The triathlon training blog of Phil Barnes

Stats are for losers

Stats are for losers, it has been said.

For the average "age-grouper", setting goals based on stats, I admit, is not productive. To say, I want to finish Top 10 is preposterous in the grand scheme of things. How can you possibly control how well the rest of the field does? Who are you to presume you are more fit than a bunch of people you have never before met in your life. You can look at the numbers, and postulate - yes, I can swim 1:40 pace, bike 32km/hr and run a half in under 2 hours:- but what about the wind? waves? currents? what about the hills? was the heat a factor? maybe it poured? was the course longer than posted? what were transition areas like? There are a thousand micro-variables that come into play, the cumulative effects can add up to minutes - maybe hours - maybe the difference between 5th place and 50th place.

Stats are for losers, it has been said. Ok, so call me a loser.

I have a secret goal. It's entirely a meaningless goal. I want to be average. Or more apropos, I want to be median. Better would be better, of course.

For my big race, my A race, the Tinman half-iron, I would like to finish top 50% of my age group. Men 35-39.

What does that mean? Well, looking at last years numbers (forgive my passion for Excel), I would need to pull off a 5 hour and 40 minute effort. This would be consistent with my other arbitrary goal of breaking six hours. Can it be done? Sure, but I am going to have to switch my focus from being a "participant" to a "competitor". I risk setting myself up for failure. I risk extreme disappointment. Do I have what it takes? ahhh Hell, why not. This season's already been a success with my 1:42 half marathon.

2006 Tinman Finish Times Distributions, M35-39