Elida, the 12 year old girl from San Antonio who needs a kidney transplant, and who is the icon for my Ironman fundraising campaign, is coming to the Austin Triathlon. I’m incredibly excited – she and her family have never watched a triathlon before (which is pretty common, not that many spectators come out to the sport unless they know someone). Along with Elida and her family, several other folks from Transplants for Children are coming to the event. And Jack and Adam’s have been amazing in organizing the “VIP” treatment for all the guests from San Antonio.
The Austin Tri
The Austin triathlon has always been my favorite. I did my first Olympic distance triathlon there in 2007, and this will be the fourth year I’ve competed. The event is incredibly well organized, and the course is downtown, so I roll out of bed, grab my bag, and walk to the event.
Having the Transplants for Children team there, and Elida, will make this an incredibly special event for me.
The Game Plan
While I am still doing workouts this week and not a full taper, I am going to see what I’m capable of this coming Monday. Last year, with taper but with my own training, I ran a 2:48. This year, I have an aggressive goal of 2:33. In my time spent with Chrissie she gave me a straightforward game plan which was simply “all out”, or never letting up, from the start to the end of the race. I’ve always “saved myself for the run” because of my lack of running strength. This year, I shouldn’t have an excuse not to turn it lose in all three sections. My goal is definitely a stretch goal, but I’m amassing every bit of assistance I can to make it happen. That means a higher cadence on the bike, and being out of the saddle on hills. On the run, I need to control the first half mile and keep my stride quick and rapid. Turnover is key, as is using my arms and not looking down at the road but looking up and breathing correctly.
The Mental Toolbox
A part of this race is packing your “Mental Toolbox” – what do you think about to push yourself when you want to quit? What are the images, people, songs, stories, tricks to get yourself to move just a little bit faster, to go a little bit farther, to not stop, to not give up. For example, one triathlete told himself that he just had to run 100 more strides. And once that was finished, he’d try to run just 100 more strides. I have had 3-5 of these tricks in my bag in the past, but through the last year I’ve accumulated another 10 or so. Good fodder for another blog post later on.
Training vs. Tapering
Another challenge is how much energy I will have and how my legs feel. I still have a long run, that I will do on Friday instead of Sunday. The schedule calls for 18 miles. The scheduled bike ride for Saturday is 100 miles. If I do 80-100% of those two, I will really need to focus on recovery, meaning long ice baths, lots of stretching and rolling out, and the joys of recovery socks. On Sunday I’ll probably get in a light swim early in the morning, check my bike in, relax, rehydrate, and watch Lisa play some tennis, but mostly do as little as possible.
I’ve never raced with race wheels or an aero helmet before. Last week I tried out the aero helmet, and this Saturday I’ll give race wheels a shot. That, along with the race being wet suit legal, should save some time. Not a ton, but every second counts.
The goals to hit the time
I know exactly what I need to hit my time: a sub-30 swim (doable in a wetsuit), a 21 mph bike pace (would be my fastest ever), and 8 minute miles on the run (possible, but brutal for me), and total transition time under 5 minutes (normally should be possible, but wetsuit removal is a challenge).
Good luck to everyone else racing out there.