The weekend in Raleigh was big fun all around. We spent time with friends, saw familiar and welcome sights and were able to race at a well-organized venue. While I’ve written the race report up at BT, there is a lot more to unpack and explore. It may take a while. Therefore, I’ve made a handy list of things that I want to think a little more about.
1. Dana did the whole race, didn’t really have any trouble, finished with a smile and didn’t get sore this week. Wow, simply wow. My biggest regret is clearly that I missed her finish because I was trying to get the camera in order to capture it for posterity.
2. My swim was slow. Some of that may be attributed to the lack of a wetsuit. Others wrote in their race reports that it was choppy across the long side of the triangle. I didn’t notice this and find it dubious. There was more physical contact in this swim than any that I’ve ever done. Notwithstanding all of these circumstances, it was a slow swim. I felt fine — not low in the water, heavy, or tired — and accelerated where I wanted to do so. This is troubling. In advance of the race, I had a goal of improving by 10-12 minutes and a wildly ambitious goal of going 4:44:59. Had I swum well, or even just swum better, I would have made that wild number of 4:44.
3. My bike cadence was high. Much of the time I was in the high 90s or over 100 and not in the low 90s. I was able to go into the biggest gear — riding with a 25-11 — a couple of times and pedal right on through a gentle downslope. I don’t think I’ve developed a ton more power and the road tilted up as much as down so this is something to think about. In addition, for nearly the whole ride my heart rate was in the high 130s.
4. I was unable to piss the bike. On the upside, I think for the entirety of the bike course I was only passed by three people. On the downside, I pissed the run as I finished the second loop at the art museum. Like Lake Placid, I did it at the end of an aid station. Unlike at Lake Placid where I stopped moving and essentially bent over and just breathed, at Raleigh I started the piss while walking through and just kept moving. The effect was to fill my left shoe. In the hunched over position it is possible to get the piss to ramp off my knee and or ankle band and stay out of my sock and shoe. I’m not sure what would happen if I was actually running. It may shut off the spigot (like when swimming) or it may ramp off the knee and fly back like when cycling. Or, it may simply fill my shoe but I’d make faster progress then pissing while walking. These are empirical questions and should be tested — in trianing.
5. I started the race with a plan to run agressively and did so. While I didn’t negative split, I did bring my times back down for the last 3.5 miles and I’m immensely happy with that outcome. I’m not sure why, but I find the prospect of a negative split something of the holy grail in pacing.
6. On the run, I took most of a single Gu and either water or Perform or both at each aid station. At this distance, even on a hot day, I can do the run with nothing but fluids. This is good to know.
7. I was dropped in the last aid station by a guy who’d been running shoulder to shoulder with me since mile 9. I slowed for fluids and he didn’t. He put 20-30 yards on my that I could not bring back and then they eventually turned into 50-60 yards. It was a tactical mistake — he was in my age group. Live and learn.
8. My age group had five slots for the Ironamn 70.3 World Championships in Las Vegas. When roll-down started, two had been claimed. I got the last one in my age group. I really cannot believe it and find the whole prospect of going to the race a bit sureal.
I ride clean — and consent to all manner of testing.
The race is September 8th so I guess my training plan will be to continue to train and taper for Ironman Lake Placid, rest for a week and then develop a plan to get me through August that includes a second taper and a trip to Family Camp.
9. I rode with Aaron’s helmet and with the aerojacket on my back wheel. Before the race I thought of each as a luxury. Now, they both seem like necessesities. Funny how quickly perspective can change.
10. I ran almost the whole race with a heartrate in the mid- to high-140s. This is great for Ironman because the top end of zone two for me is 148-149. However, I would have liked to push hard enough to have that average in the high 150s. I think I can sustain it for more than 90 minutes. This is something to figure out because I was pushing on the run. There wasn’t a lot of “saving for later” going on.
11. I was nervous about the pre-race breakfast plan but it worked well enough. I had five eggs between 4.00 and 4.20 a.m. along with two cups of tea. I had a liquid powerbar at about 4:45 a.m. as well as a banana and a Bonk Breaker between 5:00 and 5:30 a.m. along with some water. Start time for my wave was at about 7:52.