IMLP- Pre Race

I wrote this the day before Ironman Lake Placid. Sorry for the delayed post on this…

I thought I would do a quick write up of my goal and plan for the race tomorrow. In the past I have done a few write-ups along with a dedication. This Ironman is just a blog of leading up to race day and what you can expect from me out there.

Since April of 2013 I have essentially been training for an Ironman with maybe a month off to not be so focused. I need a break. After this weekend I plan to take off about 4-5 months of Ironman training to focus on running and cross-training. I have a marathon in mid-October that I need to get ready for. I plan to try to qualify for Boston and that will be my focus starting next weekend. I also have some other fall running races. I still would like to break 1:30 for a 1/2 marathon but I plan to wait until late October/ early November to try that. Once January comes along I will start training again for Ironman Texas that is in Mid-May.

I have to be honest here. Over the last 2 1/2 years when I started training for my first Ironman I wasn’t in love with biking anymore. I started biking in August 2008 and joined QVV in August of 2009. When I joined the cycling club I fell in love with riding. I would ride 5-6 days most weeks. I improved very quickly and felt around 2010 or 2011 I was at my best. I was easily out there biking 100-175 miles a week. In 2010 and 2011 I logged about 5,000 miles each year. During this time so many riders from the club taught me so much. They brought me from a C rider to about a B+ to an A- rider in a short time. People like Chris G., Paul H., The Boves, Tracy, Wendy, Anson, Ben S., CR, James F., Gail, Jay A., Mark G., Pauline, Dumas, Rich, Sue and Pete, and I’m sure several others. They made it fun, hard, and rewarding.. In 2012 I cut back and biked about 3-4,000 miles. By the time 2013 came around and I was training for my first Ironman I wasn’t as enthusiastic about riding those longer rides. I would talk about doing them and even go out with the intention of riding say 70-80 miles but after about 40 I would head home. I noticed that my bike was weakening when I did the Flattest Century in 2013. Normally I could hang on to the front group for about the first 60 miles or so when it’s mostly downhill/ flat but I had a hard time after 20 miles.

After Ironman Texas in May of this year I fell back in love with biking again. I think mostly because I picked up a power meter and really want to improve. I have found training with a power meter is a great way to improve and see where your weaknesses are. I have a lot to learn on using it effectively but so happy I purchased one. For the last 4-6 weeks I have be wanting to go out and ride my bike. I was enthusiastic about putting in some longer miles. I even road the Quabbin century in early July with my friend Adam C. This ride is the equivalent of the Lake Placid ride tomorrow. They both measure at 7,000 feet of climbing. Something I am looking forward to.

Swim:

I am hoping/planning on swimming about a 1:30. I picked up a new wetsuit this week and this full length but sleeveless. I think this could save me a few minutes. The swim is easier than Texas. I swam a 1:35 in Texas without a wetsuit. Even though it is a two loop swim It’s very similar to Syracuse 70.3 and Timberman 70.3.

Bike:

Setup: I am riding a straight road bike. Nothing fancy. I have a 53×39 in the front and an 11×28 on the back. I have been using the 11×26 for the last 3 IM’s and 1/2’s but I want the extra gear fore the climbs if I need to bail out.

I am shooting to bike sub 7 hour’s. I plan to take my time and relax out there. It’s a two loop course. The first 1/2 of each loop is downhill and the last 10 miles are rollers that have a few challenging hills. They have 3 hills that they call the mama bear, baby bear, and papa bear. To my QVV friends papa bear is similar to the steep side of Buck hill but probably not quite as long.

Run:

I am planning on running a sub 5 hour marathon. Now those that know me closely may smirk at that goal. Yes I want to run much faster but based on my training overall I can’t expect to do much better than 5 hours. But I will try…..

I hope to finish in sub 14 hour range. This bike course will be the hardest course I have done so I need to be careful not to cook my legs.

Nutrition:

My nutrition plan I am mixing it up a bit from Texas. I learned in Texas and in training after about mile 75 of the bike I don’t like to eat the same food and sometimes it’s hard for me to eat solid food. So I have multiple choices out there.

Pre-Race:

3-4 Ensure Plus, Oatmeal, Protein Shake (same as Texas and Chattanooga)

 

Hammer Endurolytes: 2 every hour from start to finish (same as Texas and Chattanooga)

Swim:

I will take two Endurolytes before the start. It’s a long walk/run from the swim exit to the bike transition.

Bike:

Power Bar: 1 every hour on the bike

Hammer Perpetuem-2 bottles for each half of the bike

Gu:1-2 on the bike only

Bike Special Needs: Mile 55ish.

Campbell Soup: 1 at the Bike Special Needs.

Pick up more Power Bars and a bike tube if necessary.

Mile 75:

After mile 75 be prepared to take in more liquids and less solids.

Run:

Campbell Soup in T2 along with an Ensure

1 Campbell Soup at about mile 5

1 GU every 45-50 minutes

Salt every mile: Just a quick lick from Base

 

Run Special Needs: Lap 2 is my plan

1 Campbell Soup and 1 Ensure Plus

Carry one Soup with me for later in the race. Around mile 20.

Grab 3 more GU’s.

 

If you have any questions let me know.

 

Power- 150-160…

 

In Texas 159

Syracuse- 167

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Ironman Texas Dedication

I’m writing this at 37,000 feet on my way to Houston… It’s sounds like a line from the movie Almost Famous..

This race is dedicated to Sarah Dalzell.  When I first started thinking about my dedication back in December and January I knew she would be one of the names I mentioned. I normally have a few people I like to dedicate my race to like I have in the past. But this year it didn’t feel right.

I don’t pretend to have been as close to Sarah as people like Mindy, The Pressey’s, Voosen-Field’s, Schroeder, Mele’s, Hopkin’s, and her many other close friends and family. I’m not trying to come across as a phony here. I’m just a friend. She was a camp person.  Camp people stick close together. I don’t have a lot of close friends outside of camp. So when we lose a camp person especially at the age of 37 it stings. I know for the people I mentioned above it’s a much more trying time. I think and pray for these people.

When you see me out there on race day with my shoe and her name on my bike,  license plate, my sign, and her name on my calf. Please look at it as me representing her memory and I want to share it with the world. Look at is as me as a camp person. Look at me as a friend!

The last time I talked to Sarah was an email. I had been texting with Mindy and I wanted to reach out to Sarah. I wasn’t someone who was going to ask to see her. I know Dave was getting a ton of requests for this and I wasn’t family so I wasn’t even going to ask. Mindy told me to reach out to her via email. I mentioned how I was thinking about her and Dave.

I wanted her to know that as long as I do Ironman I will have a Converse shoe on the back of my bike. She replied and thanked me.

I want to help keep her memory alive. For the two previous Ironman events I had numerous people ask me about that shoe. I had people telling me stories about friends and family fighting cancer. It gave me a chance to meet someone new, even for say 30 seconds, but this was because of Sarah.

After Sarah’s funeral when I got home I was on Facebook like many of you. Many were sharing tons of old photo’s, memories, and stories. One stood out to me the most. I was laying in my bed and I read Heidi Greene Gallicchio’s post on Sarah’s page. It brought tears into my eyes.  I had no clue who Heidi is. I didn’t meet her. But I had to reach out to her! I friend requested her.  We chatted on Messenger for about 10 minutes. I asked her if I could share her post. Thanks for letting me share this.

 “Sarah your funeral today was beautiful…it was packed to capacity with standing room only, just like a Red Sox game. I know you wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. It was full of joy and love and lots of laughter. I made a new friend and finally got to meet Catherine Rhodes, she is a delightful person and I can see why you two got along so well. The food was yummy too. There was a handsome man in line behind me who said he only wanted a cookie, I told him he should cut the line and that I was pretty sure you would have approved, life is short after all… go straight for the desert! Also, the sneakers….sneakers for Sarah were everywhere. It was such an awesome testament to the all star you are. I was happy to not have to wear dressy, uncomfortable high heels so thank you for that, but trying to find a matching outfit was a bit of a challenge. I’m guess you and your awesome sense of humor had counted on that. Finally, the music. It filled me up and made my heart soar..Oh I hope you got to hear it! Such beautiful voices all signing just for you! I did shed a tear or two, thinking of your courageous battle, your beautiful smile, and your kind heart. I’m sorry I never made it over with those gluten free treats from Glastonbury bakery we talked about, but I want to thank you for the beautiful soul were, for lunchtime conversations, and for being an awesome guidance counselor, even on the days when it was hard. My sneakers for Sarah will continue to walk on in your memory and you shall not be forgotten.

PS. I loved reading the sneaker books and looking at all the photo’s of you. The picture of your 80’s gigantic hair is hilarious!!!! Someone really should have sent that to the Ellen show…but you’re already famous!”

 

Sarah I met two friends that day. One is Heidi. The other is just a friend whom I have known a while but because of you we’re better friends.

So on Saturday when I’m out there you will be in my thoughts a lot.

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Why Texas will be Different!!!

When I wrote in September about why Ironman Chattanooga would be different I was trying to sell myself on this. I needed to convince myself I was able to get over those hurdles that caused me issues in Louisville and Texas.

I’m coming into Texas with a bit of a different attitude. I have this sense of now I belong here. In Chattanooga I became the Ironman I thought I should have been all along. I don’t pretend to think I have it all figured out. Anything can happen on race day but I understand  the basics and the mental challenges that most first timers don’t.

After Texas last year I had a lot of time to reflect on that event. I didn’t write about it because I was so deflated. Yes I was nursing a back issue but I was dealing with burnout.

I had a conversation in June with Todd. We talked about a lot of things that day. But he said a line to me that sticks with me to this day. “Sometimes we become content!”  You as someone who weren’t part of this conversation can take this several different ways.

For me it meant it’s okay that you didn’t reach your goal. You finished! You should be proud! But in life we sometimes become settled and don’t strive for improvement. If you want to be better you have to seek out ways to improve.

I reached out to other Ironman finishers and got tips. My training over the summer wasn’t any different. In fact I biked less. But I was learning. I needed to fix my nutrition. Because I did this IM Chattanooga was a success.

I wrote last month I was nursing a back issue. My training was a bit stuck in neutral. I wasn’t burned out at all. I had this fire in me to train more but I needed time to heal. It’s never good when you’re on the bike trainer with a heating bad on your back.

Shortly after that post I was able to get back to basics. I knew because of the weather I wouldn’t have much time on the bike outside anyway. I focused what I was good at. I ran a ton. I ran more this Ironman than I have for any other one that I have done before.

I have that fire!

For the last few weeks I have been itching to get down here. I have noticed I have a lot of pent up energy and I have been trying to contain it. Ray got a feel of what I had in the tank a few weeks back. :). I had the legs to go sub 6:30 (maybe 🙂 ) those last few miles but I was there for Ray not for my own accomplishments. A few other of my friends have seen glimpses of the energy as well.

I’m not content! I want to improve at Ironman. I am not pretending I can pull a sub 12:17 like I did in Chattanooga but you better believe I am going to try.

I will be conservative out there in the Swim and on the Bike. However, when I get to the run IT’S ON!!!!!!

Later today I will be posting my dedication. It won’t be a shock to anyone…

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Race Day Strategy

With about 38 hours before the race I thought I would do a quick post on my race day strategy.

My ultimate goal is to just finish. I do have a few other goals that I need to keep to myself.

Swim:

I am hoping/planning on swimming about a 1:30. This year I have completely changed my swim stroke. Denny Dean spent time with me in the pool and was a huge help. I appreciate it. I really just plan to take my time.

Bike:

I am shooting to bike sub 7 hour’s. I plan to take my time and relax out there. For the first 40 miles it’s a tailwind and fairly flat. So don’t be fooled if my average is about 18-19 mph. Miles 60-80 are rolling hills with a headwind. I am working hard to save myself for the run.

Run:

I am planning on running a sub 5 hour marathon. Now those that know me closely may smirk at that goal. Yes I want to run much faster but based on my training overall I can’t expect to do much better than 5 hours. But I will try…..

I hope to finish in sub 13:30 hours.

Nutrition:

My nutrition plan is fairly basic. I will post some pictures later.

Pre-Race:

3-4 Ensure Plus’, Oatmeal, Protein Shake

Hammer Endurolytes: 2 every hour from start to finish

Bike:

Power Bar: 1 every hour on the bike

Hammer Perpetuem-2 bottles for each half of the bike

GU:1-2 on the bike only

I do plan to drink water and other liquids at water stops.

 

Bike Special Needs: Mile 55ish.

Campbell Soup and 1 Ensure Plus

Pick up more Power Bars and a bike tube if necessary.

 

Run:

Campbell Soup in T2 along with an Ensure

1 Campbell Soup at about mile 5

1 GU every 45-50 minutes

Salt every mile: Just a quick lick from Base

Ice down my back every mile. I will also eat chips/ food at water stops.

 

Run Special Needs: Lap 2 is my plan

1 Campbell Soup and 1 Ensure Plus

Carry one Soup with me for later in the race. Around mile 20.

Grab 3 more GU’s.

On course nutrition.

 

If you have any questions let me know.

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2015: The Year I Will Be Fighting A Back Injury

One month from right now I will be in Texas. Before I get into my injury that I am fighting I wanted to share a lesson learned than I will remember for next year.

In the past few years I would enter the spring season with a few races under my belt. I normally race Hyannis (cancelled because of weather) and then try to get in a late March 1/2 marathon. Last year my season ended late. I ran a December marathon in Dallas and my legs were just dead after about mile 13. I was even texting a friend on the second half of the race.

My plan for this year was to race less so my body would be recovered for the long season ahead. But the problem with racing less is you don’t have that intensity you need to replicate during races. In races you teach yourself how to ‘suffer’. Meaning you peg your heart rate for a long period of time. You teach yourself to hold onto that limit. Races  improve your cardio. This is a lesson learned and I will plan my schedule accordingly.

I have one real race under my belt this season. I raced Stu’s 30K in March early. It’s considered one of the hardest races out there at this distance. Over 1,100 feet of climbing. I had trained a bit over the winter outside. Most of my training outside was at around 10:30-12 minute miles. I had plenty of treadmill miles at a 10 minute mile per pace. My normal training pace is 8/8:15 per mile. So when I started the race I was hoping to run about 7:30-8. I was able to hold this for 9 miles. After 9 miles I knew I was in trouble. I suffered the rest of the way. I was able to finish in 2:40 with an average of 8:33 per mile. I was hoping to break 2:40. But I never had the legs for it. I am going back next year to break 2:30.

Now as I enter the critical period of my training before Ironman I am missing these racing miles. I am now working extremely hard to find that intensity. Just last night while I was out doing a 5 mile run I saw a guy about 600 yards away jogging. I made myself chase him down. :). He was probably running about 9:30/10 minute miles but I put myself on the limit just to catch him in about a 1/2 mile or so. I have one race planned before Texas. I will be pacing my girlfriend two weeks before Texas at a 1/2 marathon in Providence.

A few days after Stu’s I injured my back shoveling a driveway. My legs were so sore from the race and I couldn’t use them to shovel so instead I used my back. As I was picking up a scoop of snow I heard my back crack. I went for a massage a few days later and it felt better for about 15 minutes. For the next two weeks I wasn’t really able to walk. I had a heating pad on me non-stop including sleeping with one. I even spent some time on my bike trainer with the heating pad. I saw a chiropractor three times. It was helpful but I still wasn’t 100%.

After about 2+ weeks I was able to get back to training. Getting back to training has been tough. It’s not because I don’t want to train it’s because I know my back isn’t 100%. While I am out there running my legs just aren’t turning over the way they should be. My average times per run are what they ‘should’ be in January or early February.

I went for a 90 minute massage last weekend and she could feel something isn’t right in my back. She is hearing something in my hip as well. My lower back is so tight I don’t realize it’s not healed. With a lot of the Texas run course on concrete I will be in a lot of pain. I always have ice on my back for the marathon to numb it so I am hoping this won’t be an issue until after the race is done.

Last year for the month of June I nursed a back injury because of Ironman. I spent the month doing very little training and healing. This year I won’t have the luxury because I have a 1/2 marathon the weekend after Ironman (pacing a camp friend), a 70.3 on June 21st, another 1/2 marathon on June 28th, and Ironman Lake Placid on July 26th. The June 28th 1/2 marathon is to give me preferred seeding at my fall marathon in Hartford where I hope to BQ.

I make no excuses for how I will race this year. Injuries are apart of the sport in which we all deal with. I know I need to improve my core and reduce my body fat % to help reduce my chances of further back injures.

The bottom line Ironman is about race execution. For me it’s about 3 things. It’s about nutrition, pacing myself, and being mentally tough and focused. I always thought I was mentally tough at racing. It wasn’t until Ironman Chattanooga last September 28th where I earned that toughness. I hit the wall at about mile 9 of the run and I fought through that. I know what to do when this happens again next month in Texas. I have no expectations  that I will do as well as I did last September because my fitness is missing but I believe in my heart I will perform to the best of my ability and complete Ironman Texas again.

 

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A, B, & C Races

I wanted to write a blog about the different type of races that you compete in on a given year. For those of you who have a racing season you know full well you can’t be at your highest level for all of them. It takes months of training, a few weeks to taper, and everything to work on race day. You can’t go and repeat that week after week.

Most pro triathletes are lucky to be able to compete at their highest level more than 2-3 races a year. That doesn’t mean they can’t win outside of those races but they are training and preparing all season to get to Kona. But for them to get to Kona they need enough points (assuming they didn’t win Kona (winners just need to finish a 140.6 to validate) ) so they still need to peak another two times or so.

I believe their are three types of races that exist out there. You have your A races, B races, and C races.

C races aren’t really talked about and most of you probably never heard the term. Well that’s because I have made it up. I define C races two ways. It’s basically your recover run or if you are pacing someone at least :45-1:30 per mile slower than your race pace. We have probably all done those recover run races where it’s most likely local, you had a hard training week, and/or your body just doesn’t want to race. You force yourself out there because you paid for that race, it’s for a charity you want to support, and you have friends running it.

The second part of the C race is you are pacing someone. These types of races you are more excited for because you know it’s an easy day for you and you are pacing someone you want to help support. At one point in time you were probably at their level and want to give back. I recommend anyone who has this opportunity to take advantage it.

B races are what we spend the majority of our time competing in. In my opinion these help to setup your A races. what makes these different than A races is normally you don’t taper for this race. You will have a normal training week and go into this race trying to do well but don’t plan/expect to PR (personal record).

A races are what the race season is all about. You spend months getting to this point, you tweak your training schedule, you work on your nutrition, & you are totally amped up for this race. Your weight is right where you probably want it for this race. You have done the proper taper and are feeling very refreshed if not sluggish coming into race day.

How do I decide my race schedule?

First what are your goals? What is your ‘A’ Race going to be? The key to the race schedule/season is pinpointing your ‘A’ race(s). You will fill that in first.  Next you want to find a few key (‘B’) races that will help set up these ‘A’ races.

For me I have an Excel Spreadsheet. You can see below that six are in bold. In my spreadsheet I have it color coded in Red. Those six are my ‘A’ Races. I try and have a few races that setup my ‘A’ races. For Ironman Chattanooga I was able to do that. For Ironman Texas I wasn’t because I would have needed go south to do a 1/2 Ironman.

Please note: I believe in large chunks of training blocks without racing to get me into better shape, improve my long distance, and to learn how to train on tired legs. This to me is key to getting better. I do this in the winter and over the summer.

The definition I use for ‘Training Blocks’ is training say 20 out of 21 days. Most training schedules have you doing 3-4 weeks of upping mileage/time then a cut back week. I buy into this as well.

Remember it is possible to have a planned B race but have an ‘A’ time. Some days even when you are not tapering or recovering from another race you have an amazing race. My PR 1/2 marathon time came one week after the Hartford Marathon in 2012.

The Excel Spreadsheet I have has several tabs and they represent years. I copy the current year, move to the next year, and make tweaks. I always have a few that are my favorite that I always do. You will see a few crossed out as well. Those are races that I planned on and/or signed-up for but decided not to do them. This happens for a number of reason’s. In June I was pretty burnt out from my rough time in Texas. I was nursing a bit of an injury but the real reason I didn’t do them was because I was mentally spent. Sometimes getting away for a few weeks (I still trained a little) really help’s you to find yourself and rejuvenate your training.

Any questions let me know. Thanks…

 

2014 Race Schedule
Date Race Distance Cost Time Notes:
2/23/2014 Hyannis 1/2 Marathon 13.1 $60.00 2:21 Signed up 12/16ish
3/9/2014 Ocean 1/2 13.1 $55 1.42 Ran with Bridget
4/6/2014 Whittensville 1/2 13.1 $50 1:35 Signed up 12/24
5/17/2014 IM Texas 140.6 $625 16:03 Signed up 11/3/13
5/31/2014 Rev 3 1/2 Iron 70.3 $250 Signed up 12/15/13
6/20/2014 Sutton Tri Sprint $     45.00
6/22/2014 Fairfield 1/2 13.1 $50 Signed up 1/31/14
8/17/2014 Timberman 1/2 Ironman 70.3 $   190.00 5:41 Signed up 11/15/13
9/1/2014 Labor Day New Haven Road Race 12.4 $45 1.31.07 Signed up on 3/1/14
9/12/2014 Reach the Beach $   100.00 Signed up 11/15/13
9/28/2014 Ironman Chattanooga 140.6 12:17.2
10/5/2014 Smuttynose 13.1 1:33:39
10/11/2014 Hartford 1/2 Marathon 13.1 2:24:44
10/18/2014 5 K Douglas, MA 3.1 20:57
10/26/2014 Loco Marathon 26.2 $     80.00 3:30
11/2/2014 Full Marathon Relay 26.2
11/9/2014 Seacoast 1/2 13.1
12/14/2014 Dallas Marathon 26.2 Signed up 10/31

 

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2014 Off Season Training- “No Pain!”

Every year I come up with an off-season training plan and goals. I posted last years plan here: 2013/2014 Off-Season Training. Being in New England it’s tough to get out there and bike/run much. I like off-season training to give my body a bit of a rest and to focus on doing different exercises.

Last winter I spent a lot of time on the bike trainer as well as plenty of time on the treadmill. I was fortunate enough to do a lot of outside miles as well on the weekend’s with someone else. This winter I plan to continue my long runs on weekends as much as possible. I am hoping my long distance fitness will give me that strong endurance to help me for my early season Ironman Texas in May. I also think this long distance running will set me up to train hard next winter as I hope to be running Boston in 2016.

Last season I had the intention of lifting more. I started out okay but I was very inconsistent. My lifting didn’t become consistent until about August.

My off-season started on November 3rd this year. My last planned ‘A’ race was on October 26th with the Loco marathon. Since I didn’t qualify for Boston and I plan to run the Dallas Marathon in the Middle of December. This won’t change my off-season training except to push back any bike trainer workouts that I had planned on weekends.

My off-season focus:

  • Lift
  • Nutrition
  • Lower Body Fat
  • Trainer
  • Run through the winter
  • More time in the pool

My main focus this off-season is to lift, improve my nutrition, and lower my body fat. I don’t want to reveal to many of my plans around this but I am calling it ‘Rocky’ training. I may reveal more details on this sometime in either February or March.

My weight now is about 168 pounds and my body fat is hovering around 16%. I have every intention of lowering my body fat as much as I can by May. I believe I know how to do this and if/when it works I will be writing a few thousand words on it. I am expecting this to be life changing.

I want to continue to spend a few hours a week on the trainer. During the season most triathletes are training about 8-15+ hours a week. In the off-season I tend to be about 6-8 hours depending on other priorities. This breaks down to about 2-3 hours on the bike, 2-3 hours running, 1-2 hours swimming, and about 1-2 hours of lifting. This winter I will be changing this up a bit. The 2-3 hours of biking is accurate. The rest of the changes are a bit private but enough to get in all of the work I need to for May.

I do need to get in the pool a bit more this off-season. I tend to start back up after the first of the year. I am considering switching gyms where the pool schedule is a bit friendlier and is a bit closer to me as well. Ideally I would be in the pool three times a week but I would okay with two days a week until spring.

After a strong race in Ironman Chattanooga in September I fully expect 2015 to be the turning point in my triathlon racing. I do think the turning point started at Timberman in August and has continued. I am now ready to take that next step. As a triathlete I was hovering around the bottom 20% but with Timberman and Chattanooga I was able to improve to 50%. As a runner I am normally in the top 5%. So I would hope in the next 18-24 months that I can improve in triathlon to be in the top 25-30%.

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