Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Comparison Graphs


So, there is a lot going on in the above graph.  Here are a few things of note.

Reading the Graph
For the swim and run paces, lower points are faster times.  
For the bike speed, higher points are faster times.  
Minnetonka doesn't have a swim, because it was changed to a duathlon due to lightning. 
Clearwater doesn't have a run because Bull and I did it as a relay.  
The times represented for Clearwater are from the individual sprint contestants (larger head count).
The Field and Male averages are basically the same for the swims, so you do not see much of the dashed line after Chaska. 

Outside of my first ever triathlon in Chaska, my swim times are a little faster than the field average, my bike times are at or below the field average and my run times are right at the field average.  I'm always slower than the male average on the bike and on the run, but it's not by too much (sprint). Since there is only a difference of a second or two in the field/male averages for the swim, I'm still a little ahead of the pack.  

The average on a sprint triathlon swim seems to stick right around 2:00/100yds, That doesn't help me too much since those are the short swims. If we assume a constant 2:00/100yds average, it would indicate that Chaska had a swim longer than indicated and Hopkins had a swim shorter than indicated.  That's kind of fun, because that's exactly what I thought of those races.

Olympic Distances
I'm clearly slow on the bike and on the run in the Olympic races.  

On the bike, I'm about 1 mph behind the field and 1.75 mph behind the make average.  I read on the Gear West website the other day that a properly fitted Tri Bike will often translate to a 2 mph increase in speed.  If this isn't just blowing hot air, maybe I can catch up to the average when i upgrade this summer.

On the run, I just need to put in more time on the road.  I tried to get by with two runs a week this summer, but that probably just wasn't enough if I want to be proud of my times (I'm never going to see a podium). Also, my broken foot in the spring probably didn't help when I was trying to build a base.  Hopefully I can get through this winter without and injury.  In the future, I'd like to be right around a 9:00/mile average in the Olympic races, and that would but me right around the field average.

On the swim, I think a 2:00/100 yds average is still a good estimate for the field.  That means Bemidji was wicked short, which is what I suspect.  Also, that makes Marion look a little long, but it's more likely that times were a little slow due to swimming directly into the chop for a third of the course.

Field/Male Comparison
As a math geek, I think the nearly fixed difference between the field and the male averages is pretty cool.  Irrespective of the race distance, it looks like the run has a male average about 20 seconds faster that the field average,  And on sprint bike courses, the male average  is about 0.75 mph faster that the field average (on the Olympic its about 0.5 mph).  There doesn't seem to be an advantage in the swim. 


There isn't a great deal of new information in these graphs.  I have an advantage on the swim, and I'm slow in the other two events. My biking is better than my running. For the most part, I stay in the 40th to 60th percentile for total time when compared to the field, and in the 20th to 40th percentile when compared to male finishers.  I guess that's good enough to say I'm "From the Middle of the Pack".  Also of note,  it appears that my finishing position in the bike appears to predict my finishing placement overall.  I suppose that's probably true for most people.

Compared to the Average

These last two graphs show a comparison to the average as opposed to the percentiles which (more or less) compare to the median.  The scale on these graphs is standard deviations; positive is faster than the average and negative is slower.  Not much new; just a different look.  I guess my biggest surprise on these is how fast my swims are, and how my good swims can partially counteract my terrible runs.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Hopkins Royal Traithlon Recap

Hopkins Royal Triathlon 
Shady Oak Beach, Hopkins MN
Saturday, September 5, 2015
0.5 mile/ 15 mile/ 5K

This was the last race of my triathlon season.  I'm on the fence as to if I should consider this summer a fail or a success. As usual, I suppose it's somewhere in the middle.

My wife, Tina, decided to try the mini-sprint at Hopkins (100 yards/ 4.5 miles/ 1.5 miles). Going into this race, we were both mailing it in.  Tina had to skip out on the gym for the last week due to back pain, and I only got in one bike and two swims between Lake Marion and Hopkins (3 weeks). My excuse?  School started and I was just a little burnt out.  If Marion had went better, I may have tried to gear up for this entire race, but as it was I just wanted to get in a good run time. My running has been borderline embarrassing this summer. I've had a 10+ minute per mile pace in each of the last two races.  I suppose there is something to be said about my foot still hurting from when I broke it in March, but I don't think that has help me back too much.  My main goal this time out was to hit a 9 minute per mile pace or better.

Swim (0.5 0.4 miles)
Goal:     Around 1:40 minutes per 100 yards pace
Actual:  Might have over cooked it
Friday night, the weather said no rain but hot, humid and windy.  Saturday morning, it was thunder and lightning right up to the start time at 8:10am.  Also, after the rain the hot, humid, windy weather was still on its way.  It was a stinker of a day for a bike and a run, but at least the swim didn't get canceled.  We were about thirty five minutes delayed off the start, and the swim was shortened from 0.5 to 0.4 miles.  Shortening the swim seemed pretty silly to me, but at least we got in the lake.

What a lake!  That was the clearest lake water in which I have ever swam.  There were quite a few weeds in spots, but the water was as clear as the pool at the Y.  I had though the water was going to be too warm for a wet suit due to the hot weather we have had over the last month, but the rain and a cloudy breeze made it a perfect morning for a wet suit swim.  The wind kicked up a lot after the rain, but the lake was below it's surroundings.  There was no chop to fight this time around.

It was a time trial start, and I went off in about position 60 out of 270 finishers.  It was a short swim, so I tried to push it.  It seemed like I passed quite a few folks, and I even had to slow down to work out a pass a couple times.  Tina went off much later in the mini-sprint start, and she was watching from the shore. She said I went of around 60th and came in around 20th.  That feels about right.  I didn't leave much in the water.
Swim Time:    10:19 with a 1:28 per 100 yards pace.
Swim Rank:    41st out of 270 overall
                         31st out of 159 males
                         7th out of 26 age groupers

Goal:     About 2.5 minutes
Actual:  Not too far off
I was pretty pumped out after the swim. I ran to the transition mat, but then walked the couple hundred feet to transition.  My shoes were wet from the rain, but not too bad.  The worst part was having wet sunglasses with nothing to clear off the lenses.  Anyhoo, it was an uneventful T1.
T1 Time: 2:55
Position:  41st out of the water,
                 67th out of T1 (270 finishers)

Bike (15 miles)
Goal: 18+ mph average, hopefully closer to 19 mph
Actual: Fail
After the race, my wife and I were sitting on a bench next to another lady who also did the sprint course.  The lady said, "These websites always say rolling hills; that WAS NOT rolling hills."  Agreed; that was a tough bike course.

The bike was three five mile loops.  About a mile into each loop, there was a bitch of a hill.  I believe it's the second worst climb I've done; I only had two gears left at the top of the climb.  On the first hill of the Chaska triathlon (River City Days 2014), I only had one gear left (on the small ring).  Also adding to the slowness was the wet, new asphalt on the bike course.  It dried up by the third lap, but I didn't hit the some of the down hill as much as I could have due to what I thought was slippery conditions.  The final complaint (maybe) was that the wind was blowing about 15mph.  All this (and mailing it in since Marion) lead to a season worst bike.

I don't know what to make of the bike at this race.  My last two races were 17.8 and 17.5 mph averages, but they were also olympic courses.  The first two races of the season were 18.8 and 18.3 mph averages on sprint courses.  I guess I have plenty of things I can blame for the slow time (13mph wind), but maybe I'm just slow on the bike.  I suppose I have to put in more hours on in the saddle.
I put 300 miles on the bike this year and an additional 15 hours on the trainer/stationary bike, but I suppose I can always due more. Maybe I'll be more inclined to due so when I get a new bike this winter (hopefully).   Anyhoo, I doubt I could have given it much more than I did. Not much more to say.  Crappy way to end the season.
Bike Time:   52:54 with a 17 mph average
Bike Rank:  106th out of 270 overall
                      81 out of 159 males
                      15th out of 26 age groupers

Goal:  Under 1:00
Actual:  Just barely
Nothing interesting in T2.  I racked the bike and took off.  I grabbed a water from a volunteer, tried to drink from the cup, coughed most of it up, splashed the rest on my back and I was on my way.  Is there a way I can practice grabbing a cup of water and drinking on the run?
T2 Time:  59 seconds
Position:   90th off the bike
                  89th out of T2 (270 finishers)

Run (5K)
Goal: Close to or break a 9:00 per mile average
Actual: Slow loser
I like to think of myself as a runner, but my results this year seem to indicate that I'm a swimmer who tries to bike and run.  Again, this was a crappy way to end the season.  I really wanted a time that I could be proud of, but it just wasn't going to happen this year.  I suppose my broken foot and a lost six weeks in the spring cost me a little bit in my training, but that's not enough to take all the blame.  I think I also fundamentally monkeyed my summer training.  I did the majority of my workouts in the early morning, and avoided a lot of hot, humid afternoon runs.  Next year, I think I need to get out in the heat and try to beat it.  I shouldn't hide from it.  Also, I just gotta get in some longer runs.  Time is the problem there.  Getting in a tenner is rough enough. I then also have to get through the rest of the day without crashing and burning on my family.  If I can make it through winter without injuries, then maybe I can build a hefty base.  Hopefully, that will help when I try to hit it up again next year.

Anyhoo, the run was almost totally flat.  Mostly, it was on a hard pack trail, and the only climb was near the end where you run from the under to the over pass of a bridge.  No walking this time, but that's hardly a moral victory.  It was still so very slowy slow slow.
Run Time:    31:08 with a 10:03 per mile pace
Run Rank:    143rd out of 270 overall
                       98th out of 159 males
                       19th out of 26 age groupers

Total Time:  1:38:14
Position:        105 out of 270 overall
                       82 out of 159 males
                       14 our of 26 age groupers

Time Comparison
Below is a comparison of my accumulated time against the field and male averages.  It seems like this was probably a race without a lot of triathlon regulars.  Either that, or the wind (13 mph) really threw everyone for a loop.  The average times were slow.  I was actually a minute fast on the bike and only a minute slow on the run when compared to the male average. I guess I'll take it; it makes me look good.

Post-Race and Next Up
I met up with Tina after the race and found out that she broke and hour.  Great Work Tina!  Of course, she wasn't happy with her time, but who ever is?  Anyhoo, they had a pretty nice spread comprised of the post-race regulars with hot dogs and root beer floats.  They also had a pretty good band playing. It would have been fun to stick around for a bit, but we had to get back and relieve the babysitter.

Not much is on the schedule for the rest of the year.  I have a charity 5K at work in a month and Surf the Murph in a couple months.  Timing on both of those really doesn't matter to me and training is similarly no longer race specific from here on out.  I've been reading up on heart rate training, and I may look into that this winter.  Outside of that, my only goal is not to get injured through the winter. When March/April outside running comes back around, I would like to be hitting 15-20 mile weeks pretty easy on the treadmill.

Tina and I after the Race