Instead of setting a litany of race-based goals at the start of 2011, I attempted to set goals that included a sense of overall balance with my annual priorities. Looking back over these goals I found that I had largely forgotten about them in the process of pursuing them. Let's look back and see how I did.
1. Get to the starting line of Ironman Texas trained and ready to race.
From a competitive perspective my Ironman Texas effort fell a bit short of race day hopes, but looking back I need to remember that I was taking on a task that was so far ahead of anything I had done previously that one of my chief concerns was even making it through the training process healthy. Generally speaking, I had a good training sequence leading up to the race and got to the IMTX start healthy, trained and ready to race.
2. Spend more time with my wife.
This one sounds so easy and yet can be so difficult to quantify. My wife and I share a number of interests, however the physical events of triathlon are not among them. Even so, I think I was able to keep enough room in my life for my wife while maintaining my training. I don't know that the distractions of work, training and life in general will ever really allow me to spend as much time with my wife as I might wish, but I will try to keep this in mind going forward into 2012.
3. Find a better balance between training, work and family.
I think the answer to #2 also pretty much applies to #3 as well..
4. Training and Race Goals.
IMTX - (Finish the race in the official 17 hour time window.) Even with my IMTX day falling short of race day expectations, I still met this goal.
Half Marathon - I had hoped to do a half marathon in fall and finish in the 2:00 to 2:15 range, however I did not do a half marathon this year.
5K - (25 minutes was my 2011 goal as set back then.) Never would I have expected That I would run a sub 23 minute 5K back then. Heck, I did not even think it was possible the day before I did it! That week before my friend Karen was challenging me to run under 24 minutes, and I thought even that time was questionable.
Overall, I think it is pretty safe to conclude that I had a successful year with respect to my goals. Beyond that I have to say that I feel the year was also wildly successful for a few additional reasons. First, I did quite a few races last year, sometimes doing the same distance more than once during the year. In each case, in each and every race that I did, I set a new race PR for that race distance. The totality of being able to race well and to continue to advance my fitness that much is something in which I take a good deal of pride. Second, I have been through a complete paradigm shift in my expectations. In terms of endurance and speed, in terms of strength and overall fitness, and in all other terms I can realistically apply, my views of what are possible have changed well beyond where they were a year ago. In response to these changes I am having to relearn what expectations I should have for myself. I also had to recognize that these changes included the physical as well as the mental. During the year I dropped sizes in clothing and had to adapt to changes in my physical appearance. It is even fair to say that I have had trouble recognizing my own reflection at times due to these changes. Finally, I learned during the year there were those who had seen what I had accomplished over recent years and thought of me as an inspiring example. I found that to be quite humbling then, and still do. However it does give me an additional incentive to live up to the example I have tried to set for my family, and apparently, the example being taken by a few others around me as I head into 2012.
147 days until Ironman Texas....
Merry Christmas to you all!