Thanks Rich. Nice articulate breakdown of the "entire picture" and how time management factors in.
To Joe, I don't think that racing is simply about racing faster, be it faster than yourself, or faster than your competition, even if it involves dropping a lot of money on entry fees and flights. At one point in my life, that's what racing was primarily about. Now, racing is more of a celebration of being able to participate in sport. It's an outcome of having the physical and financial means and relationship support to play these games.
At work, I work with a bunch of guys with a completely different set of personal values from myself. We share common professional goals with respect to beating the competiton, getting more market share and jacking up revenue for our shareholders....all good in the corporate world, but that's not what makes me tick. When I go to races, I get to hang out with a bunch of guys who have very similar values.
I remember going to IMC in 1991, and arriving in Penticton and thinking....."WOW.....1200 guys and girls from all over the world living the same life as me. This is ultra cool!!!"
So now, when I go to races, its about hanging out with a bunch of guys who share similar values. I've made great friendships through sport and seen a lot of the world. Racing fast is cool....but simply being able to hop on a plane and go somewhere interesting and hang out with other athletes is really what is the most exciting part of the sport (for me).....and daily training is probably the most exciting part.
So quite often, doing what will optimize results is not as important for me as just having fun in the sport. I refuse to do any workout that is really inconvenient and which I am not deriving fun from in the same of speed optimization....it's not that important.
If I had an endless pool, I'd swim a ton more than I do now. When I am at home, making it to the pool with my work and family committments is a big endeavor. I can get lot more done just training out my front door with no commute time. Quite often I'll just skip swimming and go for a roller ski because I can basically do that with no overhead out my front door and I'm not limited by pool times...and I get great upper body aerobic work. I can go from XC skiing or roller skiing to swimming within 1 min of my peak half IM swim times in 3-4 weeks (did that last year at Texas 70.3 after a winter of no swimming). For me, it's about being time efficient, and I realize it is not optimal, to really get the best race times....but its not about the best race times....it's more about lifestyle.
All that to say, that even though I am in age group podium contention at local/regional races, I'm not going to horribly inconvenience myself in the name of speed gains. Just participating in the sport without burning out is waaaay more important and if that means finishing a few spots back, then that's fine.
Who are you and what did you do with Dev?