Wednesday, October 24, 2007

2007 - a really cool year

I'm not sure if we'll ever have a triathlon year like this past one again. The year was sculpted, and probably like a sculptor, this new triathlete didn't really appreciate the process; looking back, I can certainly appreciate the journey.

We started back in February with a half mary PR at Gasperilla of 1:57. It was fun including our friend Hope in the race, as she lives above the finish line. It was a cold day, and Di still talks of how luckily she and Hope emerged from the Condo building just in time to see me run in front of them to the finish line.

A St. Patty's day 10k with our friends Greg and Dominique saw another run PR of 51:42, and the Bigun was on his way to a big tri-season. Or so he thought.

Crushing downpours met Jetpack, Luke and I as we gave the new 3k/60k/15k format a try in Clermont back in early April. This was my first meet-up with the Jet, and a successful race by any standard. My St. Anthony top 10 goal seemed to be within my grasp.

But, 2:48:31 later, my St. Anthony 07 hopes were smashed to bits with a nasty cramp and, in hindsight, some residual fatigue from racing hard and long just 2 weeks prior. Ah, the mistakes of a newbee triathlete. Yes, it was a PR, but even my goal of 2:36 wouldn't have been enough to break into the top 10 this past year. This was our first race with Excel Man and GEL - first of many. Luke raced with us too, and even Jetpack was there to spectate.

A week later Di and I traveled the hour down to Bradenton for what would the first and ONLY One-O-One Triathlon (1.86m/80.6m/18.6m) where a tired Bigun finished 3/4's of an Ironman. The race was well-organized and supported...too bad it folded. Nevertheless, we are part of history, and hold the world record for the 40+, 225+ Category at 10:09:37.

Finishing up 4 races in 5 weeks, the Bigun and crew head over to Madeira Beach for the favorite sprint of the season - the Mad Dog Tri, where the highlight is the beer truck and band, and what turns out to be a pretty fast course, year after year. At 1:28:03, I'm calling that race my Sprint PR - and the whole crew had a blast: Lil' Clyde who came down for his first Tri, Excel Man, GEL, Luke and family, Jetpack as a spectator again, my college classmate Rob, Di and the Bigun finally found an open restaurant and finished up an awesome race day. It wasn't until later that we found out Luke popped a hernia carrying Boo across the sand-laden finish line, and was TKO'd for the rest of the season.

With the help of Di's brother's Sky Miles and Tri-Bike Transport, Di and I took an early June vacation and visited San Fransisco after a Lottery slot found me lucky and willing to tackle the Escape to Alcatraz. The race was epic, and although we both got seriously ill from the drop in temps to 50 degrees and overcast skys (it was already in the 90's in Tampa), I'm sure we'd both do it again. Someday.

A huge milestone in all this was the decision to hit the "registration" button for IMCdA'08, and in June, our Ironman journey began.

Needing a break, the Bigun just played around during the summer, doing some open water one mile swims at Clearwater beach with Excel Man, and a nasty little bike time trial - well, the time trial did cause a little stir. GEL posted the now-infamous "Beat Bigun" poster on my trailer, merely spurring me on to crush her husband (Excel Man) in 15k of time-trial fury, averaging a respectable 23.9mph and beating the venerable Excel Man by a solid minute. To be continued.

We raced the Morton Plant Meese sprint in July, leading up to the big meet-up in August - the Chicago Olympic Tri. Di and I drove...yes drove the Mini in a 3-day family and friend meet-up prelude to racing in the largest triathlon in the world. It was as exhausting then, as it is now just thinking about it! We met up with some great bloggie peeps - Roman, Mike and J-Wimm, and Tim, plus some old friends Andy and Brittany, and of course, new friend Dr. Dave (...pinch to pass...). The sheer size of the race, coupled with a HORRIFICALLY painful bike course and a RD with no concept of integrity will keep us from competing there again any time soon.

Fitness slipped away over the summer, slowly but surely as the transition from RV salesman to Lawn Maintenance Entrepreneur took hold, and 7hr days in the sun left nothing in the tank for the necessary swim, ride or run. Life happens. We watched, and Diana volunteered as kayak support, at Curt aka Excel Man's Sand Key Tri. That was fun, watching a race and helping out.

The '07 Triathlon season culminated, as it traditionally has for the Bigun, with an epic race - epic for me at least - the Florida Challenge Half. A horribly claustrophobic swim followed by a hilly bike regrouping lead to a minute per mile run PR and a salvaged race. Overall, a phenomenal weekend, set in a beautiful lakeside cabin, surrounded by good friends and family - it was the perfect season ender.

I've learned a lot this year about racing and training.
  • Diana (Mrs Bigun) is the best fan a man could have. And partner. And wife. etc. etc. etc.
  • Don't expect to perform well over and over and over again - great performances only come once or twice a season, and rarely back to back.
  • Pizza, Coke and Chocolate (oh, and Donuts) do not a skinny Bigun make. Get serious.
  • I'm a good biker...time to shift focus and get better at swimming and running.
  • Electrolytes = no cramps = fun race.
  • Eat on the bike, dammit
  • Racing with friends is better than racing alone. Way better.
  • The days of end-of-summer "A" races are gone...anything after June, for now on, are for fun only (the Bigun's outdoor business nature just makes serious summer training impractical).
  • Keep talking smack with Excel Man...he races better mad.
So we'll put this year behind us, and start gearing up for next year. Ironman is calling, and there is no busy signal. Looking back, it was a pretty cool year after all.


Unknown said...

And the smack talk keeps your readers on the edge of their seats, too!

Good review, excellent lessons learned. Lookin' forward to the Bigun's take on '08!

Danielle in Iowa in Ireland said...

Mmmm, donuts.

My A race was in August this year, after a couple of weeks of field work. Next year it is June, so hopefully I get faster just by virtue of that fact :-)

S. Baboo said...

Epic year man! I got all nostalgic reading about your adventures. I remember my dark green envy at you getting to do Alcatraz and my jealousy at the big Chicago meet up. Next year, next year...IMCdA is on its way and this dog will have his day.

Oh yes, racing with friends is what it's all about, love the peeps!

Duane said...

Great post Bigun!

Dan Seifring aka "OBRATS" said...

Great recap Bigun. I look forward to tracking your 08.

Anonymous said...

Bigun, thank you for all of the inspiration and entertainment you have provided me this year. I am one of those silent, no blogging readers of yours that can't wait until your next post to see what you are up to now. What a season you had and now I look forward to the antics of your build up to IMCDA. Hopefully we will run into each other in PCB next week, I'll be wearing #564 at IMFL. See ya there, Ryan Barnett (clydesdale with a big bike)

Tri-Dummy said...

Great Year End Report.

"the world record for the 40+, 225+ Category at 10:09:37"

Keep reminding me that you are a celebrity or I'll start taking you for granted!

Great job, brother.

Podium quest said...

Wow. Pretty dang impressive. There should be a cap on pr's & course world
records! Awsome job. Good luck @ corde lane.

Brent Buckner said...

Great recap - what a busy year!

Laying out a season is quite an exercise... best I've managed is two (self-rated) upper-level performances in a season.

I look forward to your tales of 2008.

CoachLiz said...

Great race year re-cap. I know all about that end-of Summer"A" race, it got me the slot to the 70.3 World Champs and a chance to get to meet you and Di. Looking forward to it. See you in a few weeks!

Anonymous said...

Hey Dude -

Great lessons learned. I'm looking forward to the smack talk in 2008. You're right. It is more fun to race with friends. Especially when it's the Bigun - never a dull moment.

Hey check this out: "Ziebart Named Race Director For Ford Ironman 70.3 Florida." I can't get away from this guy.

Supalinds said...

Wow what a great year for you!!!

Next year will be great too!!

Oly said...

You will forever be the Ono O One world Champ.

ShirleyPerly said...

I love that part about being the world record holder. Hope we cross paths at an event some day.

Enjoy your off-season!!

SM said...

Epic Year!!! Thanks for sharing your journey with us. Definately look forward to next year and the big one!

Di said...

This was indeed a banner year for the Bigun household. It has been so much fun and each race seemed to get more exciting than the last. I am so glad we have found such a wonderful group of people to race with. Both on the courses and virtually.
Love you guys, thanks for being with us this year.

Taconite Boy said...

Year over!!!

What ya call all the drinking Tac and Trimama are going to do with you in Florida? That's racing of sorts.


bigmike600 said...

Thanks for taking us along. It was a blast.

The Stretch Doc said...

now that is a great race year with meet ups! And yes, the smack talk and late breaking news flashes keeps your blog rolln`...

cant wait to see ya in FL..


Steve Stenzel said...

Hell'va year!! Nice job!!

Podium quest said...

I read your comment on Steve's blog. Hilarious!! Funniest comment I'd ever read!