…while I’ve loved recapping my vacation, which has allowed me to hold onto a little bit of it, it’s time to get real in the whole foods parking lot.
This is the one for all the marbles. If someone told me I could only do one race this year, this would have been it. I’ve been training since April officially, and really since last November when I ramped up my run miles, for this one day. I’m tapered and ready to go. I’ve had some weird back issues this week, but nothing that will affect me on race day.
So, since it’s going to be a 7 hour race, it’s worth putting some words to blog about what I hope to accomplish.
I think I’ve gotten really good at this but my plan is…
-get packet and check bike in as early as they let us (1pm)
-eat a normal pre-race meal (meat, taters, veggies) early
-get a pre-race swim and short run in since I need to re-lace up my shoes with my trick laces.
-drink sleepyjuice and get to bed around 9pm
-up around 5 to have chai late and bar and bathroom
-set up T1
-get warmup run in late enough so I don’t get cold
-drop warm clothes at the last minute (low of 58….)
-get warmup swim as late as possible
-drop flip flops
-freak out a little that I’m actually doing this race
-calm down and center and get ready to do this shit
My problem with the swim is I usually go too easy and leave the water thinking “why didn’t I push myself more?”. The answer is simple – I’m afraid of blowing up before the bike. However, this year I’ve discovered that spending money on the swim doesn’t necessarily leave me a deficit on the bike, they’re very different. However, however, I am not going to really try and test that this race. Also, I loved swimming in that lake last year and felt very peaceful about it, so I’m looking forward to going back.
My swim normally goes:
0-300m – working out junk, I hate swimming, everyone is passing me
300m – end of race – hey, I love swimming! I’m passing people! I’m following feets! I don’t want this to end!
So this time, I’m just going to make two goals: swim strong (swim aggressively and steady) , and don’t get stuck in a rut – if I feel like I can speed up in the second half, I will do so.
Time goal: I’ve said 1 hour for swims + transition. So, under 50 mins for the swim is my goal as I imagine that I can certainly transition under 5 minutes each time.
This was the segment was most worried about coming into training. I love swimming long, I’ve done a billion double digit runs, but I did my first ride over 35 miles in March. And it wore me the fuck out for days. And then again a month later. And it still wore me the fuck out, but perhaps a little less. It took all summer to feel good about the distance, but after over a thousand miles on the bike (seriously), I feel ready to ride 56 miles and live to tell the tale. I was considering pulling my nice bike shorts over my tri suit, but then I got a new, better tri suit and I did 30 miles with them without much ladybit aggrivation, so what’s 26 more, right?
While the course profile scares me a little, I think I can handle it. Basically, it 11 miles of elevation going slightly down, and then 12 miles of going slightly up with a few actual “get out of your seat” looking moments. I think it will be ok. It’s a two loop course, and I do well knowing what is to come, so I really and truly think miles 12-24 are going to be my roughest ones and that’s usually where I’m the strongest physically.
Foodwise – I’ve done well eating a LOT on the bike. Goal is putting two chomps down as soon as I get going, and then a chomp every 2-3 miles. It sounds like a lot of eating but it’s worked well for me. I’ll have a nuun in my camelback. As backup, I’ll have a honeystinger waffle (I’ve found these are a nice pick me up around 30-40) and some cheese nips if I want salt. The goal is to get most of my calories in on the bike. Love eating on the bike. Hate eating on the run.
Time goal: I’m torn. I want to hit 3:30 because that sounds like a nice round number and gets me well on my way to the finish time I want. However, my goal was a 15 mph pace. Which is 3:45. So let’s say 3:30, A goal, 3:45 B goal, and before the bike cutoff is my C goal. I suppose another goal is to not get off and walk and power up all the hills.
This is the huge wildcard. If I’m having an awesome day I could run 2:15 but that’s really rainbows and unicorns talking there. If I’m dragging, I might be 2:45 but I’m pretty sure I can go faster than that. However, this is what I’m trying to remember on the run:
-Walking is a choice. My goal is to not make that choice.
-Running very slowly (12-13 min/miles) actually helps my legs recharge faster than walking, it’s just mentally tougher.
-Pain now is temporary, pushing through this run will make me happy about this race forever. Champagne is sweeter with a side of unicorns…
My goal is to take in as much aide as possible at stations, but I’ll stash some chomps in case I need a pick-me-up. They also have a fuel station each lap, so I’ll check my attitude each time I pass it and see if I need to take in more calories. I don’t plan on bringing my camelback on the run but am leaving the final decision for it as a gametime call. If I’m feeling overheated or like I need it, I can just open it up at the first water stop and throw a bunch of cups in.
The good news is that it’s a 4 loop course. I love loops. I expect this to help me. I am good at covering the same ground over and over. I like familiarity. In my mind I can count down “2 more times up this hill” and somehow it’s better than if it’s unknown. I’ll know where the aide stations are and can expect them. I can know where to expect to slow down and speed up.
Time goal: I’m just going to say my A goal is 2:25 – which is 11 min/miles. My B goal is 2:40 – about 12 min/miles. My C goal is any pace, but no walking. I expect around 2:30.
These are old hat, and the only thing I’m adding is arm warmers on the bike since biking wet in the 60s is a foreign concept to me. I just want to be able to check these off as “as expected”.
Secondary goal – catch Zliten in T1 (he starts 4 mins before me)!
Time goal: Giving myself 10 minutes for both, but I think I can get through them around 5.
C goal: finish by the cutoff (8:30) crawling across the finish line any which way I can.
B goal: swim strong, bike steady, and run without walk breaks and finish upright.
A goal: finish under 7 hours. (50 min swim + 3:30 bike + 2:30 run + 10 mins transitions)
I know going in this will be the hardest race I will have ever done. No matter how slow or fast I go, this is going to be incredibly mentally and physically challenging. The good news is that I know this going in and this is what I signed up for. I’ve got 7-8 hours with just me, myself, and my head with no music or Zliten to distract me. I know I’ve mentally grown as a triathlete this year – now I get to really put it into practice.
So, bring it on. 2.5 more days and counting. Even my toes are ready!