I just closed out my triathlon racing for 2017.
For me it was a personal challenge to race the ITU Worlds Long Course two weeks ago and follow that up with 2 successive weekends of short course racing and to race well across them all. Now that I’ve passed the 70-year age mark, the number of my age group competitors is very, very thin. This means that to compete I need to focus on younger men, my overall finish position, personal improvement in specific legs, etc., etc.
My swimming has greatly improved this year so that was one of my goals: swim well. It’s always hard to judge because who knows how accurately a swim course is set. In all my races this year, I felt relaxed and strong for the swim portion; that’s good. Getting to the bike rack with bikes left is also good.
Transitions are another story; they all seem to be pretty slow. I must be too laid back! Plus, I now have these personal idiosyncrasies that take longer: hydration pack for long course, waist water bottle pack for the run. Thinking about it, I realize this is part of my learning how to hydrate. If I hydrate, I race well. If I don’t then I fall apart. Thus a little more time in transition pays HUGE dividends in the racing legs.
Cycling continues to be my strong suit: I can ride strong and position myself to lose spots on the run. Since this is generally far and away the longest leg, I’m able to put more time on the field. My rides this year bear out this strategy.
Then there’s (ouch) my running. These old legs just don’t have the snap they used to and I lose many positions to faster runners. The numbers also show this.
What does this mean for 2018?
Do some off-season run-specific training, working toward some more speed. Ah, where is self-discipline when it’s needed? I intend to enjoy the hills the next few months by off-road running and continue testing out MTB riding (something new for me!). Then, of course, there’s road time in southern California in early 2018. This should get me refreshed and ready to hit the Ironman trail in the spring to prepare to race at Challenge Roth next year.