Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Injury and IM World Championship

I haven't been writing that much for one reason, I'm slightly injured and frustrated. I took a two week "break" after my knee tightened up to the point I couldn't run during a 17 mile long run. Luckily, I made it 14 miles before this happen. There was no warning and within 5 strides my left knee went from feeling fine to wanting to give out. It felt fine as soon as I stopped but I walked the last 2 miles (I took a shortcut). I ran three short runs during my break and my knee felt fine afterwards. The only issue was that I felt a pinch right under my knee cap during a track workout. I stopped and figured I'd wait until the long run to decide what to do.  
On Saturday, after much debate, I set out for a 22 miler. I seriously doubted that I would make the entire distance and picked several bailout points along the trail which would only involve around a 30 minute walk to the metro. I had my cell phone in case it was real bad and I could call a cab or God forbid the WHHHHAAAA-mbulance. I started out about 40 minutes before my running group normally does, wondering how far I would make it.
1 mile, feeling great! 2 miles, feeling good but damn is it dark on this trail...I'll stop and wait for the sun or some other people to run by...two minutes later a large group comes flying down the trail, off I go. 5 miles, good, 8 miles (easiest bailout point), good. 11 miles at the turn around, feeling ok, 13 miles, hmmm...is this my legs just starting to get sore because of running or my knee? 14 miles, maybe I should stop just in case. Good thing I did since I walked about 3/4 of a mile to the metro and had to go down the broken escalator I could feel a pain right under my kneecap. It wasn't too bad but enough to have me worried. I iced and heated my knee when I got home and put KT Tape on it later in the day. We'll see what happens...
Anyway, if you have been paying attention to the triathlon world at all you would know that the Ironman World Championship took place in Kona this weekend. I managed to watch a good bit of it online and saw Craig Alexander win for the 3rd time and BREAK THE COURSE RECORD! Chrissie Wellington also made an amazing comeback to win for the 4th time.
There was also another major announcement by WTC, a new system for rewarding serious (and apparently loyal) triathletes but allowing people who have raced 12 full Ironman (the brand not the distance) enter a system to be guaranteed a spot in Kona. It sounds more like a waiting list but, it sounds like a Win for everyone.
“Starting in 2012 we’re making two pretty substantial changes to that [the lottery].  The first is that for athletes who have are serious triathletes who have done twelve or more full’s in their career and are still racing, we’re going to guarantee them a chance to race Kona.”
The first win being for triathletes and not having to enter a lottery system or traveling to places like China to try and win a slot. Granted you have to do 12 of them but, Kona is the Boston Marathon of triathlons. Not just anyone should be able to get a spot. Even if you do win the lottery system you still have to race an IM 140.6 before Kona...unless you're the third "biggest loser" and your name is Tara Costa...BS and great at the same time if you ask me but that's another story.
The second win is for WTC which will certainly make a lot more money with people trying to race 12 Ironmans for a shot. If that's even possible since the races generally sell out.
I'm also and avid Slowtwitch reader and the consensus is mixed. The only way this turns out to be a bad idea is if too many people are able to complete 12 Ironman branded 140.6 races. I'm not sure what the stats on the average number of Ironmans a triathlete has does are but, it would take some serious time, money, commitment and motivation to complete 12 of them. I seriously doubt the majority of average triathletes will complete 12 Ironmans in their lifetime.
Another point which was brought up was quantity over quality. I don't see how this changes. If you listen to the podcast you'll notice they're taking slots away from the lottery system for this purpose. With the lottery system you never know what type of triathlete you're going to get. Maybe all the lottery winners finished over 16 hours? You don't know. Second, how do you know people who have completed 12 Ironmans can afford to get to Kona? I realize the average income of Ironman competitors is something like $140K but, getting to Hawaii is a bit expensive and then you have to factor in the wife and kids or try to explain why they can't go with you. Either way, it's still the same number of slots as the lottery and with around 400 people finishing in 12 hours or more you're still likely to get the same overall quality of triathletes.
Furthermore, I'm sick of everyone bitching about slower people vs. real racers on Slowtwitch. Who cares? These people are out there trying just as hard as everyone else to finish, probably even harder since they're out there for longer. If you people are so fast, why don't you go pro? Oh right, you're too slow.

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