This is the first in a series of “ketchup” posts (pun makes sense as you continue reading) that I’m going to post in the next couple of weeks as my taper for IMCdA gives me some extra time. I have a massive backlog of 80% finished posts that I hope to wrap up on the next couple weeks.
I decided to race somewhat last minute when the legendary Ken Glah of Endurance Sports Travel contacted me about having a few extra entries for sale. This would be a well timed “B” race for me– I could shake off the winter cobwebs and see where my fitness stood before I started my big IM buildup. For B races I’ll train hard right up until 3 days before the race. Given the fact that I was 8 pounds over my Kona weight and that my swimming had been poor and that my run training had been a bit uneven at times I had no illusions about getting a Kona slot.
I should have told this guy in transition who put me on his “Kona Hit List” of people he wanted to beat out for the slot. (I hope that I have a good enough season this year to earn an underline next year like my buddy Slater Fletcher.)
My plan was simple and somewhat conservative. For fueling I’d consume a couple cliff bars on the bike + a bottle of IM Perform / aid station. On the run I’d fill my bottle with IM perform every 3 miles or so (I tend to fuel aggressively during HIM to practice my IM nutrition).
Swim: My plan was to avoid going anaerobic at the start and to draft the entire time.I usually have a hard time finding a good pair of feet in wave start races (unlike IM races with ample toes to follow). This time I found a nice calm easy to follow pair of feet and I could see he was sighting. I got greedy and switched to following other swimmers with a slightly better line at the time, but soon enough they veered off course I was stuck with the old dilemma- swim straight on my own or follow someone all over the place? I chose to swim on my own and spent the rest of the race swimming by myself. Time: 32:xx- poor as expected given my swim training.
Bike: I was in one of the last waves and the road was crowded and even a little dangerous. My strategy was to hold back a little out of transition and to leave plenty of room to raise my effort on the hilly back side of the course (and possible headwinds coming in). I averaged about 240 watts until the first big hill around mile 30. I averaged 260 after that for an overall average around 250. In retrospect I should have pushed harder (I had more running juice than I could use & fuel at the same time).
On the hills I could hear my wheel rubbing against something– I was afraid it was rubbing my brakes or the rear cutout on my P2. Instead, it turns out I picked up a passenger somewhere out on the course. So, THAT’S why I didn’t break 2:30 on the bike!
As an aside, I drank the IM perform drink at aid stations– easy on the stomach and I had no fueling issues. Since it also worked well for me at Kona I think I’ll use it during IM (the good news being that I no longer have to avoid carrying my own concentrate to avoid disgusting gatorade!) 1 bottle of IM perform at each aid station adds up to something like 300 cals/ hour if I’m doing my math correctly. Add in some cliff bars and I’ll be sound as a pound.
Run: For the run I wanted to make my first mile my easiest then settle into my pace. I had no idea what I could sustain for the HIM, but I figured it was somewhere a little below 6:30 ish. I ran out out of transition feeling good and I held back and did the first mile at 6:30ish (my slowest mile of the day). I settled into the best pace i can hold while taking in good amount of calories (6:15ish). I averaged 300 cals/ hour of IM perform during the run with no issues. I raised my effort by 1/4ths and I may have done each quarter faster than the previous. I picked up the pace for the last 3 miles (about 6:00 / mile avg) and had to put in some surges to pass a few fast runners from my age group (something from my old track days– never gradually pass someone at the end of a race who is a threat– blow by them!) If I didn’t pick up the pace at the end, I think I could have held 6:15s for another few miles. This run leg was a big confidence booster, considering that I’m a bit overweight and that my run training has been pretty moderate overall.
Conclusion: I paced my race a bit too conservatively (especially on the first half of the bike) and I finished with lots of gas in the tank. My bike and run are on track but I need to buckle down and focus on my swimming.
The competition was incredible! I was chatting with Gordo after the race and he was saying this race attracts the highest quality field of any race in North America except the 70.3 championships. I never thought I’d have good race and only finish in 15th place! Even my 1:22 half marathon was only 6th fastest in AG-at most races I have fastest or 2nd fastest run split in my AG. Having this level of competition is inspiring and really shows you where you need to be (I’m 14 minutes out of competing for a podium in a field like this).
It wasn’t my greatest finish ever, but that didn’t stop me from celebrating with a great post race meal (hot dog for protein and tater tots for carbs) at Venice Beach.