Yearly planning: How I chose my A race
Looking back through last year’s data on races and filtering through good early season races, I was looking for a combination of factors to pin my Vegas qualification hopes on. I wanted a race that had the following things:
- A lot of qualification slots. Eagleman had 20 Vegas and 20 Kona spots this year which means you could potentially qualify for both (at least according to what I read you could accept a slot to both) and the qualifications went relatively deep into the field as well making chances that I get a spot more likely.
- High USAT scores. This isn’t really that important, but the drive inside always wants to do things better. Here‘s a blog I wrote about higher scores.
- Date that allowed for a proper build up to it as well as another good allotment of time prior to Vegas should I make it. This race is June 9, so I have 13 full weeks between races.
- A fast course (we all like to have fast times, right?). This course is with the current on the swim and the bike/run courses are pretty flat making for overall fast times.
I have yet to even truly start training, but I’m a data centric engineer so I like to run the numbers based on what I think I can do and compare it to last year’s race. I can then make an educated guess on my performance relative to last year’s field. The obvious caveat being this is a different year, so the weather, strength of field, course, fitness, etc may all be different. However, it’s all I have to go on, so I like to dig in and compare.
Last year, first and second place overall were both in my age group and the fourth place guy will age up this following year. So, the competition is strong. 5th place in my AG came in a 4:22:17. My best half iron swim time to date is 34:40. At that course, I think the current was ever so slightly against us and it was in freshwater. I believe I can swim the Eagleman course right on 30 minutes (hopefully my new swim training will lower that, but I’ll use that pace for now as it seems a legitimate target). The bike course is listed at about 7’/mile of elevation gain, so it should be an easy course to crank out although the possibility of hot conditions could slow things down a bit. I don’t have a power meter yet, so I can only base my prediction upon previous flat races and building upon last year’s fitness base for an improvement. I finished steelhead (18’/mi) at 2:22:21 last year without too much trouble, so 2:15:00 seems like a reasonable target to me for this year. I honestly hope I break that time, but it seems like a good target for now. Finally tack on a 1:40 run which would put me just above 7:30 per mile. Once I add in transitions, that has me finishing at 4:28:30.
It’s not a top 5 AG spot, but it’s good enough for 10th in the AG. Last year Vegas spots rolled down into the 20s in my AG, so if things are somewhat similar, chances are pretty good, I could claim a spot if I perform well. It seems like a stretch to pile so many expectations on one race, but I’m still learning a lot about the sport and advancing each year. If I perform to expectations, I’ll set a PR for overall time, a PR for each individual sport, and qualify for the world championships. Not too bad 🙂 BTW, I did all of these things except qualify at Steelhead this year. Significant PRs on all 3 events and overall so it is possible.
Well, now that I’ve layed out my expectations for you, here’s to reaching that and more! Until then…