This past weekend as many fans of Triathlon already know was USA Triathlon’s Olympic and Sprint distance National Championship event. This was my second year participating in the event and I was definitely more prepared this year. It’s interesting how our perspective of time varies depending on which side of an event we sit on. Now that this year’s Nationals is over I think about how long and short the last year has been. Never enough time for training, always too much time working on tedium just to be able to get back out the door for one more workout.

USA Triathlon Collegiate Recruits with Coach Barb Lindquist - Friday preview/pre-race workout group.

USA Triathlon Collegiate Recruits with Coach Barb Lindquist – Friday course preview/pre-race workout group.

 

Running into T1 catching up to a guy from the wave before me.

Running into T1 catching up to a guy from the wave before me.

I think I had mentioned in a previous post that I had very specific goals for this year’s National event. With these goals in mind I spent nearly all year working out 7 days a week with few days off to get to them and somehow, some way I actually made it. I dropped 3 minutes off my swim from the previous year now down to 23:30 (times are approximate). My bike was just over 23 mph up from 21.9 last year and I dropped another 2 minutes on my run from last year for a 35:30 at the end which ended up being the 25th fastest run time for the day. I finished 200th overall up from 288th last year and 44th/114 in the age group compared to 44th/88 last year. Total time was 8 minutes faster than last year with my first actual sub 2:10 time as I finished at 2:06:30 (approximately) for my fastest finish time yet. Additionally this year’s event was larger than last year so its not a straight comparison in terms of moving up numbers since there were more people competing.

At the mount line heading out onto the bike.

At the mount line heading out onto the bike.

All in all I should be able to say “Mission Accomplished,” but something in the back of my mind leaves an ¬†unsatisfied feeling and a malaise about the event. Despite my marked improvement I’m still getting crushed by guys in my age group on the swim and bike, some of whom are not even training as many hours as I am.

Hitting the bike as hard as I can. Gotta get a TT frame for better body position.

Hitting the bike as hard as I can. Gotta get a TT frame for better body position.

At times I take pause to reflect on why it is that I do what I do. I’ve chosen a path in life that will lead to little financial success by itself and my current “job” leaves little extra to spare with the expenses of the sport. ¬†At times it is easy to focus on how I’m progressing. I know that I’m the kind of athlete that isn’t a standout in the traditional sense, but that I obviously still have some natural ability in me. It has taken me long consistent hours of grinding to get into the kind of shape I’m in now and that’s the nature of the sport. However, it makes me ponder some times if the sacrifices required for me to make it into the ranks of the professionals and continue the grind upwards until my body is unable to grow any more are worth the effort. The long hours, little social interaction, vacations spent in hotel rooms doing nothing in preparation for your race; its all enough to be maddening to most sane people.

Maybe that’s just the thing. Sanity as dictated by society has never been my

Leg swung over getting ready to hit the dismount line.

Leg swung over getting ready to hit the dismount line.

bag and if everyone else is doing it I’m probably not interested. I can’t help but feeling a little let down in not having placed higher in the standings this year, but at the same time I’ll forget about it and continue doing what I’m doing. Why? Because this is who I am. Running and now Triathlon is such a part of me that I can’t at this point in time imagine not doing it.

It may wear me down to the point of exhaustion many days. It may take grueling hours of pushing my physical and mental limits to the point of breaking, resting a little for recovery and doing it all again. It may leave me unable to go out with friends or eat absolutely anything any time of the day, but its simply how I live. I mean this in an unalterable sense of living. In a way that if you took away Itzhak Perlman’s

Just finished. My work is done.

Just finished. My work is done.

violin forever or kept Monet away from oil paints they wouldn’t be whole ever again. I may never see an Olympic games from the inside, stand on the podium at a world championship event or even receive any kind of compensation from sponsors for my athletic prowess. I do this for love of the sport.

Usually these posts are a recap of my race and how I felt. It’s a pretty simple thing to sum up really. I went out hard on the swim and exploited a poor buoy positioning to cut some distance off the course that guys swam if they followed the exact line of buoys (the shortest distance between two points is always a straight line). I felt tanked on the bike and wasn’t sure how the run would go. I got on my feet and headed out as uncomfortably as I could for a 10k that felt as natural as could be. I did what I went to do at Nationals and I may not have placed as well as I wanted, but that can’t be helped. Simply put I did it for love of the sport.

Full USAT Age Group National Championship 2013 Results

tyr_yellow_buoy

 

Leave a Reply