Kayla showing off her hardware at district swim meet!
The numbers don't always tell the whole story - in Ironman racing anyway!What an exciting weekend it has been for triathlon enthusiasts. I, personally spent most of the weekend at our San Diego district swim meet with my 13 year old niece Kayla. She is an avid age-group swimmer and she is relentlessly trying to get her times down to qualify for the Junior Olympic A standard. As I sat there on the pool deck and watched all these 13-18 year old athletes I realised that everything about what they do is measured and compared, down to the last hundreth of a second. Some-one swimming the 50 Free here in San Diego can measure themselves against some-one swimming the event in Boston. The scoreboard and the numbers are everything!
On the flip side of this is our beloved sport of Ironman racing. This past weekend two different races (Brazil and Lanzarote) on opposite sides of the world - could they have been any more different? As with any competitive athlete, I and the rest of you, am always good for a session of 'could've, would've, should've, comparisons of the results and splits that roll in every week. You know - how that precious Ironman spot would have been yours, because you went so much faster at your Ironman in New Zealand (where you were 4 th in the age-group), but that time would have won the division in South Africa!
Not so my friends! In this case the numbers tell very little. Just for the hell of it, I took this past weekend's races and listed the top 5 finishes, men and women, side by side. Both great races with fields that included multiple Ironman winners and perennial top 10 Hawaii finishers.
Men: IM Brazil /IM Lanzarote
1. 8.11 / 9.01
2. 8.21 / 9.10
3. 8.23 / 9.12
4. 8.25 / 9.15
5. 8.26 / 9.18
Women: IM Brazil /IM Lanzarote
1. 9.10 / 10.41
2. 9.14 / 10.44
3. 9.33 / 10.54
4. 9.49 / 10.55
5. 9.52 / 11.04
At first glance, you would say that poor Christoph Mauch, the new Ironman Lanzarote Champion, would have struggled to make the top 10 in Brazil. In fact looking closer at the numbers would show that Wendy Ingraham (Ironman Brazil champion), would have been leading the Lanzarote race overall until part way through the run, before she had to settle for second place - overall that is.
You know where I am going with this. Next time you see the results to one of these very unique events, and find yourself slotting yourself into the results. If you weren't there it doesn't count. Because without a doubt, everytime we, personally, are part of the race it is 'the toughest, hottest,hilliest, windiest conditions ever'. Have you noticed how that works! So step outside the numbers - it is the great stories that paint the true picture.