With 2011 behind us, it’s important to look back and reflect, especially when it was such an action packed year! This truly was a great one and we look forward to what 2012 brings!
Our Honeymoon! In early January, we went on a Caribbean cruise to the Bahamas to celebrate our marriage. We got married in September of 2010 but because we were in classes, we waited until winter break to go on our honeymoon. It was our first cruise and we thought it was awesome! So many things to do and you really feel pampered. Our favorite stop was at Half Moon Cay, an island that’s actually owned by Carnival, so the only people there are from the cruise ship. It was crystal clear water, white sand, and warm temperatures. Snorkeling near Nassau was also awesome and we had a blast doing that. Nassau also happens to be where my parents went on their honeymoon 31 years ago.
Kahtoola Agassiz Uphill Race – this is a rather unique race experience. It takes place at Snowbowl Ski Resort and you actually run up the ski slope to something like 10,500ft elevation, across, and down another slope. Kahtoola manufactures snowshoes and crampons and they have different categories for each. Janee and I wore their microspikes, small crampons that stretch over any shoe. The distance is approximately 5k and it is absolutely brutal; I was hiking within a few minutes and dripping sweat just as quickly. But, the race was a lot of fun…in a twisted kind of way.
Collegiate Triathlon National Championships – We loaded up the Racelab trailer with 15 bikes and pulled it over 1500 miles to Tuscaloosa, Alabama for this race. It was an awesome experience, although the women’s race, which started after the men’s, saw extremely high temperatures and humidity so it was a rough day for some. This year it will be switched, so the men can suffer this time!
Kaylee’s Graduation and Commissioning – My sister, Kaylee, graduated from Indiana State University and was also commissioned into the U.S. Air Force as an officer. I couldn’t be more proud of her and I’m positive she will make a fantastic leader. I’m glad I got to be there for her ceremonies.
Graduation – I finally gone done got me a degree. Janee and I graduated from Northern Arizona University in May, both with a Bachelor’s in Exercise Science. School stressed me out big-time, so I’m glad to have it done. Janee is one of the most intelligent people I know, and I’m extremely proud of her for graduating summa cum laude.
Ohio Reception – Our Arizona wedding reception was relatively short notice for my extended family in Ohio, so we planned one for 4th of July weekend this summer. Janee got to meet more of my family and we got to spend some time hanging out where I’m from. It was awesome catching up with a lot of people I hadn’t seen in a long time. Another highlight of that trip was Cedar Point. We both love roller coasters and Janee had never been there, so we took a day and rode -every-single-coaster there. All of ’em!
Mountain Man Triathlon – Mountain Man will always be a special race for me because it was my first triathlon back in 2007. After that first one, I never felt like I had a great race there until this year. The thing about it was that I ran the Big Brothers Big Sisters half marathon the day before so I really didn’t know what to expect. The thinking behind doing these races back to back was that it would be good training for Ironman. In the half marathon, I took it relatively easy in the first half and brought it home hard to finish in 5th overall. Going into Mountain Man the following day, I would have been pretty happy with a course PR, which would have meant 2:14. I shocked myself by finishing 3rd overall in 2:04! The highlight was that I also had the fastest overall run despite the previous day’s effort. Janee also had a great day and set a PR. It was so awesome to see her get it because there have been several times in the last two years where she’s been in shape to PR, but course conditions have shot down any chance of it.
Moving into our own place – We set a goal that we’d be living on our own (read: without roommates!) within a year of getting married. With one month to spare, we found a cool place closer to the east side of Flagstaff where we work and we’ve really been enjoying it!
One year anniversary – We celebrated our one year anniversary in September by booking a cabin in Prescott for the weekend. I fit that Saturday’s training in by riding my bike there, a ride I had wanted to do for quite some time. Janee drove with the dogs and periodically stopped to check on me. It was an epic ride down the switchbacks, through Sedona, through Jerome and over Mingus Mountain, and down into Prescott for a total of 109 miles. We then spent the weekend at the cabin, checking out Prescott, and eating good food – including our year-old top to our wedding cake which was still good!
Nathan Tempe Triathlon – Another big highlight of my summer was placing 2nd overall at this tri in a new PR of 2:02:55. I had a race best run (35:14, 5:40/mi) which followed the second fastest bike split, 58:18, 25.5mph. Who says you lose short course speed while training for an Ironman?
Soma Triathlon – Soma Half Ironman was a perfectly timed dress rehearsal for Ironman Arizona. It was four weeks before the big day and I was glad to have the opportunity to practice my IM race nutrition as well as heart rates/pacing. For the third time in three months, I had the fastest run – 1:20:21, 6:08/mi following the 4th fastest bike split to finish 4th amateur in 4:16:30. This was a new personal best by 31 seconds and given that this was on a slower course than my previous PR (Clearwater) and a lot of the bike was at full IM pace, I was extremely pleased with this race. It certainly hinted that IMAZ could be a good one.
Ironman Arizona – This was a dream race for me and it will stand as one of the best days of my life. Not only that, the training and the race itself redefined what I think is possible for myself. The report starts here: https://joshuwoord.wordpress.com/2011/11/27/imaz/
The Holidays – We spent both Thanksgiving and Christmas at Janee’s family’s house near Phoenix and we’re always fed well there! Janee has four sisters, two of which are ages 3 and 5, so despite it not really “feeling” like Christmas when it’s 65 degrees and sunny, those two young ones remind you how special Christmas can be.
To close out the year, we went to Flagstaff’s famed Pinecone Drop. Instead of dropping a huge lit-up ball like in Times Square, Flagstaff (which happens to be in the largest stand of Ponderosa pine trees in the world) lowers a metallic, LED-lit, 6ft tall pinecone from the Weatherford Hotel downtown. The location is fitting for New Year celebrations because the Weatherford opened its doors on New Years Day, 1900.
On to 2012, where we already have Kaylee’s wedding, Janee’s first marathon, and the Ironman World Championships to look forward to!