At Ironman Florida, just for a wild-ass example, what would it mean to excel in the event? For me?
I'm all about objectivity. It's all in the numbers.
In iron-distance events, in highly objective terms, "to finish is to win". So crossing the finish line and doing the distance, while meeting the swim (2:20), bike (10:15), and total (17:00) cutoffs and earning a medal, is to earn the name Ironman. That's a victory for anyone who accomplishes it. Period. That would be my primary goal in any Ironman triathlon.
But at the same time, I'm interested (just for curiosity's sake) to see how fast the people in my category did the course. It is a race, after all.
What would it take to be "above average"?
Clydesdale women 40 & over, median -1 performance:
2004: Swim: 1:25:08, Bike: 7:00:24, Run: 5:20:34 Total: 15:03:27
2003: Swim: 2:07:29, Bike: 6:46:00, Run: 6:12:50 Total: 15:30:59
2002: Swim: 1:17:16, Bike: 5:55:08, Run: 4:23:31 Total: 11:53:42 whoa!
Women 45-49, median -1 performance:
2004: Swim: 1:44:43, Bike: 7:01:17, Run: 5:11:41, Total: 14:14:59
2003: Swim: 1:41:36, Bike: 6:39:22, Run: 4:31:05, Total: 13:13:48
2002: Swim: 1:56:10, Bike: 6:41:22, Run: 5:10:15, Total: 14:00:02
Jeez. Those are some fast women. Impressive performances! That seem right now, by the way, totally out of reach for this old body. I think I'm scaring myself. I also think it would be very wise to wait until I age up a group or two, and get an IM finish or two under my belt, before I even consider looking at those median age group times again! I'm kind of surprised how much spread there is in those numbers, as well. They're not as clear-cut as I had hoped - between 11:53 and 15:30 is a gigantic spread. I'll be watching the 2005 Ironman Florida results with interest to see how fast the competitors do the course this year.