Saturday, March 21, 2009

2 Week Countdown

Two weeks to race day for the California 70.3. I'm getting excited about the race for a number of reasons. My training has been going great. I'm swimming faster than I ever have, my wattage on the bike keeps coming up and I'm pretty sure that I'm running faster than ever, especially when I'm tired.

I made a really big decision this week regarding the race. The winning time in my age group for the last few years has varied from 4:43 to 4:55. My first and most basic goal is to finish the race in under 5 hours. If I click on all cylinders, I could go under4:50. That certainly puts me in range of top three and possibly winning my age group. As there is one slot (most likely for the winner of the age group) for Kona (Ironman World Championship), which is every triathlete's dream, I could have a chance at that slot. Kona is 2 weeks before the World Long Course in Perth, so I would have to make a choice. After thinking about it a little, I said, "what the heck!". If I qualify for Kona, I'm going. Austrailia will become a vacation. If I don't qualify for Kona, I've already qualified for the long course World's. So, I've got exciting plans in October no matter what!

My swim has really improved this year with help from my swim coach, Moe McGarity and continued great workouts from my tri coach, Tim Waggoner. A couple of years ago, 1:40 pace/100 yards was challenging to keep even for 500 yards. Now, that's my easy 500 yard pace. I've been doing a lot more pulling this year and my swim volume has increased. All of a sudden, 1:30 pace in a wet suit for a half ironman swim doesn't seem daunting. If I can get off to a good start (and I'll start at the front) and catch a decent draft and maintain it, I think that I can complete the swim in under 32 minutes and quite possibly, 30 minutes.

Two years ago, I biked the California course in 2:45. I believe that I am a stronger biker today and hopefully I can go under 2:40. This one is a little uncertain in terms of how much faster I can go. The course is all about pacing, especially leaving something for the hills, but I'm very familiar with the course and think that I can do well.

Finally, comes my run. Tim has had me doing more progression runs this year and keeping 7:30 pace at the end of a long run doesn't seem as problematic as it used to. The key to my run, however, is not my legs, but my brain. The run is going to be the most mental aspect of my race. I'm going to have to stay focused during the first half of the run in order to maintain a solid pace and then stay really focused during the second half of the run to keep from slowing down. I'm going to try to practice my visualization of this every chance I get over the next two weeks. I start tomorrow with a 2 1/2 hour bike followed by a six mile run at race pace (7:30). If I can do that at altitude, I can do it at sea level. My run two years ago was 1:45, so I'm planning to at least go under 1:40, and try to get as fast as 1:36-1:38.

I never worry about my transitions, they should take a total of ~6 minutes.

What's really fun to think about is that in 2004 I did this race in 6:08. A year later I dropped that to 5:49 and two years ago, was able to finish the race in 5:13. To go under 5 hours racing as a fifty year old will be really cool! I'd like to say I'm going to just go out there and have fun and see what happens, but the reality is that there has to be a crossover between fun and focus for me to hit all of my goals.

Fortunately, work is going better and my stress level is down, I'm going to try to keep it that way:)

1 comment:

jameson said...

it sounds like you primed up to have a killer race be out there rooting for every one. you'll have to post your so we can yell at you to keep up the pace on the run!