First Sub 2h30min Olympic Triathlon – New PB!

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Well, I’m happy to report that I’m still improving a bit! This past weekend marked my return to racing, after taking a whole month off! It was not intentional, but that’s just the way things worked out. I was slated to race in a 36 hour Raid the North adventure race mid-July, but at the last minute, that race was cancelled, and I opted to not race in the shorter Salomon Adventure Challenge race on that same weekend. Instead, I decided to relax, enjoy summer a bit, and chill out at the Ottawa Bluesfest, as you have probably already read about. I’ve been slowly getting back into running regularly, and also been doing weekly rides in Gatineau Park with Grant and Kevin, generally doing about 70km each time. I’ve had to start kicking my own ass a bit in order to properly train for my upcoming 1/2 Iron Distance Triathlon. As of the date of this posting, I’m a mere 3.5 weeks away from that event, and not too prepared yet. For that event, I’ll be swimming 2km, biking 90km, and running 21km. In order to do a check-up as to where I was in my fitness level, I participated in the National Capital Triathlon, an Olympic-distance event. For that one, I had to swim 1.5km, bike 40km, and run 10km. I’m happy to say that in spite of perhaps not having trained quite hard enough, I did cough up a personal best for it! My first sub 2hr. 30min Olympic Triathlon! Huzzah. My most worrying event was the swim, since I’ve only gone out for a few open-water swims in the past few months. Luckily, I pulled it off strong, shaving several minutes from my time last year in the same event! If you’d like to check out a few pictures of the event, as usual, we’ve got a folder on flickr with all the pics. Now, for the detail-oriented, let’s have a look how the race broke down statistics-wise.

The day was as perfect as one could hope for. Bright sunny day, with almost no humidity, and not too much heat, given that we were starting at 8:30am. The race lay-out was fairly typical, with a beach start for the swim, with a single-loop swim in Mooney’s Bay, followed by a beach exit and 200m run-up to the transition area near Terry Fox stadium. Then, off on the bikes for a 4-loop bike course, which took us along the canal on the parkway. Round and round we went. This is good training for the 1/2 Iron that I’ll be doing, since the bike course will also be on this parkway. After the bike, throw on the shoes, and do a double-loop 5km course along the pathway leading out along the Rideau River. Reasonable run course, apart from the rather steep hill close to the finish by Hog’s Back park. A lot of people struggled a bit on that one towards the end. Luckily with all my running back-ground, I demolished the run with a strong finishing kick. So, how did the day stack up for me? Well here are the official results:

  • Swim Leg (1500m): Place – 33rd, Time – 28:50, Pace – 1:56 / 100m
  • Bike Leg (40km): Place – 44th, Time – 1:14:13, Speed – 32.3 km/h
  • Run (10km): Place – 22nd, Time – 44:47, Pace – 4:29 / km
  • Overall: Place – 29th (25th male, 9th in category), Time – 2:27:49
  • Average Speed – 20.904 km/h

Now compare this to last year’s same race:

  • Swim Leg (1500m): Place – 32nd, Time – 32:06, Pace – 2:09 / 100m
  • Bike Leg (36km): Place – 48th, Time – 1:15:23, Speed – 28.7 km/h
  • Run (10km): Place – 35th, Time – 48:39, Pace – 4:52 / km
  • Overall: Place – 42nd (36th male, 7th in category), Time – 2:36:07
  • Average Speed – 18.256 km/h

Finally, compared to my previous personal best (1000 Islands Olympic Tri, August 2005):

  • Swim Leg (1500m): Place – 79th, Time – 25:23, Pace – 1:42 / 100m
  • Bike Leg (41.2km): Place – 73rd, Time – 1:15:29, Speed – 32.7 km/h
  • Run (10km): Place – 49th, Time – 49:44, Pace – 4:59 / km
  • Overall: Place – 65th (53rd male, 11th in category), Time – 2:30:34
  • Average Speed – 20.254 km/h

So, as compared to last year’s same event, my speed improved by 15% ! However, that is a bit mis-leading, as last year, I took particularly long in the transition zones, putting on sunscreen, tying shoes, etc. etc. I thought nothing of it till Jody made fun of me being so slow there. The last race of last year saw me fixing that problem, so in reality, the improvement over that race was a mere 3%. But it’s still better. Also, from the above, I’ve noted that my swim pace has dropped a touch, due to non-training, and my bike speed was a shade slower as well. These are hard to compare, since they are different race courses and different race conditions, so I would have to say that in all fairness, I think my biking and swimming are on par with where they were at the end of last year. However, if we check out my running, I’ve really picked it up. My pace has been upped by 30seconds per km. This is a solid 10% speed boost. I guess all the running training I’ve been doing is paying off. In spite of running being the last event, and therefore the one you have the least energy for, I’m still able to power through it with great form. Looks like I should shift my training focus to be a little more bike-heavy. I feel that’ll pay off more than extra swimming. Swimming is all about technique, not volume of training, so I’ll just concentrate on technique for that, and do more volume on the pedals.

By now, I’m sure you’re all pretty bored, since this was really more a chance for me to put some numbers down and analyze the results. This becomes important to a guy like me who is always seeking to improve in each race a little bit, and especially in the face of tackling my first half-iron distance event. I’ll state for the record that my goal in that race is 5hr. 30mins. I figure I can do the swim in about 38-40mins, the bike in about 3 hours, and the run in 1hr. 45min. add in 5 minutes for transition, and I’m at 5.5 hours. Between now and then, I’ve got a trail running race, Ultimate playoffs, and on off-road Triathlon. Looks like it’s game-on!

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