Tuesday, December 20, 2011

2011 in Review: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Since the end of 2011 is rapidly approaching, I figured I would do a post with the highlights and lowlights of the past year. A lot of people use this to post their "yearly numbers." I don't do that.. it's not my style and frankly, I don't know. I honestly couldn't even guess how many miles I've swam, biked, or run. A lot. End of story! So here is my year of memories, accomplishments, disappointments, and just plain stupidity! And a LOT of links to race reports and creepy blog friends (and some real life friends too). :)

The Good

I PRed in the half-marathon distance at the Flower City Challenge HM. Yes, it was only by 40 seconds, and it still didn't bring my PR to sub 1:40, but I was still excited.

I WON my first race at the Keuka Lake Sprint triathlon! It was a small race, but it was awesome to finally win something (I have been close before) and stand on the top of that podium.

I think I sprinted up there to get on that podium first!

I did 2 Ironmans in 3 months. 'Nuff said.

Not only did I meet Cait Snow, but I made it into her IMCDA race report (mention AND photo!!!!).

oh wait, you've seen this photo before? my bad :)

I added 5 states to the list of states I have been to which were: Washington, Idaho, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin. Obviously, the only two I spent any real time in (other than driving) were Idaho and Wisconsin. Wisconsin I'd visit again in a second - Idaho, not so much.

My family came to a whole bunch of my races. My parents were there when I won Keuka, and they were there at IM Coeur D'Alene to help me out with my medical tent disaster. They missed IM Wisconsin but only because I didn't want them to have to stand around for a whole day at IM #3.

I bought an iPhone 4 which has basically altered my existence.

I moved to a new apartment! It's cleaner, nicer, homier, quieter, and there is no squirrel taking up residence with me and Fiona. Even though it's small, I absolutely love it there, and I am no longer embarrassed to have people come over to my home!

I read a ton of books in the past 12 months, thanks to the Kindle I got for Christmas last year. Some of my favorites include: Water for Elephants, The Hunger Games trilogy, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo trilogy, Pillars of the Earth, and World Without End. There are many, many more but those are some that I loved so much!

My friends have become an even more amazing part of my life this year. I actually maintained my social life (although it's not as exciting as some peoples' social lives I am sure) with trainer sessions/long rides with Kim, girls' nights with Ari and Sam, bar nights with Matthias, Amanda and Greg's wedding, and some fun outings with Solveig. I had a ridiculously fun race experience at mini-Mussel with Greg and Mary. I met a whole bunch of creepy internet friends: Jon, Mandy, Emily, Kevin, Anne-Marie, and Laurie. Also, 3 of my friends got engaged this year (Kerry, one of my long-time horse friends, Amelia, and Kim)!


I have begun to consistently ride Cherry again, which is something that has escaped me since this whole Ironman nonsense began in 2010. I am so much happier when I get to spend time at the barn and in the saddle, so I am going to try my hardest to make this work around my big training weeks in the summer. Plus, Cherry deserves the best care possible for as long as she's around! She has been such a great 4-legged companion for the past 17 years of my life. Really, she's the best horse I could ever ask for and I love her so much!

she is sooooooo awkward, just like ME!

The Bad

Despite my increased training, swimming more yards per week, more 6 hour bike rides, multiple 3 hour long runs, even with two attempts, I did not have the Ironman that I wanted. I wanted to PR, I wanted to go sub-12, and I wanted to run a good IM marathon. I was unable to do any of those things. I think I would have been happy if I had hit at least one of those goals, but I didn't. Regardless of the small victories that I had (the completion of two more Ironmans, figuring out long ride nutrition, the success of those 3 hour runs), my failure to meet my own goals has cast a shadow over much of the 2011 season. I know that is negative, and I know that people are not happy with my perspective on it, but that's the way it is. The best I can do is take what I have learned this year and apply it to the future.

Mary sold Train-This in the fall of 2011. Although this is definitely a personal achievement for Mary (she was invited to join the coaching staff of QT2 Systems, which she accept, and which we are ALL proud of her for), I am still sad about it. Train-This has become a family to me. We are so close; most of us are in Rochester so we raced together, went to training camp together, joked around on the google group, and saw each other in training hot spots like Mendon Ponds Park and Canandaigua Lake. Even though the friendships are still there, and I have followed Mary to QT2 (which I do believe will help me improve next season), it's different now. I loved that Train-This was a local, help-you-out kind of coaching service. It was affordable, it was flexible, there were no limits to how often I could text, tweet, facebook, email, or call Mary. You don't find service like that very often, where someone launches a business because they truly love it and aren't trying to make tons of money off of it. Since it has changed hands, the logo has been altered and the name has changed to T2 Multisport. Although I understand why the company has been madeover, it still bums me out that the Train-This that I have loved for 2 years is gone.

I spent all of my money on Ironman this year. Literally all of it. Between race entries, travel (flights to and from CDA and all that driving for IMOO), hotels, coaching, equipment (hello, Garmin 310XT), I came out of the race season with no extra money saved. I don't regret it because I believe that I should embrace opportunities that I may never get to experience again, but it has made things difficult for the past 3 months as I struggle to pay my regular bills. I didn't think I would be having this kind of trouble, but my coaching has increased in cost and I am now paying off a new laptop that I bought when I was forced to replace my Macbook that died in July. I am praying to the gods of triathlon that my year end bonus arrives both swiftly and plentifully!

The Ugly

I will be happy if I never have to see the inside of a medical tent again. Hours of my life were wasted inside the medical tent after IM Coeur D'Alene, begging for that sweet, sweet IV that fixed my dizziness and nausea when they finally gave it to me (hours after I first got carted into the tent). Between passing out in the changing tent and puking in the medical tent, my IMCDA post-race celebration was not very good. There was less dizziness at IMWI, but there was vomiting both during the run and after the race in my hotel room. Again, vomiting = NOT FUN.

dizziness FTW

I still hate wearing pants. Unfortunately, it's December, and even though it's been unseasonably warm, I can no longer lounge in my apartment sans pants because one thing I hate even more than pants? A high electric bill! I have moved on to the winter equivalent of no pant - giant sweatpants and/or a snuggie.

I am still single. (Which honestly, and I am really being totally honest here and not pretending in order to make myself feel better or to convince the world that I am "better off without men," is fine. I am happy enough with the way things are in my life). After last year, I swore I would swear off boys eternally (2010 was the year of two breakups). Which I sort of did. Because my choice in men is.. questionable. But then, you know, I get bored. Seriously. It's just boredom that makes me think I want to find a boyfriend. Oh yeah, and that looming deadline of being 30 that has been arbitrarily stuck in my head as the age to be married by (ummm.. I can tell you now.. that's definitely not going to be met). But.. I have nothing to show for my year except for a whole bunch of super awkward dates with a bunch of weirdos. Maybe I am ready for part 2 of this blog post? Luckily I have Matthias who is basically my pretend boyfriend because his girlfriend, Sabrina, lives in California, so he hangs out with me, which is perfect because I don't cross those kinds of lines, and I find him totally non-threatening because he's in a relationship!

In Conclusion..

I am (mostly) happy with my year. Meaning, I will look back on it fondly. It didn't have the ultimate highs that I got in 2010 (my big half-IM PR and my first Ironman), and it did have some disappointments, but at least I tried. I feel that most of the great parts of 2011 were actually NOT triathlon related, which is totally fine! Overall, I was more levelheaded, I felt like I knew more of what I was doing (training-wise), I handled working the night shift better, and I never had that post-Ironman depression that killed me in 2010!

On to 2012!!


  1. Seems like you've had quite a journey this year. I'm looking forward to creepily stalking you on your blog.

    This entry and many of the others has actually piqued my interest in triathlons and specifically training for a half IM at some point in 2012.

    Best of luck to you next year.

  2. I hope I get to talk to you in 2012!! :) You have had a spectacular year!! I can't wait to see what 2012 brings!!

    I hate wearing pants too.

  3. Hey Alexa! I am proud of your fitness level FOR you; as I sit here making banana bread and lamenting my lack of exercise for the past few months. It seems sooo hard to get back into it, so you should flaunt your fitness! Congrats on a very adventurous year, and other successes will come with all of your hard work. Happy Holidays!

    Maggie (Innes) Fuller

  4. haha, you forgot me in the list of creepy internet friends you met this year :)

    Great recap of the year. I think you have a lot to be proud of, regardless of whether or not you hit all your goals. Attempting 2 Ironman races within a few months of each other deserves mad props!

  5. Anne-Marie! you know what's funny? I did forget you when I wrote the post, and then once I got home and got into bed, I remembered that I met you too! so then I was going to add you when I woke up, and forgot. I shall add you to the list now :)

  6. Looking at that list, you had a damn fine 2011!!! :) You "bad and ugly" are all sucky, but not horrible! And your list of "good" is REALLY good. I would say it was a success! Can't wait to see what 2012 holds!

  7. I made "The creepy blog stalkers I have met" list!!!! :-) I am very happy to have met you Alexa. I love your honesty and down to earth perspective of life. I love that our shared interests keep us connected despite our differences, and that I keep discovering even more commonalities! (My girls got me Season 3 of BBT for Christmas....Bazinga!!!! ;-)) All of the challenges and lessons of 2011 will carry over into 2012. I look forward to following your journey into the coming year, so keep on blogging!
    Wishing you nothing but the best in 2012 and beyond!!!


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