Sunday, June 30, 2013

My IMTX By The Numbers

Here is a detailed summary and analysis of my performance in the 2013 IronMan Texas Triathlon.

First, lets look at the numbers by discipline.  Included in the table below is my time for each sport compared with my age group (AG) average time.  By the way, my AG is 45-49. Also included in this table is my AG ranking for each sport.

So what does all of this mean? Well, it confirms the fact that swimming is my weakest event, that's for sure. It also leads me to question if I should rename this blog to drowningrunner, since the run was clearly my strongest discipline for this race! What I find interesting about these numbers is how they relate to my goals and the question "Am I being realistic in my goal setting, specifically for the bike and the run?" I'll write more on this in a bit, so please read on!

Next let's take a look at my position within the field after each sport. This is slightly different than my ranking because it is a cumulative view after each event. The table below includes my position within the field after the swim, swim + bike and swim + bike + run. I also included the number of people that I passed while biking and while running because these numbers made me happy!

Nothing new in there really, just a confirmation that I spend the ride and run making up for my slow swim!

So now on to the relationship between bike and run. the graph below plots bike times on the x axis against run times on the y axis. I also included lines to represent the average bike and run times. Again, this is all specific to my AG.

So the good news here is that I'm clearly in the "fast and balanced" quadrant of the graph, which means that my early bike pacing issues did not negatively impact my run!

The questions that this graph raises for me are about bike pacing and run goal setting. First about bike pacing, I'm wondering if I rode to my potential, and the answer is clearly no. In support of this I present a plot of my heart rate by mileage during the bike. 

My HR plan was 130 - 135 depending on how I felt. So the plot shows a few things: I came out to fast, I settled down and rode to plan for a while, i started to feel nauseous and then my HR fell off of a cliff at mile 94 and I was never able to bring it back up!

In the future I will try to be more consistent on the bike and I will also try to work a little harder!

I don't have heart rate data from the run and I'm really bummed about this. I'm curious what my heart rate was and if I could have pushed harder on the run. I expect that I could have, since I never really hurt during the run, but this is just a gut feeling. Actually, the other bit of data in support of the fact that I could have pushed harder is that I was able to carry on several different conversations during the run and none of them left me winded or gasping for breath. So clearly run intensity is a goal for next time.

My only open questions are about goal setting / pacing for the bike vs. the run. My goals of six hours on the bike and four hours on the run seem to be way out of balance as compared to the remainder of the field. For example, the trend line in the bike vs. run chart above indicates that a six hour ride pairs with a 5:20 run. That same line indicates that a four hour run pairs up with about a five hour ride. Compared to the field, my stretch goal combination was quite unbalanced - just under on the ride, but well under for the run. Moving forward, I need to think about this to see if I can push harder on the bike and maintain similar intensity on the run.

Just a word of warning before you start reading this part of the post. This is written almost entirely for me - sort of a racers diary entry - so that I can come back to it in the future for reference. It's pretty boring stuff, so read on at your own peril unless you're actually trying to fall asleep...

Hydration and Nutrition:

I carried two bottles of Skratch Labs, Secret Drink Mix (SDM) that I mixed at ~6x normal strength. I also had one front bottle with 24 ounces of SDM at normal concentration. Throughout the ride, I took two water bottles at each aid station, which I used to refill my front bottle. I took a few good sips of straight water and then I used the concentrate-bottle to replace what I just drank.   Between the two concentrate-bottles, I was able to carry 192 ounces worth of SDM at normal concentration. Add in the original 24 ounces of SDM from the front bottle and that totals 216 ounces of SDM over the entire ride. In addition, I'm guessing I drank another 40ish ounces of plain water (10 aid stations x 4 oz per refill). Thus my liquid consumption was approximately 256 ounces for the ride. 

As I indicated in my race recap, the sodium balance in SDM works well for me, so I was planning to error on the side of over-hydration not under. 

In addition to the SDM, I ate homeade rice cakes throughout the day. I can only tolerate so many gels, so I try to eat solid food while I'm on the bike. The rice cakes work well for me and they taste good, so that's what I use. I think I ate two cakes, which works out to about 450 calories. SDM is 80 calories per 16 ounce serving, so I drank ~1080 calories. Thus my calorie consumption on the ride was ~1530.

One final note about the ride - my plan for the bike was to eat, drink, pee and repeat, which I accomplished.

For the run I used the same model, two concentrate-bottles, mixed at ~6x strength and a hand bottle at normal strength. I drank the hand bottle while I ran, refilled it with water at each aid-station and then used the concentrate bottles to top off the hand bottle. This allowed me to race entirely on SDM which is what I trained on.

I carried enough concentrate to mix 128 ounces of SDM plus what I had in the 10 ounce hand bottle at the run start. I drank every bit of what I carried. I also drank some coke at nearly every aid station.

In addition to the liquids, I ate two gels over the run course. 

138 ounces of SDM is 690 liquid calories. I'm guessing I drank another 32 ounces of coke over the day, which is 400 calories, plus the 200 calories of gel total 1290 calories on the run.

Combine calories from the bike (1530) and the run (1290) and I figure I consumed ~2820 total calories on the day.

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