[caption id="attachment_3564" align="alignleft" width="180"] Bucks County Marathon
3:17 - 1st in AG[/caption]
2012 was definitely my breakout year in multiple ways for my multi sport lifestyle. I set Personal Records in all sports and in all distances. In Triathlon, I set PRs in the Sprint and Olympic distances (including all 3 legs). In running, I set PRs in all distances, from 5K to Marathon. After 5 years at UConn, I finally joined the Cycling Club. I had my first bike crash… I also had my first podium finish! Looking back on the year, what made it so successful was breaking it into 4 different seasons: Pre-season, Cycling, Triathlon, and Running.
Pre-season (mid December to February)
I was coming into my pre-season in bad shape, both physically and mentally. I was overweight (185lbs) and depressed. My 2011 season ended abruptly with a runner’s knee injury. I was devastated. I tried to push through the nagging injury, but that just made things drastically worse. I had to fight with my insurance to schedule PT appointments. I ended up spending all of November and the first half of December 2011 doing absolutely nothing. I never broke a sweat, never got my heart rate up. After finals week I finally got back on the bike and started hitting the trainer consistently. In January, I flew out to Colorado for 10 days and got to go skiing for 5 of them. My insurance finally cleared me for PT appointment in January as well. Things were starting to look up. I decided that a great way to cross train for triathlons would be bike races. I joined the UConn Cylcing Club and met some great people. One experienced rider even gave me a training plan to get prepared for the road season in March and April. In January and February I was riding 5-6 days a week, doing PT twice a week, and running and swimming on occasion. I was real cautious about running. The last thing I wanted was another setback.
Cycling (March and April)
I have thought about joining the Cycling Club every year since I was a freshman. It only took 5 years, but as a first year grad student I finally did it. My first road race was the Grant Tomb’s Crit near Columbia University in New York City. It was a 1 mile course with 5 terrifying turns that went on for 25 grueling minutes. I got dropped from the main pack but I never was pulled from the race (if you’re close to being lapped they pull you from the course). Coming from a triathlon background did nothing to prepare me for the accelerations, the turns, and riding in a pack. I went on to race in 4 weekends worth of riding. Each race I was learning more and more. I had the power and fitness to keep up but I lacked the experience. By the end of the season I was winning primes during crits and finishing on the podium for road races.
Triathlon (May to September)
We just started a Triathlon Club at UConn and were lucky enough to be able to go to Collegiate Nationals in April in Tuscaloosa, Alambama. This was a great experience and definitely got me excited about my upcoming triathlon season. I went on to numerous podium finishes at the local sprint races and a couple of 1st place AG finishes at bigger Olympic events. In September, UConn got to compete for the first time at the collegiate conference races. We did very well in our inaugural year. The men’s team qualified for nationals, topping off the season with a 4th place finish at the Regional Championship. The women’s team just barely missed out on qualifying. I did well enough at the races to earn a spot in the first ever Draft-Legal Collegiate race at Nationals in Tempe, AZ in April 2013. Only 75 athletes nationwide will be competing.
Running (October to November)
Being fueled by my Triathlon fitness, I went on to set a Half Marathon PR by 17 minutes and cracking 1:30 (1:28) in mid October in Hartford, CT. This success gave me the confidence to try my hand at a Marathon again. My first attempt was 2 years ago and took me nearly 4 hours and 30 minutes. It was not enjoyable to say the least. I was eyeing the Philly Marathon on November 18th, but it filled up before I had the courage to sign up for it. Scrambling to get a Marathon in, I found a small, local Marathon the same day in a sleepy town about an hour north of Philly… The Bucks County Marathon. With 4 weeks of structured running under my belt I went on to crush my first marathon time and finished the 26.2 miles in a time of 3:17!
I usually don't like to look back, but this blog was a perfect way for me to reflect on a great year. I learned a lot and met a lot of people. I've made many new friends through the Cycling and Triathlon Clubs and the active lifestyle in general. These people have made my training and my competitions an amazing experience. I look forward to building on these relationships as I continue to push myself to become a better triathlete and person.