Saturday, June 23, 2007

Great Expectations

Before every race I set some personal goals on how I expect to do in that race. Lately, I have not been very good at setting these goals. The end results have been good, but I can’t seem to find a happy medium on how I think I should perform, and how it actually turns out.

This morning was my second triathlon event of the season. Located in Bath County, it was definitely a beautiful race venue. It’s about 30 minutes away from The Homestead, a very historic (and expensive) resort. After driving on a dirt road for about 20 minutes on the final stretch, the view of the lake proved to be as far away from civilization as expected. Since warm springs feed into the lake, the lake was a very comfortable temperature. The wet suit might have helped with that though!

Since I have been working hard in the pool lately, I set the expectation for my swim to be around 15 minutes. I guess that’s the difference from training in a pool then swimming in a lake. There are no lane lines, you can’t see in the water where you are going, you don’t have the walls to propel you through the water every 25 meters, people are constantly swimming into and over you….a lot of uncontrollable variables. The result – 18:15. Oh well. Better luck next time!

As for the bike, I don’t think I really had any expectations for that part. I just didn’t think it would be as hard as it was. It was basically uphill until the turn around. But once I started heading back, I was flying. I definitely think I made up some time, especially by hitting speeds of 40 mph. The result – (20km ~ 12.5 miles) 45:00.

The run….ugh…this part of the race I *always* set high expectations. It’s obviously my strongest discipline of the three. I have been doing speed workouts of paces from 7 min/mi to 6 min/mi. So, doing a 5k in 24 minutes or less, is definitely an easy expectation to have. Only one problem, this has to be done AFTER swimming and biking. Haha. Completely do-able though. The result – (5km ~ 3.1 miles) 26:25.

Another problem with these types of expectations is that I go to a new race venue and I have no idea what the course is going to be like. Running a fast 5k is easy on a flat surface! Add a few hills, the weather situation (sunny or shady run route) and you have factors out of your control. I think that’s what distinguishes a ‘great’ triathlete from a ‘good’ one. They are able to do well, regardless of the conditions. I am sure their experience level is also a factor in their success too. This is only my 4th one. ;-)

With these expectations I set for myself, and don’t achieve, it’s harder to appreciate the bigger picture. I did place 2nd today in my age group. This is actually an awesome feat. But in my (competitive) mind, I feel that I didn’t do as well as I could have done. But that is no surprise!

Next up, Richmond in about 30 days. This is where I got started. Stay tuned for a comparison.


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