Putting Everything in Perspective What Makes for a Good Season

By Dr. Steve Jonas | Dec. 18, 2017, 6:03 p.m. (ET)

Talking Tri-/Duathlon for Ordinary Mortals®: A Series, (No. 48, 2017/12)

The 2017 season was a rather strange one for me. For a variety of reasons, I did only three races, which I believe was my lowest total in my 35 years in our sport. But in each of those races I had a special experience. So, despite the small number of races, it was, in its own way, a great season. This despite the fact that I was not able to even start what would have been my biggest race of it, the Sprint Duathlon Age Group World Championships in Penticton, British Columbia. And so, in this column let me share some of the lessons I learned about staying with our sport, even when things seem to be going wrong.

Everything else being equal, I would have done seven or eight races in 2017. But, for the first on my schedule, the New York Triathlon Club’s March Madness Duathlon (held in New York City’s Central Park in early April), the weather was just too cold for me. Plus, I am learning that since I gave up skiing four years ago (and I always did my skiing for two very concentrated weeks in March, in Breckenridge, Colorado), it is harder for me to get in shape for a race that early in the season. (By the way, even with Dan Honig’s retirement, the New York Triathlon Club is very much in operation. Check them out for next season at NYTC.org.) For the next race I would have done, the Pawling Triathlon, I was out of the country attending a scientific conference.

And so it went, to the first race I actually got to do, the New Jersey State Championships at Princeton, New Jersey, in July. I told my story of that race in my previous column. It was special for a couple reasons. First, because my daughter, son-in-law and two grandsons were there, and second, because of the special recognition that I received from the race director, Michele Redrow, as I once again finished first in the 80-84 age group (even though I was last overall). One week later came the Central Park Triathlon (in New York City), which I was doing for the 18th time. That, and picking up only my third age-group win over all those years certainly made it special.

Then on my usual schedule would have come the Staten Island (New York) Duathlon. I decided to skip that one because the following week I was to be on my way to Omaha, Nebraska, for the USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships. Racing there in the Sprint, I had another special experience, for I qualified for the 2018 ITU World Championships in Gold Coast, Australia. Although I have been to several triathlon and duathlon world championships since my last worlds finish (at Gold Coast in 2009), I hadn’t raced due to weather.  

But this season, as mentioned, I was looking forward most of all to my next chance at a Worlds finish, in the ITU Sprint Duathlon Age-Group event, at Penticton, British Columbia. But, again that was not to be.  During the team pre-race ride — on a rented bike with inadequate (for me) gearing — I only got about halfway up the first rather steep hill. I walked the rest, got halfway up the second hill and walked the rest. I was really beat with just those efforts, and once again decided to call it a day. Even so, I had a great time that week. Penticton is a great place, I saw some old friends, had some great food, and thoroughly enjoyed the surroundings and the scenery.

Then for reasons of schedule conflicts, race cancellation, and injury, I missed another four races that I would have ordinarily done. But still, putting everything into perspective, it was a special season for me. 

Why? 

  • I have been able to focus on the races that I did do, not those that I didn’t.  
  • Each of the three races I did manage to do had a special feature about it, as described above.
  • At 81 just last month, I’m still planning to be racing next season, which is special in itself. Central to this is of course the mental process at work here: putting everything in perspective.

As for my next possible worlds finish, at least I know that at Gold Coast (2018) the “hill” on both the run and the bike is a highway overpass. So, if I can just handle the swim…

 

This series of thoughts and recommendations about multisport racing by Dr. Steve Jonas is, over time, drawn in part from his book, "101 Ideas and Insights for Triathletes and Duathletes" (Monterey, CA: Healthy Learning/Coaches Choice, 2011), from which text is used with permission. The book can be purchased here and is available at Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com.

Steve’s most recent multisport book is "Duathlon Training and Racing for Ordinary Mortals®: Getting Started and Staying with It" (Guilford, CT: Globe Pequot Press/FalconGuides, 2012), available at Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com.

His first book on multisport racing, "Triathloning for Ordinary Mortals®" 2nd Ed. (New York: WW Norton, 2006) also can be found at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Dr. Jonas recently was featured in World Class Magazine. Click here to read the article.