Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 Year in Review

2011 will surely be remembered as the year I became terribly addicted to triathlons, duathlons, and road racing. I don't even want to start adding up how much I spent on race entries, equipment (a new bike, race wheels, ...), the gym, etc. However, I could afford it, it's gotten me into the best shape of my life, and it's been quite rewarding meeting and exceeding goals.
Besides racing, the figurative and literal "high point" of my year was being able to visit so many state highpoints. Almost every trip out of state involved at least one new highpoint. The most extreme, Wyoming's, was four days of trekking through the snow and was far more physically and mentally tough than any race I did. However, I wouldn't have been able to do it in the manner I did if I weren't in as good of shape as I've become as a result of training and racing.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Decker Challenge Half Marathon

This morning I raced the Decker Challenge Half Marathon, the third event in the Austin Distance Challenge (the first two being the IBM 10K and the Run for the Water), and while I didn't manage as quick of a pace as either of those races, I'm quite pleased with my 1:50:30, which smashes my previous half-marathon PR from 3M in January. It also significantly improves on the last time I did 13.1 miles on foot in that part of town (The Longhorn Half Iron). I didn't have much of a game plan going into this race, knowing it was going to be hilly, but not having done this race before (this course was not the same as the Longhorn run course, but included some of the bike course). My plan was pretty much to run an 8-minute pace in the flats, a little slower uphill, and a little faster downhill. There weren't many flats, and it seems the downhills didn't even out the uphills, as my average pace was 8:24 (by my watch). Also not helping my time was some pretty bad foot pain- my left ankle was hurting for the past two weeks, and my right foot developed a nasty blister. However, I was well within, and nearly exceeded my goal time of 1:50-2:00.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Thanksgiving / Connecticut Highpoint

After the Natural Bridge Caverns Du on Sunday 11/28, I flew to New York on Monday for a fairly brief, relatively traditional Thanksgiving with my parents, sister, and niece. I don't think I mentioned it in my post, but the eighth of my recent highpoints, Alabama, is 35th in rank of highpoints by height ASL, and happened to also be my 35th completed highpoint. This was unintentional, but when I realized that Connecticut is ranked 36th in height, I was more than a little bit interested in going there on this trip. It wound up being about the most exercise I got during a week of gluttony.