Monday, August 9, 2010

Too Easy

I decided it was time to assess my current swimming ability, so I got up early last Friday and headed over to the Whitney Ranch Indoor Pool at 6:00 am. My thinking was I would jump in and start swimming to see how long it took me to do the 800 yards I would need for the Pumpkinman Sprint Triathlon. I took my watch (with its stop watch feature), got ready, hit the start button and started swimming. I did the first two lengths with no real problem and decided to take it easy. I rested after any length I felt I needed to and completed what I thought were the required number of lengths (16), got out, hit stop on the watch.

I then looked at the time and was amazed that it showed a shade under 24 minutes. Now, I had been looking at the results from last year's Pumpkinman, at the C4097 division in particular. For those who, like me until I looked it up, don't know what that means, it’s the Clydesdale (men over 200 lbs) division for men aged 40 to 97. In last year's sprint there were 11 competitors in this category. Their average time for the swim was 18:19, with the slowest swimmer coming in at 24:19. I thought to myself, boy, this is not bad at all! Here, I hadn't trained for the swim, took several rests and I still beat the slowest time from last year's event for my division.

I was feeling rather positive about my achievement and things were really looking up for the Triathlon if I could do that without training, I should be pretty competitive with it. There was still a nagging doubt, though that I was that fast.

To make a long story short, I finally called the pool, after searching futilely on-line for the length of the indoor pool and my fears were confirmed. I hadn't swum 800 yards in 24 minutes; I had swum 400 yards in 24 minutes! Seems the pool is only 25 yards long and not 50.

Very mixed emotions. I was truly thinking that I had a chance to be competitive in my division until that bit of information came my way. Of course, now I know that I do have a lot of training to do in the pool and lake to get where I want to be.

I do have a race “pace” in my mind, without actually completing the various parts of the course in "race mode." My pre-race thinking is that I hope to finish the swim in 30 minutes or less, finish the bike in around 1:30 or less, and cap it off with the run (ok more of a walk with some intermittent trotting) in about 50 minutes. Throw in around 10 minutes for transitions and I'm hoping to finish the event in less than 3 hours. Seems very reasonable to me, but I have been wrong before!

I have been focusing mostly on the biking portion since it’s the longest and right now, the most fun! From my short rides of late that included a bit of climbing, I feel that I’m in good enough shape right now to complete the bike within the 1:30 target I’ve set for myself. The swim is my current nemesis based upon my results from the pool. Right now I’m thinking its at least 50 minutes based upon my performance. This is where I need to focus over the next few weeks to see if I can’t make a huge improvement. So biking is going to take a bit of a backseat while I work on the swimming and the walking/jogging to see what improvements I can make.