Littleton Appleman Triathlon Results

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I promised an update on the Littleton Appleman “sprint” Triathlon from earlier today.

The event started with a 900 yard swim in large lake. We had 560 athletes from the local area and all seemed pumped that the rain and humidityhad held off for the show. In contrast to the event last week, this one had an older demographic and nearly 40 percent of the participants where women. Consistent with last week, we entered the water in age groups (and colored caps) and started a set of three swim legs approximately 300 yards each. The dynamics where such that there was a large cluster of people all starting together in my age group and as a result the more traditional triathlon in-water banging and bumping was significant. While I did not get kicked in the face, the bouncing body to body does much to disrupt your flow, and navigation becomes much more essential than pace. The byproduct of this is your heart rate spikes as you get caught up in the churn and for me at least, it took to 400th yard to settle into a steady flow. The good news is I ended in the top 30% of my age group, and learned a set of lessons for next time.

The 10 mile bike course had fast flats, challenging steep hills and plenty of speed through the countryside of Littletown and Acton, MA. There was no major lessons this week as the game plan was clear and consistent. The key remains smart gear management up/down hills and frankly just working hard between events so that the relentless challenge of gravity uphill’s becomes less burdensome. People passing like you are standing still while your heart beats out of your chest is not the most fun you can do on a Sunday am. But, I pushed hard throughout, except that in the final mile I focused on high revs over speed to help “clean out” the legs and allow the heart rate to settle in 150’s during the transition to running.

This week the running was a different kind of challenge. The pace I maintained was solid and all was good with heart rate in the high 150’s/low 160’s. I felt much better than the last week and was passing folks along the way for the first 1.5 miles despite the heavy legs that kick-in soon after starting. We then turned onto Two Brothers Trail. We ran across a very long field and then entered the “deep forest” section which is very rocky, rooty and steep. I did not see anyone that was able to literally run up the hill /trail given the grade and rocks. The top of this one mile, uphill stretch was pure liberation as we exited onto the road. Asphalt never looked so good! The finish line was a long downhill run, and with cow bells ringing in the background we completed the final mile effort with a dash across a sandy final stretch. Mission accomplished!

The lesson learned of this week is simple and consistent. The limiting factor of these events for me is heart rate. I can only go to high 150’s/low 160’s - the question is for how long? I finished this one in 1:30 minutes, which adjusted for start time appears to be faster. Details to follow - could I do 2:30 hrs? Uncertain.

The key is to continue building stamina week to week and then try longer distances. The half ironman remains a true stretch objective. This requires at least 2x the total time of action and real improvement across three stages. I am on a solid track, but the rate of improvement will need to be steady. In the meantime, I am having fun and see improvement opportunities across a range of areas. More to do, but another step in the journey is complete.

FFB