Thursday, April 9, 2009

It's all relative: enjoying the journey

Despite not being able to "race" the California 70.3 like I'd planned, I realized that I still had a great time. Having a "50" on my left calf for the first time made me appreciate every 20, 30 and 40 year old I passed, and there were a lot of them! Furthermore, I put in an excellent effort and felt ok through most of the race.

The last few days have done nothing to change my attitude. I recovered faster from this race than I ever have and have had almost no soreness. This has only served to magnify the healthy aspects of triathlon training. Yesterday, I swam 6x500 yards and felt absolutely wonderful. So wonderful, in fact, that midway through my workout I began thinking, "why not do an ironman?".

So, this morning, I signed up for 2010 St. George Ironman. I'm going to do it! I had wanted to do an ironman when I turned 40, but work got in the way. I promised myself then that I'd move my ironman attempt to when I turned 50, but recently began to think that I had too many other irons in the fire to try. I don't know if I'm being rational, but I really feel that completing an ironman is within my reach and abilities and I need to take the opportunity to do it.

My coach told me a few weeks ago that when it was time for me to do an ironman, I'd know it. I didn't really know what that meant until yesterday. I signed up this morning and have yet to regret it:)

The good part of all of this is that I'll have a month's vacation after Long Course Worlds in Perth, then it's time to get into ironman training.

The journey continues...

Monday, April 6, 2009

Race Post-Mortem

Had a good day of rest the day before the race and got up feeling good.

For the first time ever I started right in front (with all the 18-24 year olds!) and went out solidly, and for the first time, didn't get beat up, probably because I was keeping a good pace. Was able to stay on someones feet until the turn back into the harbor and the glare screwed me up again:(, didn't draft much on the way back in and definitely veered on the course, someday I'll get it right. That said, very solid swim, and felt fine coming out of the water. In fact, ended up having one of my fastest T1's on the course, despite taking it very relaxed. HR was 160 right out of the water, but came down into the 150's before leaving transition. Really tried to start easy on the bike and get my HR down, which I did. When I looked at the data I could see that this was the difference in my bike time. I went out easier this year and never made up the time. I also went a little easier over the hills, lost some time there and picked some up at the end. I don't have continuous HR data, but my HR was between 140 and 150 the whole race except for the biggest hill, where I briefly pushed it up to 156. Obviously, "average" power is a little deceiving because of the downhills. I think I really did a good job of keeping my wattage close to 170 most of the race and my HR between 142 and 150. In fact my ave HR for the swim and bike was 145. I do wonder if I could have pushed my HR closer to 150 for more of the race and not had any impact on my run?
I did feel some tightness in my right inner quad when I was pushing for the last 10 miles, somewhat reminiscent of Halfax, but it never amounted to anything. Of note, CP30, 60 and 120 were all about the same, right around 160 watts. So, overall, my pacing was pretty steady.
Took in 6 gels within the first 2 hours and about 60 oz of fluid (gatorade endurance and water).
Went throught T2 fine and started out on the run trying to take it easy, HR was right around 148-150. Could never get out of going about 8:00 to 8:30 pace, however. Was tired and feeling a little negative for the first few miles, but this dissipated and I felt fine the second half of the run. Took two gels and drank gatorade and water during run. With 3 miles to go, someone in my age group passed me (the first person in my age group that I saw on the entire run). We kept playing cat and mouse at the aid stations, but I "snuck" by him at mile 12 and went as hard as I could to the finish and beat him by 22 seconds. I don't know what this means, I don't think I could have kept that pace for the entire run, maybe, only maybe could have pushed the last 3 miles instead of 1 miles as hard as I did.
My splits were as follows:
Swim 34:09 30th
T1 3:42
Bike 2:51:10 32nd
T2 1:41
Run 1:48:56 30th
I can't be much more consistent that this between the swim bike and run. I was 23rd/109 in my age group.

I was somewhat disappointed that I missed my goal by 20 minutes. I just haven't improved as much as I has thought (or hoped) on the bike and my legs just didn't have any "snap" to them on the run. The positive's were that I was consistent on the run and I passed a lot of people a lot younger than me who looked just as fit as I do!

I still think that I have a sub 5 hour half ironman in me. I'll work on the details of how to get there with my coach:)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Training, Mantras and Getting Ready

The other day I was seeing a patient of mine who happens to be a Rabbi. I asked him for a blessing for Saturday's race, and he gave me a mantra instead. It's pretty cool, I looked it up. It's three Hebrew words that state that "Napthali runs like a gazelle". Napthali was one of Jacob's sons. Well, anyway, I did my swim, bike, run race prep workout this morning. The swim went fine, able to do some 50's in 37 seconds and some 100's in 83-90 seconds feeling pretty smooth and relaxed. My bike effort (3x5 minutes at race effort) went fine and finally my 4x3 minute at run pace was the best! I used the mantra and it really fit well into my three steps per breath race pattern. I'll do everything I can to have a successful race on Saturday. My legs feel good, I had a relaxed day at home with my family and I'm eating my carbs.

Tomorrow is a travel day and Friday I will just chill in preparation for Saturday's race. It's hard to believe that it's finally here. I've been looking forward to this race since November.