Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Olympic Triathlon Goals


After my swim last Wednesday, I decided to hop backwards out of the pool instead of swimming over to the ladder. Bad decision. Trying to be cool and jumping off my toes resulted in a horrible calf cramp that lasted for at least a minute, maybe more. Who knows, I was in agony. My calf remained incredibly sore and tender the rest of the day...and Thursday...and even Friday.

But I was able to do my easy bike ride Friday and an easy run today without pain. It's still mildly tender but the majority of the pain is gone, so I don't believe I had a tear or more significant injury. Just a dumb cramp and strain. And a bad case of freak-out self-doubt.

Lesson learned. Use the ladder. After an injury derailed my Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run goals, I truly worried I'd have to change my plan for my August 11 race. But things seem to be better.

And now I'm in my taper week for my first Olympic distance triathlon. I remember the thrill I felt at the end of each sprint triathlon I completed last summer. The distance felt totally within my skill level, so of course I thought, "How hard would it be to try an Olympic? Should I? Could I?"

I liked the idea of pushing myself a little farther and made completion my goal. Just finish it. A mile swim - at that point - was pretty inconceivable. 25 miles on the bike? A lot farther than I'd ever gone. And a decent 10K time after completing two challenging distances would be just as tough.

Unfortunately it's in my nature to set performance goals. So I'm going to share my race goals here, for the purposes of accountability. I have a range I'd like to finish in rather than a time to beat.

Swim: This is .9 mile swim and I'd like to do it in 40-45 minutes. If I'm slower than 45, I will feel bummed. If I'm faster, well...woot!

Bike: It's about 25 miles and I don't bike fast. 4 minutes a mile is probably as fast as I can reasonably do, and that's a 1:40. It's probably more likely that I'll be at 5 minutes a mile for a 2:05 bike leg. So if I can finish under 2 hours I will count it a success.

Run: I love running and this is a 10K. Last fall I ran a 46:17 in the Great Race 10K. That's not likely in this event, but I'd like to think I can roll in under 60 minutes. If I can come in under 54 minutes (slightly faster than 9:00/mile pace) I'll be really happy.

So there you have it: slowest finish time around 220 minutes (3:40 minutes) and fastest could be 190 minutes (3:10 minutes).

Though I have placed in the sprint triathlons I've done, and love thinking of myself as a 'competitive age-grouper,' a 3:10 finish time puts me in the back of my age group. Can you believe I'm worrying about my finish place - and I haven't even done the race yet?