The 2012 triathlon season is approaching with the metaphorical rumble of a freight train that is out of sight, but getting closer. The rumbles are taking the form of e-mail communications from race directors, the ever diminishing countdown and the proximity of my current position on my training calendar, relative to my events.
Beyond these external signs, I can feel myself becoming nervous and anxious and it is a both new and familiar experience. New in that this is the first time I’m anticipating repeating events from last year. I’m no longer a rookie, as it were. Familiar in that I recall feeling this same mix of desire to get started with nervousness about how I’ll perform. It’s a feeling that preceded every race I did last year.
With these feelings in mind, it’s time to consider what I’m expecting out of 2012. These may change, but here’s where I stand right now:
1) Improved times in both repeat events. The SOST is a bit of an apples to oranges comparison in that last year it was a duathlon. In that regard, I’m hoping to ride and run faster than I did last year. The same holds true for Greeley. Last year, I was second fastest in my age group for the swim, but I feel like I rode too slowly on the bike.
2) Faster transitions. I learned a few things last year. For example, I wear my singlet under my wetsuit and don’t bother trying to put it on in T1. I also learned that it makes more sense to have the bike facing out. This one is variable since the size of transitions and the distance from the previous event is can be a short sprint or a quarter mile run, but it will be a focus. I’m still not so sure about a flying mount, but I’m thinking about it.
3) More demanding training. The only way to get used to riding in the mountains is to ride in the mountains. I’ve got two races that involve significant climbs in mountainous terrain: Boulder Peak and HITS. While I enjoyed the quiet open back roads around Bennett last year, that won’t serve me so well when I’m riding up a 10+% grade this summer.
4) Finishing a 70.3. This is the real wild card. I’m doing a half marathon this Sunday and have done two since the end of last season. I’ve ridden 56 miles and easily swam 1.2 or more in the pool. Individually, I feel good about any one of these events. Putting them all together over the better part of six and a half or seven hours? It will be interesting, if nothing else!
All of this is going to make me tired and sore. It’s going to tax my leisure time. I’ll be hot, winded, exhausted and depleted. God help me how I love it so!