It has been a very Fit and Busy year in the Life of Dirtbag. Let's review, shall we?
After an excellent honeymoon vacation to New Zealand, I got back and immediately got to work training for the Honolulu Triathlon, my big A race for the year and my first attempt at the Olympic Distance after knocking off a couple of Sprint distance races in 2010.
February was an orgy of registrations as I signed up for both the Sprint Triathlons I was using as tune-up races on my way to Honolulu. It was also the Great Aloha Run, which I called the Great Aloha Jog because I'm clever like that. This was my first attempt at eight miles, so there was some barrier breaking going on there.
March started with the Guard Dog Triathlon, a small fun race where I actually placed in my age group! And a little later in March we had the wonderful experience that is a tsunami warning. If you get the chance to spend the entire night watching the news and listening to warning sirens, skip it.
April brought plenty of training and the Lanikai Sprint Tri, another good experience out on a course. Every race is a learning experience, and learning is good. I didn't attack like I wanted to but I learned to deal ever better with the fear of pain that racing brings. Mental toughness.
May was The Month I had been building to since January. The Honolulu Olympic Triathlon. A race so exciting for me I created a contest, did a pre-race photo blog, and a post-race photo blog. And I shaved my legs.
June was an example of the goodness of others. My wonderful sponsor, Background Profiles, jumped on board the Dirtbag Train, making many of the foolish things I do financially possible. It was also an example of the importance of paying attention to pre-race directions. I did the Firecracker Sprint Tri and, had I not gone in the wrong direction to start the swim, would probably consider it one of my best races. It was the most solid, confident run I've had in a race situation yet. And I got my second medal finish ever during the Popoia Open Water, a 1.6 mile swim that put the rough in rough water. Took first in my age group!
July was a short training month due to a much-needed trip to California and Seattle for the summer to see family. Did that stop me from signing up for events? Of course not! I completed the Chun's Reef North Shore Open Water swim. I was out of shape, for me, and slow, for me, but it was a good time. I love getting out and swimming long. I also threw my hat into the book reviewing ring, giving my thoughts on Matt Fitzgerald's RUN: The Mind Body Method of Running By Feel.
August found me back in the ocean for the North Shore Challenge, a 2.3mi open water event with too few buoys and a killer current. Still had a good time. But I don't like to complain about events unless they really need it. This month launched what was supposed to be a monthly event but in reality hasn't happened again because, well, I don't have a really good reason. I really ought to try to get another Barefoot Runners Society Meet-Up happening though. Come one, come all! Also in August I developed my first genius idea for The Dirtbag Foolishness Race Series- The Barbarian Horde 1k! Bring your own waivers.
In September I made a new friend who helped me prepare for the Honolulu Century Ride and hasn't stopped helping me since. My first 100 miles straight out on the bike and I loved every second of it, even dealing with crazy drivers and tourists who don't know how to ride. I also completed the final distance open-water swim of the season, the Waikiki Rough Water, putting down an even better 2.3mi time. Super Awesome Wife won a drawing for some Alaska Air miles too.
October was exciting because it was my first chance to repeat a race, the Ko'Olina Sprint Triathlon. I could not have been more excited or keyed up for this race and the chance to show myself just how far I'd come. Instead, I learned hard lessons about over-training and pre-race nutrition. Still, learning is learning. I developed the second event in the Dirtbag Foolishness Race Series- The DeadMan 5k and 10k, a zombie pursuit-style race. And Super Awesome Wife and I completed a relay event, the MCB Splash and Dash, with me Splashing and her Dashing (pronounced "walking quickly"). It was great to be able to share an event with her like this, and cheer her across a finish line instead of the other way around.
I turned 30 (aka- officially aged up into the 30-35 age group) in November and celebrated with a 30, 30, & 30 For 30 week of training. I also registered for my big A race of the coming year, and a fun little dash through mud and fire.
As for this month? Nothing big, no events. Just good old Dirtbag training, but unstructured and relaxed. Got my second trail run in, made fun of Sean for being old, got my ass kicked by Sean, did some swim lessons, and ate too many Christmas cookies. Good, kick back month.
Wow, looking back on 2011 in one big chunk like this is something else. Four Open water swims, three Sprint tris and one Olympic, a Century, a running race, a biathlon with the wife, and near constant working out? That is what I call a busy freaking year. And, with what I have planned for 2012, there will be no slowing down any time soon. Gotta stay busy, gotta keep moving forward. Pain tells you you're alive and getting stronger. Much thanks and love to all the Dirtbag family and Dirtbag support on the island and around the country. Hope everyone has a fantastic holiday season. Try not to eat too many cookies.