It has been a long, LONG time since I have updated this blog. In fact, this might be the longest this blog has gone without an update. I feel pretty bad about it. Not bad like "I know everyone is disappointed in me" but more bad like "I've let the streak die and I suppose it will have to start again."
Maybe not much discernible difference between those two, but let it be known that I feel mildly bad. That's the takeaway from that first paragraph.
So, what's been up?
A good question. The last REAL update I had was about Ironman Louisville, back in late October. In it I described a variety of feelings and actions and left you - the reader - with a good idea of my mental state post Ironman DNF. Or at least I think I did.
That being said, I had a ton of fitness and nothing from which to recover! Not always a bad thing I suppose (that's part of the silver linings triathlon book). Unfortunately, it was a little late in the year to do anything with that unused fitness, so I didn't do anything with it. Took some weeks off, met some new people (actually just one really), and my priorities shifted into off-season mode.
The goals for 2016 materialized: focus solely on XTERRA racing with maybe a late season 70.3 tossed into the mix to try and qualify for 2017 70.3 Worlds in Chattanooga. It would be a different winter and early season because even though I raced well enough off-road in 2016 I never was really focusing on it. I was doing well mainly as a byproduct of a high level of fitness (steady fitness) and pretty good trail riding technique.
Well, fast forward to now. My technique on trails has improved dramatically. My confidence level on trails and on handling different situations and reading the line has improved dramatically. My bike workouts have been focused on getting better at mountain biking fitness requirements (variable cadence, variable effort, high torque, etc) vs. road biking fitness requirements. I've been putting in some good, steady work and I am excited to open the season in a couple of weeks at XTERRA Oak Mountain. I'd like to do better than I did last year, where I was in the overall lead (amateurs) of the race briefly but then gave it up. There are many things I can clean up now that I have more experienced. AND, I also know the trails better than I did last year.
It all adds up to hope.
Hopefully, this will be the start of a new streak of updates that don't leave my 1000s and 1000s of readers hanging on to the last gasp of jameshaycraft.blogspot.com.