As I assess how I think I’ll do in this weekends Half-Iron Distance triathlon, I have swung back and forth. About a month ago I suggested that I would end with a time of 5:50:00. Then I thought that I can’t give under-training that much credit. So I had to break it down even more…and now I think “Wow, I am pretty screwed up.” Here is my mind set along with my suggested best, probable and worst case scenarios.
First of all, as far as worst case scenarios go, we have to acknowledge that it could get a whole lot worse depending on weather, flat tires, crash and complete body meltdown. There is also a chance of changes to the course, such as last years asterisk. So my time estimates assume that nothing will go terribly wrong.
The Swim: I thought initially that I would be awful on the swim because I have only swam a handful of times over the last 5 months, but when I have, it has gone swimmingly. I have felt strong for the most part until the end which leads me to believe that the latter parts of the tri could get ugly, but I’m confident I can do well. I won’t do as well as California 70.3 (30:20), but 32 minutes doesn’t seem unreasonable if I push it hard. I always wonder too if the swim distances are accurate. You will always hear people say that the swim felt short (or long). I don’t hear that as much about the bike and run, so it must be more difficult to measure distance while in a kayak, or however they measure it.
T1: I plan on doing really well in the transitions. But again it is difficult to compare transitions with other races because you never know where the timing mats are laid out. In Oceanside it was as you exited the water and then you had to run a quarter mile through the transition area. Last year in Utah it took me 3:18……great, as I am typing this out I think there is no way I can get 2 minutes. But last year I was in the 68 percentile. If I get a top 15% maybe it would be 2 minutes. I’ll stick with it. Also, I plan on putting my gloves on while riding the bike which should cut transition time, but increase the probability of crashing spectacularly.
This is the great unknown which is why there is a huge time difference between best and worst. After last weekend’s scaling of Buuetrfield
I tend to think I m going to kill it. But then I consider I haven’t done half the training as I did for Oceanside and I’m typically lucky to average 20 mph…but there is climbing when I train and the Utah Half course is flat…but it will probably be really windy…but that means head-wind, cross-wind and tail-wind. I don’t know what to think…Therefore, if I am over 3 hours I’ll be disappointed. I’ll feel great with a 2:50 and ecstatic with anything around 2:40.
T2: Transition 2 is where I expect to do a lot better than last year because I don’t plan on changing shorts. Last year I took off my cycling shorts and put on my running shorts because I didn’t want to run a half marathon with a thick chamois (pronounced shammy for the uneducated-I had to look it up). The chamois is the crotch pad in the cycling shorts that gives some extra padding. While nice when on the bike…it’s not so nice while running. I wont need to change shorts this year because I bought some triathlon shorts. the difference between cycling shorts and tri-shorts is the thickness of the chamois. So this year it will only be a shoe change—of course I am now rethinking this no change of shorts. Let me explain. This evening I wore my tri-shorts for the first time and wow…First of all the padding is really thin and although I only rode for about 45 minutes, my rear is hurting. A thicker pad may be worth the lost time. And Second, I bought the tri-shorts 6 months ago when I was almost 10 pounds lighter…I need a shoe-horn just to get them on. It will be quite embarrassing to here people on Saturday yelling, “Keep pushing it muffin-top,” or “You’re almost to the fini…aaahhhh, my eyes,” or “Kids, look away…it’s hideous.”
Run: I feel really confident about the run. My goal is to be under a 9:00 pace. In Oceanside I averaged 9:08 and was in much better shape – this is the definition of overconfident. I am looking forward to see what happens. Mentally I fell great and that could mean more than the lack of training…or it could lead to complete meltdown and destroy my aspirations of a good St. George Marathon time in a month or so.
I’ll be racing with 2 of my colleagues. When all is said and done, as long as they don’t beat me, it shall be a success. (Sorry Roger and Bret.)