2016 was a pretty great year for me. As you can see from my Race Results page, I managed to get off the couch after 9 years of a pretty sedentary life and get active again. Major goals were achieved, including a loss of 55 pounds. I was feeling healthy and strong, and while I wasn’t particularly fast, I was swimming and cycling faster and longer than I did in my early 20s. I guess it is true what they say – 30s are where endurace peaks. Has me really excited for 2017.
But let’s stick to 2016 for now. I’ve dropped my PMC chart from TrainingPeaks.com for the 2016 season. The blue line generally represents fitness, yellow is fatigue, and pink is training load. The blue dots indicate an intensity factor. Red dots indicate the TSS on the day. If all of these things are unfamiliar to you, I cannot strongly enough recommend Joe Friel’s The Triathlete’s Training Bible and get signed up for a free TrainingPeaks.com account.
The PMC above shows pretty clearly that I started from nothing. That’s basically true. I got off the couch one day and hopped in the pool. A few weeks later I went out for a jog. A few weeks after that I managed to get my bike cleaned up and out for a ride.
That was a fun ride. Just out for kicks. I remember coming home from exploring about 30 km of country road near our place (we had just moved, so exploring was actually happening) and feeling alive again. I knew my fitness was very poor but I also knew that getting in again was in my blood. It didn’t take long for me to get registered for the MultiSport Canada Woodstock Sprint Triathlon. Around the time I decided to enter the event is around the time I started researching and reading about triathlon training. That led me to TrainingPeaks.com and Friel, and thus the PMC started mid-May of 2016.
For the most part, it was an up-and-up year fitness wise. My focus was on losing weight and getting healthy, not on getting fast. I survived Woodstock with a smile on my face and a feeling like I accomplished something. Not knowing what my next event would be, I stretched out my workouts, going longer. Still not fast, just longer. Mid-June I ran my first ever half-marathon, from my front steps. Exhausted but feeling great, I did it again the next week, and the week after that. Before I knew it my half-marathon times were dropping pretty considerably and my weekly long runs were creeping into the mid-20kms. Still not fast, but relative to a guy sitting on a couch not four months before, I was thrilled. Normal guy runs 25km non-stop.
In mid-June I also picked my next goal: finishing the MultiSport Canada Barrelman Triathlon. This looked like a great first half-distance event. Flat, end of season, and in generally cooler temps. Stretching my cycling started to happen, and my brick workouts also extended quite a bit. Before I knew it I was spending ~15 hours a week training. Still not getting fast, just getting long. Fitness improving, waistline shrinking, goals being achieved. Putting the work in. If you don’t do it, you’ll never do it.
And a new bike. I moved from the Fuji Aloha up to a properly fitted Cervelo P3 Di2 from the guys down at McPhail`s in Waterloo. More on this later, but the short version is WOW. Both for the shop and for the bike. Cannot say enough good things, so to avoid gushing, I`ll just keep on writing.
When I finished the cycle at the Barrelman, I was thrilled. I rode faster and longer than I had ever before. The half-marathon afterwards, well that was another story, but a good swim and a good ride left me feeling very satisfied with the day. My quads didn’t like the ride as much as the rest of me did, and that caught up with me in a big way on the run. But I did it. Normal guy does half-distance triathlon in just over 5 and a half hours. Not the fastest guy in the field, but relative to a guy sitting on a couch not 6 months before, I was thrilled. (A theme!)
After a few weeks of recovery and down-time, some too-much-too-soon-again workouts led to an accidental off-season, leading limping right up to the end of the year. Not the way I’d have liked to finish the year, but recovering has led me to want more from this year. Originally, I was thinking that 2017 was an Ironman year. Now I’m not so sure. I know I’m capable of doing the half in a much faster time, and I want to give it my best before I move to an Iron attempt.
So 2016 was a pretty great year. Not a fast year, but a great year. The 2017 season will build on these victories, and will have new challenges to overcome. I`m ready to get at it.