I started in January with one of my favourite events - the Frosty Trail 3-hour. It was a tough day with tricky, ever-changing conditions, and I'm pretty sure the end result was a personal worst distance to go with the bruised feet and torn up shoes.
|These were in mint condition before the race.|
February was devoted to training my butt off so I'd be ready when the end of March rolled in, bringing the Around the Bay 30k with it. I had worked incredibly hard for this, and it paid off with a 10+min PR at that race and 3.5min PR at the distance. My sub-3 goal? Yeah, got that, and then some. This was probably my best performance of the entire year, and I have months of kicking my cranky arse out the door in a polar vortex to thank for that.
Of course, there was no time to rest on my laurels, because I had stupidly decided it would be a shame to "waste" all that run fitness and signed up for the Waterloo Marathon at the end of April. I caught a cold, soldiered through idiotically instead of resting up, and fell short of my 4:10 goal time by almost seven and a half minutes. I just did not have it in me on race day, though as much as I whine about it I still bagged a 20+min PR at both that distance and that race.
So with triathlon season about to start, it was time to gear the running down and ramp up the cycling. I had every intention of spending the next couple of weeks after the marathon absolutely living on my bikes, trying to translate some of the aerobic fitness into pedaling power. Then, this:
Being hit by a car (two days after crashing my mountain bike, no less) put a significant damper on my training for the next few days, and it was weeks before I was anywhere near 100% again. Nonetheless, at less than 3 weeks post-hood ornament, I lined up for one of the coldest starts to triathlon season yet: the Woodstock Sprint.
I put together a really slow swim, a bike hampered by idiot drivers and poor fitness, and a pretty poor run to come in almost 2 full minutes later than I did in 2013, when I simply hadn't done the training I should. Who knew that playing bumper cars on a bicycle would be bad for performance?
|Though I suppose finishing at all was enough of a win.|
Maybe even starting counts.
Then came a crazy block of events in June - the Heels & Wheels trail 5k at which I actually took 3rd woman overall (!), the Cambridge Tour de Grand 72k (not a race, but lots of fun!), the Welland Triathlon that Tanker and I did as a relay, then an extra-poignant Together We Travel Ride for Angels in which I wore the same kit that had gone skidding across the pavement in May.
|My first overall award at Heels & Wheels!|
|Rolling through Grand River country with my sweetheart.|
|Tanker off to kick the Welland bike course's ass!|
|Riding around Niagara Falls after the Welland relay tri|
|Together We Travel - Ride for Angels is a critical mass ride |
to raise awareness for cycling safety, in memorial of a man
who was killed when he was hit by a car in Waterloo Region.
I finally had a couple of weeks to buckle down for some serious training before returning to the site of my unfortunate horizontal trackstand of 2012 for the Mine Over Matter Full Off-Road Triathlon on the first Saturday of July. Despite a head-on collision with another athlete during my swim warm-up, I made it through the whole race unscathed and didn't even mind too much when I had the absolute slowest bike split out of any athlete that day,
|My saddle coming loose and turning skyward probably didn't help.|
A couple of weeks later I was back to one of my favourite race sites for a new experience - doing the Belwood Triathlon as a lone competitor! Tanker and I had always done this race as a relay in the past, but after hearing him rave about the lovely cycle course we decided to switch it up for 2014. I had a pretty good swim, suffered in the hills on the bike, then had a breakthrough run out of nowhere! I ran faster for the final 7.5km portion of that tri than I ever have in a stand-alone 5k.
|On the move!|
|Soggy in Frontenac|
|Tanker's first canoe tour!|
|Bon Echo's quartzite cliffs|
|Tanker discovering pictographs on Mazinaw Rock|
August saw some training happen as I tried to ready myself for fall racing, but the final week of the month was dedicated to our annual motorcycle tour. We had a wonderful trip exploring a science centre and a shipwreck museum, camping in Killarney Provincial Park, freezing ourselves at Brimley State Park on Lake Superior's southern shore, then drinking in the rich history of Fayette State Park before leaving Michigan's Upper Peninsula to return to South Higgins Lake State Park and on to the always-enjoyable Great Lakes Rally outside Detroit. We arrived home exhausted but full of incredible memories!
|Making friends at Science North|
|Lake Superior sunset|
|Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum|
|Charcoal blast ovens at Fayette State Park|
|Endless dunes on the north shore of Lake Michigan|
|Huge campsite at South Higgins Lake|
|Riding with friends at GLR|
|This bit, on the other hand, sucked pretty badly.|
|Falls on the Madawaska River.|
|Sunrise over Head Lake|
|The Starling Lake lookout|
|Forest ablaze with colours|
Two weeks after that, it was back to the woods for Campsgiving at Valens Lake Conservation area. We thoroughly enjoyed discovering this local gem, and will assuredly be back in the future to enjoy its beautiful lake, trails and boardwalks.
|Overlooking the reservoir|
|Who would've thought?|
|This moment here is worth more than any medal.|
I can, however, take away at least one positive thing from each race I did, and each one has fond memories or silly stories attached to it. Furthermore, there were almost no points I can think of in which I gave anything less than the best I had in me to give on the day. Since I'm just a Joe Schmo athlete that pays to enter these athletic events for the fun and challenge of them, I think that's more important than the final numbers anyway.
Wishing you all the best of the holiday season - peace, joy and a wonderful new year. I'll see you in 2015!
|Merry Dorkmas to all, and to all a good night!|