Comparing My Last 3 Years at the Square Lake Triathlon

>> Thursday, September 14, 2023

As I mentioned in my race report this year, I did NOT go back and look at previous year's results before this race - I wanted to just race hard without thinking "oh... that's about where I was last year, so I'll just hold it here." So post-race it was fun to look back at those race reports to compare with how I did this year.

Here's my 2023 race report, here's my 2022 race report, and here's my 2021 race report all from the Square Lake Sprint Triathlon.

And below are my splits from the last 3 years of the race - 1/2 mile swim, T1, 18.5 mile bike, T2, 5K run, and then my total finishing time:








Let's look at each area of the race over the years:


In 2021, it was my first open water swim in over 2 years, and I had only gotten into the pool EARLIER THAT SAME WEEK for the first time in 18 months (I hadn't been to a gym since the pandemic had started, but I had been lifting weights well at home). I used my upper body strength to pull myself through that part of the race.

In my 2022, the swim HAD to be a bit longer, as I was in better swim shape. And then maybe this year it was back to "normal" like it was 2 years ago (or short these 2 years and "correct" last year). My overall swim place was similar all 3 years: 16th, 14th, and 21st overall. And my Garmin had me BARELY faster this year compared to last year: 877 yards in 14:22 last year (1:39/100 pace), and 814 yards in 13:16 this year (1:38/100 pace). That's a BIG win this year considering I never felt great in the swim and actually popped up to tread water for a bit as I mentioned in my race report.


Unlike possible buoy movements/misplacements year-to-year, the bike course was EXACTLY the same all 3 of these years. This is an "apples to apples to apples" comparison. In 2021, I was doing a lot of trainer workouts - my endurance in the saddle was good, but I wasn't riding as hard as if I had been riding outside. In 2022, I was still on the trainer a lot, but I had worked in more efforts, and therefore I had taken a minute off my bike split.

And this year, I've been biking a LOT more outside. I have more outdoor miles on my bike in 2023 (and it's not a complete year yet) than I did in ALL of 2021 and 2022 COMBINED: 374 miles in 2021, 454 miles in 2022, and over 1,000 miles already in 2023 (not good numbers for ANY year, but they're at least climbing!). So I was able to take nearly ANOTHER minute off my bike time. I went from 21.2 mph to 21.6 mph to 22.0 mph this year.

• RUN:

Like the bike, it was the same route all 3 years. The turn-around could have moved a bit, which might explain the difference of 0.08 miles over the 3 years. I didn't have a functioning Garmin in 2021, so I just have manual mile splits that descend. In 2022, I had half mile splits that all descended: 3:17, 3:09, 3:03, 3:00, 3:00, and 2:49. And I descended every half mile split THIS year as well: 3:13, 3:04, 3:03, 2:53, 2:53, and 2:43. (Notice it's the same 2 splits both of those years that are "duplicated:" the 4th and 5th half-mile splits. WILD!) In the end, it was NICELY faster this year!


Nothing really stands out here. They are all similar except for T1 last year, and that's because it was COLD last year so I had to put on a long sleeve shirt while wet. Also, my 2021 transition times might be a bit slower because I was a bit more in the back of transition - that was the only year that spots were "assigned" in transition. And I wonder if my T2 time is a bit slower than last year because I broke in some new bike shoes 2 months ago, and they are not nearly as quick to get out of as my old shoes. I forgot that this was my first race in those shoes!

(I also incorrectly noted in my race report earlier this week that I was fastest in all 5 areas at this year's race. I was actually 2 seconds faster in T2 last year, so that's the only 1 of the 5 areas where I was faster in either of my previous years.)


In 2021 and 2022, I finished 2nd overall and 3rd overall with just a 0:20 difference in finishing time. This year, I was MUCH faster, taking 3:08 off my finishing time from last year! But I was still 3rd overall. Second place in front of me was just 0:14 faster, but 1st place had a WILD bike split and was over 8 minutes ahead of me! (Even through I ran 2+ minutes faster than him! CRAZY bike split!!) Overall, I don't care as much about my finishing place (I mean, I DO care, but...), but I'm super happy I was able to knock down my bike time by so much as well as my running splits!

I'm hoping this is all a good sign for an upcoming speedy TC 10 Mile!! :)


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