20 October 2019

Where's Your Race Bib?!

Here’s the race report for Ironman 70.3 Arizona 2019. It’s long so feel free to move on by. 
#TCFamily #TeamChallenge #NoGutsKnowGlory #getsladed #DeSoto #IM703AZ #SheridanCycling 

First let me say that I had very low expectations for this bike course. If you look at the map it has 3 “laps” with multiple out-and-backs and MANY left, right, and U-turns so I expected it to be slow and crowded. It was none of these. They did a good job slowly putting us into the water at the start so that we were reasonably spread out on the bike course. I ended up LOVING the ride. It was constantly changing, had varied terrain, and had good scenery too. 

GOALS: Overall I had a successful day. I set what I thought were some realistic time goals, aka performance goals, for what I thought the course would present in the way of challenges, including weather conditions and course layout. 
The splits vs. goals: Swim :32:01 vs :33, T1 8:33 vs 7 min, Bike 2:51 vs 3:00, T2 4:15 vs 3min, and Run 2:09 vs 2:15 for a total time of 5:46 vs 5:58. For the outcome goal I hoped for a top 5 in the age group and I got 5th… barely. My process goals were mostly achieved as far as effort was concerned. Transitions were a bit shakey and nutrition was less than intended. (More on that later!) I executed the swim, bike and run pretty much as planned effort-wise. Experientially I was also pretty close to what I wanted to do. I interacted with volunteers and fellow racers quite a bit but didn’t see many kids actively spectating so no fist bumps or high fives. I did smile, was grateful to be out there, and hopefully represented everyone – family, TC family, and friends – positively. I didn’t go to my limit on the run because a hamstring didn’t feel 100% and I had in the back of my mind that Ironman Arizona was in 5 weeks so I didn’t want to come away injured.

THE DETAILS: I tried something different the day before. After a 2pm lunch, I had smoothies for dinner. The intention was to allow my GI system to "clear" earlier. It worked out very well.
The swim start was moved to the east end of the lake this year. For the 1st 17 min. they let one athlete go every 5 seconds. After that it was 2 athletes every 5 seconds. This was a self-seeded start and a much calmer lineup than I expected. I got to the start very early, did my warmup with the stretch cords, and waited for people to line up. You walked down the ramp that was the exit last year, got into the water, and do some multiple turns before heading west to the ramp they used for entry last year. My first step down the ramp onto sand caused my toes to cramp and I belly-flopped into the water. It took about 300 meters before the cramp let go and I was fine the rest of the way. It was a pretty calm swim start and I only bumped into 1 guy. Some slower people who wanted to start early got swum over I’m sure. Sighting was very easy. The water is “silty” – you can’t see past your hand – but I never swallowed any water. There were wetsuit strippers at the exit, which was great! The water was 71*f. so 95% wore wetsuits.

The run to transition was reportedly 300 meters. It seemed to go forever. There was a 3 ft. wide strip of carpet running the whole way so it was a fairly comfortable jog for the feet. I took too much time getting ready in transition. I got my usual stuff on but also put on the “cool wing” arm sleeves in anticipation of a hot ride. They are worth using but I would have been fine without them. I drank down a drink, grabbed my stuff, and ran to the mount line.

The ride, as I said, was fun. While some of the road was a little rough due to construction or “expansion bumps” due to the heat and sun, most of it was fine. I was never actually cold out there and never felt the heat. Admittedly I started relatively early. There were 2 aid stations on each lap, which made an unusually high 6 altogether. The best one to use is the one near the top of a short hill in Papago Park. Bikes are slowing anyway and there are 2 wide traffic lanes. It makes it easy. The U-turns can be dangerous if you don’t slow down. Same holds true for some of the 90* turns but most are wide turns that you can really line up on. You DO always have to be alert on this course, making decisions about gear choice, cornering, passing, controlling your effort, and so forth, but I think all of that makes it fun. As I finished the bike I hadn’t thought it through. Usually I take my feet out of my shoes and hope off at the dismount line to run barefoot from there. I did the same this time but BARELY got my feet out before I hit the line. I managed to get off very UNgracefully as my front wheel reached the line. My bad!

Ran into transition, racked my bike, and sat down to get my run stuff on. I had needed to go #1 for the final 30 min of the bike but my old man bladder held. As I put Aquaphor on my toes and put my socks and shoes on, I let it go, watering the grass. With my extra water bottle that I always bring to transition, I “hosed” myself off. I grabbed my nutrition, looked at what was left at my spot, and ran off to the run exit, proud of myself for multitasking and saving a minute in the portapotty. 

At run exit they said, “Where’s your bib? Go get your bib!” Rookie mistake! I hadn’t seen it and forgot to grab it. I ran the length of transition and found the race belt under my backpack, out of sight, grabbed it, and ran back. I had also screwed up my Garmin since I hadn’t practiced the night before in “triathlon” mode. Eventually, while running, I switched it to run mode but not until after the first mile! Oh well! Another mistake but no biggie in the scheme of things. I run mostly by feel and by heart rate so knowing my pace is more important to me after the race. During the race it’s nice to know pace if that keeps you motivated to push appropriately. Otherwise it can be a negative. 

The first mile or so was rough, but as expected, things improved. As I got going, I did worry a bit about the hamstring, which hadn’t been an issue during training, so I was restrained. I really began to feel pretty good around mile 5 or 6 and that lasted, more or less, to the end. Mom was pretty much in the same spot so I saw her 4 times during the race, giving her a wet (but not sweaty) hug at the halfway point. At aid stations I grabbed water, Red Bull, and ice on the course and carried Clif Bloks for nutrition. I have them pour ice in my hat that I then allow to melt and drip down my face and onto my arm coolers. I was comfortable the entire time. With about ¼ mile to go I removed the arm coolers for the finish line and did my best to finish strong and with a smile. Mom was there waiting at the finish line.

My nutrition feel well short of what was planned. I probably got in 650 calories on the bike and 4-500 on the run. While I felt hungry at times during the run (especially during the final mile) I by no means bonked, nor did I feel like I wanted  much more. I’m not sure this is a problem as long as I’m not slowing down (I didn’t) due to lack of fuel. I did negative split the ½ marathon so that tells me something. Maybe I’m more fat adapted metabolically speaking, than I think.

We went back for the awards ceremony so I could pick up the 5th place award. We purposely left before the 70.3 World Championships roll down. I think my age group had one slot anyway but traveling to New Zealand isn’t in the cards at the moment, though it’s on Linda’s and my wish list.

Would I do this race again? Heck yeah! It is well-run and has a course that is fun. The number of participants is a bit lower because they don’t want the bike course too congested. Be aware that it is usually a hot race but I highly recommend it if this sounds like your cup of tea!

I only did a partial taper for this race, knowing the Arizona full is 5 weeks away. I will recover for 2 or 3 days before easing back into training again before doing a “real” taper. I’m looking forward to Ironman #13 in Arizona and then I won’t do another full until I get called for the Kona Legacy slot OR I age up to 65 to 69 age group. At least that’s the plan for now.

ODDS AND ENDS: 
The morning started off with an unexpected road closure. Our usual route was blocked for the race course. We went down 2 exits, got lost, returned to the freeway, and found that the eastbound offramp wasn’t closed. We managed to get our usual spot with more ease than usual! It did throw my game off because I though my time schedule was very critical. Losing that 15 minutes turned out to be no big deal! It for sure would be a problem if it happens at Ironman AZ in November.
I saw Mom twice on each loop of the bike. And thanks to my bike computer it let’s me know when it pairs with my cell phone. Since Mom had my phone it let me know every time just before I went past here!
Odd things I saw on the ride: 1) a credit card laying in the bike lane and 2) an unopened piece of mailing laying in the street.
Best sign I saw: Swim – don’t drown, Bike – don’t crash, Run – don’t trip!
Thank you John Sheridan for having my bike in top-notch shape. It worked flawlessly!
Thank you Dave Borys, Steve Brooks, and Chris Thomas for sharing you knowledge about the course.
Thank you to all those who followed my progress on race day.
Thank you MOM for accompanying me on this latest triathlon adventure. You were a great Sherpa and excellent supporter. I love you!
And finally, thank you LINDA for you endless love, support, and encouragement. And thank you for picking up the slack and coaching Team Challenge on your own while I was away having fun!

19 October 2019

Ironman 70.3 Arizona 2019 Race Plan

Ironman 70.3 Arizona 2019 Race Plan – October 19

Outcome Goals:
A Goal– age group top 5
B Goal– finish!
Performance Goals:
Silverman 2015 splits – 6:11:30– :35 (1:49/100m / 5min34s / 3:08 (17.80mph) / 5min12s / 2:16 (10:26/mi)
A Goal– 5:58 – splits – Swim :33 / T1 7min / Bike 3:00 / T2 3min / Run 2:15
B Goal– finish before the cutoffs
Process Goal:
  • Mental: I will be emotionally "even" for the entire race, not allowing anything to get me too up or too down. I will be focused on racing. I will carry gratitude, joy, love, and strength in my heart 
  • Swim: I will start strong but relaxed and settle in, draft where possible, anchor left hand
  • Bike: I will start easy-ish; keep heart rate in zone 2, allowing CONTROLLED power spikes out of turns and on hills
  • Bike: I will cycle thru my mental check list – relax shoulders; shift hand positions; use full pedal stroke; take in nutrition/hydration (early and often); pick my lines with safety priority; ask “Will this set me up for a good run?”
  • Run: I will resist my early excitement. I will take walk breaks at every aid station and get plenty of ice and water to manage core temp; 5+ times every mile go thru mental checklist – back and shoulders relaxed, straight waist w/lean, take in nutrition/hydration, “Can I do this pace on the 2ndlap?”
  • I will finish strong and hard.
Experiential Goals: 
  • I will represent my family and Team Challenge with pride, good sportsmanship, and in a positive light
  • I will race with joy, with gratitude, with an open heart.
  • I will have fun with spectators, smile, and thank volunteers.
  • I will race hard and test my limits under the conditions of the day.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Race Week:
· Plenty of sleep – 7.5hrs minimum
· Daily quiet time: gather mental energy, visualize race, mini meditations, affirmation questions.
· No caffeine for final 3 weeks
· Minimize stress and avoid negative people
· Keep fiber consumption low beginning Saturday 
FRIDAY: Check-in before 6:00, Briefing 5:00pm; Hyatt Place; charge bike devices
SATURDAY: Dryland Swim, Bike, Run; Bike turn-in ~11:00am; meet with Tony; (extra briefings @12 & 2); Drive different bike course sections; relax; mess with Garmin
SATURDAY NIGHT:
  • Eat late lunch, smoothies for dinner
  • Lay out everything
  • Blend breakfast smoothie
  • Shave; apply tattoos; body marking; chip on; write with marker (Joy, Gratitude, Open Heart, TC Tri, Razorblade Slade Fire Up)
  • Mental – affirmation, visualization
Race Morning:
3:30am Wake up
3:31 Bathroom; Drink breakfast smoothie (almond milk, vegan protein, UCAN, l-glutamine), eat ½ bagel; take antibiotic, probiotic.
3:50 Tri kit on; timing chip; body glide calves, arm pit/lat area; Sunscreen arms, shoulders, lower back, neck, face; Heart Rate monitor; wrist bands; last minute stuff; Bathroom; checklist;Pack car – nutrition, wetsuit/speedsuit, swim stuff, pump
4:15 Bathroom
4:20 Drive to venue and park
4:40 Swim band warm up
5:00-6:20 Transition open – set up transition:
Mat, towel, run stuff, bike stuff, nutrition
Bike ready: Garmin; aero bottle w/water & Tailwind; fill 40 oz. reservoir w/water, Tailwind; place nutrition; check tires, low gear.
Bento box: SaltStick Chews, tube with 2caff pills split, chamois creme; butt wipes, inner tube for pocket. Wash hands. Focus, visualize, relax, be grateful to be here
5:20 Portapotty; Wetsuit/speedsuit on, body glide (arm pit area, calves), goggles and cap; keep and carry water bottle BeatElite and cold bottle for pour over
6:00 Walk to race start w/Mom; pump, tubing, and clothes handoff
6:20 Swim Start (2 at a time, 5 sec apart)

SWIMGoal: :33
Race Plan for Success:
- Find clear water quickly; find someone to draft behind
- Steady, sustainable effort – even-paced
Technique Focus:
Early catch; “anchor” left arm
Easy 2 beat kick
Relaxed and strong
Mental:
"Strong and steady"

T1 (Transition1):Goal :07 
It’s a long run. Put on cool wings, no socks; drink small water with UCAN, swallow 5 Perfect Amino, 300mg caffeine; running mount on bike

BIKEGoal:3:00 – It's not a sprint! Ride steady to run strong
Race Plan for Success:
-Monitor HeartRate - keep below 130; early on in low 120’s MAX
-Monitor Power – keep 200 or below except to pass or out of corners (but don’t burn matches)
-Resist the excitement, shift gears often, spin up the hills, pedal down hills, caution on turns (live to race IMAZ in 5 weeks)
-Stay alert to avoid drafting
-Take water at all aid stations to spray arms, head, back
-Head check top down: Aero position when appropriate, hand position, relax & stretch neck and shoulders, hydration/nutrition, breathing, flat back, stretch back, full pedal stroke
-Calories (fuel for the run!) ~900; Hydration – bottle from aid stations every ½ hour may not be enough – start early
-Bento Bag – 1/2 sleeve Clif Bloks pkg (100cal), lense wipe, SaltStick chews, pill container
-Speedfil frame reservoir (600cal/40oz) – prefilled on race morning with 3 Tailwind, 3 Fuel5, and water
-Electrolytes – in Tailwind; carry SaltStick chews for back up
-First aerobottle filled with 2 scoop Tailwind and 1 cap of SaltStick. Add water from aid stations. Refill as ride progresses
-In pill container – 1 Caff tab
-In pocket – extra inner tube, Aquaphor

Technique Focus:
Relax shoulders
Relax into elbow pads when aero
Stretch neck and back early and often

Mental:
“First loop is a warm-up.”
 “Sh’ma…”


T2:Goal :03
Shoes off at dismount, helmet & sunglasses off
Aquaphor on toes, socks on, shoes on; hat on, race belt on while leaving.
In pockets: 2 Clif Bloks sleeves cut open, WetOnes, SaltStick Chews, Tums
Carry bottle with water & UCAN bar - take 5 Perfect Amino and 200mg caffeine; 

RUN Goal:2:15
Race Plan for Success:
-Managing core body temp is #1 priority
-Resist the excitement - control heart rate - low 120's early, low 130's in later miles
-Walk aid stations to get calories, water, and ice
-Focus on form and efficiency and ease 
-Start at easy pace, holding back until later
-Calories = 150-180/hour
-Water and ice – drink UP TO 30oz per hour as needed from aid stations. 
-Clif Bloks - take in 1 sleeve/hour (200cal)/1 block every 1 mile starting around mile 2 or 3
-Electrolytes – included in Clif Bloks; carry caffeine, SaltStick chews for back up
-Tums peppermint as needed – carry 
-Base pace on Heart Rate and perceived effort, NOT mile pace – even split or descend

Mental:
 “Hall of Fame” by “What would it feel like to run with grace, with speed, and with pure joy?”
"Easy, then light, then effortless"
"What if I let go of my limitations and be a far greater athlete than I ever imagined?”
“What have I decided is not possible that truly is possible?”


Race to test limits, push my body, challenging myself, and proudly representing Team Challenge, “my” athletes, and my Linda, keeping Ironman Arizona in mind as the priority.

29 September 2019

Deal Maker

When it comes to workouts and struggling to finish, or even start, I sometimes make deals with myself. This afternoon was one of those times. It was the 2nd week in a row that I'd done a Sunday 100+ mile ride. Last week was a good one, though I struggled at the end. The brick run after the ride was tough as the sun was out and the humidity was up a little.

This week's ride was a struggle for the final 15+ miles. I just wanted to get to the end. As the final miles began to accumulate and fatigue got worse, I made a deal with myself: "Just finish the ride. You can skip the run. Get home so you can eat and recover." That got me home and off the bike but then I started reneging on the deal. My legs felt heavy and tired but I put my Hoka OneOne Clifton 6's on anyway and went back out the door, deciding I could head back at any time. By the time I got into the 2nd mile I was feeling okay and pushed on. By mile 3 I was actually feeling good and my speed had picked up without really pushing it. And mile 4 followed - it was the best one. In the end I ran way faster than last weekend's brick run and did much better than I had any right to expect going into it.

Whether it's drinking a cup of coffee, remembering your goal, or making a deal with yourself, the most important thing is TO START. You might be pleasantly surprised with what results!

02 May 2019

Run Defensively?

We’ve probably all heard about defensive driving. What about defensive running? If you run on the road you should “run smart” and “run defensively”. Don’t assume you are being seen and that you are safe. Your life can depend on it! Here are some tips for being smart and defensive and safe. When running on the road (not on a sidewalk):
1.    Run FACING traffic, not with your back to traffic. See what’s coming. Just make sure you’re more alert to people pulling out of driveways or side streets as they may not be looking your way.
2.    Be careful if you’re using headphones. Be able to hear cars, bikes, and people around you. 
3.    Wear reflective clothes and lights if you’re running at night.
4.    Tell a trusted friend or family member what your plan is (what route, how long you expect to be gone, etc.)
5.    Carry your cell phone with you in case you need help (e.g. get lost, get injured and can’t continue, have a negative encounter with someone who means harm). Use a live tracker and let someone you trust monitor your whereabouts.
6.    Women especially need to be cautious (sorry to say). Consider running with a friend, know the area, be alert, don’t where a ponytail or long hair that can be pulled, carry pepper spray or some other form of defense.
7.    A courtesy thing: use hand signals at an intersection to tell a driver when you are turning left or right instead of crossing the street in front of them.


Hope these will help you be safer out there! Chime in with your own suggestions!