There was no singular event, race or accomplishment to define the past year. However, there were many firsts — new experiences, new friendships and new adventures.
- For the first time, I raced outside the continental United States in March with a trip to Puerto Rico.
- I ran a half marathon personal record by about eight minutes in April when Esme and I took a weekend trip to Raleigh.
- Later in the year, I ran a marathon personal record during a training run and lopped about eight minutes off of that time too.
- After more than a decade away from it, I swam the Great Chesapeake Bay Swim during a heat wave. I crossed in about 1:46 or as fast as I ever have.
- I had fun — and some success — with local Olympic distance races that I’d never been to in Charlottesville and Colonial Beach.
- In late June I showed up for my fourth Ironman in four years. By my own assessment, I was more fit and more prepared for Coeur d’Alene than the previous races. It was far from my most successful race. I barely dragged myself into the finish area. Nonetheless, it was a great trip to a beautiful corner of the country.
- I was able to see all four members of the tribe swim in the “A” meet for two consecutive weekends for their summer swim program.
- During one four week period in the summer I raced three times, in three formats — Ironman, Olympic and open water marathon swim.
- I volunteered at a race — a 5k — where Desmond won some hard earned recognition.
- In July I did my first ever race in the ocean. The nine mile course in Ocean City is worthy of the term “marathon swim.”
- In September, my team of two years began the process of folding up. Then in October I joined a new team — with a whole new set of people to learn.
- During the summer, I spent the better part of an afternoon volunteering with kids in a program with the DC Parks and Recreation teaching and answering questions about swimming and triathlon. Later in the year I guided a blind athlete during a half marathon.
- When November rolled around, I found myself going long again for the JFK 50 — my first ultra-marathon.
- I watched Desmond flourish in cross country and Josephine in the field events of their first year of track.
- A couple weeks ago I ran with Esme for the third straight year at the Celtic Soltice — and she dropped nearly seven minutes from her 2014 time.
In all, I swam more than 233,800 yards which is just a bit shy of 133 miles. Though I didn’t check, this may be the first time ever that I ran more than I rode my bike. Cumulatively I was on the saddle nearly six days during the year covering 1,765 miles (not including commuting). By contrast I ran the equivalent of 7.7 days for a total of 1,261 miles.
The blue dots on the chart below represent the intensity of a workout. The closer to 1.0 the harder the session. Each blue dot corresponds to a red dot. The red dots along the X axis are days that I did not exercise. Red dots above the axis show how much “work” I did that day.
There is a clear pattern with a minor peak in March for Ironman 70.3 Puerto Rico and the Raleigh Half Marathon and a major peak at the end of June for Ironman Coeur d’Alene followed an Olympic race and the Ocean Games. Then my fitness declined; I continued to work out but without a clear plan or schedule of races. At the end of August I decided to do the JFK 50 and the workload and frequency of sessions picked up straight through Thanksgiving. At that point, I started “offseason” until about a week or two ago when I started swimming again.