Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Things I learned...2013 Triathlon Season Review

Well, I have run out of triathlons for the year, so I guess it is time to recap, reflect, and figure out what more to do next year.  Perhaps some folks can learn from my mistakes / errors or what I did right (at least in my mind!)

As far as results go, this year was a great year for that.  I moved up to the Men's 40-44 age group, which is a tough group overall, and my overall races were good.  But my times aren't totally "front of pack" yet, but getting there!  Let's break this down by events:


6/15/13  Topeka Tinman - 400 meters / 0:08:32 (2:08/100m) 8th in AG / 90th overall
6/29/13  Gull Lake Tri - 500 meters / 0:09:13 (1:50/100m) 3rd in AG / 21st overall
8/18/13  Manhattan Tri - 500 meters / 0:09:39 (1:55/100m) 2nd in AG / 12th overall
8/25/13  Salina Sprint - 300 meters / 0:05:12 (1:44/100m) 1st in AG / 8th overall
9/07/13  Splash n Dash - 550 meters / 0:09:23est (1:42/100m) Unknown splits

As far as swimming, I didn't do enough this year.  Period.  Most of the distances were short (no more than 550 meters), but as far as being more comfortable in the water, I was much better (no stoke changes / rolling onto my back and swimming), but need to get into more yardage swimming.  I hope that when I move, there is a master's program there.  That will help me.  My yardage for the year (so far) is only 26,350 yards, and that is from April to early June only.  Ugggh.  Need to work on that.

SWIM Overall grade: 4 of 10 (lots of room to improve)


5/04/13  Ft. Leavenworth DU - 0:00:53 / 3rd in AG / 10th overall
6/15/13  Topeka Tinman - 0:01:32 / 2nd in AG / 13th overall
6/29/13  Gull Lake Tri - 0:00:37 / 1st in AG / 1st overall
8/18/13  Manhattan Tri - 0:00:36 / 1st in AG / 11th overall
8/25/13  Salina Sprint - 0:00:30 / 1st in AG / 4th overall
9/07/13  Splash n Dash - 0:00:30est

This was by far the most improved part of my racing season, by far.  Which is a little sad I guess, but T1 is where you can pass folks and get some free time.  With most of the races, the T1 times start at the entrance to T1, but a few also tack the time of the run from water to T1 to the swim (giving you a "longer" swim time.  At Topeka, they stopped your swim time at the edge of the lake (which is a good thing), but your T1 time includes the long uphill run to the T1 (until you leave T1).  I actually like that better, giving me a better idea about my swim fitness vs. my efficiency/running speed to T1 in my timing.  So if I had my pick, I'd rather have a longer T1 time if it meant that I had a more accurate swim time, but that is just me.

As far as my layout for T1, it was K.I.S.S.  I had a small towel to wipe feet of loose rocks, no socks for the bike, sunglasses in helmet and helmet on the aerobars.  My actions in T1 were run to bike, wipe feet while putting on glasses, shoes on, helmet on and buckled, bike off the rack and beat feet to the exit.  Yes I run in my shoes, and it takes a little practice (and replacing my cleats yearly, but you should anyhow!), but I think it is a bit quicker from mounting the bike to getting up to speed and down the road faster.  The more distance you put on chasers out of T1, the better.  And of course, the flying mount!  Remember, run past the mount line and aim to land on your thigh, not your, ummm, junk.  Your junk will thank you later!
And just visualizing the T1 in your head helps get you out on the road much quicker.
T1 overall grade: 9 of 10 (Just need to sustain!)
5/04/13 Ft. Leavenworth DU - 8.25 miles - 0:24:26 (20.3mph) / 2nd in AG / 5th overall (draft legal)
6/15/13 Topeka Tinman - 13 miles - 0:36:35 (21.3mph) / 3rd in AG / 16th overall
6/29/13 Gull Lake Tri - 10 miles - 0:28:04 (21.4mph) / 2nd in AG / 7th overall
8/18/13 Manhattan Tri - 12.4 miles - 0:34:06 (21.8mph) 2nd in AG / 6th overall
8/25/13 Salina Sprint - 22.5 miles - 1:02:34 (21.6mph) 1st in AG / 7th overall
9/07/13 Splash n Dash - 14.6 miles - 0:41:11 (21.3mph) Unknown splits

This year's bike was not too bad at all, considering I only did mileage and not any kind of workouts (other than the few Strava segments!), but I see this as an area to improve both fitness wise and equipment wise.  If I can get an aero helmet and some aero wheels, I think I can boost my average mph to 23-ish mph, and with better fitness, I can compete up with the "big boys" for fastest overall bike split.  That and getting into some bike races early in the year to get my fitness and mental toughness up there can't hurt either.  But other than finding time to get out and bike, and since I'll be moving south soonish, this will help a ton with my overall speed.  Even with the long bike at Salina, that was my 2nd fastest average all season and it was a brutal, windy ride with some nice rolling hills, which tells me, my fitness got better as the year went along.

I guess just need to get out a lot more and get tons of mileage on the bike next time around as of now, my mileage for the year is only 1,616 miles, and could be north of 2,000 this time next year.  But as of now, still not too bad.

BIKE overall grade: 7 of 10 (More mileage, better equipment)


5/04/13 Ft. Leavenworth DU - 0:00:57 / 9th in AG / 35th overall
6/15/13 Topeka Tinman - 0:00:59 / 5th in AG / 75th overall
6/29/13 Gull Lake Tri - 0:01:13 / 9th in AG / 30th overall
8/18/13 Manhattan Tri - 0:00:45 / 4th in AG / 62nd overall
8/25/13 Salina Sprint - 0:01:00 / 3rd in AG / 28th overall
9/07/13 Splash n Dash - 0:01:00est

Well this is the tale of two transitions, or could be called "Lost in Transition", but for all the goodness that my T1 was, my T2 sucked!  I am not sure if it is my centering myself off the bike, being dizzy, or what, but only know that I had racking issues twice, but this one should be easy.  Rack bike, helmet off, shoes off, socks on, shoes on, grab belt and Garmin and run!  But I think I stop for tea a few times during those T2s!  I know that I need to learn to run without my socks, but haven't gotten to that point yet.  I think that it'll save me some time, but I think also the Garmin is a culprit too.  Might have to have the wife video tape my T2s to figure it out and shave some more "free time" off.  That an need to practice these a bit more too, considering that I don't practice them at all.  As I move up in distances, T1 and T2 become less important time-wise, but in sprints, every second counts!

T2 overall grade: 2 of 10 (Run sockless, practice these more than once)


5/04/13 Ft. Leavenworth DU - 2.25 miles - 0:15:59 (7:06/mile) / 3rd in AG / 9th overall
6/15/13 Topeka Tinman - 3.25 miles - 0:22:09 (6:48/mile) / 2nd in AG / 13th overall
6/29/13 Gull Lake Tri - 3.1 miles - 0:20:03 (6:28/mile) / 1st in AG / 1st overall
8/18/13 Manhattan Tri - 3.1 miles - 0:20:09 (6:30/mile) / 1st in AG / 9th overall
8/25/13 Salina Sprint - 4.5 miles - 0:31:06 (6:54/mile) 1st in AG / 4th overall
9/07/13 Splash n Dash - 4.4 miles - 0:30:33 (6:56/mile) Unknown splits

I am still a good runner off the bike (could it be the big break I take in T2? Hmmmm) but overall, I still want to get those pace per mile into the 19's or dare I say, 18's?  But I need to work on my speed, as this entire year I just ran distances and ran them in a moderately fast pace.  But I didn't incorporate speed work, tempo runs, or any long slow runs into my training, and I think that held me back.  During this entire season, I was passed once, and that was the last race and after I think I might have over-cooked my legs riding, but I don't want to make any excuses.  I by far passed many more people during the run, and coming from a runner background helps this.  I just need to keep my mileage high, and get some speed sessions in there.  That, or get a coach and have a plan laid out for me instead of my just "winging it".

RUN overall grade: 7 of 10 (More speedwork, coaching?)

Here are a few miscellaneous things that I can't really categorize in the above categories:

Shaving your legs:  Before you go "ewww", I tried it, and I think that it works.  During the bike and the swim I "felt" faster.  I know the wife doesn't like it, hence keeping it for only the season.  Shaving three to four times a week sucks, but I think the benefits outweigh the disadvantages (lots of hair to cut, nicks, cost of razors, etc).  I endorse this.

Wetsuit:  This is the first year I did not use a wetsuit for any swims (all swims are short / pool swims) and I think in the shorter swims, the time gained from the use of a wetsuit / swimskin, you lose in taking it off.  For longer / colder races, I'll suit up, but for a sprint, no dice.  That leads me to the next item...

Trisuit:  I decided to try a trisuit this year, and in a word, love it.  I seem to glide thru the water, and doesn't bother me too much.  I had early year issues with a little saddle sore issues, but it seemed to work itself out.  I tried my old tri kit, and umm, it was too big for me (at least the top.  Anyone need to buy a medium DeSoto top? Call me!)  But I will look at getting a new trisuit for next year, but I love my $30 2XU trisuit (thanks ebay!).  I am thinking of looking at getting a nice Sugoi kit next year!

Garmin 305:  I love my Garmin, but it is getting old and doesn't sync with the computer the first time around, and usually requires about 10 minutes of attempting to get it to sync.  So I hope that I get a new one here soon.

USAT Nationals / Hyvee Championships:  I just looked up my ranking from USAT rankings for the year and I am 770th out of 2200 in my age group.  The next time I qualify for nationals, I am going to go.  Enough of the "I wonders" and would like to see how I stack up.  But I need to be ready for that too.

Goals for next year:  I am going to move up to doing Olympic distances next year and want to qualify for the Nationals, give an Xterra race or two a whirl, maybe get a coach (for cheap!), do at least a half ironman, and apply for both the All Army triathlon team and the US Military Elite Triathlon team.  And look to get some sponsorships / partnerships to help bring the cost of racing down a bit.  But those are my hopes and dreams for next year, so better get cracking now if I want to bring them to life!

Thanks for reading and hope this helps someone out with their training / racing!


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