Saturday, August 15, 2009

Getting to the Starting line...

It's Friday and a few days from my first 70.3 half ironman. I guess I have a lot of mixed feelings about this race. Much like last years Olympic distance, but this seems different for some reason. The others seemed personal and my goals were easy and simple. Survival seemed at a better ratio I guess.

Sunday feels a bit like the day could run away and just trying to hold on is going to be the focus of the day. Seafair was fun and training showed to pay off in many many ways, but pacing and holding back wasn't anything that needed to be applied like it will on Sunday.

Holding back in the water: 40+ minutes can be a long time in the water not to start feeling like you need to start sprinting because you're taking too long. - Have to fight the urge to spend large amounts of energy in the water.

Holding back on the bike: The hill getting out of transition will stomp you right out of the gate, " right here is where you know if you wasted too much in the water!" Is what I yelled to a training partner the last time out. Nasty hill about 2 miles into the bike, can't rush there. The loops of the bike don't start until about mile 4-5, you could loose your legs just getting out there.
Once on the course you hit a set of rollers until about 8-9 then get some flats that lead to the first smaller hills of the day. You have to know the course well enough to use the downs to recover the next hills. The back flat at about mile 15 is where refueling will happen, after a set of 3 tough hills. At the end of that small flat you'll see some clear cut to the left. That is the green lite for the first big down hill leading to the next set of hills.
The bike is a monster of sorts, fun, but hard to say that race pace will be above 15 miles per hour. The hardest hill is the one that comes around mile 52 leading back into the transition zone. With those big effort climbs spread so far around the course you have to have a steady plan in place and follow it. Even if it seems everyone is passing you on the first loop.

Holding back on the run: If I can hit the run feeling the same or better than I would at mile 13 of a marathon I should be in good shape. I have a tendency to run a bit too fast until about mile 2 so I'll have to make sure I keep it at marathon pace, which is around 8:15-8:25 minute miles. Mostly if if I stay around 8 minute mile + or - 15 seconds I should be good. I can't feel good early and run in the 6:50-7:15 area because that wouldn't last to the end.

Too much to think about, but that's some of the fun part.

I am looking forward to all the support and friends and family that are going to be out on course to cheer me and my friends on. That totally rocks! You never know how much that helps to get someone to the finish line.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Race day finally here, oh no!

I felt pretty at ease in the morning, still the morning nerves of course, but not the “ all the training is for this” type of work up. I was nursing a hurt arm so I was really just looking to feel the swim out, work the bike hard and see what the legs had left for the run. After the marathon a few weeks ago I only got 3 runs in of about 5 miles each and hadn’t got any speed work in. Marathon pace is not 5K pace, so I was on “wait and see” mode.

The swim was pretty even I start in the usual spot, back left. I started last year to move to the front, but thought that would be a bad idea for today. I was pretty relaxed at the start, talking w/ Sean K. before the start made it seem pretty much like a training swim. I hit the first buoy feeling pretty steady and even, a gap opened up as I rounded tight on the turn and didn’t hit anyone pulling through. Surprising! The stretch to the second was OK, then I got caught up in the last turn. Feet grabbed a few times, although never got hit, I felt I swam out of that turn a bit too fast and started to pace back down, going from breathing every 3 to every 2 strokes for a bit. The last 100 yards I felt great, I was catching people with about every stroke so it was making the end come faster and faster. The only downside to the swim was I stood up too soon because there was too many people standing and walking in. I got up in just below waist deep water, too much wasted energy, I covered 10 yards in about 5-6 seconds? Would of only needed about 2 seconds and no effort if I didn’t have to stand.

Swim Time- 14:30

T1 - 1:51 Pretty straight forward, I got my wetsuit caught on my Garmin, arrgh!!! I was afraid of that.

All week I was dreaming about the bike, I just needed my arm to get me through the swim so I could jump on Luke (my bike) and fly. I felt great coming out of the water and hit the bike in full stride. The day was amazing and there was no wind. The first part of the bike passes the swim course, so you look down at the chaos you just survived. Sweet! I was full sail on the bike w/ in reason, I love it. As you get on the bridge it really narrows and I saw three riders ahead of me that I didn’t want in front of me on the approach to the bridge so I did a full out sprint to pass and get in front, which totally paid off. As I hit the bridge and looked back there was a small back up riders trying to make it through.

The bridge was just amazing, wind so loud all you can hear is your breathing. Rainier wrapped in sun ready to jump in the lake. Amazing!

I was waiting for the turn around, I stayed steady and relaxed on the way out then once I hit the turn around I just shot up the small hill and did a big effort back to the small down hill of the bridge. So much fun! Off the bridge and back I only got pasted by two riders. I caught one on a small hill just off the bridge and had the other in sight the rest of the way.

Bike - 35:43

T2 - 1:14 I had a bit of trouble getting my right foot in the shoe, but no big deal.

I hit the run and wanted to stay steady until the hill, then work the hill and survive the downhill. As I got on course I saw 2 groups of about eight runners lined up. I focused on the guy in front and worked my way to him. Then the second group, then the third group just pass them. I was in no mans land for a few and that made me speed up until I found more rabbits : ) The hill sucked, but I kept saying the pain will only last a few, just a few more. Then I saw Alley at the top of the hill at the turn around, I figured she had to sprint down a few blocks around a crap load of people and straight up hill to see me there from where I saw her when I was on the bike. That made me happy, crazy, energized, what everyone feels like when they see someone truly supporting them. I grabbed a drink and shot down the course.

At the bottom of the hill I heard fast approaching foot steps, my first thought was great now the flood gate opens of people passing me back up. Sounds about right, however it was a friend Ryan passing me and as soon as I saw him, the back of him, I let out a “GO Ryan!” Almost nothing better than cheering for someone on course. I couldn’t catch him, but I used him as focus to stay close to him, or as close as I could. As I rounded the corner to the finish I was proud in the fact that Ryan was the only one that passed me in the run.

Run - 21:01

Overall - 1:14:19

Pretty good day, things to work on:

More swim training, still need more time in the water.

Flat road bike training, the flats need more work.

Get back to track workouts for speed work.