don't think I know anyone who is more genuine than her and I am lucky to have her as a best friend!
Me and Janell at the Philly Marathon expo
Janell - Janell is an amazing person and we are lucky to have her in our life. I am thankful that Crystal brought us all together! At the beginning of the year, Janell race directed her very first race! Mike and I had the pleasure of being a part of it and I am excited to see it grow in the coming years. In addition to that, Janell works as a nurse, takes care of her family and trains for her own races. She even crushed her very first triathlon this year!
Isaac ran back to everyone at the Half at the Hamptons after crushing his race
Isaac - He says I got him back into running after a six year long hiatus, but I can't take credit for the kind of runner that he has become. He is always there for other runners, often putting their own goals before his own, and supports us from near (he came to the Philly Marathon to cheer us on) and afar. He also attempted his own self-supported 100 mile run this summer. While he "only" made it to 80-something miles, I am so proud of him! He will be attempting another 100 mile run next year.
Our first ride with Greg this past spring
Greg - Our friend and training partner, Greg, had an amazing year! He overcame an injury and went on to not only finish his first triathlon, but he also finished his first 70.3 (in less than desirable conditions)! He is also rather speedy on the trails, but he is very humble about his accomplishments.
With Sarah at last weekend's 5K
Sarah - I have known Sarah for awhile now and to say that she had an amazing year this year is an understatement. Not only did she PR at every race she ran this year (from the 5K to marathon distance), she also developed an inner strength and mental toughness that I have never seen her possess before. I am so proud of how she developed as a runner this year!
After the Mini Mussel, where Mike placed in his age group
Mike - My training partner in life and triathlon. What can I say? I wouldn't be doing this if it weren't for him. He amazed me this year with all of the training that we put in and how he performed at our races. Mike worked full-time during Ironman training (I am a 10-month employee and was lucky enough to be off during the bulk of our intense training in the summer) and never complained. He accomplished a sub-13 hour Ironman and sub-4 hour marathon in the same year, and PR'd at other distances as well. I am so lucky to have him in my life!
Here are a few of my "ups" for the year:
Pacing this lady to a 10K PR
Ending the year with a sub-24 minute 5K PR
Getting in lots of training with our friend, Greg
Luckily, we did not have many "downs" this year. I did become injured at the beginning of the year and had to DNS a race as a result. Fortunately, my recovery time was short and I was back at it in no time.
We also went through some changes this year in regard to our friends. We lost a few friends this year, mostly during Ironman training but a few after as well. It hurt, but it also made us stronger in the long run.
As long as I have my little family, I am happy
Surprise of the year:
The two biggest surprises for me were my finishing times at Ironman Louisville and the Philadelphia Marathon. I know that I am a strong triathlete, but I never expected to be able to pull off the times that I did at both of these races - let alone in the same year! My goal for our Ironman was a sub-15 hour finish, which I beat by almost two hours.
This was a good day
After our Ironman, I was shocked at how fast we were running. We were pulling paces that I had rarely seen before and I started to believe that a sub-4 hour marathon was possible. Again, to be able to achieve both of these goals in the same year is something that I still have a hard time believing that I accomplished.
2014 will be hard to top, but I am looking forward to what 2015 will bring!