My Race Season

I want to do a lot of the same races this year. I am going to do three spring runs, 10k trail, 12k road, and 21k (half marathon) over the period of 5 weeks ending mid-May. Then I will do a sprint triathlon, maybe a second and third if the dates work. These races will see me going hard, but not all out. The idea is to have a structured workout with the race butterflies. I will work on transition ideas for T1, and try and get my swimming going well from the first minute. No more hyperventilating from starting too fast for me!

July I will be doing the same almost Olympic race. It’s a little short on the swim and run but is a classic around these parts. I plan to skip the August Oly I did last year and replace it with something else. I might do an open water swim, maybe a bike tour, or I might do a… well… a half ironman. Yeah, you heard me right, I have gone mad. It’s in my home town and would like to try it. I will not do it if I have trouble building up to the half marathon, or for some reason cannot keep up the running volume after the half. In other words I must be injury free and able to build my volumes up to riding more than 60 miles a week and running more than 30 with long runs of more than 13 miles. If I cannot or do not build up to this, then I won’t sign up. I am giving it about a 33% chance of it happening at this point in time.

In September I will do the same Oly I did last year. The race was great and it is a nice end to the year. I love how the swim starts up a river into the current on a cold morning with steam rising off the water around a long slow bend so far that you can’t see the end of the swim. It intimidates people, but I loved it. This is the race I will be going all out for. Because it is my “A” race, I will evaluate how I did last year.

I had a great swim. My time was 54 seconds a lap equivalent (50 yards). Each 5 seconds a lap is about 2 minutes improvement in the swim time. So I am not expecting to be able to do more than a 2:00 improvement on my overall time based on effort in the swim. As a comparison I took the 4 quartiles (top 25%, second 25% etc) and averaged their times per lap: 45, 56, 60, and 72 seconds. I was in the middle of the second quartile with my time, 64th of 165 total entrants.

My transition was very slow. The running 100 yards directly on the boat launch/parking lot with no carpets slowed me up a bit. Then there was the tiredness I had to fight through as I got changed. It took me 3:53 to go from the swim to the bike. The overall average was 3:10, the quartiles are a better representation, 1:36, 2:42, 3:35, and 4:36. I fared slightly better than my overall group around me by just a few seconds as I was in the last quartile overall but I was out of my league with those around me at the time since my swim was fast. The thing is there is no reason for this wasted time. I should be able to change my clothes faster than 50% of the people if I put a little effort into it, for goodness sakes. My goal is to get this done in 2:00, so I will need to practice and work out the kinks a bit. So I can knock off almost 2:00 from the total, 1:53 to be exact.

It took me 1:26 to ride my bike 40k, 24.8 miles. That is a speed of 17.2 mph, by quartiles again the speeds were: 21.9, 19.7, 18.6, and 16.5 mph. Again I fit right in where I should be according to my finish, but it left me wanting for more. I would hope that I could hit the average of a group of men and women at a minimum which would be 18.9 mph. This then is my goal. I am working more on the bike this year because of how poorly all my bike outings went so that goal should be there for the taking.

My second transition was a good time, right where I would expect and of little consequence. If I save 7 seconds I can round up both transitions to a 2:00 improvement.

The run will get better by being able to do more volume. It took me 1:13, which is an 11:44 per mile pace. I ran a 10k race early in the year at a 9:13 pace. So the speed is there, I just get tired and can’t do it as fast. I will never make a 10k PR during an Olympic triathlon, but I should not drop off that much. I would hope I wouldn’t drop off more than 40 seconds to a minute a mile. I never did run a triathlon where I felt good on the run like I do when I just go run. So this will be a work in progress and I will likely not have the big improvements here. The quartiles for the triathlon participants at minutes per mile pace: 7:12, 8:07, 9:43, 11:00. I was pretty much last place, a confirmation that the distance was a bit too long for me to hold up.

It is not too long anymore though. I am working out for over 2 hours a day 3 days a week and 1 hour to 1 ¼ hours two other days. It will not be too long after I do this for 8 more months and then get out there to ravage the course. My initial goal for the run is first to hit 10 minute miles. This will work out if I can build up to handle the distance well. Put another way I need to build my endurance to 3 hours of hard workout.

To sum it all up, I am thinking I can reach the goal of saving 2 minutes on the swim, 2 minutes in transitions, 8 minutes on the bike, and 10 minutes on the run. So I could potentially finish the race in 2 hours 52 minutes which would be about 100th out of 165 in last years race. So my goal at this point is to crack the top 100. I will just not mention to anyone that there are only 165 entrants when I tell them of this goal.

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