1. I like to do more races than less races
2. I like to compete
In 2012 I didn't do that many races and they were pretty spread out over the year. Although 2013 started out slowly, I did a lot of races (for me) between June and September. Racing more often taught me how to race and that a race is only a race. There will always be another one. I did five triathlons over the summer and I didn't really put any extra importance on any of them. I trained for the season, not for a specific race. This let me take more chances and race each race harder I think. If I went too hard on the bike and blew up on the run it was a lesson learned rather than ruining the single race I trained all summer for.
Triathlon #4 out of 5
This fall I was planning on doing less races simply because I needed to turn all my focus to the New York City Marathon. I needed to get in those long runs. As you all know, neither the races or the long runs really happened thanks to an annoying knee injury. But in the seven weeks between my last triathlon and the marathon I realized how important frequent racing is to my training. Racing lets me test my fitness and see what kinks need to be worked out before race day. It also keeps me on track and motivated. When planning my 2014 race schedule I'm already looking for extra races to do.
Not all race pictures can be this cute
I think the most important thing that racing more frequently taught me was I that I like actually racing, not just participating. This may not be something important to some people but it changes the way that I mentally go into a race. Even if you are chasing a certain time on the clock I still think that is different from competing against the people around you. For me it actually lets me ignore the time on the clock. I am able to just put my head down and go hard. This also means that I like triathlons better than running races.
First female out of the water
I am well aware that if I lived in a city or was doing bigger races I would not be finishing nearly so close to the top. But to be honest, I don't care. It isn't the fact that I can say I finished second female overall. It's not about bragging rights. I can't know this for sure but I really think I went faster at these races because I was racing. If there's a girl running me down you better believe I'm going to do everything possible to not let her beat me. For me it's all about the mental aspect of the race.
First female across the finish line
Along with doing more racing I am also planning my 2014 schedule to have more challenging opportunities to really race. This likely means it will be a mix of smaller and larger, and shorter and longer races. I like variety and I like a challenge. And for the people who have asked, no I do not know which races I am doing yet. I have a list that is all but finalized but I'm not committing to anything until I get my knee healthy and strong.