Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Race Week: Wisconsin Triterium Triathlon

I did this race in 2005, and just looked over my race report at First words I write, in the "notes" section, is "Holy shit hard race." Sweet!

First off, nobody will be doing any racing if I can't kick this cold. I have this nasty throat/head thing - no sinus congestion, but my throat is really sore and my ears hurt. It's not inducing the kind of lightheaded/nausea/weakness that the flu brought on to me earlier this spring, but it's still putting a damper on everything. Combined with the storms I already talked about, I've had exactly zero mileage in this week since last week's race. But if we're being totally honest - I'd have to feel seriously miserable - about how I do today - to not show up and race. So I'm hoping 3 days will put me on the mend. We'll see.

That said, let's assume I am racing. The good thing about having raced this once is that I have some metrics to compare to - I finished in 3:10:07. So, obviously, that's the time to beat - but I would really like to come in under 3 hours for once. The bike course shares a few bits of the Ironman course just outside Verona, and I remember it being really, really hilly - a few heartbreaking climbs, in fact, that at least do equal battle with anything the Ironman course has to offer (if not a shade worse!). I'll be forgoing the astronaut hat for the well ventilated regular helmet for this race, me thinks.

Something I'm going to really focus on is settling down on the bike, and really monitoring my rate of perceived effort. I think I felt good last week, but my RPE might have been a bit adrenalized. I'd really love to execute better - I've rode 56 miles at 18-19mph in training and followed it up with 6 miles at 8:30/mile, all comfortably - no reason I can't do that or better at the shorter Olympic distance. Hard as the trail running was last week, I didn't leave myself any margin off the bike. I didn't race smart. (In my defense, seriously race directors, just post on the website "this is a trail run" and I'll be better informed. In race directors' defense, apparently the map for last week's run course had two "scenic lookouts" on it. Perhaps if I paid more attention, I could deduce that "scenic lookouts" don't generally imply "fast and flat run". UPDATE: Robert commented below that, indeed, they DO provide every bit of detail on what to expect from the trail run. I'm just a moron and didn't pay attention. Carry on race directors, you know I love you...) But it might mean sacrificing some bike time, which I need to allow myself to do. I actually think there's a pointless pride/competitor thing involved here, where even despite my best intelligence about it, I really want to crank out a fast bike time, and I think I'm doing it at the expense of legs for the run. So far, in every single race ever, in the history of me racing anything over sprint distance, even when I think I'm being sensible on the bike - I fade on the run. I think because I'm working too hard on the bike, even if I feel like I'm being mindful of not. I don't know if this is a great race to change that philosophy - the hills are a mutha and might leave me shredded no matter what I do - but no time like the present. I don't want to roll into Racine without having executed a race day bike to run plan to the best of my ability, or at least tried - and this is, as of now, my last race before Racine.

One second - Dakota's here and she wants to type...

ewweeeeeea d dzzszssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssxz,

Okay, that was fun. Anyway, one way to remedy this bike burnout would be, of course, a power meter, giving me all the data right in front of me that I want to let me know that yes, even though I might feel good, I'm churning out way too many watts. But you know what? Before the season, that was kind of high priority - another gadget to give me hard, fast, scientific data to go off of. And I think, like any of us, I would benefit from it, and it might still be in my future. But I've had so much fun this year exploring and defining my perceived effort, and figuring out how to train and race according to it, that I'm really not as interested in the gadget providing the information for me right now (that I even typed those last words could be fever-induced delirium, as I can't imagine I've ever said them before...). I know what the science will tell me, but I'm kind of enjoying figuring it out for myself - even the two 56-mile blowups I've had this year haven't left me frustrated, but feeling better educated. So that I was excited to try something new the next time. So, corny as this sounds, I'm not viewing the situation as a problem, but as an opportunity - I know I need to finesse my way around it, take a few chances, try some different things. I know race day adrenaline is influencing my bike performance more than I'd like it to, or maybe even think it is. And I know I need to let go of some personal issues about how fast or strong I ride the bike in order to preserve a better run performance. This is all part of it for me. All part of the game. What I enjoy.

So anyway, that's the plan. The swim - who knows. In '05 I swam it in something around 32 minutes, and that seems about right. If I ride the bike right, and avoid blowing up on the hills, then I hope to just have a consistent and comfortable run. No dreadful shuffling, no merely surviving, and for the love of God no walking. That's the plan.

But first, kick this cold.


RobbyB said...

Get to sleep, young man. Rest up and drink some OJ. Then get out there and kick azz.

robert said...

In defense of Capital View, the following quote is straight from their website:

The run course is completely on the trails of the State Park. The running surface is a mixture of dirt, grass, and wood chips. The course runs though all the ecosystems of the park including the prairie and the wooded forest. The run will swing back by the beach and transition area before charging to the finish line located in a large grass field.

Good luck this weekend in Verona.

Erin said...

What Robby B said...oh, and watch out for the snapping turtles :)

Wish I could be here for this one. Alas, I'll be biking and running my way around Ann Arbor this weekend.


Wil said...

Power to ya bro :) ZInc is a big help. And power meters, holy cow I don't know how I rode a bike before mine. Oh wait, yes I do -- badly! :) I have a long way to go but the power meter has sure helped me out. Feel better and give it hell!!!

Steph Bachman said...

Good plan and good luck with the cold and the race. : )

the juice said...

Feel better and have a great race!