23 July 2018

Ironman Chattanooga in 10 weeks (IM Arizona in 17 wks)

This is the 6th update on training for Ironman Chattanooga and Ironman Arizona. Linda and I celebrate our 36th anniversary a little late with a short mid-week getaway this week. I’ve adjusted training so I won’t need to ride or swim while we’re gone. Below is how the week went but first a short answer to the question: "What’s your goal?"

Aside from fundraising for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation (I’m currently slightly in the lead for IM Chattanooga athletes), I have 4 types of goals I’m training for. I have performance and outcome goals, the kind most people think of when they think of goals. I want to win my age group so that I can qualify for the World Championships in Kona, HI for 2019. I also want to get under 11 hours for my finishing time. My process and experiential goals are equally important and influence the other goals. I’m preparing myself to find a new level of suffering on race day. I'l also be ready to execute my race pacing plan and my nutrition plan. I will be happy if I manage to take time to be grateful to each of you supporters and if I cross the finish line with nothing left.

Ventura Cove, 6 a.m., pre-swim sunrise
There are now 10 weeks until Ironman Chattanooga (17 wks to IM Arizona). Fatigue was a little less this past week as I did less running to help the legs recover and be ready to do even more in the coming weeks. Friday’s open water swim got cut short

by 700 yd when cramps got my calves. They weren’t mild ones – they were the kind that struck suddenly and hard. Rather than risking not being able to ride or run over the weekend, I cut the swim short.

Great Blue Heron looking for breakfast
My long ride on Sunday went better than expected and was the opposite of last Sunday when it seemed like it was mostly drudgery. Yesterday’s ride was mostly good with a nice chunk of it near race pace. The roads were extremely busy along the coast (summer, beachgoers) so I headed inland to finish and hit the 100 mile mark. I followed it with a 3 mile run. Then I ate for the rest of the day!

The long run was shorter and a little slower than the previous few weeks… by design. It was “just” 10 ½ miles, was unaffected by the calf cramps from Fri, and went well. I managed to miss my 2ndrun of the week in order to help coach one of my athletes on the bike.

Thank you to all of you who have donated to my fundraising efforts as part of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation’s Team Challenge Iron Team. If you ever want to add to it (and help me stay in 1st place), the link is: online.ccfa.org/goto/skipslade 

This week’s totals: 20hr 40min
Swim 3hr 16min – 11,393 yds (3 swims) - longest: 4,050 yd
Bike 11hr 03min – 178 miles (3 rides) - longest: 100 miles
Run 3hr 26min – 19.7 miles (2 runs + 1 short brick run) - longest: 10.6 miles
Strength Training 2hr 54min

16 July 2018

Ironman Chattanooga in 11 weeks (IMAZ in 18 wks)

This is the 5th update on training for Ironman Chattanooga and Ironman Arizona. Linda and I mark our 36thanniversary on tomorrow, Tuesday, and we’ll celebrate with a short mid-week getaway a week later. 

There are now 11 weeks until Ironman Chattanooga (18 wks to IM Arizona). Fatigue is pretty high after this full week. It certainly impacted some of my workouts so I will back off a little this coming week, at least for running. I’ll wait until the following week to back off on the swim and bike. I had some good training this week. The long run on Sat. was 15 ½ miles at a good pace and a mid-week hilly run on the treadmill both were good. Most of the rest of the week was less than excellent but I’m looking forward to a better week ahead. 

Thank you to all of you who have donated to my fundraising efforts as part of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation’s Team Challenge Iron Team. If you ever want to add to it, the link is: online.ccfa.org/goto/skipslade 

This week’s totals: 20hr 32min
Swim 3hr 29min – 11,663 yds(3 swims excluding a very easy 2000yd ocean swim on Sunday morning)
Bike 8hr 48min – 148 miles (3 rides)
Run 5hr 20min – 32.2 miles (3 runs + 1 short brick run)
Strength Training 2hr 56min

09 July 2018

Ironman Chattanooga in 12 weeks (IMAZ in 19 wks)

This is the 4th update on training for Ironman Chattanooga and Ironman Arizona. My health has been mostly good. During the spring I was possibly headed towards surgery to help relieve some issues I was having with colitis and my j-pouch. A happy accident – forgetting my 2 antibiotics when I traveled on June 1 – has led me to being completely off the meds ever since and I’m functioning better than I have in a good while. 

I moved my Saturday long run to today in order to attend the wedding of a special young lady. A few years ago Missy was our Team Challenge team’s “honored hero” to help remind us why we fundraise. She has ulcerative colitis and had to give up her promising gymnastics goals because of it. She adjusted, moved forward, and dealt with this difficult disease as a teenager. Things weren’t easy for her and kids even made fun of her. Yet, she persevered. She even joined us to complete a triathlon. She was an eloquent speaker, she went to college (but had to miss classes, withdraw, and start over thanks to colitis), and she was chosen to be a student ambassador for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation. SHE is an example of why I care so much about this cause.

There are now 12 weeks until Ironman Chattanooga (19 wks to IM Arizona). I was again happy with how training went this week. I have goals in mind and each time I execute training well, it’s like placing another building block into the structure I want completed for race day. 

Wednesday I did a 50 mile ride event that allowed me to push a little harder since it had a casual race atmosphere. I had another good Thursday run following a 25 mile ride – this one was 8.5 miles, mostly a bit faster than race pace. Friday morning’s open water swim was 4100 yards.

Sunday’s long ride was 85 miles, from Encinitas, north up the coast through Camp Pendleton, to San Clemente, and back. Followed that immediately with a 3 mile brick run.

Thank you to all of you who have donated to my fundraising efforts as part of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation’s Team Challenge Iron Team. If you ever want to add to it, the link is: online.ccfa.org/goto/skipslade 

This week’s totals: 20hr 41min
Swim 3hr 17min – 11,305 yds(3 swims)
Bike 9hr 25min – 159 miles (3 rides)
Run 5hr 28min – 32.6 miles (3 runs)
Strength Training 2hr 30min (missed 1 core-focused session)

02 July 2018

Ironman Chattanooga in 13 Wks (20 wks to IMAZ)

There are now 13 weeks until Ironman Chattanooga (20 wks to IM Arizona) and this was a bigger week than last week – 5 more hours of work. I was overall happy with it. I had another good Thursday run – this one was 7 miles. Friday’s open water swim was just under 4000 yards, 300 short of the race distance. I’m often frustrated with my swims because I can see myself getting slower as I get older. On the other hand it’s not surprising because of the higher level of swim experience I have from training and racing as a teenager.

The Saturday long run is always tough for me because I do it in the late afternoon after coaching all morning and then going to brunch. Last week was a 14 mile run and the 1stmile was a struggle. The 2ndmile got better and by the end of the 3rdI was in the swing of things. Able to maintain a good training pace on a hilly course, doing 13.1 of those miles (half marathon) in 2hr 13min. That’s 10:08 per mile, fine for a training run.

Sunday’s ride was 81 miles, from Encinitas, north up the coast through Camp Pendleton, to San Onofre, and return. Followed that immediately with a 2 mile run that was pretty much a shuffle for the 1st½ mile. Lunch and a nap followed!

Totals: 20hr 00min
Swim 3hr 06min – 10,892 yds(3 swims)
Bike 6hr 38min – 147 miles (3 rides + an easy spin)
Run 5hr 13min – 30.6 miles (3 runs + a short brick)
Strength Training 3hr 03min

25 June 2018

Ironman Chattanooga in 14 weeks

There are 14 weeks until Ironman Chattanooga. Last week was more of a “recovery week” where I cut back on training before I ramp up higher in the coming weeks. I had a very good 6 mile run (for me) on Thursday. It was a “brick” workout, which means I did the run immediately after a bike ride. I was pleased to average just over 9:00 per mile for the final 5 miles. My goal pace on race day will be 9:30/mile so I’m working on being mentally tough and changing my perception of the effort I believe I can suffer through on race day.

Sunday on a 50 mile ride I came upon a 12 or 13 year old riding on a triathlon bike with his parents. He looked like he knew what he was doing. I went past them and heard his dad say, “Go ahead Randy.” Uh-oh, I knew I was in for a challenge. This kid rode right behind me for about a mile, hanging tough as I accelerated and pushed harder. I didn’t want to lose him, just make us both work for it. Of course, most of all I didn't want him to PASS me! We came upon 2 more young teen triathletes and they jumped in behind Randy and we rode a pace line for another 4 miles before they turned off in another direction. It made me smile to have those young triathletes riding my tail and making me work hard!

Totals: 14hr 59min
Swim 2hr 33min – 8912 yds(3 swims)
Bike 6hr 08min – 106 miles (3 rides)
Run 3hr 37min – 20.3 miles (3 runs)
Strength Training 2hr 40min (2x chisel phase, 2 core routines)

Looking forward to staying on track and putting in a big week this week.

Ironman Chattanooga - 15 weeks

There are just over 15 weeks of to go until Chattanooga on Sep. 30 where I’ll swim 2.4 miles, bike 116 miles, and run a 26.2 mile marathon. Training is going well and I’m finally finding a groove. Last week (6/11-17) was my biggest week of the year so far and I managed to get all but one workout in. I swam 3 times, including a 3500 yard open water swim. My long bike ride on Father’s Day morning was 72 miles. The day before, on Saturday, I got in a 14 mile run. 

Swim 3 hr 01 min – 10,500yd (3 swims)
Bike 6 hr 58 min – 123 mile (3 rides)
Run 5 hr 15 min – 30.3 miles (4 runs)
Strength Training 2 hr 50 min

It was my best week of training this year so far. The current week is a bit lighter so I can recover and absorb last weeks training.

20 May 2018


IM Chattanooga 2014 hat and the man-van
I don’t write many blog posts these days because I don’t think people want to take the time to read something longer than a paragraph. I was inspired to ‘go long’ today. 

Some people look at me as if I’m Superman because I’ve done 10 Ironmans over the past 8 years. As an Ironman we often get to a point where we THINK we’re superhuman because of how much work we’ve put in and what we’ve accomplished. Well, this brings to mind the song by Five For Fighting's song, Superman (It's Not Easy) with the lyrics: “I’m only a man in a phony red sheet. It’s not easy…”.

Saturday afternoon I struggled to get out the door to do my training. I had a long run plus some strength training to do. Unfortunately my GI system wasn’t working too well and that sapped me of some energy. And even though I’ve got 2 Ironman races on the calendar this fall, motivation was lagging. Finally I decided to just do strength training – bathroom very handy, easy to stop early and go home. Made it all the way through - small victory.

Sunday morning started the same way. I wanted to ride 60 miles but GI wasn’t great. After an hour of going through the motion to prepare to ride (bathroom, eat, drink, bathroom, gather nutrition, etc.) I opted for making up Saturday’s long run instead. I’d be closer to home if I felt like crap and maybe I could push my long ride off until Monday. 

Still pessimistic, I walked and jogged for a few minutes of warm up. Started feeling pretty good and my “system” wasn’t arguing with me. Within a mile the pessimism turned around to resolve to get it done and enjoy it. Motivation swelled and I had a pretty perfect run. 13 miles of satisfaction.

It’s not always easy to get out the door (and there are certain times you shouldn’t), but if you at least START, you never know what will happen. Give yourself a chance. Take advantage of the opportunity and GET OUT THERE! Who knows? Things may turn out better than you think!

And you don’t need to be Superman or Wonder Woman to do it.

10 December 2017

Ironman Arizona Race Report 2017 (Part 4) - 3 Weeks On and 2018 Race Plan

It’s been nearly 3 weeks since Ironman Arizona but to me it seems like so much longer. Here’s where I’m at with things. Feel free not to read if you’re sick of hearing/reading about this.

I’ve thought about IMAZ off and on since the race. I look at the medal and at 4th place and at the splits and times and think about the 2 minutes I thoughtlessly gave to the course that would have put me in 3rd. And I think how and where I came up short. IMAZ was a humbling experience. I’d done the race 6 times and while I trained and prepped to perform well again this year, I was surprisingly
UNprepared for the things that didn’t go as planned (windy bike ride, back pain, nutrition not great, feeling fine and more often feeling bad on the run). This isn’t how I see myself - I have thought that I usually am good about adapting, adjusting, and taking in stride whatever comes. As I think about it, I have hit breaking points during a few races that took me more time than I’d like to get over before pushing ahead. Hmm… well that’s not how I see myself.

For this race I learned that it's a good idea to ‘coach’ my support crew on what I need to hear and how I want it said. This was my 10th Ironman so at this point the goal for me is not “just” to finish. If Linda hadn’t told me what my status was during the final 8K of the marathon, and told me with urgency, enthusiasm, and forcefulness, I wouldn’t have worked nearly as hard as I did to give it my all. She and my other support crew made a huge difference at important moments. I needed them to push through. 

It is surprising to me that I let go of my goals the way I did. But that has made me hungry for a redo. And so, while I told myself for half the race that I’d NEVER do it again, I went and signed up for 2018. To make things ridiculous I’m also racing Ironman Chattanooga six weeks before Arizona. I have a vision of how I’ll go about this double but it is unknown territory for me. It excites me and makes me a little scared – now THAT’S motivating!  http://online.ccfa.org/goto/skipslade

My physical and mental recovery from IMAZ has been faster than I can remember. I could be back into full-on training by now but since this is my down time/off season, I’m trying to be smart and not jump back in too quickly. I know I’ll run out of enthusiasm and feel that self-defeating burnout by the summer if I don’t honor the need for some unstructured, optional working out now. It is hard not to want to get going right now because I think I know what I want to do and need to work on to hit my goals for next year. Patience is what’s needed.

That said, for the next 6-10 weeks I intend to do mostly shorter workouts. Swim, bike, and run will focus more on technique and on higher intensity stuff, building gradually of course. This is similar to what I intend to have many of my athletes do who have developed a large endurance base over the years. I’m unhappy with how my swim has slowed and I attribute that to declining technique and to fewer pool swims. I know age is a factor for ME because I’m a ‘mature’ swimmer because of my long time in the sport but I can still put up a fight to regain some of that lost speed.

I intend to mix in some work on the rowing machine just for variety, since my races are pretty far off. I’ll also have a strong early season focus on strength training. This comes after a visit to my knowledgeable and experienced expert, Diane Buchta, last week. This past year I did the least amount of strength training I’ve done in 9 years and I think it showed on both the bike and run in Arizona.

So that is where I’m headed. I’ve swum twice, rowed twice, run and biked once each, and done strength training this week. Most has been pretty short but next week I'll start getting in what I would call real workouts.

That’s the update. I could easily just write this for myself or just think about it without sharing but I often share this stuff in case it can help you understand your own efforts, give you ideas for your training, or normalize what you might be thinking or feeling. I don’t have all the answers. Obviously I have my own weaknesses and places where I fall short. Racing 10 Ironmans has peeled away hidden, or maybe intentionally buried, weaknesses that I need to work on. I just don’t think it would be honest to paint a rosy picture of perfection when that's not reality. Thanks for reading all the way to the end!

28 November 2017

Ironman Arizona Race Report 2017 (part 3) - In My Head

People have asked me what I think about while I’m out there. What goes through my head? Are you afraid? Do you wanna quit? I thought I’d give a snapshot of honestly what’s going on, unvarnished but certainly incomplete – 12 hours would be a lot to write about. Sorry so long – feel free not to read. My thoughts are in quotation marks and italics.

“Do I have everything? Where the entrance to get into transition?” I incorrectly tell my Sherpa Mom where to go and wait. But there’s Maria Elena to save the day and get here. I go through my checklist of things to do at my bike. Help another athlete, pass the pump off to Mom, and take care of everything else on the list. I head towards the Special Needs drop-off and see the portapotty line. “That line isn’t bad – I’m going NOW!” After finding a tree to wrap my resistence cords around for a warm up I focus on getting 4 sets of 20-25 pulls in so my lats will be ready. “They’re starting to get sore and tired. Time to rest and then the next set.” Then “Oh, look at those people in the warm changing tent putting on wetsuits.” I join them.

I stand in line for the swim. “Should I move up? Am I seeded about right?” The national anthem is sung. “10-12 minutes until age groupers start. I want to start pouring water down my wetsuit ‘cause I gotta pee. Ooo, that’s cool water. Pour some more. Is my cap on right? How are my goggles? Is the right eye in the right position?” It’s been leaking every time I’ve swum lately. “Almost go-time. This is it – time to execute. Line is moving. What stairs will I go down? Go!”

“Here we go!” I move through the opening and down the stairs and jump into the water. “Swim! Is that an open spot? Avoid those swinging arms and kicking feet. Find a clear spot. Stay to the right for a shorter swim.” I plan to swim closer to the buoys as I move down the course due to the course contour. “Where am I? Am I off course? Why is this person repeatedly swimming into me. THEY must be swimming crooked… or is it me? Nope, there’s the buoy. Oops, I swallowed some gross water. Am I going too hard? Relax your kick. No cramps. Keep it going.”

“Red turn buoy is next. Am I lined up for the turn? How many people are around me?” I decide to cut close to the turn buoy. I pass under the Rural Rd bridge and look up to see if anyone is up there watching. “Damnit, swallowed a little more water. Why are those swimmers so far over to the right? Am I taking the wrong line?” I decide I’m not and continue to stick fairly close to the buoys. “How’s my pace? I’m breathing fine. Is that a kayak or the buoy? There’s the Mill St bridge! Stay calm - it’s farther away that it seems. Final turn buoy! Where’s the stairs? I can’t see the stairs [repeat multiple times].” Mentally I’m rehearsing what I’m going to do to get the wetsuit off. “Getting close. Find your spot. There. That stair looks uncrowded.” I start to think about the volunteers and wanting to give them an even distribution of swimmers. I scold myself, “Just PICK one!”

Run up to volunteers, hand off my goggles, get help with wetsuit top over my head and taking shoulder straps off. I leave the legs on, get the goggles and top, and start jogging to grab the bag and hit the tent. The volunteer yells out my number - 1019. “I’m in the 2nd row of bags. There’s mine. Pick it up.” I beat the volunteer. Changing tent is noisy, busy, warm, and frantic. Find a chair and start changing. Volunteer offers help. Run through what I’ve planned: “Quickly dry arms, chest, and stomach. Pull on arm warmers.” I hear guy next to me ask volunteer if he can find a towel. “Here, I’m done with mine. Socks and shoes on. Grab nutrition. I don’t need that HotShot bottle. Walk and jog out of the tent to the bike. Shake and drink my drink. 9th rack – 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. The sign …1011.” Volunteer going down row with me for my bike. “I’ve got it.” Actually I don’t have it as I reach for the wrong one. ‘Here it is’, she says. She pushes my bike, I finish my drink and trade her my empty bottle for the bike and run out well past the mount line and 4 other riders, do a running mount, and am off.

“Uh oh, it’s windy already. Settle into a steady pedal. Temp is warm, better than usual. How long should I leave my arm sleeves on? I’m getting rid of the paper bag at the first aid station. What’s wrong with my HR strap? AGAIN?! SH&%! It has a new battery. 86 – 87 – 86 – 89… why’s it not reading heart rate? Pull strap away from chest – come on, get working. Nope, no change. Wait!... the 2nd number displayed is CADENCE, not HR! Haha! Idiot! I’m in Zone 2. Keep it steady. Am I going too hard? Uphill AND into the wind? Come on – this is slower than expected. Hope the wind pushes me downhill at the turnaround. Pass that guy; keep the pace so he can drop back without slowing. There’s a group of 4 riders. Just watch them, don’t pass, wait. Patience! Save yourself. Cheat! That guy is just a wheel suck. Hey!” I yell. I let them move ahead but later I am close to them again and decide to pass. “Keep pressing, get some clearance, get ahead. Don’t kill yourself – long way left to go. Ah, the turnaround. Come on wind – wow, hitting 33 already. Back to Tempe.”

“Nice Star Wars aid station… Princess Leia – nice buns. The end is FAR – best sign so far! Another sign – Y’all are MF-ers! – Ironman Finishers! [M is an M-dot] – THAT’S the best sign!”

“I need water at next aid station. Slow down, smooth handoff. Squeeze it into frame reservoir; last chance trash can; toss. Don’t hit anyone; don’t get the volunteers wet. Thank you!” I yell. “Mental checklist: relax shoulders, tuck head, stretch neck and shoulders, nutrition, full pedal strokes, aero, how hard am I going?”

“End of 1st loop – YES! Love this noise coming into 2nd loop. Hmm, back not feeling great. Starting to hurt in aero. Sit up and get relief, then back to aero.” I shift around, changing positions, trying for relief. No solutions seem to last for more than a few seconds. “Gotta pee. Stop at turnaround. Maybe kill 2 things at once. Nope, back pain relief was good for about 2 minutes. I won’t make it if I don’t sit up. This isn’t gonna be good for my time!” I ride upright for the rest of the bike. Every time I test aero position it begins to hurt within 2 minutes. "This sucks; my worst IMAZ ride yet. This is my last one." I continue to take in nutrition, probably getting 1500 cal in, a little short of plan. “Come on, do what you can. Almost finished – what a relief! Open shoes. Pull feet out and place on top. Cruise down to the dismount line, smiling at spectators. Slow bike, get off, hand off bike, grab bike computer.”

With bike computer in hand I run 2 steps and then slow to a mummified, stiff walk. Back and legs are wasted. “They handed me my bag, yay! There’s an empty space. I’ll sit.” Can’t speak coherently to volunteer who offers to help. Still, he gets my shoes and socks ready. “There’s some kids at the water jug. Can you fill this bottle?” They do. I decide not to change socks and not use Aquaphor. “Keep moving, race belt on, grab your nutrition. Thanks for filling my bottle! Portapottie pee. Back thru tent and onto the run. Start watch, drink nutrition, take caffeine; can't believe I forgot it for the 2nd ½ of the bike!”

“Walk, jog, legs a bit off. Walk, run, walk, run. It’s warm, not hot. Ice in hat.” Each mile changes – one feels bad, the next one feels good. Then a mediocre one and so on. Calories and hydration working as planned and grab some Red Bull. “Heart rate is good. What’s my pace. Let's see… math calculation. Why do I keep missing my split?”

2nd loop. “Posture. Hands up - lead with elbows. Keep looking for form. I feel lousy. Those 2 miles weren’t very good. Nutrition… blah! Ice in hat. Grab pretzels. Gross! Spit them out. Try cola next. Okay, it’s cola and water and ice in the hat – that’s it. It’s time to just survive this. I feel bad. I suck. I’m NEVER doing this again. Just finish.” I throw up on the side of the path. Someone says now you’ll feel better! “I don’t feel good… you’re wrong,” I think.

"Should I shift to 'survival mode'? My bike was so slow, what's the point?" My support team overrides my ‘survival mode’, yelling at me with encouragement. I press on and feel better for 2-3 miles. “What am I doing? Just keep going. You don’t know what will happen.” It’s getting to be dusk. My support team yells at me on the far side of the river. Linda tells me something about being ½ mile behind 3rd place and ½ mile ahead of 5th. With a few miles left I keep digging. I cut back on how long I walk through aid stations. I keep running with Linda’s words ringing in my head. “Okay, I want to stay ahead of 5th. He’s chasing me. Keep pushing. Love this pain. Don’t let them down. It hurts!” I push relentlessly to the end. “Choose the shortest distance. The whole road is open. I don’t care that no one else is off to the right side. Shorter is better.” Periodically during the final miles, when pain is heavy, I chant: “I love Linda”, timing words with foot strikes.

Final turn up the hill to Rio Salado and the finishing chute. “Flag. Maybe I shouldn’t get it. Don’t want to waste even seconds. I’ll skip it this time and save it for the podium if I get there.” Still, I tell a woman who’s running even with me to make sure she stays ahead of me so I don’t ruin her finish picture with the flag, just in case. “Nope, there it is. Genna and Maria Elena. Perfect handoff. Yes! Run! Run! Run hard to the end” with Team Challenge flag flying.

Dry heaves and delirious, 2 volunteers are holding me up, very concerned. I get them to walk me to the railing where Linda is waiting. We hug and cry and say words. They tell her they’re taking me to the medical tent. “Oh my! Tough final miles! Did it!”

Got within 2 minutes of 3rd place and 5th place didn’t gain on me. It was a lot of pain and a lot of determination to overcome, which made it all worth it in my mind. It would NEVER have happened without Linda telling me that information with excitement and forcefulness and reminding me that I’m there to leave it all out there on the course.

25 November 2017

Ironman Arizona Race Report 2017 (part 2)

Feel free not to read!
When you finish a race you have certain views/impressions of how it went. If you take another serious look a few days later, after you’ve been able to reflect on it, tell people about it, and even talk to other racers or at least read their reports, you can sometimes gain a different, more valuable perspective. Your understanding of things may change or you may remember something important that was lost in the afterhours, or aftermath, of your race. Here’s mine – some new, some the same.

·      Get a bike fit. I was uncomfortable a lot during the ride. I’ve had some bike issues over the months and I think things were out of adjustment. My back hurt enough that I was out of aero position for at least ½ of the ride. Usually it’s aero 95%. Sit bones also hurt, which is unusual for me after doing this for 10 years.
·      Solve/prevent the back issue with whatever manipulations, strength training, and consistent work is required.
·      Strengthen the hip abductors and adductors with functional movements.
·      Strengthen neck and upper back to maintain longer aero position. (More planks and other movements on the Swiss Ball.) Improve flexibility. (Wall Angels; https://www.active.com/fitness/articles/4-exercises-to-improve-your-aero-position)
·      Seek ways to UNcomplicate things during the race. I generally do that but things evolve and change from year to year.
·      Follow thru on my transition plan. I neglected to read my ‘cue card’ and so I left some nutrition behind and didn’t apply chafe-preventing chamois crème.
·      Rehearse transitions with everything I’ll be using.
·      Get back to the NON-STOP long rides.
·      “Harden Up” - add even more and/or longer ‘race intensity’ efforts during final 8 weeks of training, especially during latter parts of long rides and runs. It’s better preparation for race day, physically AND mentally.
·      Return to some shorter, higher intensity, rides and runs in the early season
·      Recommit to consistent strength training.
·      Add in some rowing machine work to switch things up during the offseason.
·      Work hard on swim stroke technique, especially during the early part of year. I am a slower swimmer these days and part of that could be technique related.
·      Tell my support crew and friends what I think I want them to say to me on the run. “Looking good” from a stranger is fine but not from a close supporter. Do you want to know times, splits, numbers, current place, etc.? Are there things they can remind me of that I forget, like form or technique cues, or goal for the next mile, or nutrition status? Give them my phrases or my “Why” that I need to be reminded of. Tell them to remind me!
·      Have a checklist for exactly what to do once I arrive in transition on race morning.
·      Use the “paper bag under the race top” trick if weather is cold to start the bike.

·      Interact with random spectators and thank volunteers – be grateful.
  So I've signed up for TWO Ironman races in 2018: Ironman Chattanooga on September 30 and Ironman Arizona 6 weeks later and to do them as part of Team Challenge. Would you consider donating to help find cures for Crohn's and ulcerative colitis? http://online.ccfa.org/goto/skipslade
      Chattanooga will be my "A" race but I'm hoping to hold onto fitness and be able to have a good race in Arizona on minimal training. It will be a new and interesting challenge.