Sunday, December 23, 2012

2012 in Review

Sitting around in full recovery mode has given me ample time to start thinking what the last year has meant to me and what the next year may hold in store for me. This post is about looking back over the goals I set for myself for this past year.

1. Complete the Disney Goofy Challenge in a manner that follows through with my goal for having a fun time during the event rather than having a speed goal for the event.

My athletic season began with an early start in Disney World with the completion of the Goofy Challenge. I not only set new PR times at both the half and full marathon distance, I also had a ton of fun running the races for enjoyment more than for time. I even took a few minutes to run off course and ride the Expedition Everest roller coaster during the marathon. I doubt I'll ever be able to top that one for a diversion during a race.

2. Complete my longest run event in February, the Rocky Raccoon 50 miler.
I completed my longest running event in in Huntsville, Texas, with the completion of this race. I ran virtually every step of this race with my friend Karen, an experienced ultra-distance runner who helped me in my preparation for this event. Next year I get to return the favor as Karen is going for her first Ironman triathlon finish.

3. Set new PR's in at least 6 different events/race distances. My intended races include 5K, 10K, half marathon, marathon, 50 mile, multiple sprint triathlon distances, half Ironman (70.3) and Ironman distances. If I had to pick one goal for my primary time-based goal this year, it would be to finish the 70.3 mile half iron distance in under 6 hours. That would be an improvement of over 21 minutes from last November's Oilman Triathlon time.
For the 12 races I did this year, each was either a PR or a first time effort--for the sake of this write-up, I will not count first time efforts as PR's. In my running events I did set PR's at the 5K (Trail), 10 mile, half marathon and marathon distances. In my triathlons, I set PR's at the half and full Ironman distances, as well as new course PR's at the Y Freedom Tri and Bridgeland Triathlon. As far as my most preferred goal, I did beat 6 hours at the half Ironman distance at the Ironman Texas 70.3 in Galveston on April 1st, with a time of 5:52:05. This also marked a course improvement of just over two hours in two years.

4. Work on improving my weaknesses. When I look back at my relative position finishes in triathlons, my weakest finish relative to the competition is typically the run. Therefore, I am going to include some effort to improve my running throughout the year. Some of my other training weaknesses that I also plan to spend more time improving are strength and flexibility training.
I did work on all of these, though especially on becoming a stronger runner. While I had seen the benefits of this improvement in my early year running events, I found it to be a noticeable part of my triathlon improvement later in the year. In late June I narrowly missed my first podium finish with a fourth place age group finish in the Y Freedom Tri. This really changed my perspective in terms of thinking that I really could become competitive in these events in the future. This led to three straight podium finishes at race effort events in the next few months, which is something I didn't see coming. A number of my friends said they weren't surprised but I certainly was. 

5. Participate in at least 10 events throughout the year, with at least 4 being running events and at least 4 being triathlon events.
Even with my late season injury and missing my late season half iron and 5K races, I still completed 12 events for 2012.

6. Keep my life open to other possibilities that might add to my overall well-being. 
I can think of three main things that I can list for this item. First, becoming involved as a member of the leadership team for a mentoring group that works to bring junior high aged youth to work towards completing a 5K event and working towards a healthier lifestyle. Second, accepting the restrictions that my late season injury has placed upon my life for the recovery period and seeing if there is some lesson I can take forward beyond the recovery period. Third, I took a on a sponsorship opportunity with CLIF Bar and it came through and it presented me with some unique opportunities. Fourth, I've had to learn to adjust my mental positioning of myself during this year--I've been running away from my past for a long time and I think I've finally learned to run towards my future instead.

Despite my recent health and recovery issues, it is hard to consider 2012 as anything less than a big success. I PR'ed every race I ran, including the biggest PR of any athlete who raced Ironman Texas for both years of the race. I got onto the podium this year, and not just that but won my age group in three races. I had a sponsorship deal. I also qualified for the USAT Age Group Nationals next year. Many of these were something I certainly never even thought of as possible. This was definitely a great year for me in so many ways!

Although it will still take me a while to continue my recovery, I have every hope that I will still be able to move forward in 2013, and I will discuss my goals for the next year in a later post. My healing is moving forward slower than I'd like but faster than the medical professionals thought likely. It will certainly take me some time to be back to where I'd like to be, though I am already beginning to resume some of my training in swim, bike (indoor only at this point) and run activities. Ironman Texas 2013 is staying on my schedule for next year, at least at this point.


Amanda said...

Congratulations on a fabulous year Richard! You're already on the road to a great 2013 by just working on your recovery and keeping your faith, dedication to yourself and your healthy attitude!

Rae! said...

What a year!!