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TriHardAlan - Tales of an Age Grouper
TriHardAlan - Tales of an Age Grouper

You can't teach an old dog new tricks

TriHardAlanby TriHardAlanAug 29th 2015
People enter Triathlons for different reasons. Getting to the finish line is the simple goal for some. And even getting to the start line can be seen as a challenge for those that are disadvantaged by other commitments or even physical disabilities. But for some people it’s about time and how fast you can go and probably most important of all, getting faster. And it’s probably fair to say a lot of people journey from one type to another with experience gained. For me, I even take it so far to try and avoid hilly courses. I know I can do them, I have done plenty so in that sense there isn’t a challenge and I simply don’t care if people think I am always taking the easy option, it’s my preference, time and money.

But this year has been different. With hip surgery still required my running has been awful. If I had improved my swim and bike times from last year I would still be slower over all. And frankly, I haven’t improved anything at all. For the first time since I began Triathlons in 2008 I have not improved at any discipline or any race distance. In fact, I have gone hugely backwards. And at times, it has stung.

And courtesy of the Timehop app on my phone I have a reminder of just how far I have fallen. This time last year I was preparing for the Thames Turbo Race 4 sprint and was swimming, biking and running very well. In 2012 I did this race in 1.09 and in 2013 took a massive 5 minutes of for a 1.04. So obviously it’s unrealistic to expect another 5 minutes of, right? Yes, of course, but this didn’t stop me announcing publicly on Social Media I was hunting 59.59. My ego had got the better of me. But I had done the math’s and if I swam, biked and ran to my potential it was possible. Needless to say it didn’t happen. I came out of the swim of target and I think tightened up from there with bike and run of target as well and bitter disappointment ensued. My time? 1.03. A new personal course record, a top ten finish overall and 2nd in the 40-49 Age Group. And I was bitterly disappointed.

So as I prepare for this Monday s Thames Turbo Race 4 and knowing that I can’t possibly match last years’ time, or even my 2014 time for that matter, what are my aims and what have I learnt from last years over ambition?

First and foremost is to race efficiently and without injury. Having done Race 1 at Easter and taking a whopping 1.16 with a 27 minute 5k run due to a calf injury I am now grateful to be able to run at all. Especially since my hip surgeon has said I shouldn’t be able to walk more than half a mile without being in agony. I would also like to take a minute or two of my bike time as at 38 minutes that was 3 minutes down on the Race 4 time from last year. And having set a new 10 mile TT PB today I have some hope and I think I can dip under the swim time with the correct focus and a bit of luck with the lane traffic. So if I add a 21 minute 5k to that, the absolute limit of my abilities on a good day right now, and with tidy transitions, that should bring me in at about 1.06.

So what I can learn from that is you cannot teach an old dog new tricks!

Happy racing all and if you are taking part Monday good luck and have a great race, whatever that may be.
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