Monday, July 07, 2008

Game on.

Okay, well hey. So it's been 10 days or something, and I've been just ridiculously swamped at work - and still am - but I'm still technically on vacation so I finally have a few minutes to sit down and get up to speed. So pretend it's not all old news and lets go back to last weekend.

Friday night I enjoyed a chunk of lasagna the size of my head at Gino's here in Madison, as part of the WIBA festivities. If you want to see photos and read more about Steve and Wil's experiences, visit their blogs and you'll get the idea. I had a great time - saw some old friends and met some new ones. I sat at a table with a few people who were doing IMWI for the first time, and it was so fun to talk with them, hear their questions, recapture some of what I remember feeling in '06. Very, very cool. I want to shout out to Wil and RobbyB and the whole evotri cabal for all the work that went into something like this, which is so useful to so many people for so many reasons. Really great way to spend some time, and totally taps into the energy that I love about triathlon, Ironman, and its community. Thanks guys.

Amy's parents were in town, so I jumped into WIBA when I could - mostly for dinner and Sunday's long run. That meant Saturday's ride was solo, which was to my preference; allowing me to stay consistent to the course I've been training on. It was a pretty crucial workout - 56 miles and an 8 mile run-off. It was dress rehearsal, and after weeks of banging my head against the wall trying to perfect the formula so that I'd be fresh going into the run, I considered it pretty mission critical to get one proven "I can do this" workout in before starting taper.

Consider: The week earlier, I rode an aggressive 56 miles. The numbers (yawn, I know) looked like this:

Lap 1 (18.5 miles): 19.7mph avg
Lap 2 (18.5 miles): 19.1mph avg
Lap 3 (19 miles): 18.1mph avg

Totals: 56 miles in 2:57:32, 18.9mph avg, 137bpm avg. heartrate.

The problems are apparent right away - I gave up nearly 2mph from my first lap to the last, which means I went out too strong, and I felt the wall hit almost immediately after 37 miles; I really struggled through those last 19. So the numbers look good, but they didn't mean anything - I was left with nothing, and sloshed through my 5 mile run-off (after a 15 minute pray-to-Jesus-do-I-really-have-to-do-this transition) in 48:22 for a very uncomfortable 9:41 average.

So the objective of this last long ride was to settle the hell down. I kept my RPE stupid low. If I felt any stress on my legs, especially in the first 37 miles, I backed off. I geared down to silly easy climbing even small hills. I went out aiming to feel like I was doing no work at all - committed to adopting the philosophy that's worked so well for my distance running this year, and paid off with the big P.R. half marathon - don't go chasing miles, let them come to me.

The numbers from this ride:

Lap 1 (18.5 miles): 18.7mph avg
Lap 2 (18.5 miles): 18.7mph avg (that's consistency, baby!)
Lap 3 (19 miles): 18.5mph avg (headwind)

Totals: 56 miles in 3:02:33, 18.4mph avg (that math don't add up to me, but whatever Garmin), 132bpm avg. heartrate

So first of all - yeah, hooray with the consistency. Heart rate was low, no red flags anywhere, and I felt great all day. But the best part of giving up those 5 minutes on the bike was the 8-mile runoff, where I was totally comfortable and relaxed for an 8:22/mi avg. Funny what 5 minutes and just half an mph can do in the grand scheme.

So - I have the evidence I need. I know I can do it - I just need to execute. The goal for Racine is sub 6 hours, which is a full thirty minutes or something faster than I've ever rocked a half Ironman before. The training is there. Things need to go just about perfectly, but if I can have even an okay swim, then put together a sensible bike, I should have what I need to go sub 2 hours in the 13.1. More on this later, when I get specific about race week.

Thus commenced taper. This weekend was 37 miles, still at about 18.5mph avg, and today I ran 8 miles. The humidity today was just obnoxious - I felt like I was swimming through it. It's been plenty hot and humid lately, and I've noticed my times are definitely more sluggish when the temps go up. Something for me to keep an eye on - supposed to get into the 90's this weekend for my last round of significant workouts before Racine.

I've also, as I mentioned, been spending time with family over the 4th-of-July weekend, my vacation due to end after tomorrow. Apparently by "vacation" I also mean "does beer go with cake? Let's find out. Oh, look at that, I finished my cake and beer. Well, somebody get me a beer, I'm getting up for more cake." Highly structured nutrition plan over here, and I think I'm on pace to gain 20 pounds during taper. So I've got that going for me.


Borsch said...

It sounds like you have a solid race plan! Good luck with the execution of the plan!

Robin said...

Congrats on your race plan, sounds like you have it down. WIBA looks like a blast, what a great idea!

richvans said...

wow - I've been trying to learn that lesson as well. But noooo, I go out and hammer the bike leaving nothing but jello in my legs. Hopefully the success of your experiment will convince me to take it easy this week at Lifetime. Thanks! And everything goes with beer - you know that!

Wil said...

You're going to rock Racine! SO glad you could come to WIBA too, wouldn't have been the same without some of the old-school crew like you :)

Wow so much rhyming..

Steve Stenzel said...

Nice rides!! (That second ride is why I hate Garmins).

Good luck at Racine!!

Alili said...

You are going to rock Racine! Hopefully I'll get a chance to meet the mysterious XT4 :)