My last event was in 2010. I believe it was the Camarillo Duathlon. It is now nearly four years later and I have to admit I have been too far away from the excitement of multisport.
Over the past few years I learned a lot about myself, relationships, and what it takes to start a business. TrainingMetrix is at a stalemate after spending many thousands developing TMX Beta, Excel-based triathlon templates and exploring a few other business ideas. It has been and will continue to be an awesome ride. Successful entrepreneurs are the lucky ones. Among the Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerbergs, there are thousands of hardworking visionaries who never attain the same status. These hidden entrepreneurs are the real drivers of the economy, not the single success types like Zuckerberg.
I also discovered what it was like to have a limited friendship with a narcissist. While this person was very intelligent and I enjoyed the time, the reality is they always bailed for something else when the real friendship bonding was about to take place. The adventure we shared together quickly disappeared. Then they bailed again and I wished them the best. Narcissists never seem to understand the compromise of a friendship and will always put themselves first. I can appreciate this, but don’t care to deal with this type of person anymore.
So, with this post, I want to open a new chapter. A chapter which I return to those golden days of competing in multisport. Only this time, I want to take it slow and work toward finishing my first Ironman. I love the thrill of competition and personal growth through triathlon, it is forever in my blood. Stay tuned…
I went for a long lunch time walk this afternoon at the Carpinteria Bluffs and came across this sign:
What amazed me most about this was simply the somewhat melodramatic let down of the words “swim at your own risk.”
Don’t our government officials realize that we are swimming at our own risk everyday, not just shark days?
Oceans contain sharks and I know that I have a chance of meeting one every time I get in the water. As a triathlete, sharks are small potatoes compared to the toe nibbling sea lions, the risk of rip current and even the risk of sudden heart attack.
What would be a better caption for this sign, something that piqué the interest of a triathlete?
Being a Data Analyst and Triathlete mean race results are super exciting for me. The results are almost as exciting as the real event… almost! I find it interesting to see which Age Groups were fastest and how they compared between the Sprint and Olympic events. Data can tell you a lot about an event, its character and even help you make a smart decision in choosing an event to compete in. If you are a competitive triathlete, do you know how the top 10 stack up?
The blue line is the Sprint, the Green line is the Olympic and the Orange line is the Duathlon event. What fascinates me the most about these lines are their long tails. While there was one person who finished the Sprint in three hours, the Olympic course had a much shorter “long tail” of finish times. The Duathlon was a tiny event and probably a great event for anyone who wanted to place in their Age Group and get a quick medal.
In each of the events, the top 10 stand out as you can see a steep slope from the y-axis, defining the “pro” or “competitive” athlete from a more recreational athlete.
After looking at the counts of Male and Female athletes by event, I was shocked to see that while the Sprint and Duathlon had an equal distribution of M to F, the Olympic event was 2/3 male, 1/3 female. In fact for every female, there were 2.33 men competing.
At the risk of offending someone, I will limit my inferences as to what the male domination of the Olympic means. I will simply say further research and participant interviews will be needed.
What Does Age Have To Do With It?
Looking at the count of participants by Age Group, as well as the Average Age by event, we can see the Olympic event is favored by older athletes. The Sprint histogram by Age Group trails off more steeply after the 40-44 Age Group, while the Olympic event has a sudden drop off at the 55-59 Age Group. (see charts in section above)
The averages by event indicate this as well, the average age of the Sprint triathlete is 36.1 vs 37.5 for the Olympic. Given this insight, the Olympic is clearly dominated by more experienced Men.
So, Are The Old Guys Faster?
Well, yes. This is where we see a major difference in the results between the Olympic and Sprint events. The fastest Age Group for the Sprint is the 35-39 group, whereas the Olympic’s fastest Age Group was the 45-49 (the 65-69 group was fastest but only had one triathlete, so this is statistically insignificant result).
Likewise, in general the Sprint tended to have faster athletes in the younger age groups (<40), but the Olympic tended to have faster times in the older age groups (40+). This makes sense as it takes time to build up the endurance to be a fast endurance athlete. Not to mention speed comes with experience, which comes with age.
What about those Top 10?
The top 10 is an interesting place to look and it certainly illustrates just how competitive each event really is. For instance, the Sprint is the most popular and has the widest range of athletes and abilities, whereas the Olympic has the more seasoned athletes and is the tougher course.
And the results support this. The top 10 for the Sprint had an average finish time of 0:48:10 and an 0:01:56 deviation (4.0% of the average). Not only is this a really insanely fast time, but the top 10 finished closely. Compare this to Olympic which had a finish time of 2:12:52 and an 0:03:40 deviation (just 2.7% of the average). Wow, imagine bustin’ your butt for over two hours and have a top 10 finish come down to less than four minutes. Those older, more experienced athletes know how to race!
One last word on the top 10. The top 10 are both dominated by men (sorry ladies!), with 9 of the 10 Sprint finishers Men and all 10 Olympic being men.
Data is a fascinating that can help each athlete determine the best race for their goal. The 2012 Goleta Beach Triathlon offers very distinct events for triathletes of all types. From a distinctly older Olympic event to the Sprint with its equal Sex mix and faster younger athletes, you can easily see he evolution of the triathlete in the data. Makes me wonder how many of the triathletes in the top 25% of the Sprint will be competing in the Olympic in a few years?
As we begin flying through the new 2012 calendar and say “whew” after running my first event of the new year, it is time to outline my goals for the year. Instead of doing a half dozen events, I feel like 2012 should be the year of simple and calculated performance. Let’s focus on one or two larger goals and let the rest fall in as they come.
Choose Your Distance!
Recognizing the diversity of the triathlon sport, 2012 will be the year to step up. First, I will complete my first “long” course triathlon. This means swimming a mile in the ocean (really?), biking fives time longer than a sprint, and running more than 3x’s the distance. But, that’s how we roll and continually improve our performance.
The event of choice for my first long course triathlon is none other than my home town event, the Santa Barbara Triathlon on August 25th. Why travel when you can roll out of bed 45 minutes before start and still wait for horn? To read more about the daunting 1-mile swim, 34-mile bike, and 10-mile run ahead, check out the course description.
After surviving my first long course, I thought it would be an excellent recovery opportunity to finish the Carpinteria Triathlon Sprint in the fastest time possible on September 30th. After going long, the shorter distances are going to be a breeze (I say that now!). The Carp Tri is my favorite and I can’t think of any better way to end the season with a solid showing on a course that I love so much.
Host Your Own Event When You Can’t Find It
But, my biggest goal yet, which is not necessarily directly related to training, but is fitness oriented, is going to be awesomer. I am directing the Goleta Duathlon, held on May 20, 2012 in the “Good Land” of Goleta, California. The best part about a duathlon (run-bike-run) is the lack of swimming with the sharks! I am still in the process of obtaining permits, I can’t wait to share a bit of California’s Central Coast with other athletes and allow them to share in this memorable event. From now to May 21st, life is going to be interesting.
Cooking Paleo, Cover to Cover
Of course, an individual needs their “fun” goals as well. Life can’t be all training and race directing. This year I decided to get back in the kitchen and cook! The goal is to make every recipe (minus recipes with allergies) in a paleo cookbook from cover to cover.
The book for 2012 is Paleo Comfort Food by the Mayfields. I’ve owned this book for a while, but haven’t had a chance to really dive into the scrumptious recipes inside. By the end of this year, though, I will be a paleo comfort food master!
Wish me luck! I set the bar extremely high, but I know I can achieve!
On this New Year’s Eve, I can’t help but reflect on how much I’ve grown in 2011 and how awesome the year was. While 2009 was the year of firsts and 2010 was the year of obsessive burnout, 2011 was the year of balance. Here are some of my best, and not so best, moments.
September 2011 – Carpinteria Triathlon Sprint
The Carpinteria Triathlon is my favorite triathlon. Period. It was very fitting that this year was the first year that I swam the entire ocean swim freestyle. No more side stroke and kicking with my legs. This translated to more energy and a much improved run time. While still not a PR, my finish time proved that swimming efficiently has a great impact on the other two sports! Read my race report here.
Camarillo Duathlon – August 2011
The Camarillo Duathlon was the event that I’ve been eying since I set my goal to complete my first triathlon a few years ago. Whether it was cancellations or my travel schedule, I was never able to make it to the event. Feeling the need to reconnect with myself, I got myself down to Camarillo and had a great time. Even though I did the sprint, this event drove home how much I love competing and no matter how busy the schedule gets, I must make time to compete and keep up with my training. Read my race report here.
Santa Barbara Triathlon – August 2011
The home town event was a wake up call. Having come off the Camarillo Duathlon, it was time to get back in the water and finish my first tri of the season. At the Santa Barbara Triathlon, wasn’t prepared for the embarrassment, a product of my lack of training (particularly ocean swims), poor dietary choices, and busy schedule. Seeing the pictures of me with a farmer’s tan wearing a race jersey two sizes too small is highly motivating to get back to my 2009 level of fitness. Read my race report here.
Next Generation Fitness Analytics: TrainingMetrix, LLC
2011 was also the year that I turned my passion for data, analytics, and fitness into a reality. By forming an LLC dedicated to helping athletes of all types leverage workout data with analytics, I found my calling. TrainingMetrix is the product of what I couldn’t find. Over the past few years I had struggled to find an analytic solution that worked for me, so I built one using Excel. I am now in the process of turning this into a marketable Excel template and web app. Check out TrainingMetrix.
2012 and Beyond
I am looking toward 2012 with great inspiration. I see the next year as a blank slate for some pretty awesome things to happen on. From expanding TrainingMetrix to completing my first long course triathlon (yep, I am going long!), to even holding my own duathlon as race director, I am planning to reach high and never look back.
I hope all of my readers can look back on 2011 and come away with some awesome moments. If you have some less than awesome moments you can’t shake, leverage them for the better and look forward.
Happy New Year to all! Let’s make 2012 the best year ever!