Year in Review (2013)
I can sum it up by saying it was by far my most successful year and by far my most painful year. Which, obviously I find quite troubling unfortunately.
I completed one marathon and seven triathlons. Had one full ironman event cancel on me and then I destroyed my foot (broke a metatarsal) 6 weeks before my final triathlon which was supposed to be the replacement full ironman for the cancelled one. Oh well.
There was a Boston qualifying time and five podium finishes, but not without a lot of pain and body parts disintegrating apparently.
The season started off with the Shamrock Marathon as a last minute (month) thought. Peer pressure, what can I say. As expected, it was a painful adventure by mile 19 but I kept a constant pace and finished in 3 hr 27 min 47 sec, which qualified me for Boston. Though I had no intentions on going to Boston, it looks like I will now (it’s only 9 weeks out as I write this). Now whether I actually get to Boston, due to injuries …. well read on.
Next came two sprint triathlons which like a solo marathon, I am no fan of. But to keep the family unit happy I decided to add a few “local” sprint triathlons to my mix for 2013. The first sprint event was the Smithfield Sprint (58 min 11 sec with 4th AG). The second sprint event was the Richmond Tri (1 hr 4 min 31 sec with 3rd AG). Both were fun and fast paced, as expected. My wake-up call was moving from two sprint races to the Kinetic Half as the next race. This is one of my favorite races due to its setting and location near Fredericksburg VA. I went sub 5 hours and was thrilled (4 hr 59 min 50 sec with 2nd AG and 66th OA). Two weeks later on a gentle run, seriously, I blew out my left calf. And then limped/ran home the last two miles to finish off the damage by successfully blowing out the other calf. Crap, that hurt, a lot. Swollen calves, and a very bloody ankle (internal bleeding), and a visit by Rob and a visit to a sports doc finally settled the issue – I had a 2 degree calf strain (deep muscle rip). Felt like I was shot in both calves. So I went into recovery mode, adjusted my running, bought some compression socks (so either I look real cool or like a dork … or maybe both) and did a lot of calf rolling and rubbing over the next few weeks (ice also).
Then more pressure arrived with the annual club championship being the Jamestown Olympic a few weeks later. Don’t ask how, but I ran softly and was scared to death that things would get ugly with more muscle damage. Anyway, I survived and finished at 2 hr 18 min 07 sec with 2nd AG and 26th OA. Next up was Tri Rock Philadelphia (wife is from the area, hence the major kitchen pass to combine race with a family visit). A very hilly bike course around a big city venue, way nice. My time was 2 hr 22 min 35 min, good enough for 4th AG and 137th OA. Then back to Tidewater for my last and final sprint, the Tidewater Sprint (1 hr 1 min 35 sec with 1st AG and 22 OA).
Alas, one more half and then a full, and then done for the season … so I thought. About 4 weeks before the Patriot Half, I ran 17 miles with a new pair of Newton’s. And when I finished, the top of my right foot hurt, a lot. I thought I had the new shoe tied to tight. Anyway, for the next few weeks before the Patriot Half, I throttled back my running. Race time comes and I let er all out as I always do. The Patriot Half has a 58 mile bike course vs the typical 56 mile bike course, so expect your times to be about 6 minutes longer. I finished in 4 hr 58 min 13 sec with 1st AG and 22 OA. I was thrilled, but …. I limped to the podium and limped A LOT back to the car afterwards. Well, back to Rob and few doctors later, it looks like I have tenditis or possibly a stress fracture, no one knows and the X-rays can’t tell squat. So, I am careful, seriously, and back off on my running. Six weeks before the final race, a full ironman, I complete a 120 mile bike ride with Rob and Shawn (no drafting). The next day, I go out for an easy run and get about 700 yards when I seriously hear and feel a snap. I almost face plant into the pavement and I know I am in deep do-do. I barely can walk to the curb and then quickly assess that I can’t even crawl back home. After I see person number 3 go by, I call for help … and that was the end of my season. Back to the doc and this time the X-ray sees a fracture … yeah, no duh was my thought. So since that early September day, I have been in rehab with a boot and crutches and a lot of limping. And lots of swimming, lots of that. And weight training. On Thanksgiving, I climbed up on the treadmill and thought I would die after 400 yards (still not ready apparently). Well, bit by bit, I am back running (90% capacity?) and the bone is healed though I did put those new Newton’s on again about 4 weeks ago and within 7 miles I reinjured the same foot but slightly higher above my metatarsal. Crap was my initial thought. Not this again! Though had a great season in Newton’s, apparently the new Newton’s I bought late in the season were just to firm with my forefoot push off. So, no more Newton’s for me … for a while.
I was able to finish in the Virginia Tri Serious number one in my AG which was neat. But, I must admit, the scores on my three sprint races held me back from being in the masters final ranking. At my age, I just can’t turn over certain body parts fast enough for a sprint … so I will stay with the Olympic and long course races.
As for all the injuries, I have no clue. My volume was down but the intensity was up from 2012. I am always careful and ensure I get full recovery. But who knows, maybe my warm up and cool down events are lacking. Maybe my mental push is stronger than my physical push. Just don’t know. But I do know I do not want to repeat those types/levels of injuries for 2014.
In closing, cheers to everyone for a stellar 2014 season!