Monday, May 23, 2011

American Triple T

Verb: Reach a state of little or no change after a time of activity or progress


Have I improved?

American Triple T has taught me the answer is no. Four years of doing the same race and I have seen little to no changes in my time. Time to move on. In the past I thought it was a fitness booster. Wrong. Do elite marathoners participate in 50 -100 mile running races, i.e. ultramarathons to get ready for the big 26.2 race? No. I missed the boat on this one: Specificity in Training matters.

The realization really hit me at the start this race weekend. If you can't beat the guys in the first race, you're not going to beat then in next, or the next, or the next. Part of my ongoing problem is finding the correct training stress to overcome my handicaps. The first issue is the side-stitch. Insane S-B-R efforts are the only time I get them, something that happens at my Sprint and Olympic distance triathlons. So, at a race like Triple T, that is a major problem. The second issue is continual improvement. Rarely, some of the faster athletes come back to this race and one or two of them go from finishing behind me in years past to beating me. This was the case this year. It was humbling. Finding the formula to being faster has been tough. Between friends' experiences and my own, it seems like nobody has it completely figured out. The results show it. Great duathlete, but DNFs at IM; Great HIM'er, DNFs at IM; Great TTT'er, mediocre at everything else; Sometimes good, rarely great, otherwise miserable. In many ways, I'm all of those things and so are we all.

I was talking it over with my dad. Both he and I are fans of the movie Chariots of Fire and applicable to the stage I'm entering. Athletic pursuits are a young-man's fancy and once you hit your ceiling its time to move on and/or give back to the sport you love(d). Being a competitive triathlete is a selfish endeavor (the twice a day workouts, the five hour bike rides to name a few); to stick with the sport too long is bad for my overall personal development.

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