Friday, December 19, 2014

Year End Recap for 2014

It’s been an exciting but tough year for me. 

Coming off the smoking fast and furious courses in Chicago and Arizona in 2013, the overall year of 2014 felt like a slower curse than 2013 but with a hidden success story in a not so obvious way to the untrained eyes. 

The word – perseverance – pretty much sums up my style points for this year.

For one, and despite racing for 10 consecutive years now...some would say it’s about time I secured my first ever triathlon AG “win” (i.e. seriously all those bride maid's positions were well worth it, eh?). The support from friends has always been there, and it is their belief in me that has contributed to my gradual improvement over the many years. So a big thank you. But not so fast, the triathlon gods certainly has a sense of humour – of course my first top of the AG podium result was a non-sanctioned-standard (and for the old schoolers aka Olympic) triathlon distance. Oh sigh the controversy begins… WFT is a trestle challenge you might ask? Okay fine, so the Shawnigan Lake Trestle Challenge doesn’t officially float the boat as my first AG win in a triathlon but wait there’s more to this story. Keep reading… :)

Speaking of 10 years, this year was my tenth year in the sport and the UBC TRI/DU was one event I have never missed (in a upcoming post, I'll summarize my 10 years of racing in 85 races...just joking ) and almost nearly missed this year. Of course the gods and goddesses of triathlon were up to no good juvenile tricks again and destroyed the poor heating system for the 60-year old outdoor pool facility. UBC Rec was forced to suddenly cancel the registration process for the remainder months leading up to the race in fear that new applicants would overload the pool capacity. At the time I was just moments from signing up, but my fingers were just too darn slow (from a lack of fingers intervals and fingers farklet training of course). Luckily our good friends at the UBC Triathlon Club had some extra spots and I was able to trick/charm my way into the race. Phew record secured…also finally breaking the coveted sub 2:30. I was the happiest 4th place AG finisher, especially because way-way ahead of me if you consider taking a sneak peak up the list of results, some heavy lifters big names Chris Young, Nathan Killam and get ugly star Jeff Symonds were all good company in my AG. Amazing stuff.

This year I also struggled big time by falling rock bottom with my working life. For once, with my unexpected newfound available status, I can joke that my work life, triathlon life and dating life can go in no other direction but up! As my many blog followers seems to really appreciate this when really bad news happen. [Silence] DAM you guys!! 

But I forgive you guys, when eventually news were more positive.  :)

Okie, onto more serious stuff. My right knee was showing some weakness in armour. I guess sneaking in a half marathon PB and 10km PB and racing a lot in a period of a few months didn’t help. I was too stubborn to stop training and racing and even persevered through in Oliver with bad nutrition in hot conditions. I still remember Steve King announcing my name saying I was racing in Shawnigan the week before too! The Victoria Half IM was 1km longer on the run, but I managed to achieve a PB 4:48 because of the bike, but had to fake the run.

Leading up to the big race in Coeur D’alene was supposedly my big race of the season. However, I was struggling to run 5km on easy runs leading up to the race without the knee inflaming. I couldn’t bare the thought of running a marathon. I think the difficult bike section made me focus on just finishing the run in CDA. It was one of the slowest bike splits of any given past ironmans despite showing promising results in halfs this year. This goes to show that you cannot fake an ironman, and you especially cannot fake an ironman during tough conditions. 

I learned some hard lessons getting smacked by the winds. With enough head shaking and perseverance, what could be seen as a disappointment finishing more than an hour slower than Arizona last year, this race really opened my eyes in the sense that improvement is not necessarily always a measure of less units of time to complete the distances. If you want your monies worth, the tough conditions in races, whatever they may be on the given day, are the reasons why we get into this sport.

So this brings me to Vancouver Half two weeks after CDA. I was thinking of just a backyard style recovery race but this was actually the big test. A triathlon friend joked that my CDA Ironman race was a prep for the Vancouver race. There were some tough ocean currents, some persistent winds and hot run conditions but nothing I haven't seen already. The experience from the many races came in handy and it was another day in the office. My time wasn't pretty going nearly 5 minutes slower than last year's 14th AGer rank. This year it was a huge shock at finishing - you guessed it - top of the AG podium (but also one of the slowest AG champs around :P). The triathlon gods and goddesses certainly has a sense of humour right? I guess so. This Vancouver race was the national championships and also qualified me for ITU Worlds in Sweden next year; however I was still too bummed to appreciate the moment as I was still job searching. Only 11 days later, I started applying for a new opportunity and eventually within the end of the month I was suddenly employed again, but also leaving my full-time triathlete status behind. Guess before you know it, one thing lead to the next and now I'm going represent Canada and going to Sweden next year! 

It's unusual to be standing here!

Still reading, still here? I guess the lesson here is never stop believing even when the world is against you. The real life script is sometimes best to be left unwritten. Let those tricksters triathlon gods and goddesses take care of the rest. :)

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