The biggest percentage drop is in swimming, and the reason is obvious. After Ironman Canada I decided to take a break from triathlon for a year. I did not renew my USAT membership and I canceled my pool membership as well. As a result I ended up swimming only 69 hours, versus 99 in 2008 and 109 in 2007. Nevertheless, I made a breakthrough in swimming in 2009 and I set a new PB for the IM swim at 1:18:33. It is the first time I broke 80 minutes.
The biggest absolute drop is in cycling where I went from 398 in 07, to 407 in 08 -when I got a cycling license, to 350 in 09, largely because I did not have a road bike for much of the year. I suspect the drop in total exercise is because I ended up spending most weekends at cycling races with Alistair, and there I was without a bike to race. So, I stood around and then I did something short when I got home instead of spending a few hours on the bike.
I actually ran more in 2009, totaling 139 hours, versus 127 in 08, and 131 in 07. I also set a PB for the marathon, finishing Boston in 3:22:21.
When it comes to Ironman, 2009 was a very slow year. First, Lake Placid was a disaster at over 12 hours due to inadequate training, and then Canada made it even worse, because I ran out of sugar on the bike. Clearly, my heart wasn't in it this time. That is why a break is needed.