Picking up the Pace


The last 20 days have been much more productive than the previous 50, which is a huge plus considering Trinona is tomorrow. Yep, my first triathlon of the season is less than 12 hours away. And unlike 20 days ago, I’m feeling ready.

The Last 20 Days


The biggest news here is that I actually got back in the pool — something I hadn’t done in the 50 days prior. I knocked-out a few quality lap sessions at the gym and even worked-in an open water swim last weekend. I’m unsure of the water temp during that open water session, but the air temp was only 63°F, so that’s enough proof for me to reinforce how cold the Lake Zumbro water felt. My heart rate was spiked and my lungs were working extra — it was the solid kick in the butt that I needed one week before Trinona.


Cycling took a backseat with the new focus on swimming and continued focus on running, but it didn’t go without a few strong rides. The highlight was a 29.3 mile ride around Lake Minnetonka and the surrounding area with two friends who are much stronger cyclists than I. They pushed me harder than I would’ve rode on my own. Again, exactly what I needed heading into tri season.


The biggest change in running was the time of day I did it. I traded pounding the pavement under the afternoon sun for a 4:20am alarm to run under the fading moonlight, which opened-up time for cycling or swimming after work. The running highlight came just a few days ago, running 5.4 miles at a 07:05/mile pace during a rare afternoon run. That gave me a confidence boost for what I hope is a strong run tomorrow.

Trinona Preview

I’m hoping to make this my strongest Trinona performance yet. My times have gotten progressively better in each my previous three finishes at this event, including just missing the podium in my age group by 16 seconds last year. That’s left me hungry and wanting more for 2018.

While I had some gaps in my training over the last two months, I kept a fairly steady focus throughout the winter and wrapped-up the last 20 days on some high notes. Usually I’m a little nervous heading into a race, but for this one, I’m quite relaxed and more so just excited to compete. The fact that I’m not nervous started to make me nervous though. The nerves and fear push me harder, wanting to prove to myself that I can push through and overcome.

So to add that element of “can I do this?” back into the equation, I’m setting a more aggressive goal — to finish within 01:09:00. That’s more than four minutes faster than last year. It may not sound like much because last year I shaved almost 12 minutes off from 2016, but there was a big difference between training in those two years and even a new bike that helped shave a big chunk of time. Comparing 2017 to 2018, I’ll have the same equipment and not as drastic of a training increase.

My Trinona Time Comparison

Trinona 2014

Trinona 2016

Trinona 2017

Swim (0.25 miles)








Bike (11 miles)








Run (3.1 miles)








The aggressive goal is putting some doubt back into my head. How can I shave off that much time? Well, let’s start with the run. I think I’m much faster at this point in the year than I was last year. If I can run close to seven-minute miles, I should be able to shave a minute and a half. Ok, I’m almost halfway there.

Transitions. T2 was awesome last year and hard to get much faster. So the pressure is on to keep that speed. T1 could use some improvement. I’d love to pull that under two minutes, which would save me another 30 seconds. I’ll need to really focus and not stumble after the swim while I gear-up for the bike ride.

I’ve gradually become a better swimmer each year and am feeling as comfortable as I ever have in the water. I’m guessing I’ll still have some level of a panic attack in the water, but I’m working hard to think those calm thoughts and stay focused. I’d love to clock a 07:30 swim time, which would shave almost another minute.

And then there’s the bike leg. That’s where there’s the most opportunity to pick-up speed. However, it’s the sport I’ve spent the least time training in. In order to get faster here I’m just going to have push hard. Plain and simple. That worries me a bit as I don’t want to burn up the legs too much before the run. But if I want to achieve this new goal, I need to be aggressive.

Really, overall, I need to push harder than ever before if I’m going to hit the 01:09:00 goal. That’s the beauty and fun of the sprint distance though – going all out from start to finish. I think this is an aggressive goal. But what’s the fun in achieving a goal if it’s too easy? Just setting this goal has pushed me back outside of my comfort zone. And I like that feeling. I’m back in the unknown, which is the perfect place to prove I’m capable of more than I’ve imagined.

So with all of this said. I think I’m ready. I’ve trained. I’ve picked-up my packet. Applied my stickers. Double-checked my gear. All that’s left is to relax, get some rest and wake-up tomorrow ready to give it all I’ve got.


8 thoughts on “Picking up the Pace

    • Thank you! It’s funny because Nationals is something you and I have exchanged comments on over the last few months. It’s been a goal of mine and now it’s an opportunity in front of me. I’m excited!


      • Race is in 2 months so you better start making travel plans (even though you may not receive confirmation and registration link for a few weeks). It an Olympic distance race…I think you are registered to run Lifetime Minneapolis at that distance (if not, you might want to change the registration to get a practice race at that distance). The sprint national championship is the day after the Olympic race at the same venue. Will you stick around and do both? Looking forward to reading all about it in the next several weeks!


      • I do need to get on those travel plans! And yes, I’m registered for Olympic distance at the Minneapolis Triathlon. I hadn’t thought much about doing both distances. If I recall, you opted to do both last summer, right? Would you recommend it?

        Liked by 1 person

      • I enjoyed doing both, but I KNEW that I would not be competative at this event (best triathletes in the country)…and I was right…dead last in my AG in the Olympic distance. So, I was there for the experience knowing that I would never be back. And…I always run multiple events when I travel. If you do both, there is NO way you can be competative and give it your best both days. You will not be in top form for the sprint on Sunday. If the Sprint was your “A” race, don’t do double the distance the day before. If the Olympic is your “A” race (it should be and that is what you qualified for), then you can go all out for the Olympic Distance. After that, you can do the sprint for fun and the experience. You are already there, you traveled, you have all of your stuff halfway around the country. It cost you one extra day at the hotel. I don’t see a downside to the extra experience. Let’s face it…you will be back. I expect you will qualify every year for the next several years. You have the talent, the passion, and the work ethic. You are scratching the surface on your potential in the sport. Take a look at last year’s results. Top 18 (with rolldown to 25) get invited to represent the USA at ITU World (only top 6 get in for the Sprint…and ITU World’s Sprint Championship is a DRAFT LEGAL event which is a completely different race then you have experienced so far). I doubt that you will be there this year (doing your first Olympic Distance one month before this race), but I think you have the potential to get to represent the USA. This is an opportunity to get experience at the level, and can help motivate you to get to the next level (I was just honored to be there, and was thrilled to experience the event). I see no downside to getting more experience at this level and to get more comfort there….

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you for the advice. I definitely plan to make the Olympic Distance my “A” race. It’s quite an honor to have an opportunity to compete in an invite-only event like that. I’ll have to give some thought to day 2! I like the idea to soaking it all in.

        And thank you for what you said about my potential. I think Sunday’s podium finish is still sinking-in to be honest. To hear that kind of feedback from someone who’s been there before is really awesome. Thank you.

        I definitely welcome any feedback and advice along the way over the next few months! Feel free to share! Thanks again.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Pingback: Race Recap: 2018 Trinona | JoshAverbeck

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