Thursday, December 17, 2009
2009, the year in review
With no more events planned for the year, it is time to take a look back over the past years highlights. 2009 was a bit unusual in that it was a re-building year; a new beginning of sorts. 2008 had been a good year in many ways but was also a year of disappointing races, dnf's in several ultra's and a lot of nagging pain and injury. As the year ended I knew I needed some time off mentally as well as physically to heal and look forward to starting over fresh in 2009.
So after taking the entire month of December off from any running or biking, I was eager to began anew on New Years Day at the NCRC Resolution Run 5k. No, I didn't run the race but volunteered and afterwards did my first training run. It wasn't easy but was great since the Trail Angel slowed down and ran it with me. The rest of the month was spent getting back to slowly building mileage and Karla and I resumed running our Saturday long runs together.
By February things were going well and on minimal training other than a few long runs, I ran the Myrtle Beach Marathon with Karla. We both got through it feeling ok and in a decent time and best of all my legs held up well and now I was confident that the pain and injuries were finally behind me.
In March, I did my first triathlon of the year and was amazed to do so well considering I had only been on my bike once since last Fall and I had a great run off the bike. It was nice seeing Amber Groves in her first Tri and have Chris Damico to watch and take photos. Two weeks later I would run the Raleigh Rocks Half-Marathon with Karla and Chris ran several miles with us. I fell behind with about 3 miles to go and my time was my slowest half ever but I still enjoyed the race and the company, knowing that faster times were coming back as long as I could stay healthy.
Training continued to go well and on April 25th I did the Riverwood Sprint 5k in Bill and Margherita Scott's neighborhood. That went well but the run course was tough ! Then a week later in the first weekend of May I made the trip down to the White Lake Half-Ironman with my buddy Jerry. I love the location and atmosphere of that event and we met a new friend, Donna Short-Webster. The race was a little disappointing. The swim was great, the bike was windy and wore me down and the run was hot, and humid and very slow with a lot of walking. Not a good omen with my debut Ironman only 7 weeks away.
May would continue to be a busy month of training as I tried to get on the bike more and swim as well as keep up the running. A week after White Lake, I rode my bike 19 miles to Clayton, ran the Clayton 5K with Karla and then rode another 32 miles back home. The race was slow but fun and the whole workout was a confidence boost for my Ironman ambitions.. The next day was much cooler so I decided to run the 10 in Garner. I was really amazed to run as well as I did after the big training day on Saturday. Then on Memorial Day, Margo organized a group to ride with me for portions of my 100 mile bike ride. The day went great and it gave me the confidence I needed heading into my upcoming Ironman
June was the big month I had been looking forward to for a year and now the time was approaching. I ran the Race For the Cure 5k on the 13th in a decent time on a hot humid morning and then it was time to fly to Seattle and drive from there to Idaho for Ironman Coeur D' Alene. I was very excited to be able to finish my first attempt at an Ironman on a tough day. The swim was a nightmare and almost ended my race early but I had a decent bike ride despite winds between 15 and 20 mph all day on the difficult rolling course and then held on in the wind and rain on the run course. It was one of the biggest thrills of my life to run strong that last half-mile towards the glow of lights and cheering crowds, then to cross the finish line and hear " Joey Anderson, you are an IRONMAN !!
With the Ironman behind me it was time to get back to what I really love. Running and training and working towards my goal of returning to Boston qualifying shape. So, three weeks later on July 11th I was happy to make the trip once again to the Grandfather Mountain Marathon. It is one of my favorite weekends and this year would be extra special since I would be sharing the trip with the Werners. I would be running my 10th marathon with Karla and we would be joined by Lisa Howell who had begin sharing our long runs back in the Spring. We had a beautiful day for the race and although I tired near the end, still feeling the effects of the long day at Ironman I had a wonderful time sharing the first 22 miles with the ladies.
The next couple of months would be dedicated to more focused training as I looked ahead to the qualifying attempt coming in November. The training was fun and going great. Karla and I had been starting back doing track workouts every Tuesday just before my trip out West and now we were really able to get into it and begin building some speed and stamina. And I was gradually building my weekly mileage back to a level it had not been in a couple of years The long runs with Karla and Lisa and occasionally Jenn and Eric were going well too.
My only competition in August was at the Mayo Lake Sprint Tri on Aug 15th. It was a lot of fun and I saw several friends there. Despite very little biking I had a very strong ride and overall had fun and a good time.
In Sept I traveled to Williamsburg/Jamestown VA for the Patriots Half- Ironman with my oldest son Steven and daughter-in-law Bethany there to watch me. Despite a fiasco of a swim in the James River, I had a good ride and the best run ever in a triathlon and was still able to PR. And that would end my tri career for the year. I have not been on my bike or in the pool since that day.
Now I could really concentrate on the running and on Oct 3rd, I returned to the Selma 5k for the first time since 2005. On a warm humid Indian Summer Day I ran a decent time and several friends did well, especially Karla who set a new PR ! The following weekend , Karla and I rode down to Greenville for the 1st annual Run for the Booty half-marathon. Cool weather and a mostly flat, fast course would provide a good test for our upcoming qualifying attempt. I missed my goal by a minute but ran strong and had fun. I knew then that I would not be qualifying this year but my legs felt great so I just need to keep training smartly and take care of myself.
And then in November it was time to go for it at the OBX Marathon. Despite knowing it would take a miracle for me to run 3:35, I decided to go for it anyway. And as expected I crashed and burned making for a slow and miserable 2nd half to the race. It was a great weekend though sharing it with the Werners and my wonderful hosts, Mike and Lisa who graciously invited me to share their home for the weekend in Nags Head. The weekend before the OBX race was Raleigh's City of Oaks Marathon. I wasn't entered but had the pleasure of running the last 7 miles with Amy Surrette, the latest member of Ultraman Joeys Angels and Princess's.
The last race of the year was another very special one as I returned once a gain for the Derby 50k for the 6tht time. This would be my first ultra in exactly a year and to make it even better I would be running it with the Marathon Princess in her debut into the ultraworld. The race went even better than I could have imagined with Karla doing amazingly well. I felt better than I ever have running an ultra and my legs had no sign of pain. It was wonderful sharing the trip down with Mountain Girl and Ultra Angel and seeing many of my ultra buddies. And Margo, also running her debut ultra ran incredibly even splits for the race and was 2nd woman overall at age 49 !!
So 2009 will have to go down as a very special year spent loving doing the thing I enjoy most and being able once again to share many of the highlights with great friends. The training is going amazingly well, especially when you consider I just turned 54. We are still getting to the track every Tuesday and the times just keep improving and the zip is back in my legs. The long runs and weekly mileage are also going well and I look forward to 2010 to continue the success of the past year.