Friday, 21 February 2014

30 more sleeps!

As the title of this entry suggests, I have 30 more sleeps until Ironman Melbourne. Jeepers! It has really crept up on me how close it is to race day. Holy Crap!

Looking at the program, there is 3 (or 4) more "big weekends" left before we start to taper. The weekend before the race (15th - 16th March) still endurance training sessions, but the loads will be significantly less. Looking forward to it already.

Our race numbers will be released during March. Compared to last year, I am more calm about this race due to several factors:
- Mentally, I am ready. No anxiety attacks (so far, fingers crossed).
- I know my limits better this year and comfortable that I can get myself to the finish line.
- I have survived through a 7.30 ride during last year's IM 180km, 4.00 during this year's Geelong 70.3 in less than ideal conditions.

On Wednesday evening, we had a Melbourne Ironman meeting (for Tri Alliance athletes only). We heard a talk about nutrition and what to consume leading up to the day and also what is recommended to be consumed during the race. The key things is to practice what you are doing as much as possible during the long endurance sessions - Friday morning swims, Saturday long rides and Sunday long runs. Don't try anything new on race day. Everyone will have different levels of tolerance of what goes into their guts so there is no "one solution" for long course racing (especially for Ironman-distances). Some people can't take dairy, some must have just gels during the day, some can tolerate more salts, some need to drink more than others.

For me, I may have to tweak a few things before the big day:
- I am still 50/50 about getting race wheels. Currently, I have been training and raced Geelong on my current wheels which came with Foxy. They are 20mm deep.
- I may change my front drink bottle strategy to have a horizontal aero bottle as it may encourage me to drink more...but do I need to drink more? I am losing approx 650 - 700g of sweat/hour (I am not a heavy sweater) and always feel the need to pee during training and racing as I am trying to drink more. During my long rides, I have been going through approx 800ml over 3-ish hours. It sounds like I am not drinking enough, I know.
- Hat or no hat during the run...there are pros and cons and I guess if it does get annoying, I can always just throw the cap in the bin. Wore a hat during Challenge and since then, I have been using it during my long runs to keep my head cool and to keep the sweat out of my eyes.
- My morning breakfasts before my long rides and runs need to be refined. Lately, I have had no appetite and just have a banana (sometimes only half) prior and fuel on gels during these sessions. On race day, I tend to eat something different each race day too....I guess as long as I steer clear from heavy foods I should be ok.

I have decided to opt out of the Big Bay Swim this year and concentrate on my long run session with the group. I have done this event twice before and I am confident that I can swim over 3km in open water and don't need to pay $50 to do so. I may look into doing it as a fun event in 2015 without having the pressure of Ironman looming.

As for race weight, I have not dwelled on this matter. Being lighter does not necessarily result in a faster race (for me). I am concentrating on being a stronger and fitter athlete, rather than what the scales are telling me. I am not playing for sheep stations nor I am doing this for Kona slots. Need to get my sh#t sorted out first, then work on getting leaner. This theory also goes to what I am carrying on the bike. Others (who are playing this game more seriously), will not carry spares or more than one bottle of hydration to make their ride a lighter one. For me, I will be carrying all nutrition and hydration on board and I will also be carrying all my spares. I will only rely on the water (bottles) served at the aid stations on the bike course.

For the next few weeks, I need to ensure that I keep my body is tip-top condition. If I am fatigued or feel a niggle coming on, must take things easy or fix the problem! I will need to get new tyres and to ensure that my spare tubes have long valves at least a week prior to race day. Book the bike in for a service by the Canadian is also on the list. The weekend prior to the race, I will spend the weekend at Geelong with the family. I don't expect them to be at the race as it is a long day for them and the logistics of the day can be a nightmare. I appreciate all the support they have given me so far and look forward to spending a few weekends with them post March.

30 More Sleeps (and counting)...

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