Some would say 2016 was…rough. I mean, for all intents and purposes, it could legitimately be the script of a compelling horror flick. This conflicts me. Because my year was prettay…prettay…prettay good. And I’m not just talking about race results (though those never hurt). I grew this year as an athlete, as a person and as a frequent flyer. The Cavs broke Cleveland’s 52yr drought in the best Game 7 of all time — and I was THERE. I drove Porsches in Atlanta, rode bikes in Taiwan and jumped off cliffs with the girl I love in Hawaii. I was on the cover of a fricking magazine with my teammates! What world is this!?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m still swimming 31min in a Half Ironman, the Cleveland Indians lost a Game 7 — and I was THERE, and I learned that I am allergic to my beloved sweet potatoes.
Yes, there is plenty to improve upon in 2017. And as they say, if you measure it, you can improve it. So in the spirit of my race reporting this year – which featured super scientific charts – I’ve charted out the year in review. Read along for perspective of how it all came together and perhaps take tip/trick/or both with you to go.
At face value, annual distances are pretty impressive. But compared to most competitive athletes, this weekly breakdown is pretty light. This is a product of fitting in what I can before and after long work days. Thankfully purplepatch’s philosophy is centered around building training into the available weekly hours of your life, not the other way around. This chart is a true example of quality, not quantity. Still, the swimming needs to be more, and will be in 2017.
Fun Fact – 10,312: miles traveled domestically for races this year, which is the equivalent to going to Tokyo and back.
If the mileage above was the result of fitting what I can into a busy work week, here’s how the rest of a week shook out this year. One of my main goals was to sleep more and as you can see, a third of my year was spent in a dream (*tips hat to Westworld*). Sleeping is critical to recovery and in 2015 I was sick before almost every race — big training load, long work hours, personal life, no sleep. This year if I felt my 7.5-8 hours were in jeopardy, I’d scratch a session. By and large I’d say it worked. In 2017 I’ll continue to find sensible ways to optimize, growing that yellow 9% without throwing off the balance.
Fun Fact – 11: seasons of shows I completed this year with Dani and/or with my Normatec boots/lacrosse ball.
I raced six times this year across the country and it cost me about $4,000. No one said this sport is cheap. Could I have raced less or more locally? Yes. But my goal was to race regularly, at bigger races that pulled strong talent and this is how it shook out.
Fun Fact – $85: how much I spent total on lodging thanks to arranging homestays. Thank you Gina, Albrights, mom and dad and Sunns!
All of it added up to my first amateur win at a 70.3 event, a 2nd, two 3rds and a 5th. I won my age group at every race except for the final race of the year, Santa Cruz. I established a bike PR of 2:12 with strong bike run/combos putting me in the hunt of each race. Most importantly, I had a ton of fun seeing the country, being with teammates and pushing myself past my comfort zone.
Fun fact – learning from failure: my most viewed post of the year was: The Anatomy of a DNF, my recap of learning my limits after going hypothermic and dropping out of St. George. It’s not always about the end result, but the journey.
For my efforts, I ranked #1 in the world Ironman’s 70.3 age group point system. Pretty cool! So why the asterisk? Because no ranking system is perfect. Where you race, how big the race is, who is there, margin of victory, etc. all make up a complex system. And in the USAT rankings (i.e. all distances, all brands) I am 16th in the nation, let alone the world. In those rankings I’m 3/100s of a point ahead of teammate Julian Sun and 3/1000 of a point behind teammate Reid Foster. WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN??? That I can be generally happy about trending higher year-over-year, while always trying to race the best guys in the world head to head. Hey, it’s actually pretty simple!
Fun fact – 7: of the 15 ranked ahead of me in USAT are on my team, Every Man Jack. 10 of the top 20 are ours. I don’t need to look past my own Strava feed for motivation!
A successful year like this isn’t possible without a sturdy, well-developed support system. I am so grateful to the following folks for the guidance, support and in some cases sacrifice to help make this a reality:
Dani: You believe in me even when I have a hard time doing so myself. Your excitement and support mean everything.
Family & Friends: Since my first triathlon, my parents have traveled to at least a race a year. Nick, Nate, Joe, Kyleen, Joanne, Gina, Joey, Kerry – thanks for supporting this year. The Kesslers – the 614 connection is strong, thanks for the guidance and friendship. Everyone else who posts/texts/well-wishes – thank you!
Team Every Man Jack: The rankings above only tell half the story. I’ve developed lifetime friendships with these guys. Here’s to another fun and fast year, fellas.
Sponsors: It starts with being able to #cleanupnice after every workout with the awesome Every Man Jack products. EMJ and all of our sponsors support us with amazing products and opportunity that legitimately help us train better and race faster. See them all here.
And with that, goodbye 2016! Next up, some how, some way, improving in 2017. And I already have ideas of how to make it happened. So stay tuned!