Thursday, July 24, 2014

Ironman 70.3 Racine and Training notes

Around the 4th of July, I decided that I would sign up for this race.  It was late sign up.  I wanted to do a 70.3 before Wisconsin in September but couldn't make up my mind which one to do.  I had a choice of smaller races, but decided I wanted a larger race to get a feel for a bigger race since it's been 3 years since I've completed a 70.3.  The last 70.3 I completed was Buffalo Springs and it was an epic weather day with 100 plus degree temperatures.  I knew the weather in Racine should present me with pretty good conditions.

Leading up to the race 4 weeks before, I had just completed Ride the Rockies a 6 day, 471 mile, 30000ft of climbing ride.  The week after the ride was exactly 4 weeks out.  I took this week to rest and put in some easy workouts.  I could feel the fatigue from the week before. After workouts, I would feel wiped out!  By the second week, I was starting to feel good.  I knew it was time to get more miles in on my tri bike and work on pacing for the Ironman and 70.3. 3 weeks out from the race my long ride was 84 miles with a 9 mile run for a total of 204 miles that week.

Three weeks out of from the race I went on my longest ride on my tri bike for the year.  I put in a 100 mile on Thursday and then a 10 mile run on Saturday.  It was a great week of training.  I had some good hill training on the bike and run during the week.  The miles for the week totaled around 175. 

I'm now two weeks out from the race and it was time for a big week before just putting a 6 day taper for the race.  During this week, I focused on higher intesity while still working some long stuff in.  My long ride for the week was 66 miles, but it was at 80% and I felt great after the ride with a good 2 mile run afterwards.  I ended the week with a 50 mile ride on Saturday and then a 9.1 mile run on Sunday still feeling great.

Race Week
The plan for race week was to put in some light miles on the bike with some pickups.  I took Monday off except for swimming.  Tuesday and Wednesday I got in around 20 miles each day of the bike focusing on power just above and below my goals for the race.  On Thursday, I drove up to Chicago and was able to get in a 4 mile run at a little harder pace that I wanted, but still felt great.  On Friday, I worked in an open water swim in Chicago.  This was the first time I've swam in wetsuit since May.  I was also looking to feel the water since the rumor was the temperature at Racine was near 60.  Saturday I drove up to Racine and picked up my race packet and prepared for the race.  The temperature of the water was 62 on Saturday.  I went down to the beach and got in the water thinking this water isn't to bad.  I put in a 15 minute swim and then a 20 minute ride.  Everything was feeling good for race day!

Race Day
I awoke around 3:45am.  My plan was to eat small, a smoothie, bonk breaker, and a banana.  I usually keep pre race meals pretty light.  I was onsite by 5:15 and setup quickly.  Now it was time for the wait.  Transition closed at 6:30 and my wave was not scheduled until 8:16.  I went to the portajohns one last and then walked the one mile to the swim start. The goals for the race were around 40:00 swim, 2:40-2:50 bike, and sub 1:50 run.  With a final goal of under 5:30 for the race.

With the late start, I sat around watching wave after wave head out.  About 30 minutes before my wave, I decided it was time to get in the water.  Surprise the water was a little colder than Saturday afternoon.  However, once I swam further away from shore it wasn't too bad.  I was in for about 20 minutes and then lined up with my wave.  I lined up about the middle of the pack and the horn sounded and it was time to go.   Sometimes during open water swims, I get uncomfortable, but as I started I was really relaxed.  I staying just off someone's feet and was quickly to the first turn buoy.  From this point, it was a long straight swim.  I was comfortable and feeling good the whole time. Towards the end, I was feeling a slight chill due to the cold water, but nothing bad.  I made the final turn and it was into the finish. 

My goal for the swim was to hopefully finish under 40 minutes.  I crossed the exit in 43 minutes.  While not my best time, I would say this was the most comfortable I've been on a swim.  If I can maintain the same at IM Wisconsin I'll be happy.  My swim time was about average.  Out of 2300, I was 1279. 

It was a long run to transition through sand and then around transition before finally entering.  My time was 4 minutes.  I quickly put all my bike gear on and off on the bike.  The plan for the bike was to maintain around 80% of FTP.  This would be put around 170W for the ride.  I had not driven or pre-ridden the course.  I knew it was flat to small rollers, so I wasn't to worried.  The first miles were tough as the road was not in the best condition.  This would be a theme throughout various parts of the course.  The pavement would be good and then terrible.  Throughout the ride, I was feeling good and able to maintain a great tempo.   During the bike, I took in one bottle of gatorade, one bottle of perform and two bottles of water.  I felt great hydration wise.  For calories, I took in 5 clif gels, and one bonk breaker. The ride was uneventful and as I was getting closer to town I knew I would reach my 2:40 goal.  I rode in at 2:42.

The run is what can make or break a race.  Before the race, I found out my full charged garmin 310xt had turned on and drained the battery.  I did not bring the charger, so I decided to carry my 500 with me just to record the run.  The run was a flat run.  It had two small hills during each loop.  The goal for the run was to quickly walk the aide stations to fuel up.  I came out of transition feeling great.  The first 3 miles went by at around 8:06 per mile pace.  I was feeling good.  The next 3 miles the pace started to fall to around 8:14.  I was thinking ok, I'm good with that I wanted to push the final 6.  Making the turn for the second loop, I found that it may be tougher to push than I thought.  Miles 6-9 fell to around 8:20.  Uh, ok.  The final 3 I got this!  Nope, I started to fall to around an 8:30 pace.  The whole time aerobically I felt fine, but my legs just wouldn't let me push.  I finished the run in 1:49:46.

I finished in 5:21:44.  This was a PR and under the time I had set my goal for.  Overall, I finished 61st in my AG, 389 out of males, and 456 overall.  There were 230 in my AG, so I'm happy where I finished.  I felt with just a 6 day taper I performed beyond my expectation.  Over the next couple of weeks, I will continue my focus on the run and swim, while maintaining on the bike.  I have some trips, so I will plan to workouts effectively to get the work that I need to be doing.  

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