Ironman 70.3 Victoria Pre-Race
So here we are 70.3 #2 of the year already. Though Marbella really doesn’t feel like that long ago there has been some real solid training since then. For the most part it has been significantly run focused peaking out over 100km last week and been averaging 3 speedier type run workouts per week. Even though 100km isn’t by any means an absurd amount of weekly volume that volume has had a lot of quality work in it. In fact, last week for 102km of running the overall averaging pace including easy runs, warmups, cool downs, everything was 15km/hr (4:00/km). I’m almost basically training as if I was preparing for a straight up half marathon and the swims and bike have been more about setting up the run, spinning out my legs, or maintaining my feel at least of the water. Having said that yes there have still been some very solid bike workouts and one or two decent swims my best coming last Friday where did a race pace set of 20x100 on 1:30 coming in at 1:17. In the past I would do this set on 1:25 and do up to 30 of them but considering that day I did a 19km run in morning on hottest day of the year at that point, then 2hour right before the swim I was pleased with the effort. In terms of the bike, I’ve done lots of racing on zwift with its usual big spikes/surges in power to mimic the demands of a course like Victoria which I predict will not be close to steady power with its constant rolling hills, and all the bike training has really been about building power and my comfort level in the aero position. Let me tell you it was very painful doing races on zwift in aero and took so much discipline to stay in aero especially with all surging in the pack where every part of me wants to just go on up into climbing position or out of the saddle where I can put a heck of a lot more power. But I got through it and do feel like made some gains for that part of my riding. In fact just on Monday, I did an entire 90minute long “interval” indoors and 100% in aero at roughly 4.7w/kg which is one of the better workouts I’ve ever done inside in aero. Outside I still think my position needs some work and when I get back I will be finally going to the full mantis position. Revolver Wheels very nicely had sent me a pair of the super cool ergo mantis arm rests a while back which allow you to really lock your elbows into the position and you can just focus on driving the pedals. Also the raised back on them mean that as people surge and you need to sort of pull back on the bars to help deliver the necessary power to stay with the surge you have something to press up against and use as leverage. If you’re curious at the moment what they look like and who has been using them so far check out superstar Lucy Charles super aero optimized and comfortable looking position- she has been smashing the competition all year using them.
Up to this Wednesday, the day before leaving for Victoria, I have just been waiting for the aerobar extensions to come in. The ones I went with are the ridiculously aero looking and super light Drag2Zero carbon extensions. Thing is the angle I wanted is so popular and they are such high quality that they have been on back order for quite a while so I was in queue to receive them for little bit. Fortunately the people at D2Z were very helpful and once back in stock got them out to me pretty quickly. I went with the 35 deg bars with a 10 degree wrist adaptor and very pumped to get them and the Revolver arm rests on the bike the second I get back home. I think the position will be much more comfortable for me since felt current setup put too much strain on my upper body and with the new extensions I will be able to basically drape my arms and hands over the bars which would be much more comfortable and also for the vast majority of riders the mantis position or some variant of it is much more aerodynamic. I had consulted with Harry Walker at Revolver before deciding to go with the position and really honestly I can’t say enough thanks. I still I’m so amazed that he took on chance on me in the first place letting me ride the fastest disc on the market, and then on top of that was so generous and happy to consult with me about my position on the bike after I shared with him my struggles delivering any power in my current position and finding it almost unbearable on the indoor trainer where I do 99% of my training. So with all this I must admit here as I’m sitting on a plane to race in the beautiful Victoria I’m unbelievably excited to get back home and get these arm rest and extensions onto Victoria (maybe a good omen that my bike shares her name with the destination city - initially naming her with my mom’s help after Queen Victoria representing power, class, and victory).
Anyways so back to focusing on the race. Like I said as much as I have been doing some good bikes and few swims working on more technical aspects of things like being aero on the bike (for now in the old position) and in the pool working three main things one: my body position: starting all my swims with band only doubling up working to help keep strong core and increasing my stroke rate back up after I think it got to slow, and also to help give my legs a little break since I go to the pool immediately after running. Two: taking a much deeper stroke before initiating my pull which been practicing a lot doing 5x100 of dbl arm bands before every swim. Three: changing up the overall rhythm of my stroke to try to make it more open water friendly. This was after noticing in Marbella almost right away that all that work in the pool didn’t seem to carry over, since just felt when added sighting into the mix plus the waves impacting the recovery phase of the stroke the rhythm of the stroke just felt incredibly different almost more choppy and the nice even pool stroke went out the window. So that’s where the swim is right now and then with new Victory wetsuit from great people at Zone3 I feel okay with where the swim leg is despite the reduced volume.
Onto my main focus now and what I’ve been posting quite a bit about on social media: the run. Someone recently asked me why I was doing all these half marathon time trials and a bunch have asked why I chose to do things solo and not in a formal race. For the first question, my answer back was pretty simple. I spent five years angry and feeling left out of the running world with all my injuries and now that I feel healthy (for the most part - the hamstring is still an issue off the bike) I want to make the absolute most of it. So making the most out of things means going after previous personal records that have stood for 4 years+, doing massive workouts that I have only really dreamed of doing of the last while, and in some cases just flat out running till I puke. In terms of why these personal “time trials” instead of doing a race. Well that is a two part answer. One, I am dead broke. Literally going off to this trip with my spending money pretty much being the 60$ I made from selling an old helmet so a 100$ race fee is literally too much to enter a race that isn’t critical to my triathlon career. And then more importantly in terms of well in a formal race you would at least “get credit” for the effort - my own half marathon attempt on May 5 on a much more challenging course, on a busy pedestrian path, and with 6 full 180 turnarounds, would still have placed me very high up in the field in the GoodLife and Mississauga half’s that weekend. Sure finishing in top-3 in a big city race would feel pretty good, but at the same time I don’t run for external credit. If you know me or been reading along with my blog over the past five years you’ll know the main reason I race or train in general is to try to push myself to a new level. In most cases I don’t need a race setting to try to do that. I don’t need a medal around my neck to feel a sense of accomplishment. Really it goes back to why I run, it's not to have a time there on sportstats, but to get that feeling I get when I am in that rhythm pushing my limits. Similar to the great Eric Liddle’s statement before the 1924 Olympics, it’s to feel God’s presence. To get that feeling I don’t need to be wearing a race number.
So what’s my plan for the race. Of course just pushing as hard as I can start to finish, but just like the training most focus will be on trying to pound out the fastest half marathon these legs can run off a bike. To do so I have tinkered with nutrition on bike doing less of a concentrated mix of Gatorade endurance in two bottles this time about 60g in each bottle instead of almost 90g and using gels to get the remaining part of carbohydrates and using water at the aid stations to wash down the gels. In Marbella, I felt the mix was too concentrated to begin with and just wasn’t able to get enough water at stations to even the balance out in the stomach. In terms of pacing on the run, of course always depends on the day and how things play out but I really do want to pace it aggressively early on at least and see how well I can hold on. The bike course is pretty challenging so that will definitely put a little dent into the legs, but the weather should be pretty cool (cool is an understatement they are calling for some rain, wind, and about 13 degrees! yikes! hopefully I’m able to make it to the bike without freezing to death) so that will help for run times. To others racing this weekend (there seems to be like a million different races going on) good luck with everything, and if not racing get that training in early, so you can sit back and watch how all this stuff unfolds we got Lionel and Sebi going head to head again in Samorin, basically the Canadian Championship here in Victoria with the likes of Cody Beals, Taylor Reid, Brent McMahon, Jeff Symonds, Nathan Killam, and more.