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Summer Tour Report Card « Jocelyn Wong's Blog


Summer Tour Report Card

Since yesterday was the travel sponsor‘s birthday and he likes me to post more tri-related stuff, this post-summer tour report card is dedicated to him. He likes the whole stats analysis thing too, so I’ve tossed around some numbers, as I like keeping my sponsors happy. :) Happy birthday, Mark!

So my first 4 Ironmans occurred over a 4-year span. September 2002 to August 2006. My last 4 Ironmans occurred over well…an 11-week span. What is that, 2.5 months?

11 weeks to get all four. Like collecting McDonald's Happy Meal toys.

Now I know some (er, many) people say you can’t race that much and expect to do so well. Whatever. I just follow the Boss’s orders. They ask which one is my A race? I don’t know. The answer seems to be “all of them or none of them.” See, what I’ve learned is to look beyond all the summer racing, or even this entire season, and look at the big picture. The big picture is beyond this year. Some people get it, some people don’t.

To get really good at racing Ironman, you need to race a lot of Ironmans. It’s like getting a great SAT score. Mostly I just took as many practice exams as I could, then I took the actual exam at least three times. But what was the big picture? Getting into a great college. (Yes, I got into all 6 or 7 colleges I applied to.) Or maybe the big picture was getting a great college education so I could go on to an even awesomer graduate school and then embark on a successful career path to…uh…become a pro triathlete. Hmm, I should’ve stopped this analogy maybe at the part where I got into all the colleges. It’s not working so well, is it? :P

Ahem, ok, well.

ANYWAY. The big picture. That’s later. Not this year. In the meantime, I learned quite a bit in this accelerated course on Ironman racing known as the All-American Superstar Summer Tour. (For race reports, click here.)

I'm not sure why age groupers get first names on their bib's, and pros only get last names. it's ok, I get to WongSTAR-ize mine.

Other than the travel adventures and roaming around the USA visiting parts of my own country I’d never seen before, this was a highly educational experience and of course fitness-inducing challenge.

I learned to “multitask” while on the bike (see Superstar Step #12).

I learned to go full throttle and really get out of comfort zone, and learn to suffer like I only had started learning how to suffer in a half ironman the year Doc was only coaching me online. So like what? Like how I used to suffer at the Olympic distance?

I learned that I can go harder than I think I can, even when it seems like all hope is lost, and that I won’t ever give up. Never, never, never!

Despite the different courses and conditions, my splits were pretty consistent.

rockin' the blueseventy. Who knows how much slower I'd swim without it, eh?

Swim splits: Averaged about a 1:15-1:16 (1:22, 1:14, 1:12, 1:15). Quite awful really. I was consistently last pro out of the water. (Oh, correction. Last pro WOMAN. There were two of those races where I outswam a pro guy.) Funny but my two fastest swims were not with a wetsuit. Maybe the overall slowness had a lot to do with the fact that I swam by myself most of the summer. Hard to find a group to train with consistently when bouncing from place to place, but this has been addressed for the next block of training leading to the end of the year!

the Wongstar + White Tiger = one unit!

Bike splits: 5:46, 5:28, 5:30, 5:30. If you throw out the first split where I had mechanical issues at CDA, I am freakishly consistent. Also minus CDA, I consistently outbiked half the pro women’s field, managing a top 5 bike split each time. Well, that does feel kind of redeeming. Must be the beef. See Pantani, told you I was a gun biker!

yes, I do kind of look the same, and yes Coach, I am heel-striking.

Run splits: 3:29, 3:33, 3:53, 3:39. Throwing out the hot death march in Louisville, I’m still somewhat consistent. Would be nice to start getting consistently under 3:30′s, but I’m patient. I started losing some run fitness the second half of summer; had a slight hamstring niggle after Lake Placid and did no track work since July to prevent it from becoming a full-blown injury. Thanks to doing that and then two Ironmans, I’ve made a complete recovery! :D Now I can go back to hitting those marathon track sessions. Can’t wait!

crossing the finish is always the best feeling ever. Multiply by 4 please.

In the overall rankings, it’s hard to see a pattern because it does depend on who shows up at the starting line, i.e. both how deep and how strong the pro field is. So I also looked at how many age groupers beat me, as I am not above admitting that I still get spanked by age groupers. It’s not a bad way to gauge my progress as pro rookie.

Coeur d’Alene: 12th pro (out of 17 starters and 12 finishers), 24th overall AKA beaten by 12 amateurs.
Lake Placid: 9th pro (out of 14 starters and 12 finishers), 12th overall AKA beaten by 3 amateurs.
Louisville: 6th pro (out of 13 starters and 9 finishers), 12th overall AKA beaten by 6 amateurs.
Wisconsin: 8th pro (out of 13 starters and 11 finishers), 9th overall AKA beaten by 1 amateur.

Well, see, I really did make some progress. Finishing up by only getting beaten by 1 amateur (by 3 minutes) is much better than how I started off the summer!

Anyway, it’s late and I couldn’t remember what other super intelligent analysis I wanted to do or other things I learned and meant to say. I guess as I sit back and compile all these results and pictures, it is kind of really hitting me that I raced 4 Ironmans in the span of 11 weeks. That’s kind of crazy. ;) I still remember when just doing one was daunting. Hell, let’s be honest, doing one *is* still pretty freakin’ daunting!

Christmas trees, snowflakes, horsies, and...wheat?

Looking forward to getting a very solid block of training in these next 6 weeks. Til then…keep on keeping on!

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