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Rich Allen reviews the accuracy of some of the thoughts he had for 2012.

Rich AllenWe all like to feel from time to time that we have a dead cert on our hands. Whether it’s the 3:30 at Ascot or that there isn’t a hurricane on its way, but sometimes, like Michael Fish, we all make predictions that are a little way off the mark. Here are the predictions I made for 2012 that have been more miss than hit.

“It’s great Lance Armstrong’s doing Ironman.”
I was excited to think about the prospect of racing head to head with Lance Armstrong in an Ironman event. The very idea of a Lance-Crowie showdown in Kona and the speculation surrounding it was the talk of the triathlon world – and then it was all over.

The rumours of Lance doping became validated by more than 10 witnesses coming forward and testifying under oath that Lance and themselves had doped for many years. Even then many people, myself included, thought that this was just a case of sour grapes. I then read Tyler Hamilton’s book and everything changed in my mind.

You can draw your own conclusions, but I just don’t think Tyler could make up the detailed descriptions of them all taking drugs. Exaggerate perhaps, but even so it was pretty damning for Lance. The final nail in the coffin was Nike dropping Lance stating that “due to the seemingly insurmountable evidence that Lance Armstrong participated in doping and misled Nike for more than a decade, it is with great sadness that we have terminated our contract with him.” Although Lance has been banned from Ironman events and any sanctioned triathlons, he can still race unsanctioned races, but my excitement has gone along with my respect.

“Having a baby won’t disrupt my training.”
It suddenly dawned on me how wrong this statement was when in the pool changing rooms the other day some kind chap pointed out that I had baby-sick all over my shoulder. It gets worse. I took a look at my hand this morning and noticed I had peanut butter around my fingernails, except it wasn’t peanut butter and luckily I resisted the temptation to lick it off. All part of the joys of fatherhood.

Training has been difficult due to the lack of structure. I had thought that we could plan out each day, but little Abby has other ideas. There is so much stuff to carry around with a baby and by the time we get out the door to go swimming it’s already 11am and the day is nearly gone. I think the most challenging part of being a new parent has been the lack of sleep. Pro triathletes usually get 10 hours but I have been managing on four or five, with my poor wife getting just two or three hours.

I missed a couple of races because I was just too tired and when I finally got round to getting on the start line my attempt was pathetic. It’s a strange feeling; I want to race because I am so happy and positive, but the reality is I am too fatigued to perform well. Now at the six-week mark things are starting to settle down a bit so I may attempt one more big race this year, fingers crossed.

“40 is the new 30 in Ironman racing.”
In recent years we have seen the likes of Macca and Crowie dominate Hawaii and Vegas and even over the shorter non- drafting Olympic-distance we have seen Greg Bennett win Hy-Vee and show the young guns a thing or two. What do these guys have in common? They are all pushing 40 years old and at the peak of their career.

At 38 this is music to my ears and it gives me hope that I can still keep going for a couple more years and perhaps have my best ever performance. This October I was glued to Ironman Live watching Kona to see if Crowie could carry on giving us old boys hope, but my morale was broken when he finished 12th, Macca pulled out and Bennett finished miles behind.

Then there’s 26-year-old Sebastian Kienle who destroyed the field on the bike and 30-year-old Pete Jacobs won the race with a blistering run. The new age has arrived and clearly 40 is not the new 30. The saying is now: “38 is the new 30 but once you hit 39 you are done.” Time for a career change.

This article was originally published in Triathlon Plus magazine. Save time and money by having every issue delivered to your door or digital device by subscribing to the print edition or buying digitally through Zinio or Apple Newsstand.

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