Thursday, October 6, 2011

Two Years Later

Birthday ride (Tam) in August 2009
In a way, my triathlon story truly began two years ago this month. I had spent the summer riding my heart out, but a crash in August sidelined me for several weeks. As soon as I could ride again, I tried to jump back in at the same intensity and that proved to be an enormous mistake. By the end of October, I was exhausted, over-trained and burnt out. I didn't think I'd ever want to ride a bike again. So what did I do?

Ahh, chlorine!
I joined  swim team!

As dull as swimming laps in a pool can be, it felt good to be back in the water. But it wasn't long before my swimming friends found out I liked to cycle, and my cycling friends found out I liked to swim. Before I knew it and despite my aversion to running, I found myself being prodded toward triathlon. At some point, my interest was piqued.

I was content to swim for a few months, but then, almost on impulse, I signed up for Ironman Western Australia in March of 2010 and set about learning to be a triathlete. That May, participated in my first real triathlon: the Auburn "World's Toughest" Half. After that, I was hooked.

Approaching the finish-line in Auburn
For the remainder of the year, I had a singular purpose, and that was to compete in and finish that Ironman in December. I only squeezed one race in between Auburn and the big event, and that was Santa Cruz' Big Kahuna.

Approaching the finish line in Santa Cruz
As for the Ironman, it couldn't have come soon enough. It's not easy to sustain such an intense training regimen for nine months straight and by the time taper rolled around, I was barely fending off another catastrophic burn-out. As we all know, the race went well. Kristine and I spent three incredible weeks touring Australia together and then I spent another two weeks in Ohio with my family.

At the finish line in Busselton
Not long after returning to San Francisco in January, I forced myself to get off the couch and re-find my focus by registering for the Full Vineman race in Santa Rosa in July. When I signed up, I could barely imagine finishing another Ironman, but I knew I'd regret it if I did not. Cue another training montage covering six months of intervals, long runs, ibuprofen, ice-packs and foam rollers.

At the finish line in Santa Rosa
Vineman came and went, and we celebrated, and then came the Big Kahuna again. I won't go into those recent races again here - for more! Now it's October and I'm able to look back and marvel at what I've managed to accomplish in those two short years.

Now it's October, and for what feels like the first time in forever, I don't have a race breathing down my neck. The weather is (mostly) sunny. The skies are (mostly) blue. The beers are (mostly) cold. Sounds like off-season to me!