I set out to become faster at 50 than 30 around two years ago. Now I feel an obligation to report back on status. Last week was the Big Day and I have now officially passed over to the death half of life, as one of my friends encouragingly describes the transition from 49 to 50.
When I saw one of the photos from Trapaniman a few weeks ago (rigth) I saw some similarities to a pix from Ironman Lanzarote 1997 (left).
To structure the update into something that makes sense and minimizes the risk of incoherent, unwrought nonsense – I have tried to summarize my findings below.
Swim: As a birthday present to myself I started the day with a 3,450meter open water swim in Alcudia bay. Freestyle, some back and not really pushing – did it in around 55 min with some of the 100rds in 1;15 pace. Ok, I was using my ORCA Predator wetsuit which basically is so fast it’s like swimming with a outboard motor attached to your rear. Anyway, swimming it seems, Im as fast now (or as slow – depending on your point of reference) as I was 20 years ago. If I train swimming 2-3 days a week I can do 55min IM swim. If I train 4-5 days probably around 50min again.
Bike: Never trained or raced with power meters and all the tools that we have today so its hard to compare current values to past values other than race times and distance. Im tracking somewhere around 4,500km year to date, much less that Id like, but outdoor season just started so I will catch up. As I do much more high intensity indoors now than before – total kilometers will be less.
Trapaniman half IM bike landed at a 2;35 bike split doesnt say much as it was a mad 4 x through downtown with the worst road conditions imaginable on open roads, but as its all I got, so perhaps 5:00-5:20 on the IM distance? Should gain a few minutes if I put on a pair of race-wheels, instead of trainer-wheels, in the next race.
Run: Feels good and have been putting in decent kms this year around 850km year to date. As I have built a solid base over the past two years, there has been no injuries even after shifting over to more high intensity training this spring. Never focused much on splits and zones in the past so very little to compare with, but my first ever 5km run test landed around 18:30 and my 1km repeats are in the 3:20-3:30 range.
Trapaniman half IM run landed at 1;34 which I think is ok for an old-non-tapered-man. Dont know, but that could probably put me at around a 3;15-3;30 IM marathon? Who knows – ”anything is possible” – I might slip on a banana peel or have the run of my life.
Revised target: 9:12 is my PB from 1996 in Roth. 9:30 seems possible, 9;15 not unachievable so my target for the season is 8;59 – why not?
As I recently chose to be coached by Uperform.dk – I’m not as sure about what times I can expect in races. We have changed a lot in my program and so far I am really pleasantly surprised of how quick I have made huge improvements.
Race venue and time of year – To Be Done. Most likely not Laponia as planned due to the ”airline negligence broke my bike situation”. Maybe Mastricht, Vischy, Podersdorf or Almere.
Other reflections: The best thing and the real bonus is that my happiness is not depending on if I make <9hrs or not, my life would not change if I did. I would not make more money so I could buy things I dont want or need. My self-perception would not change. My kids would not love me more. My wife couldn’t care less if I did 8;45 or 14;45 (just be pissed-off too have to wait). In fact, it might be hard to imagine, but the world as we know it would actually remain pretty much unchanged independently of what finishing times I do (or anyone else for that matter).
In the process of this little project I have found my way to real joy and peace-of-mind though training and racing again. I have come to realize more and more that my first well-defined (traditional) goals in hours and minutes have matured into goals of how I like to feel and live for the rest of my life.
Conclusion: We are all different and chose different paths in life – and it’s all good!
Some work to be able to live.
Some live to work with a purpose and something that makes a differance.
Some dont even think about why they do what…
Some train to….
…. race and make money
…..look fit and flex their muscles
…. race to beat others
…. race to beat themselves(up)
…..race so they can justify all the fun training
I’m sure there are hundreds of combinations, for me the last example works best with regards to training …race so I can justify all the fun training.
There is no contradiction between fun and results, rather the opposite, I train harder and more disciplined than most I’ve ever met and I race like if the devil is chasing me – because I love it. I dont check the watch for time anymore when I race. I only look at it for information on heartrate and speed, to make sure I’m in the right zone (and dont blow-up). But I dissconnect my results from my emotions and don’t beat myself up.
Perhaps I will not be faster at 50 than at 30 – perhaps I will. Independent of which; the journey has physically and mentaly brought me back to a happier self that I thought I lost, I really apprechiate that and finishing times are now just numbers!
I realize that this became a long post and appreciate you taking the time to read it. Hope that it gave you something to think about and/or laugh at and perhaps even be inspired by.
In a few years I will compare photos of my old self again – hopefully it will take another 20 years before I run as the older version of my ”potential future self” (right). But it really dosn’t matter – as long as I am having fun!
I bid you farewell and wish you a happy and safe training and racing!
// Juan Pelota