Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 Year in Review

For someone whose life tends to revolve around racing and training, when you basically have what amounts to a non-season there's not really a whole lot to talk about.  I guess I could've been incredibly upset at being injured (it's happened before) but instead I decided to accept it for what it was and take the opportunity for a physical but more importantly mental break from training.  Heading into 2011 I thought maybe jumping head first back into the swing of things would make me feel better and forget the awful end of 2010, but I think I underestimated how affected I was. 

But while 2011 certainly had some low points, I also did kind of a lot over the span of the last 365 days.  Last year on New Year's Eve I was driving from some random Days Inn west of Oklahoma City through the middle of nowhere Texas where I had to take a planned detour from my initial route because there was so much snow on I-40 it was closed.  So instead of going west and then south it was decided I'd go south and then west.  I had to get off the interstate and drive some very lonely roads but it actually cut 100 miles off my trip.  I went through Roswell, New Mexico without getting abducted by aliens and went up through some towns in the mountains through the snow and cold before stopping for the night at a Holiday Inn in Deming, NM.  I stopped early that day because I couldn't get into my condo in Tucson until noon the next day and there was no reason to keep driving. 

So I rang in the new year in a hotel room mostly watching Saturday Night Live reruns on VH1 and eating room service.  Honestly, I quite enjoyed it.  And on New Year's Day, I found my new home for the following three months.  The condo was nice, quiet, less than a mile from a YMCA with a gorgeous outdoor pool and after only three miles on busy roads would have me out of town in the middle of nowhere for my bike rides.  It's only too bad that the guy's fish died less than 48 hours after my arrival. 

I figured out how to get around pretty quick and began what I had hoped might be the training I needed to get back where I needed to be.  It was a lonely three months but I got in a lot of good training and even took a side trip to Los Angeles, where I hadn't been since I lived there in 2003.  I really wish there wasn't so much traffic and smog out there because riding along the Pacific Coast Highway is gorgeous. 

I raced in California which was disappointing and didn't hold the same fun that it usually did.  It wasn't until afterward that I realized it was the first race I'd done that I couldn't call my dad and tell him about it.  Overall, that was not a good day.  I spent the following week in Santa Ana staying with one of my best friends from college and her husband and two daughters.  Got to swim in another gorgeous outdoor pool in Irvine for a week and ride and run on some different roads. 

After that, I hopped in the car and drove almost the entirety of I-10, some of which has 80mph speed limits because it is so desolate I guess they think that we should be allowed to get through there faster.  So desolate, in fact, that there aren't a whole lot of gas stations.  Don't you think if there isn't going to be another gas station for, say, 40 miles, there should be some sort of sign to warn you?  Well, fortunately when the car stopped moving forward I somehow lucked out that it happened at an exit - the first in quite a while - that involved a campground and a gas station two miles down the road.  I did not make that mistake again. 

I drove on to Florida to do a training camp with friends and enjoy the novelty of actually being around friends and having people to talk to.  Then I finally drove home and after 8000 miles of driving all over the country, I was back in Bedford to the cold and rain of mid-April.  Not to fear though, because a month later I was back in Florida - but this time I flew.  I took myself to Disney's Hollywood Studios, had a very disappointing race that I later realized was probably that disappointing because I did it on a foot with a stress fracture, and then followed up the race that evening with a visit to the Magic Kingdom with some other QT2 teammates who had raced that day.  Watching fireworks while riding Thunder Mountain will take your mind off a bad race pretty quick. 

After some more training spent wondering why my foot was bothering me so much I did something I'd never done before and pulled out of a race in the middle without having planned on it.  My only other DNF was Kona in 2009 but I knew I had a stress fracture going in and wouldn't be running.  I had run three miles and decided that there was definitely something more going on with my foot than just a little tweak.  X-rays confirmed my fears and I spent the next three months in a stylish walking boot. 

I didn't do an Ironman for the first time since my first one in 2004 and didn't bike or run but kept swimming in the lake.  I finally bought a new car after saying goodbye to my little Sentrayoutube videos. 

I got to drive the boat a whole lot and spend plenty of time at the lake.  I did a sprint race at the end of the season and wore the boot for a run and later took the boot to a wedding.  I went out on the lake at night with my mom, brother and sister and we spread some of Dad's ashes so he could see the house. 

I finally got the boot off and started running again for what felt like the first time ever.  Had to say goodbye to my "nephew" golden retriever Marley after a very quick onset of liver failure.  I got back onto a training plan for the first time in months and even signed up for another Ironman in 2012.  And that's basically all I've been doing since, trying to get back into shape. 

Looking back, it seems that I accomplished absolutely nothing over the past year.  But I did see a whole lot of the country and hopefully got the break I needed so that I can really go for it in 2012.  I especially have to get on that if the world is going to end like they say.  But I'm a little skeptical of that. 

As for resolutions?  I don't really do those.  But I do have some thoughts in the back of my head about what I'm going to do with myself.  I feel like I've been sort of dormant for a while, and I think it's time for that to end.  I've at least got my plans on where I'll be headed soon enough, and I'm just glad that this time it involves other human beings. 

So if 2010 was the worst year ever, 2011 was mostly me recovering from it.  2012?  Well, who knows?  But I guess I'll find out soon.

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