way to go, magali!!!

a huge huge HUGE congratulations to canadian female triathlete magali tisseyre. she finished 3rd at the ironman 70.3 world championships today!!! magali posted the fastest run of the pro women, making up huge ground in the last leg of the race. she finished less than 6 minutes behind race winner julie dibbens and only 1.42 behind second place mary beth ellis. it looked like an exciting race and i'm looking forward to reading her post-race report on her blog.

way to go, magali!

2009 - my year in review

the 2009 racing year is well behind me and my focus is now 100% 2010. up until just a couple of weeks ago i was hoping to be able to get at least one more race in this year. but as that was not the case, the rest of 2009 will be used to get ready for 2010 and beyond. 2009 was my second full season of racing and i went into it with some fairly ambitious goals. in an effort to be continually improving, taking a close look at what i wanted in '09 will be an exercise in ensuring that i learn from my mistakes and figure out what worked best.

goal 1 - qualify for the world championships
this one is fairly straightforward. yes, i did qualify for the world championships and will be heading there with the national team. awesome... off to a good start.

goal 2 - improve my times at all 2009 races that i also competed at in 2008
tough to say whether or not i was successful in achieving this one because the only event that i was able to race in 2009 that i also raced in 2008 was welland. i can kind of include gravenhurst because i made it to that race both years, but in 2008 i was only able to get through the 1st run before a flat tire took me out of the race. all of the others i missed because of injury. however, if i just compare the splits from welland and gravenhurst year over year, it looks something like this:

welland 2008 welland 2009
r1 20.11 r1 18.33
t1 01.33 t1 00.37
b 51.47 b 46.32
t2 01.21 t2 00.39
r2 20.47 r2 19.12
ttl 01.35.36 ttl 01.25.32

gravenhurst 2008 gravenhurst 2009
r1 41.49 r1 37.26
t1 01.18 t1 00.41

as you can see, i did make some pretty big improvements year over year, including cutting more than 10 minutes off of my total time in welland. so although i was only able to compare my times from '08 to '09 in one full race and one run/transition, i did improve my year over year times at identical races in 2009. sweet.

goal 3 - dramatically improve my bike splits
of all of my goals for this past year, this is the most subjective. and similar to goal 2, the only way that i can really know if i improved is to compare the same race from year to year. since welland was the only '08/'09 race, i have no choice but to compare those two races. looking at the numbers above, not only was i able to knock off more than 5 minutes from the same ride one year to the next, but i was able to hold an of average of 38.7km/h, compared to 2008's 34.8km/h. not too bad. but this is where it gets tricky: there are many different variables to consider such as wind, weather, fatigue, and nutrition. something else to consider is the fact that i rode a different bike in '09. in 2008 i raced all of my duathlons on a road bike, whereas in 2009 i was on a time trial bike, and since welland is straight and flat - perfect conditions for a TT bike - my time and speed in 2009 would have undoubtedly improved even if i was at the exact same 2008 fitness level. i worked hard on my riding last winter because in every race in 2008 i was usually in the top 3 overall for each running portion of each event, and many times my bike splits would be 12th or 13th overall. clearly riding is my weakness. in 2009 i think my worst overall bike performance was in gravenhurst at the provincials, where i placed 7th overall amongst some of the province's strongest athletes. anyways, i suppose it's fair to sum up this one like this: did i improve my bike splits in 2009? absolutely. did i dramatically improve my bike splits? who knows.

goal 4 - improve my transition times
compared to my goal of "dramatically" improving my bike splits, it's much easier to decide wether or not i achieved this one. in 2008 my transition times were regularly 1 minute or more, whereas in 2009 many of my transitions were below 40 seconds. i found what made a huge difference for me was to start mentally preparing for the transition before entering the transition area. transitions can be pretty hectic and staying focused makes a huge difference.

goal 5 - run a sub-38 10k
i actually ran 2 sub-38 10ks in 2009: 36.16 at sporting life and 37.26 at the provincial du championships. my previous PB was 38.27.

goal 6 - win my overall age group in the HSBC series
i didn't get this one. i finished 2nd overall. early on in the season i was pretty sure this was going to be a tough one to fulfill because, thanks to my schedule, it looked like i wasn't going to be able to make it to too many late-season races. as it turned out, it was injuries that finished me off after only 3 HSBC appearances. however, i did finish 2nd overall in one of the most competitive age categories with only those 3 races, and i won my age category in every one of them. what i like especially about my ambitions to win the overall age group category is that it's a sign of how my focus has changed over the past year. in 2010 the overall age group win will not be a goal of mine because i'll be focusing on things slightly differently next year.

goal 7 - finish top-3 in every race, except the nationals and the worlds
i should have been more specific with this one: finish top-3 in every duathlon, except the canadian duathlon championships and the duathlon world championships. the canadians didn't happen in '09 and i didn't go to the worlds, and my only non top-3 finish was at the provincials. i raced 7 duathlons in 2009, and this is how i finished in each of them:

1st, 2nd, 2nd, 1st, 2nd, 5th, 1st

close, but this was a goal that i did not achieve. not to say that i'm bummed out about this one. the total opposite, in fact. i'm pretty psyched with these results.

looking back on my 2009 racing year many months after my last race, i can say to myself with confidence that i had a very successful year. it will be tough to make such huge improvements in 2010, and it will be hard to top a year of overall finishes like that. i can't honestly expect to show up at each race next year hoping to shave 10 minutes off of my time from the year before. if anything, i'll remember 2009 as a year of injuries, and this will be what i take away from this past year as a mistake to learn from. i need to train differently if i want 2010 to be injury free. what i'll carry over to next year because it worked for me this year will be two things: mentally focus and prepare early for transitions, and don't go out too hard too soon. in my first race of '09, a 10k race in whitby, i sprinted off the line, took too long to settle into a pace, and paid for it in the last half of the race. after leading for most of the race i lost the lead around the 7k mark and crossed the line in 2nd place, heaving and panting and feeling drained.

as i mentioned above, my goals will be much different for 2010. my schedule for next year is tentative at best, but i will likely race less, focusing my efforts on key races throughout the year. that being said, i will definitely be a regular on the HSBC and Subaru circuits because those races are the most fun. it's so great to get out there and see all of the familiar faces. as competitive as this sport is, and as competitive as i make it for myself, the most important thing is to ensure that i have fun, encourage myself and other athletes to not take things too seriously and enjoy racing.

my second home

i've been at absolute endurance every day this week except monday and it feels as though it's become my second home. i'll be heading there again tomorrow for a few hours and again on sunday. when you're training in a group environment it makes the long, monotonous workouts easier to bear. i had to spin for 90 easy minutes yesterday before making any changes to my heart rate or power output, and the only reason i got through it was because there were a lot of other like minded people right there alongside me. it's a whole other mindset compared to riding at home on an indoor trainer by yourself.

my training has ramped right back very quickly, although the running side of things is coming along slowly. it's amazing how fast some downtime will change your body, and my legs are sore sore sore after only running what for me would typically be a couple of light, let's stop and smell the roses-type jogs through the park. once my running legs are strong again i'll get that mileage back up, but until then it's slow and steady. i had a very painful massage on wednesday night to help with the tightness, but now my legs are feeling loose and limber and fantastic. today is a day off for me so my body has some time to recover before hitting the pavement again tomorrow morning. the weather looks good for this weekend so it will be great to get outside and enjoy the rare, sunny weather, a nice break from all the shitty rain and clouds we've had over the past few weeks.