Friday, May 18, 2012

Countdown to Ironman, Week 6: Race Rehearsal

This post is a bit late in coming (it's a miracle I get on my computer at all, between training, eating, sleeping, and oh yeah taking care of the kids, house, and animals...). Last weekend I did my first "race rehearsal" where I practiced my pacing and nutrition strategies, as well as tried out clothing and gear that I'll be using on race day. If you're doing a longer race, this is absolutely essential, since that drink mix that you like so well on one-hour rides might make you gag at five hours in, and those shorts that seem just perfect have this seam that makes your life miserable after a hundred miles have gone by.

In this race rehearsal, I biked 104 miles in 6 hours, and then ran for an hour. I used the Infinit and Bonk Breaker Bars that I'm planning on using on the course, and wore my favorite pair of thin-chamois tri shorts to see how I'd hold out in them. It was a gorgeous day to be out in the Willamette Valley on a bike, as you can see from tbjs photo from my phone!

I started off the night before with a 4200 yard swim. For Ironman Coeur d'Alene, my swim strategy is going to be (for the first time ever) to put myself up front with the big dogs and go for it. So in my rehearsal swims, I'm trying to go out hard, then back down and find my distance pace and settle in after the first 500 yards or so. That strategy played out in this swim with 1000 yard splits as 13:51, 14:05, 14:17, 14:14. Last 200 was a 2:42. Total: 59:09. My goal for IMCdA is sub-1:00, so this was perfect.

The next morning I was out on the road for the 104 mile ride. Though I didn't have quite as much climbing in this course as there will be in Coeur d'Alene (2700 feet as opposed to 4600), otherwise the terrain was similar, with rolling hills and a couple of big climbs. I made sure to put in a thousand foot climb in the last few miles, just like the real race will have. That was definitely a booger to do at the end of the ride! Overall average was 17 mph, including the starts and stops through town. Probably closer to 17.5 outside of town. Since I'm shooting for somewhere between 6:20 - 7:00 on race day, 17 mph would put me at 6:35 or right in my ballpark. Granted, there are more hills at CdA. However, I'll also have race wheels and aero helmet and my legs will (hopefully!) be fresh. And no stoplights. So hopefully that will all balance out.

For nutrition on the ride, I mixed up two 3-hour bottles of Infinit, plus I ate two Bonk Breaker bars. My calories averaged out to 265 an hour, probably a little high. I'm going to aim for slightly lower to make sure I don't get sidelined by gastric distress.

After the ride, it was time for some work on my run pacing, so I ran six miles at the pace I'm shooting for in the race. My predicted IM pace is 10:22 (if all the stars align and it isn't smoking hot outside), which means I'm aiming to add 30 seconds per mile for the first six miles, making a 10:52 pace. I have to say, it's hard to run that slow, so I'm adding some walking breaks to make sure I don't overamp those early miles. This is all part of the Endurance Nation pacing strategy that I'm following.

My first mile was 10:07 - Eeep! Way too fast. After that I brought them back down to 10:35, 10:50, 10:44, 10:49, 10:48. You can see that even though I thought I was running WAY slow, I was still faster than my pace should've been. And one look at a heat calculator for running paces shows that if it's at all warm on race day, I'll be running wayyyyy slower than that!

Still, all things considered, I'd say the day was a success. If everything goes absolutely perfectly, I could be looking at a 1:00 swim, 6:30 bike and 4:30 run, or right around 12:10 - 12:15 with transitions. If there's wind, heat, mechanical, or other problems, I'll probably be closer to 13:00 or over. In any case, I'm starting to have a good estimate of where my ballpark is at. Maybe not as fast as I hoped I'd be this year, but still feeling strong and ready to go.

1 comment:

Trail Smitten Mom said...

Awesome! Way to go. Bonk Breakers, huh? I have been struggling to find fueling that is enough to keep me going but not so much that I feel heavy or queasy. Maybe I'll check BB out. Gu just doesn't seem like enough and Cliff Bars seem to heavy.