Yup, that’s it. Seems like just yesterday it was 100.
50 days until Ironman Boulder and it’s the eve of the 70.3 in the same town. Last year, this was my “A” race – the one I was afraid of and uncertain I could complete. Oh, I stewed over it – connived ways in which I could feign injury or gracefully drop out with good reason.
I did complete that race, on all-wrong training and with a slow pace. But, I made it to the finish line feeling good and even had fun that day.
What’s different this year in my quest to cover a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike and 13.1-mile run? I’ll tell you.
1) My swimming is stronger and longer. Last year I’d had several open-water swims prior though and this year…none yet. I have many planned, but it’s been super cold in the reservoirs here in Colorado and I chickened out of the only one on my books before this. My Raynaud’s combined with good sense couldn’t get me to jump into 62-degree water.
2) My biking is far more confident and I’ve covered many more than the 30-mile max I did for last year’s race. I want to significantly improve my time over last year. With a century under my belt, better handling skills and a new seat – I’m in a good position to do that. Better stamina on the bike will also translate into improved stamina on the run.
3) My run training hasn’t been as aggressive – and this is a positive. The 70.3 in August last year followed weeks of tris and half-marathons, where I overemphasized running (because it’s what I know best) and ended up with sore joints, tired quads and no oomph. My knees hurt, my body felt slow, all my run times were below my potential. I also told myself to take it easy on the run and did a run-walk ratio that gave me too much permission to rest at the slightest sign of discomfort. The result? I was chipper and happy on the run, but not particularly fast.
4) My nutrition plan is clearer, although I still find this portion of the race confounding. I’ve got Generation UCAN packed as my primary fuel, with a macrobar and a few gels for back up on the bike and run. I see this as a partial test drive for the full Ironman, knowing full well an Ironman is a very different beast. The plan is breakfast of gluten-free toast, peanut butter and a banana a few hours before; a dose of protein-enhanced UCAN 30 minutes before the swim; double dosing of UCAN on the bike (half of which will be consumed about 10-15 miles in, the other half at mile 45 or so); and bites of macro bar — if needed — on the bike. I’ve got gels, if needed, on the run. I’m hoping the UCAN holds me, but if not – I’ll have back up. Last year, I ate nothing on the run, just some of the Powerbar sports drink – not my preference – and it contributed to a hard-to-get-going pace.
5) Last year, I was severely underhydrated. Part of that was due to my discomfort with pulling water bottles out during the ride. This year, I plan to drink liberally on the bike – learned my lesson and got that drinking skill under control.
6) Temperature – tomorrow will be 80 as a high (boo, yesterday it said it’d be a high of 76) – but I’ll take it. Last year was in the 90s since the race was in August. That doesn’t bode well for Ironman which is now scheduled for August, but it is a good thing for tomorrow’s race.
7) I know more what to expect….not an expert on 70.3’s by any stretch, but at least I can know what I’ll feel where and how to pace. It’s hard to push if you’re not sure if later you’ll regret it – I have a better idea now. You never know how your body will react – but I feel more in control this year. Last year my mantra was more about survival. This year, I know survival is a given – now, I’ve got goals.
I’d like to say this race is just a training run, but it isn’t. I want revenge on that course – I know I can do much better than I did last year. I feel good. It’s not my “A” race of the season, but it’s pretty darn close. You can track me here tomorrow. I’m bib 1064.