2014 in review

As 2014 comes to a close, it’s time for the last blog post of the year: a year in review!

About 51 weeks ago in early January 2014, Gabi and I started training for our first Ironman. That was about eight months prior to race day. It seemed a little early, but we needed to bring our fitness up to a certain level before our “formal”, six-days-a-week training began in March (24 weeks to race day) with the DC Triathlon Club IM training program. Between short distance racing in 2013 and the off season, we were not exactly ready for serious training. Thus, January and February were spent training 3-5 times a week and this made the winter go by rather quickly.

Ironman training and racing was a huge sacrifice in many respects. However, the rewards were even greater. We discovered a new community of friends in the DC Tri Club. We raced amongst our friends in Raleigh, NC for our first half Ironman in June. We accomplished one of the greatest physical and mental challenges our our lives by crossing the finish line of Ironman Louisville, KY in August (11hrs 19min, not bad for my first IM!). Best of all, our parents were there to witness the culmination of our amazing journey.

IMG_3136     IMG_7385

The rest of the racing season was marked by opportunities to take advantage of our conditioning. I raced the Nation’s triathlon, Ragnar, Waterman‘s Sprint, and set a personal record in the Marine Corps marathon in October. At the end of the year, I was recognized as the DC Tri Club Most Improved Male Athlete of the Year!10411233_10152848811399594_426281513251999894_nNovember was a month of down time. I chose not to exercise, except for a few hikes here and there. Part of me was simply not interested, part of me wanted to experiment with taking full rest to let to body heal after a strenuous year. December came and I found it very difficult to get motivated to exercise. I struggled waking up in the morning. I was needing 9+ hours of sleep. I am still struggling. Perhaps my body is still in recovery mode, though I don’t remember having such a hard time coping with winter last year. Thankfully though, the National Club Challenge came to the rescue and got me moving again. I’ve kept training in December as low impact as possible, swimming ~2500m three times per week, and biking 30-45 mins twice a week. I think I ran a couple of times total, as fun runs with friends.

All in all, I couldn’t be any more satisfied with the choices I made for 2014. I had to change my lifestyle and put some things aside as a result of my commitment to training, but I was rewarded in many more ways. Strangely, as I look back at Ironman, sometimes and from some perspectives it does not seem like that big of a deal. But I need to remind myself that it was a big deal. Ironman should be a lesson I carry every day to every aspect of my life, to remind myself that when confronted with seemingly insurmountable challenges or unreachable goals, everything is indeed possible if I set my mind to it.IMG_6402Cheers to many great racing years!