My 2014 racing season is finally over. I completed the Army 10 Miler last weekend and squeaked out another PR. That makes 7 PR's over 9 races this season. There is no secret to my success. It comes down to consistency in training. I had a good buildup to my races and incredible recovery this season. I chose each race very carefully and had a purpose in mind for each one. I didn't race just to race.
Each race was used to help prepare me for Ironman Lake Placid. I didn't focus too heavily (mentally) on them and expend too much energy. I can't handle too many ups and downs that come with racing. My main goal that I was gearing up for was IMLP so I had to keep my mental focus sharp for that race. Any races leading into it, I didn't get too nervous over. I was able to tune-out the noise around me of other people training and not get caught up in what they were doing to prepare. I knew what I had to do and I trusted my coach's plan.
When IMLP rolled around, I really felt sharp and well prepared, thanks to Danielle. There was never a doubt in my mind that I wouldn't finish. It was just what time I would finish in. I went through just about every type of weather pattern that day, and I still managed to finish fairly well. After that race I had a little downtime prior to refocusing my efforts for the rest of the season. I used my Ironman training fitness to knock out a new PR in the Olympic and Half Iron distance events and then a few running races.
Right now I am in a month-long hiatus from any structured training. I am still training, but it's more of a "what do I feel like doing today?" and just doing that. It's a great mental break for me as I don't have to worry about getting the work done. I can relax and just enjoy the idea of working out.
I learned a few things this season that will hopefully stick with me to next season. I've been racing since 2003 and I think this season is where I finally learned a lot about myself (better late than never I guess). If you race and never learn anything or take anything away, then I think you are really missing out. It helps me goal plan for future races.
For 2015, I have a few races already in mind. I am using the same philosophy as I did this season: I will not race just for the sake of racing. Each race will have a purpose/goal that will help me improve. This process takes a lot of self-reflection on my part. Last month I sat down and mapped out what I want to achieve next season with my racing and what do I think I need to do to get there. It was fairly detailed and some honest criticism of myself. I typed up my goals and tentative race list and sent them along to Danielle. In a few weeks she and I will sit down and figure out what exactly I will need to do to hit my goals next season. I was very specific with where I want to be and am excited about my journey to get there. Next season won't be as long as this one was, but it will be just as important to me.