Swim (1.2 miles)
Except for the 2 weeks where my back was freaking out, my swimming this cycle has been solid and unremarkable. I made some pretty serious progress after a stroke session with Amy, and I'm hoping that I've managed to hang onto that through the past few weeks. Both of my planned OWS practice sessions sadly fell during this time, so my main goal here is to get in the water and immediately start swimming without having to talk myself off the ledge. I'd love to find some feet to hop onto pretty quickly but that's only possible if I have my shit together from the start.
Goal: 35 minutes
Bike (56 miles)
And OHHH how the universe laughs! I decided to switch from Poconos to this race because of concerns about late changes to the bike course (among other things), and late last week, the Waterman's bike course changed. These changes take out one of the flatter sections to be replaced with a few extra climbs. The climbs aren't as steep as what I was expecting at Poconos, but the overall climbing number is about the same: 3669 feet. This means it's going to be relatively challenging to keep my HR where I want it on the bike. I've ridden parts of the course twice now, and I just don't feel like it's a fast course. It's no secret to anyone that I'm dying for a killer sub-3 bike split, but I'm not just not confident that this is the course where it will happen. The more important goal is again execution: to not sacrifice the run for a few extra minutes off the bike split like I did in the spring at Kinetic. At Kinetic I hammered hard the last 15 miles and had a great split - this time around I need to stay in a lower zone to be prepped for the run. My nutrition plan is solid and I hope to have no surprises there.
Goal: 3 hours 15 minutes
Run (13.1 miles)
The run is always the biggest unknown. 2+ weeks ago I ran a slow but perfectly-executed training run in 2:12. However, that wasn't after 3-4 hours of swimming and cycling. This is a 2-loop run course. I ran the better part of one loop this past weekend, and it is hilly and hard - almost 1300 feet of climbing and descending over the two loops. Again, the goal here is execution. I plan to run the first loop "stupid easy" to try and save something for the back loop. The last big climb is around mile 11, and if I have anything left after that, I'm going to try and hammer hard down to the finish. But I honestly have no idea what my legs can do at this point. I've been running well off the bike and it looks like the weather will be in my favor, but my training has been VERY different this cycle on the run and it leaves me grasping a bit at what I can expect to do. However, I am hoping to have a much better day than I did last spring at Kinetic (2:26, yes, it hurt quite a bit).
Goal: 2 hours 10 minutes
Nutrition Going InI think I've finally figured out how to use liquid-only nutrition and keep my pants clean. I've been practicing my nutrition strategy on the bike for months now and I'm hoping it will be second nature on Saturday. I've still had a little trouble with this on the run, but with the final tweaks I tested last weekend I am hoping to sail on through.
Nutrition Going Out
At Kinetic I peed in my wetsuit a few times, had no need to empty on the bike, and then made several dreadful porta-potty stops on the run. I still have not figured out how to pee either on my bike or on myself (note: this is not the worst thing) so I'll be ducking in a porta-potty or behind a bush if I have to. I almost ALWAYS have to pee when I get off the bike so I'm sure that will be in my first few miles somewhere.
Transition is largely going to depend on the weather. The swim-to-transition run is uphill and longer than a quarter-mile, so I'm going to expect my T1 time to be longer than usual, especially if I have to put on layers, gloves, etc. I feel like I've got this down to a science as long as my hands aren't shaking with cold.
What I'm Wearing
As of right now, the forecast calls for sunny and a high of 74º. If that happens, I'll be in my tri kit+wet suit for the swim, and then just strip the wetsuit and go for the rest of the day. I have a neoprene swim cap at the ready but I'm not expecting the water to be even close to cold enough to need it. I've already put toe covers on my cycling shoes and have both half-finger and full-finger gloves ready to go for the bike. I have a pretty sweet wind-and-waterproof cycling jacket that I can put on if it's really cold, otherwise I'll probably be wearing my arm warmers or a long-sleeve jersey on the bike. I'm kind of hoping it's warm enough to not need to mess with any of this. 65º is about my low threshold for being able to ride in a wet tri suit. When I rode the course this past weekend, it was 49º and windy on the bike, and I wore my kit plus arm warmers plus a long-sleeve top and full-finger gloves. I'm hoping it's not that cold next weekend because dealing with all that crap in T1 is a pain. For the run, I'll be happy in just my tri kit no matter how cold it is.
I'm going to write myself at least 35 reminders to put on ride glide, because it's the thing I'm most likely to forget and the thing most likely to ruin my day. I will get to the race site early enough to warm up in the water. I'm going to set my Garmin so the default screen is only showing my HR and elapsed time (for nutrition purposes), and I'm going to try really hard to not "check in" with my pace. I will not yell "motherfucker" at the wind because it makes my HR spike. I will change my socks in transition, if needed, to have dry socks on the run. I will think "glutes glutes glutes" on all the hills instead of complaining about them. If I have to walk to keep my HR down on those hills, I will (at least for the first lap). This is a pretty small race, and I'm prepared to spend most of the day alone. And no matter what happens, I will be happy to simply cross the finish line, because I know that I am far more healthy than I was when I slogged in last spring.
Any last-minute race day tips?