18 November 2009

Ironman Arizona Race Plan

This is the 3rd of 3 posts. My previous 2 are What is it About Triathlon? and Ironman Arizona Thank You's If you care to, read those first. Also, at the bottom of this post on instructions for how to see the finish line webcam and how to get split times and/or final results.

"We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort." ~~ Jesse Owens, 1936 American Olympian, 4 time Gold Medalist

When I was a 16 year old swimmer I learned that writing out your race plan helps clarify and solidify what you need/want to do in the heat of the race. Most of those races were over in anywhere from 22 seconds to 5 minutes. An Ironman is an all-day multi-phase event and a race plan is probably a good idea! Here is my written race plan for Ironman Arizona on Sunday, November 22, 2009. I'm putting it out there for me to use. But if you're my one fan in the Get Sladed Nation who is following the race, it will allow you to compare how I'm doing (or did) with what I plan to do and what I plan to focus on to do the best I am capable of. With so much detail this may appear to confirm an obsessive-compulsive disorder diagnosis but I say that since I've put so much into preparing for this event, leaving what I can control to chance is just plain stupid. The next post will be Linda's more interesting and amusing "Race Plan". Read hers for sure (it'll be on this blog on Saturday - find it by clicking on the name banner above this post.) Read mine... or don't!

(FYI Arizona is 1 hour ahead of California - Mountain Time Zone)

1) Finish! After all, that's what I am here to do.
2) Top 1/2 finish in my geezerly 50-54 Age Group.
3) 11:59 (1:00/5:50/5:00) Dream goal - if the plantar f-ing-itis, the bike crash injuries, and the body cooperate. That's a 1:25/100 yd swim pace, 19.4 mph ride, and 11:25/mile pace on the run.

Keys for Success:
  • Draft behind someone on the swim.
  • Negative split the 3 loop bike course.
  • Relax shoulders, hold aero position on bike.
  • Nutrition and hydration early on bike.
  • Smooth, "easy" run pace during 1st half of the marathon; negative split, at least in effort.
Race Week:
· Plenty of sleep

· Daily quiet time to gather mental energy and visualize race
· No caffeine
· Minimize stress and avoid negative people around you
· Very low fiber consumption beginning Saturday
· Revisit key sections of course in training: swim @7am, bike different sections, run along lake

Race Morning:
4am Wake up
4:05 Eat banana, bagel, and drink water
4:15 Shower and shave; Sunscreen, Heart Rate monitor on, last minute stuff; Bathroom; Pack car;
4:45 Leave for race, sip energy drink
5:00 Race site: Drop Special needs, Body marked; Bike ready: bottles, computer, tires; Jogging warm up, Arm warm up, stretching, focus, visualize, relax, gratefulness
6:30 Wetsuit on, body glide, gel, goggles and cap
6:40 In the water, swim warm up
6:50 Get into position, 2 or 3 people from the front row

SWIM Goal: 1:00 (60 min) = 1:25/100yd pace (1:24/100yd = ~59:15, 1:23/100y = ~58:40)

Keys for Success:
· Fast first 200m then find someone to draft behind
· Make sure left arm is pulling efficiently and with a high elbow
· Increase kick slightly last 500m

Technique Focus:
Head down and grab water
Steady and even-paced

Watch words:
"You've done the work."
"You are strong"

T1 (Transition1): walk/run carefully; wetsuit/goggles/cap off; get bag; saltstick capsules, shot block, clif bar, gel, and wipes in pocket; shoes on; race belt/number on; glasses and helmet on the way to bike, mount line, on bike, Ride easy!

Bike Goal: Ride steady in order to run strong 5:50

Keys for Success:
Resist the excitement - first lap fairly easy, holding back; increase effort 2nd lap; work the 3rd lap without losing sight of the run
Aero into the wind
250 calories per hour - Perpetuem bottle for 1st 4 hours, 2 dilluted gel bottles for last 1:50
Water - sipping 20+/- oz per hour
Electrolytes - SaltStick capsule every 20-30 min
Clif Bar, shot blox optional nutrition replacement

Watch Words:
“First lap is a warm up”
Relax shoulders
Relax onto elbow pads
Stretch neck and back early and often
Head tucked in, eyes rolled up
"you've done the work."

T2: handoff bike, helmet off, shoes off, compression socks on, shoes on; gel shot blox, SaltStick capsules, Clif bar, gel bottle, and wipes in pocket; glasses stay on, hat on, race belt, “Be Strong at the End!”

Run Goal: 5:00

Keys for Success:
Resist the excitement - walk first few minutes to ease into the run and protect the heel
Focus on form - hips forward, forward lean with back straight, high cadence
Take regular walk breaks - 5 min run, 1 min walk
Start at easy pace, holding back until later miles
Take in gel or chews every 15 minutes; water every aid station
Electrolytes - SaltStick capsule every 20-30 min
Base my pace on Heart Rate and perceived effort, NOT mile pace

Watch words:
“Hips forward”
“You are STRONG”
"Just MOVE"
"I believe"

0-3miles: Walk, then easy pace with 5 min walk breaks. Breathing
3-18 miles: Focus on form and efficiency. Monitor heart rate. Nutrition and hydration.
18-20 miles: The race begins.
20-26 miles: Be strong at the finish. Be in the moment.

You can watch the fixed camera at the finish line but that's only good if you have a very good idea when I'm finishing. I'd say it's 5 seconds of video that's not worth waiting for. Here's how anyway...

  1. go to http://ironman.com/
  2. look for the pinkish colored box that says Live Race Coverage. Click on "Video Coverage"
  3. On the right side of the screen click on the play "arrow" or on "on air now". The camera should show the finish line with the clock showing in the picture. Also, a few seconds before I cross, it will show my name.
You can also see my splits as they are updated. They are not very fast about posting them but they start putting them up before the finish.  Here's how...
  1. go to http://ironman.com/
  2. look for the pinkish colored box that says Live Race Coverage. Click on "Athlete Tracker"
  3. Enter "Slade" in the search box, click "search", find my name and click on it
Also, the official website for the event is http://www.ironmanarizona.com/


  1. Go Skip! Jamey

  2. Skip ! An ever inspiring friend! You will do well you will finish and you are strong! Believe! I will be with you in spirit, I am proud to be your friend! -phil

  3. My cup runneth over with enthusiasm and admiration. You are there, you are ready, you are awesome! None of the rest of us out here in your fan club could even come close to doing this. We will look forward to celebrating your accomplishment and work on Thanksgiving. Thank you for giving us all something so wonderful to root for! You're the best!

  4. Skip-I've been following your blog, thanks to your mom. I'm 'watching you' today and thinking positive thoughts. What you have done in training and are doing today-race day-is simply inspiring. My best.
    Sue Holloway

  5. Wow! You did an amazing job! Second place in the swim part in your division! Impressive! I am sure you body is complaining, but your heart should be very joyful. Thank you for sharing your inspirational endeavor!