With the racing season wrapped up and the holidays on the way I wanted to take the opportunity to sum up the year for all those who have supported and cheered me on. In a nutshell, 2012 has been fantastic! While the racing season was great and highlighted by some nice victories and strong performances, the real highlight of my year comes from my recent engagement to Rinny. After being together for several years, I finally stopped dragging my feet and popped the question. We are both very excited and with the wedding planned for next fall we will have to race well in 2013 to pay for it!
My 2012 season was one of new approaches. While the prior year had been strong, my entry into Ironman racing left me reaching at the end of the season and questioning what I could do to improve. One source of questions was my diet, and the discovery of a gluten sensitivity led to drastically improved nutrition. I also changed my approach to training, being a little smarter in terms of when and how much really intense ironman training I did. These changes left me rejuvenated as I approached the early season. With wins at the San Juan 70.3 and the Ironman 70.3 US Championships the changes seemed to work!
Winning the US Championships was one of the biggest victories of my career and a proud moment for sure. With success at these races (and a podium at St. Anthony's) I was excited to approach the mid-season races. My fitness was fantastic as I approached the summer but sometimes variables on race day can overpower your preparations. It seemed this was the case with my summer: a crash in Boise, a mechanical in Coeur d'Alene and yup another crash in Lake Stevens made for a tough summer. I looked at these as hurdles and not roadblocks and with a little grit I was able to get on the podium for them all.
With the regular season racing wrapped up, all I had left on my radar were the Ironman 70.3 and Ironman World Championships. As I prepped for the races I was very lucky to link up with Ironman World Champion Craig "Crowie" Alexander for many great training sessions. Crowie is a true class act and I had an unbelievable training block learning from one of the sport's absolute best. We did the majority of our Kona prep before the 70.3 Worlds and I went into Las Vegas very fit!
I skipped Vegas last year to focus on Kona so I was very excited to get in the mix. After a failed solo break on the bike I ended up coming off the bike and running toe to toe with Crowie...with our training there was no surprise there! After battling Crowie, Olympic medalist Bevan Docherty, and Andy Potts I finished 4th and just 10 seconds off the podium. While I had hoped for a better result I was proud off my race and felt really good about my Kona fitness.
The weeks between Vegas and Kona and the last few key sessions were a balance of fine-tuning while not over doing it. Unlike last year, I had a good grasp on this preparation and hit the start line in Kona healthy and hungry. A strong swim put me in the lead group on the bike on what seemed to be a weird day of racing for the men's field. While the fireworks were going off in the front of the bike group, my goal for the race this year was to be smart, have a solid race and establish myself in Kona. I eventually lost touch with the leaders in the strong winds on course and came into transition in 16-17th position. However I had stayed within myself on the bike and went to work on the run. I felt strong over the entire marathon and worked my way into 8th position. My first Kona top 10! I proudly grabbed the American Flag and experienced my first finish on Ali'i Drive. It was awesome. 2012 was a great season and the perfect stepping stone for my quest to take home the gold in Kona. I can't wait to continue my mission in 2013!