A lot has been written in recent months about testosterone replacement therapy, with TV ads offering “miracle cures” for middle-aged men who feel lackustre and low. A quick trip to your urologist, some testing to be sure your testosterone is low, and then you can start rubbing on the magic gel. The consequences? No one’s really sure. A mixed bag, so far.
This in an interesting article on the rise of the T among amateurs, and has this quote: “Recent evidence has found a high incidence of “cheating” among master’s and age group athletes.” The cheating being testosterone, most often prescribed by a doctor.
This post is also worth a read: http://www.johnpostmd.com/john_post_md/2013/06/testosterone-should-i.html
Dr Post cites a study that says T use has tripled in the last decade. Along with it, we’ve seen the rise of endurance sports, especially triathlon. And Dr Post is right when he says triathletes who put coloured tape on their bodies and wear ridiculous compression clothing will also try supplements and pills and gels, anything for an advantage. This goes a long way to explaining why amateur triathlons are dominated by the 35-50 age group.
And this gets me to thinking that I’d really like to try testosterone (especially when it’s labelled as “therapy”), just to see what the impact would be. How much of a difference would it make? Well, when guys in their late 40s are winning races in pro times, it must make a very big difference.
No. Supplements are not for me. If guys want to take the T and HGH, and be super fast, that’s their choice. There’s nothing pure about those athletes.
For further reading: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/17/magazine/17antiaging-t.html?pagewanted=1&ref=magazine
So, I haven’t quite grown gills yet, or turned my legs into the spindly chicken-like legs of a runner, but Project: Aquaman continues, even with the usual work and life interruptions. Which of course gets me to wondering how an amateur triathlete has the time to get him- or herself into such shape that they can go as fast as pros.
Okay. No more ranting about that.
I did, however, stumble onto this: http://www.sportseconomics.org/2/post/2013/09/why-hasnt-triathlon-had-a-major-problem-with-doping.html
There’s a quote at the end that I find interesting: “…maybe the answer to the title question is found in a previous contribution to this blog by David Butler which concluded that “Whether it is athletics, cycling or baseball the force of prohibiting third parties may be no match for the power of local social norms that are fostered and enforced within groups”. Doping may simply be so abhorrent to the triathlon community that the cost of doping simply never outweighs any possible benefit.”
Paul O’Sullivan, the writer of that last sentence, might benefit from spending some time with said triathlon communities, especially with the guys in their late 40s who win triathlons in pro-level times. Maybe he should train hard, then race against those who may find doping “so abhorrent” as to never possibly do it. Believe me, there are some seriously bad apples within the triathlon community.
There is a scandal within triathlon (and possibly in the wider field of amateur endurance sports) just waiting to be exposed. Who will expose it? And does anyone really care?
The triathlon season is well over. But like many of us, I’m still training, mainly just to stay in shape. The intensity is gone (I’m thankful that London is done and dusted – won’t be doing the Age Group Champs thing again) which means the enjoyment of the activities can return. From slugging it out in the pool and pushing it too hard on training runs, and trying to jam in as many training session as my schedule allows, I can now take my time and enjoy it.
In winters past, I normally joined a gym, partnering weights workouts with runs or bike sessions. This winter, I’ve got a project formulated, to turn myself into a better runner and swimmer. I was never a strong runner, so it’s time I put in some work improving it. I was always a (relatively) strong swimmer, but never really trained enough. And, with triathlons getting more and more crowded, I’m thinking safety first, especially in the swim leg: get out towards the front so as not to get kicked or elbowed. Sometimes, getting around that first buoy is hellish. It turns triathlon into a contact sport.
Biking will have to wait until the spring. From the vantage point of early November, spring seems a long way off. Hopefully, I’ll have grown gills by then, and changed my body type enough to look more like a runner.
While in London, this was something I noted about triathlon, especially for short course and Olympic distance: the body types of athletes. They all look like runners. That is, runners who swim. They’re very lean and bony. The Brownlee brothers are the prototype (so skinny to be looking almost unhealthy). And the results could be seen in how fast the age groupers were completing the run leg. So, I’ve learned from this and will put in some effort to improve. Though, I don’t see myself ever running 10k splits in under 35 minutes, like the good amateurs do. Perhaps I’ve got the wrong training and dietary regime.
We’ll see how long my motivation lasts. Project Aquaman may not make it to Christmas.