It’s been a while. It’s been a long while filled with surgery, backsliding, and loss of focus and drive. That’s okay. These things happen. It has also been a long while filled with struggling through some really fun races. See the previous sentence for the cause of the struggle. Here are the highlights to get you up to speed with how the year went.
My last post in February was full of positivity and renewed focus. I think it lasted until the end of the post. Between work and home I never really trained for what was coming next, The TD Five Boro Bike Tour. This is not the most difficult ride of the year as long as the weather cooperates. I was excited because my wife was going to ride with us on Team SomeNerve for her first Tour. We woke up the morning of the ride to head to the starting area at 5:00 and it started to rain. It never stopped. Many riders couldn’t finish as the early May chill added to the misery of the falling rain. All we could do was put our heads down and ride through the wet and cold for 40 miles until we got back to the ferry. Despite it all, Katie agreed to try it again this year.
One of our next races was going to be the Down and Dirty Race in Hartford. Katie has run this obstacle course race with me before and we both were looking forward to it again this year. Something happened and it was cancelled at the last minute. This has been an ongoing issue in the obstacle course race community. Race series that seem to be stable suddenly fold. It is extremely disappointing to all involved. Fortunately one local race that is always a great time has been flourishing. The Gaylord Gauntlet race benefits a local rehabilitation hospital in Connecticut. The race organizers build the course on the hospital campus and the staff and patients cheer the racers through the course. Each year the race gets bigger and better and it was a highlight of the summer.
On the other hand multiple fun run 5K races have been shrinking and suffering under poor management. Any race that we attended at Rentschler Field in East Hartford fit this bill. Each race was more expensive than previous years, but less well run at the same time. Color runs, bubble runs, and inflatable races were almost painful to attend. Each race started charging for parking, but I was stuck in traffic for 45 minutes trying to leave one race. The bad experiences actually changed some of my goals for the upcoming year.
Katie and I had a great experience running the 5K at the Hartford Marathon. This race was the exact opposite to the many bad runs this year. The race was extremely well organized and attended. The course was fast and fun and we can’t wait to run again next year. More on that in the goals section!
The whole Big Joe’s Soapbox team ran two memorable obstacle course races this fall, the Rugged Maniac and the Terrain Race. Both had a ton of fun obstacles and were worth every penny. My son even ran his first kids race at the Terrain race. I think we will have a new member of the team in a few years!
Finally we all ran the 80th Manchester Road Race. Five miles with 14,000 other runners on Thanksgiving morning is something everyone should try once or twice! It is a difficult course with a good third of it spent on a large, long, and steep hill. The party atmosphere and costumes of both the runners and the spectators makes up for it! It is one of the few races I know of that the spectators provide the water stations, and one of the few I know where some of the water stations hand out beer!
So, where do we go from here? Well, back on the wagon I guess. There is one more 5K and then it is time for winter training. I am heading into the off season in better shape than I started this year full of races and rides. I have been back at the gym and trying to stay motivated. Katie and I are working on nutrition and attempting to motivate each other to get in 30 minutes of some exercise a day. The bikes are on the trainers in the basement and the treadmill is ready to go so there should be no excuses. We have also set some new goals to help push each other for the upcoming year.
First we want to ride a century. That is 100 miles in one day. There are organized rides that have century courses but we might also work with Team in Training. We are researching this and I will post more soon. If anyone has any ideas, feel free to share. The second goal is to complete a half marathon. This is mostly due to the great experience at the Hartford Marathon. We ran the 5K and want to go bigger next year. Running is a great way to cross train for cycling and the two big goals should complement each other. Finally, we want to keep running more obstacle course races and finish them in better shape that we have. So, something has to give for us to focus on these goals. First, we are boycotting runs at Rentschler Field. It’s nothing against a specific run, it’s just not worth the time and money to run a color run when we can be out training or running a cheaper and better organized race. Second, by starting an off season with concrete goals it will help us train all winter with purpose. That should give us a great springboard into the season.
Part of all of this will be staying accountable to me. To do that, I am going to re-commit myself to the blog. Starting in December I will be writing at least twice a month. I want to commit to weekly updates, but with attending graduate school and working and my family there just isn’t time. Twice a month I can handle. That is still 26 updates for the next year! Not too shabby. Let me know if there are any topics you want me to cover!