Doping In Triathlon Is Prevalant According To Study

[caption id="attachment_9352" align="alignright" width="300"]doping - ironman - triathlon Source: EverymanTri[/caption] Doping is a topic that I have discussed a number of times on this blog.  It is no secret that I do not have any sympathy for those that dope, nor do I have any empathy when they get caught.  If you are going to break the rules and you get caught......deal with it.  It was a decision, conscious decision, that you made to go down that path and when you get caught you have to deal with it. Yes, there are false positives and the off-chance that a prescription drug trips the meter and says that it was something illegal.  All of that still does not tell me to give them leeway.  Not today.  Not when all it takes is a phone call to inquire about whether a certain prescription contains something that may be deemed against the rules.  Not when you can read the label on a canister of protein powder.  There are just too many safeguards to avoid having a positive drug test.  You get caught you deal with the punishment. Yesterday, Jeff posted a link to an article in Irish Triathlon that concluded that 1 in 7 dope at Ironman Triathlon.  1 IN 7.  That is an absurd number when you think about it.  Let's assume that there are 2100 athletes wading in the water with you before the cannon goes off.  That means that 300 of those people are doping.  Think about that.  It is perplexing considering that the number of athletes from any given race going to Kona is minimal at best.  What are these people thinking when they make the decision to take a drug that is going to improve their performance. If they stopped to think about it I can imagine that they would not do it.  Look at it from a numbers perspective.  At Ironman Texas 2013 I finished in 12:03:58 which was good for 80th place in my Age Group.  Assume that the drugs improve my performance by 5% and that would make my final finishing time approximately 11:28.  That finish time would put me at 39th place in the M40-44 AG.  That is still nowhere near a Kona qualifying time so why dope?  Before you say to me that those that are close to qualifying for Kona are probably the ones that are doping, the facts from the study are that they are not. The study points out that those that are physically doping are training for 14 hours per week and those that are cognitive doping (antidepressants, beta-blockers, modafinil, methylphenidate) are training for 15 hours per week.  During my overload weeks for Ironman Texas I was regularly putting in 18-21 hours per week.  During base building weeks the amount of training volume equaled ~17 hours.  That is far above what the average from this study is and yet I am over an hour away from Kona.  How far away are these athletes training for 14-15 hours per week? And this gets me to my point about doping.  I am very competitive.  I want to be better than myself from race to race.  I want to beat you, you and you.  That is no secret but I also know what I am capable of.  I am a 12 hour Ironman as defined by my 3 finishes.  Maybe at IMTN I can get closer to 11 than I am to 12 but the breakthrough I would need to get to Kona is enormous and I cannot see that happening.  Would I love to qualify?  Of course, but it looks like this is more of a legacy slot than qualifying slot and I am ok with that.  I once had aspirations of qualifying for Boston as well as Kona.  Today I am having thoughts of qualifying for Western States but in the end should I qualify it will be because I did it on my own ability and not a synthetic.  To me that is not qualifying, that is cheating.  Doping is cheating and anybody who dopes is a cheater.  There is no room in sport or life for cheaters.  Period, End of Story.

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Jason Bahamundi

About the Author:

I grew up in New York and lived there for 34 years until I got divorced and moved 1600 miles to my new home in Texas.  I love New York and miss it but that does not mean that Texas hasn’t been great to me because it has.  It was here that I discovered endurance sports and specifically the sport of triathlon.  Triathlon has given me new life through all the challenges it presents.  I no longer look at life the same way and I can say that is in part due to my endeavor into this sport.

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