DATE: JUNE 1, 2014
LOCATION: Mission Viejo, CA
DISTANCES: Swim:  1500m/ Bike:  40km / Run:  10km
TIME / PACE /PLACE: 2:17:21 / 8th of 45 in age group (top 18%)  and 38th of 463 overall participants (top 8%).

Jim (me), Doug, and Michael in T1 just before the start

Jim (me), Doug, and Michael in T1 just before the start

Just as the subtitle suggested, this was the two year anniversary of my triathlon racing experience.  A lot has happened over the course of the last two years. Training and competition has become an important and daily aspect of my life. I have become faster, stronger, more fit, and that healthy lifestyle has spilled over into better food choices and all this has even change my social sphere. Just important is that I will more likely live longer and with a better understanding of myself.

This is the exact same course that I did that last two years. The first year included a too-fast swim start with comcomitant near-anxiety attack in the water. My time in 2012 was 2:30:50. Last year I completed the race 2 weeks prior to a schedule surgical repair of a torn left external oblique muscle. The running training was limited by pelvic pain, but still improve my time to 2:19:10. This year was even better, but there are some pretty damned fast guys in my age group. Despite being in an older age group and improved times, I’m no closer to seeing the podium.

THE SWIM | 20:39 | 3rd/45 in AG (top 6%) | 19th/463 OA (top 4%)
This is one of the first times my age group has been the first wave to start. I believe they combined the 45-49’s and the 50-54’s in that first wave. It was funny with all these older guys milling around at the start area, there was one young woman in her later 20’s with the same color cap starting with us. I asked her how she got in with us and she answered “I am the leader”. Huh? With clarification, I realized she said she was an elite competitor. I didn’t think about any further and tried to concentrate.

Fortunately the light fog lifted enough just before the start so we could see the first buoy.

Fortunately the light fog lifted enough just before the start so we could see the first buoy.

When the gun went off, I immediately ran to the left about 30yds to get away from the crown, and get a more direct line to the first buoy. I breath to the right and saw several very fast swimmers to my right with every breath. I am usually one of the faster swimmers and found myself already speeding up rather than keeping to my ideal plan of starting out slower and building speed in the swim. I was about 300 m along before it dawned on me that these were the probably the elite competitors. This years race time was about the same as last years and differed by only 4 seconds slower. That could simply be within the error of buoy placement

T1 Transition: pretty uneventful. Nothing special.

Lesson learned: Don’t try to keep up with the elites unless you can keep up with the elites.

THE BIKE | 1:09:32 (20.72 mph) | 11th/45 in AG (top 24%) | 51th/463 OA (top 11%)
Most of my training is done on the bike. I ride with two different clubs and do pretty well with them. The bike portion continues to be my weakest leg of the race. This race time was only 45 seconds faster than last year. There are just simply stronger guys out there. Bigger legs, more power, whatever. I’ll continue to work on it, possibly supplementing with kettlebell squats on a regular basis to beef up the power in the legs.

Lessons learned: Get stronger.

T2 Transition: pretty quick, nothing special to comment on.

Lessons learned: Get stronger.

THE RUN | 44:09 (7:06/mi pace) | 9th/45 in AG (top 20%) | 41th/463 OA (top 8%)
The run for this event is  pretty hilly with a few longer stretches of sustained climb. It begins fairly flat, and after a 3-4 cycling descent at the end of the bike ride and so it is easy and tempting to start out fast. After a couple of miles the ascents and descents begin. I had been doing a lot of trail running of between 8-14 miles the last couple of months and really prepared me. I never had to stop or walk up the steep areas, and had a strong last mile finish. Last years time was 45:40, so I improved about 1.5 minutes. Simply better preparation and more running over time.

SUMMARY: This is a popular and conveniently located local race and is well organized and run by the race manager. It does draw some very fast and accomplished competitors, especially in the 45-55 age range. For instance, although I finished 8th in my age division, I would have finished 4th have I competed in the elite division. That is how competitive these old guys are. Hats off to you men. Next year I’ll be nipping at your heels, though. Looking forward to it.



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  1. bgddyjim says:

    Nice times man. Though with the bike, I hate to break this to you… It’s not all about bigger muscles. I ride with a guy, a nationally ranked triathlete (65 years-old) who can absolutely clean my clock on the bike. Now I’m skinny, but he’s SKINNY. He’s around 23-24 mph on his TT bike last I heard. Truth is, I don’t know how he does it, but he does. Keep at it man and know that with those times, you are very fast.

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