I did this race nine years ago, and was pretty pleased with how I did then. I've never been fast, just content to keep going. I'm now 40, and by conventional wisdom I should be slower. In many ways I am, but I don't think that's the end of the story. Some of my goals are actually faster than nine years ago.
I was thinking of me just a mere 18 months ago... I was recovering from a stupid injury which put me in the hospital having emergency surgery. I smashed my radial head to bits, and now have a new elbow. I definitely notice that my left arm doesn't have the same power as my right when I'm swimming. Swimming and weights help, but that arm tires more quickly and gets sore. I think I'll be dealing with that for a long time. 18 months ago I couldn't walk without a cane from partially tearing my right LCL, ACL, meniscus, and a lot of bone edema. Now my knee doesn't seem to bother me; not anymore than my left one does anyway from a history of knee problems.
With that in mind, the fact I haven't done triathlon in many years, and that before I started recovering from my injury I spent the last several years going from very active to weekend warrior... I have come up with some goals for Vineman.
The swim - well, I don't swim as much as I used to. And there's that whole left arm thing. Nine years ago I swam 36:51 there. I didn't have a great swim that day, so I'm going to set my goal as 37 minutes. Scary, because I don't know if I can make that goal, but I'm going to try. I'm hoping for a good draft...
The bike - I have been working hard on the bike this year. It's also the one thing I've been somewhat consistently doing over the past decade. My goal bike time is 3:15. That's 3 minutes faster than I rode nine years ago. I think I can ride that, but don't think I've set an easy goal there.
The run - hah! I have no goal for the run. 18 months ago I was not really walking. I have not run that distance since 2001. These are not excuses, but I'm trying to be realistic. Nine years ago I ran just over 2:30 there, so yep, I've always been a slow runner. Wait, I do have a goal... it's to run a solid pace, power-walk the uphills and really work the downhills.
Transitions - last time I did Vineman, apparently I blacked out for a while in transition as each of my transitions were five minutes! My goal for this year is under four.
A really fun goal I have is to beat Jason and Tim out of T2. My wave starts at 6:38, Tim starts at 7:26, and Jason starts at 7:50. Tim's never done the race before (he'll LOVE it!), but is an amazing swimmer and good cyclist. Jason, well, last year he was third in his age group there with an overall time of 4:29. My goal of beating them onto the run is a solid goal, not too easy but I think it's do-able. It's going to be so fun to see them twice on the out-and-back run course!
My final goal is to finish with a smile. Even if I don't make my other goals... this is the one I can control the most. Sometimes, you're out on a race course and things hurt, things aren't going your way... but you have to keep in mind that it's supposed to be fun! I chose to do this, and want to do triathlon as it's enjoyable (mostly!). As Kirsty says, "If it's not fun, you're not doing it right"! I'll let her have the last word.