Wednesday, April 24, 2013

IronMan Texas (IMTX) 2013 Goals

Now that my longest training days are behind me, I've been thinking a lot more about race day. I feel like I'm well prepared physically, so my biggest concerns now fall into two categories: those that I can control and those that I really cannot.

On the "I control" side are things like nutrition, hydration, execution, etc. I have been practicing these things, so I know what the plan is, I'm just concerned that the plan will be inadequate or that I will not execute it well.

On the "I don't control" side are things like heat / weather and mechanical issues. Obviously, I'm trying to practice dealing with the weather and I'm working that learning back into my goals and nutrition planning, but it's hard to practice Texas heat in Pennsylvania.

I'm also taking steps to minimize the potential of mechanical issues, but, frankly, this is my biggest fear. In my brain, it breaks down like this... If I finish poorly or well beyond the timeframe I know I can achieve because of weather or physical issues or whatever, that's ok. I will have finished and thus I will own the decision about my future. If, however, I fail to finish because of some mechanical issue, any decision about my future will have already been made. I can't "not finish" after everything I've done and after all of the sacrifices that have been made. So with that in mind, I'm taking my bike to the shop (again) and I'm further refining my plan for dealing with flat tubular tires.

Enough whining already, this post was supposed to be about goals - so here they are, by sport and in race order.

Hurt and finish.
I'm a slow swimmer, we all know this, there is no surprise. That said, I've learned that I'm also a lazy swimmer, so my "hurt" goal is intended to address this.  I don't want to go crazy or anything, but I do want to get out of the water knowing that I'm in a race and that the first event is over.  The "finish" part is just a reminder that the swim is my weak event and that once I'm out of the water, I can start to shine.

Eat, drink, pee, repeat.
I'm not a slow biker, we all know this, there is no surprise. My bike goals are targeted specifically at the weather, the length of the ride and the fact that my race will be made or broken during the run. I have some pace targets in mind, but they are much less important than eating, drinking and peeing.  If I can manage those three things, then the speed will come. And, I'll have set myself up well for the run.

Run, don't walk, manage the heat, negative split, have a kick left for the final 10K.
Lots of run goals, since the run will, more than anything, determine my finishing time. Everything else that I do on race day is intended to setup a strong run. Run, don't walk is obvious, your run splits will suck if you're walking. Manage the heat ties back to that whole weather thing (that I can't control). Negative split is to help drive execution. It's a three lap race and my intention is to negative split each lap. This shortens my focus and helps to make sure that I have something left at the end. The "kick" thing would really be the icing on the cake. If everything has gone to plan, I will hit the 20 mile marker well nourished and hydrated and a kick will be possible. That's the plan anyway.

Right now it's 23 days and a wake-up until race day.  The base miles are in, the big weeks are behind me and I'm feeling healthy and inspired.  Now to maintain that feeling for the next three weeks!

How about you, are you ready for the Texas heat?  Is your training coming along as you expect?


Sunday, April 21, 2013

Last Long Ride - Fail

So today the weatherman and I failed to connect.  Thus, the wardrobe guy and I failed to communicate properly and the net result was a massive failure on my last long ride before IMTX.

Everything started out really well.  I managed to cleanup the carnage from last week regarding my flat tubular tire.  Actually, my flat, brand new tubular tire :-(  I also took care of a number of other repairs and adjustments, so I thought I was ready to go.

I got up and got going as planned.  I did the sunscreen thing, making sure to roll my shorts up a little to account for them riding up during the ride.  This way I would not reburn my racing stripes of sunburn from last week.  While I was outside putting on sunscreen, it seemed cold, but really nothing worse than last week.  Plus the sun was shining so that made it seem warmer.

I headed out in shorts and short sleeves with arm warmers, same as last week.  I was a little chilly at the start, but I figured I would warm up once my legs got moving.  The only problem was that as my legs got moving, my fingers and toes kept getting colder.

My first two splits were great, so I just tried to push on and wait for the temps to inch up.  But then I passed the time/temp banner at mile 12 and the temperature was showing as 39!  Oh, shit, no wonder I'm so cold, I'm out here riding in shorts and it's only 39 degrees.  I probably should have gone home at this point and put on some more clothes, but the first hill was coming up and I figured a nice climb might warm me up.

Again, no such luck, the backside downhill wiped out any gain almost immediately: but I pushed on.

When I hit the first turnaround in Rochester my fingers were feeling thick and numb and I was cold to the core. I stopped for a minute to try and warm up.  Then I stopped at the Get-Go to use the restroom and I had to buy a cup of coffee. The coffee helped so I pushed on.

When I came through Ambridge the temps had climbed up to 44 - progress.  Keep on keeping on, let's just get this thing done.

I made the left onto the red belt and started towards Warrendale, thinking that turning away from the river might mean warmer winds instead of the cold winds thus far.  Again, no such luck.  By the time I was half way to Warrendale I was simply freezing and when my teeth started to chatter uncontrollably I knew that was it, I needed to do something drastic.  I called Cath, I groveled, and I convinced her to meet me with my warmer clothes.

15 minutes in the car with the heat on, sitting on a heated seat seemed to do the trick.  Then I got out of the car to get back on the bike and I immediately started shivering again.  And just like that my day was over.  I threw the bike in the back of the car and we headed home.  Fail.  Miserable fail...

It took the whole ride home and about 20 minutes in the shower before I finally stopped shaking.

What a massive fuck-up.  What was I thinking?

Ok, enough whining, time to get your game face back on.  Recovery week coming up and then taper and then IMTX.  Get this out of your head and move on.  Cold will not be a problem come race day, so not another thought...

Hopefully your training day went better than mine.


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Backing Across the Finish Line

And just like that, my biggest training week is behind me.

No, not because I finished it, but because the pool chemicals were jacked up last night and my 90 min swim turned into a 12 min swim... Bummer.

Funny how things can change so quickly and how those changes impact your mental state. I had a lot of baggage, both good and bad, wrapped around finishing "the biggest week". I had even planned a small, personal celebration for Sunday afternoon, which is the end of my training week. But alas, this week will now be smaller than last week, and all future weeks as well.

Yea for me! I'm over the hump and it's all downhill from here.

So I guess that means I'm ready, right!?! Obviously I have a recovery and some touch-up and a taper ahead of me, but the monster hours are finally over. Somehow I'm both happy and scared all at the same time. Things just became a little more real and answering my list of open questions just became a lot more urgent.

And of course I still have to get through the rest of this week...

So how about you, how is your training coming along?