As the season concludes…

I have to say, as a coach, this was an amazing season, and my athletes made me really proud. These guys are awesome. Every weekend, I sit down for a couple of hours, on Saturday and Sunday, and wonder ‘what in the world could I do to make their lives totally miserable?’ Usually, I don’t lack ideas, so I just write that, send it to them, and off we go. Sunday evening is usually when I get most of my hate mail. So, I don’t check my email anymore on Sunday night. I have better things to do than read all that whining and all. By Wednesday, they are too tired to send emails anymore, so it’s pretty safe, and I can go back to my usual online activities, which resolve around sarcasm and correcting grammar and spelling. Anyhow, all joking aside, they did fantastically.

Arnaud Chevallier reached all his goals. Started by improving his marathon time by about 30min, in January with a solid 2h56 run, untapered. It was followed by a strong 10h15 at Ironman Texas, over an hour faster than 2011 on the same course, and finally this past weekend, a 4h45 Half Ironman at Oilman, for 3rd AG in the very competitive 35-39 AG.
Ironman Texas Swim

Jon D. started with me last year. He could barely run because of a foot injury. We built up progressively, and despite difficult family and work constraints, he turned a good performance at Ironman Mont Tremblant with a 14.22, 30min faster than his previous Ironman (Arizona). And needless to say that flat Florida isn’t ideal to get ready for a course such as Tremblant.

Kristoph Kocan also had a stellar season. I don’t think any of my athletes race anywhere near as much as he does. He’s pretty much the Petr Vabrousek of age groupers. Since there are just too many races to list, and with an age group podium at pretty much all of them, I’ll just mention the finale of his season: a 9h56, at Rev3 Cedar Point, on a tough course, over 90min faster than his previous Ironman time, beating the next 40-44 age grouper by 29min, followed 2 weeks later with a 5.10 Half on a course hard enough that this gave him 4th overall. And let’s not forget the main goal: top Brian Stover aka Desert Dude in the National rankings!

About to finish Rev3 Full in Cedar Point

I didn’t coach Rob for the entire year. But what started as a bet, became something a bit more serious. Rob is relatively new to the sport, and has a blog titled ‘Tales of a Wannabe Triathlete’. Well, with a 5h47 Half at Soma, his first half Ironman, entered pretty much as a bet, I think it’s time his blog gets renamed! Soma Half was a few weeks after a PB over the Olympic Distance, under 2h30 in San Diego, and was followed with a 7min PR over the Half Marathon, the following week!

Unlike Jan Ullrich, Rob learned that Xentis wheels have a trailing edge.

Gretchen McElroy is a long time triathlete. And pretty much like Rob, she entered Ironman Texas as a bet. Despite many years of racing, this was her first full Ironman distance. And she just killed it. With 35 seconds to spare, she broke 12hrs, and went straight from the finish line to the medical tent. One tough lady, who I think has a sub-11hrs in her legs without the medical issues.

Tona Mendoza asked me to coach him about a year ago. I haven’t seen Tona since he was taking one of the classes I taught in Computer Science at UTEP. So it was a unique opportunity to make him suffer physically after torturing him with ridiculous questions about how to build a context-free grammar for a language, and how to apply the pumping lemma, or Rice theorem. As a matter of fact, as a testament of how much Tona likes me, here is our discussion a couple of days ago when he heard I was out of Ironman Arizona, because I was seriously sick:

You feel the love

You feel the love?

Anyhow, Tona’s main goals were Pigman Half and Hy-Vee triathlon (OD). 40min improvement with a 5.03 at Pigman. And a 10min improvement at Hy-Vee! Amazing season, and we’re far from maxing out his abilities!

Brooks Vandivort had a relatively short season for a variety of reasons. Life getting in the way being one of them. But he steadily improved, had a solid showing at the Duathlon Nationals in Tucson, made Team USA, and also had a strong sub 1.35 Half Marathon just a week ago at the Flying Horse Half in El Paso.

Maya…Ahhh…this one is special. Well, she had a really solid season too. Her first duathlon, at the Nationals mind you. A 1h44 Half Marathon at the El Paso Half (good enough for second in her AG). She managed to squeeze in a wedding and a honeymoon in the middle, a 3h ride on the trainer, a 2h run on the treadmill, mixed in with a lot of smiles, laughter, food, and love!

Enjoying Hapuna Beach

Octavio is last. Not that he doesn’t matter, but he hasn’t raced yet. His goal is the HITS half Ironman in California early December. Last I heard, he was scared. He doesn’t know yet that he is doing plenty enough training to get this done and more!

So, thank you to all of you for putting your confidence in me for this season, even if for a punctual event. I truly appreciate. Many of you are continuing for the next season, and several have jumped on board: Mike, Dan, Shane in Ireland (I’m not sure he realizes I don’t coach rugby), Jeff who is incredibly unlucky and will have to race in Whistler, BC, a terrible desination, Corey, and Stefan. I’m looking forward to seeing you all improving next season, train and race hard, and enjoy our sport.

PS An apology to all those whose Facebooks were robbed of a picture!

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