Saturday, May 14, 2011

Race Prep Weekend - Kansas 70.3

This weekend was officially dubbed "Race Prep Weekend" (RPW) by my coach and I.  The whole focus of this weekend was to see how ready I was for my first half-Ironman distance race and to practice my nutrition and pacing plans for the race in 4 weeks.  Overall, I left this weekend's workouts with a bit of confidence, a bit of humility, and a bit of respect for the task at hand. 

RPW started off with a 1900 meter swim Friday morning to see how I could handle the distance in the pool and give me an idea of what to expect for my swim time on race morning.  I went in thinking I'd be somewhere in the 40 to 45 minute range and ended up getting out of the pool at 44:22.  It was a comfortable, controlled swim so I'm confident I can get closer to the 40 minute mark on race morning.  I also wore board shorts and didn't utilize flip-turns or wall push-offs in the pool so this should be a conservative estimate on my swim time.  The wetsuit will definitely be my friend in the water on June 12th.  Stage 1 of RPW was a success.

RPW continued on Saturday morning with a 56 mile bike/6 mile run brick to get a feel for my bike/run estimates for Kansas.  The morning didn't quite go as planned because I got delayed by some work issues and ended up not leaving my house until 9:45am.  I really wanted to be riding by 9:30, but I ended up not getting started until 10:30 which led to gustier winds and more traffic on my route than I would have liked.  I went back to the same route I did with Team-in-Training a few weeks ago which took me NW out of OKC to the small town of Okarche.  The roads for the first and last 9 miles were incredibly rough and I fought a headwind all the way to Okarche which was my half-way point.  The great thing about this route is it's a very good comparison to use for Kansas.  It has lots of rolling hills and the elevation profiles for both rides are good matches.  The headwind definitely frustrated me the first 28 miles.  I was in a pretty sour mood and I was cursing the bad roads and winds quite often.  The turnaround in Okarche was a very welcome reprieve.  I ended up cruising at a nice clip courtesy of the tailwind on the way home.   It definitely lifted my spirits a bit and made the run to follow a little more palatable. 

After the ride, I hopped off the bike, locked it to my bike rack, and laced up the running shoes.  I was in an unfamiliar area so I just headed out from the car and popped in neighborhoods and ran until I hit a major road or a dead end and turned around and retraced my steps.  I made it a point to go back by my car about 3 miles in so I could get a drink and take a gel.  Most of the run was blocked from the wind so that part made me happy.  One thing I did notice was that I struggle slowing my pace coming off the bike.  I really had a tough time keeping myself from going out way too fast.  Towards the end of my run I could definitely tell that I was running low on energy.  I need to increase my calories on the bike evidently.  I estimate that I took in 300 to 350 calories per hour on the bike today.  I'm thinking I probably need to increase to 450 or so judging by my height and body weight.  I'll have to find something else to add to my concoction.  I'm not sure I want to add another gel in the mix every hour.  I already get sick of anything remotely sweet the longer the ride lasts.  Maybe I'll try to find something salty to help with sodium levels as well. 

Overall I felt pretty good about my results from this weekend.  I had a rough time of 6 hours in my head prior to this weekend as my estimate for my first 70.3 distance race.  Here's how this weekend's workouts stacked up:

Swim - 44:22
Bike - 3:07:23
Run (6 Miles) - 50:09

Judging by this weekend's efforts, I think 6 hours will be a pretty good benchmark for my race in 4 weeks.  After today's brick it hit me again how hard the Ironman is going to be in 15 weeks.  I'm going to have to do 2x the mileage on the bike and over 4x the amount of running I did today.  Definitely a daunting task.  Dream big.  Work hard.  Make it happen. Time to get some shut-eye now.  I'm beat.  Run happy friends.

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