Friday, July 16, 2010

IM Update

Today, the IM Racine Expo opened, as did packet pick-up. So the family and I stopped downtown right after it opened. Things were quiet early in the day today, there was no wait in line for my packet, my race chip works and everything went smoothly. I saw zero Pros walking around. Maybe tomorrow...

Racine Festival Park, site of the IM Expo:

Expo tent, where the IM schwagg was ( yeah I bought a few goodies!):

North Beach, where we will swim. They put out some small white course markers, man they are FAR out there. You see the small, old pier in the foreground? That's the entry point. We'll have to swim out past those boats in the center of the frame, and head up towards the pier you see in the distance. The exit point is way way down the beach, almost to the pier. GULP. Whoa boy...

My buddy and I swam this yesterday, it was nice and warm outside. Well, the air temp was warm, at least. The water temps for Lake Michigan were supposed to be in the low 70s, according to online maps. Yeah, let me tell ya. Once you got out from shore, you could feel the temps drop. We swam from this same pier in this pic to the far section of beach you see, way up in the right upper corner of the pic. Not quite to the pier, but within a couple hundred yards. Probably 2,000 yards or so, maybe slightly more, in around 40 minutes, which surprised me.

And what you can't see, there is some chop (yesterday was worse, with about 1-2 foot swells with a SW wind blowing at 15-20mph). So, I got a headache from the cold ass water, swallowed a bunch of water from the swells, coughed or burped up and puked a little in my mouth (yeah, I chugged a Coke literally right before we waded in and swam-smart, I know. Note to self-DO NOT slam a Coke on race morning right before the swim). OK, so I took a break, swam on my back for awhile, until the puking feeling went away. Then, I felt better and was able to get my stroke down fairly well. Oh, another thing about swimming in cold ass water-it's very hard to get your breathing right. It's hard to exhale under the cold water, so you force out the air as you're turning your head to take your next breath.

The wetsuit worked fine, it fits perfectly. Floats like a bobber (I don't even have to tread water with this suit!), it feels slicker and fast(er) in the water, not like I'm fast, but this can't hurt. If anything, it's too hot! Even in this cold ass Midwest Great Lakes water. I found myself feeling like I was heating up, so I opened up the neck seal and let some cold water rush in, which did the trick. This (hopefully) won't be an issue race day morning, like I said it was about 90 degrees when we swam this yesterday. It should be around 68-70 deg Far. in the AM on race day. Now, the updated forecast is calling for a high of 89 degrees and humid. Great, lets make the race just a little bit harder!

Let's see, what else. Race day nutrition, all set out:

IM Race numbers! WHoop WHoop!!

Race gear, set out all over the living room floor (and the wife doesn't even care!)

Tomorrow, what's on the agenda? Well, we have a race meeting at noon, which lasts about an hour. My buddy Ryan and I are attending, then it's off to grab his race packet, drop the bikes at the corral and hit the Expo one more time. Yeah, I will probably buy a few more bits of race schwagg. I got some, but WTH, they have some cool IM Racine 70.3 things, so why not?

Stay tuned, more pics of the IM bike corral and swim course tomorrow. Hopefully they have the BIG inflatable course markers out tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

New Race Gear.

Ok, the FedEx guy came this AM, and brought me a nice little box. What was in there???

My new Zoot Fuzion wetsuit! It's finally here, from I tried it on, whoop whoop, it fits too (although, it was a bit steamy on this 80 degree day!). I will admit, I was a little nervous about buying a wetsuit without trying several on. The sizing chart seems to be dead on from the website (thankfully). This particular model was on sale and had the best matched size for my frame and height. I did not have a Tri specific suit before this, only more scuba wetsuits from back in the jet ski days. I really did not want to swim 1.2 miles in one of those suits. So I liquidated some old bike parts (and got an advance on my birthday present) and here we are. Oh, the old scuba suits have since sold too, so there is some more money for the bike/racing account...

Also, check these out!

Not from Trisports, but from a local retailer, I was surprised to actually see them on the shelf (this was the last tinted pair, lucky me). I've seen a bunch of good write ups on these goggles, and liked them the second I tried them on. Great fit around my nose and eyes, super wide angle of view, nice dark tint lens, quick adjust straps and a decent price. Bingo, we have a winner! I'm heading to the pool tomorrow AM before work for a short swim, and will give them a try-I'm sure I will like them better than the dinky pair I have now.

Ok-I have some Body Glide, now I just need to pick up some Suit Juice from the scuba shop. Almost ready for race day. A trip to the grocery store by the end of the week is in order, I need to pick up a few things for my T1/T2 menu.

Also-I need to update my training #s for July. I got my last run in today-in the mid day heat again (mid 80s and sunny). Here are the #s:

A decent pace for the heat of the day, I didn't really push it much, just ran a nice easy pace and focused on keeping the HR in check.

Stay tuned for more updated on IM Racine 70.3 week. I will post some pics from our OWS on Thursday afternoon, then Friday from the IM expo!

Only 4 days to go!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

All about the numbers.

It's all about the numbers, the numbers, it's the numbers we all want, isn't it? When we talk about training, racing, running, riding, swimming, eating, drinking, working, most anything and everything we do in our lives each and every day, it's all about the numbers. And I've been thinking of numbers (or #s, if you will) a lot in the past few weeks.

For example, I thought about numbers today when I stopped at Woodman's Grocery after my post work swim. I was picking something up for dinner, and I was checking numbers on the food labels, looking at the calories, the carbs, the fat, the sugars. Really, I don't obsess with the numbers on foods, much of the time. I eat fairly healthy. I work out. I can't remember the last time I had fast food. I don't drink much soda (a small 8 ounce regular Coke is the bomb for post workout recoveries, however, and is my exception to this rule). I try not to drink too much beer.

I was looking for pizza dough, so I could make a homemade pizza tonight. But, we simply cannot find frozen or fresh pizza dough, at any of the grocery stores within roughly 20 miles of us. WTH? They used to sell three different brands right up the road at Pick N Save. I even called our local pizza haunt-Derango's the Pizza King-to see if they'd sell me a few pizza doughs. They wouldn't. Hmmpfh.

So I settled with Tilapia and turkey burgers, so we had a choice. We opted for the burgers. Tomorrow, baked Tilapia. And speaking of numbers, there must be a number of ways I can make homemade pizza dough. I need to find a recipe for this ASAP.

And more numbers I've been thinking of-the number of days left before IM Racine race day. Less than 7 days to go. And after my swim today, I was thinking of numbers again, as I drove around in search of pizza dough. My race buddy Bob asked me last week what kind of numbers I had in for the year, for biking, running, etc. I told him I had no idea.

So, I ran some numbers on my workouts, just to see what I've done to prepare for this long, strange trip to the land of IM 70.3. In looking back at the training logs, I started training for this 70.3 race about mid to late May (pathetically short, I know. It snuck up in me, and I procrastinated fiercely.). Here are the monthly #s:

0 swims
5 bike rides, 122.96 miles (only 3 on the TT bike)
4 runs, 16.76 miles
15,270 kcalories

10 swims, 11,300 yards
7 TT bike rides, 182.73 miles
11 runs, 52.61 miles
30,126 kcalories

JULY: **Updated 7/12/10**
3 swims, 4,750 yards
3 TT bike rides, 36.84 miles
3 runs, 22.5 miles
8,241 kcalories

**July 12th update**:

The TT ride today was simply awesome! I rode part of the IM course, for a total of 18.08 miles in 55min 30sec. I averaged 19.6mph, even with several stops for stop signs and traffic (this won't be a problem during the race-the LE officials hold up traffic for the racers at each intersection). My HR was kept in check, despite the good time, averaging 147 bpm, and 161 bpm max (on a small climb, of course!). My legs felt super, rested and strong. My aero position felt great, and I rode in aero for much of the ride (probably 75%). This was a bit faster and harder than I intended on riding, but I felt simply great. I also tried some new nutrition, Hammer Perpetuem, a powder you mix with water for fuel. No problems with this Hammer nutrition-it tasted fairly good (a little watered down, but better than too strong or too sweet), and I had no GI problems. I drank one small bottle of Perpetuem and one bottle of water, perfect amount. This was the best I've felt on my TT bike this year, and builds my confidence for the bike leg of the race!

I'm still waiting on that package from FedEx-it should be here tomorrow AM. But I did make a purchase today, kind of a matching item for the one I'm waiting on. I will post pics of both new "related items" when I get that package!!

So, there are the (updated) training numbers. My swim numbers are low, which is ridiculous, because this is the area where I needed the most work and improvement. Not to say I haven't improved in the swim-I have, big time. I can swim much faster than when I started flopping around the lane. I feel stronger in my shoulders, my chest, my abs. I can swim a 1.2 mile course now (did this today), whereas in May, I would have never been able to. Am I going to swim the course in sub 40 minutes, no. Will I finish, yeah, I think I will be OK.

The bike and the run, these are my stronger areas. I rode the entire IM bike course twice, and rode good chunks of it at least 10 other times. I know the course, and my TT bike is dialed in for me (finally). My run has been decent, going from slowing down after I got sick in the beginning of May, to picking my pace and learning to train in multi disciplines every week. I did a bunch of bricks, both swim/runs and bike/runs, and felt good doing it. My last long run was this past Wednesday, 10.5 miles in 1h 39m at about a 9:25 split. This was in the dead heat of the middle of the day, 11am to 12:36pm, with temps about 85 degrees and a heat index in the mid 90s. I felt good, with some left in the tank afterwards. I did this run at that time frame, deliberately. Why?

Well, IM Racine finally put out the swim wave times in the past few weeks. There are 19 waves, going from 7am to 8:20am, with a total number of racers at 2008 persons, per the IM site. Wow, this is a big race. That's not why I ran the long run in the heat of the day-I did this because my swim wave is at 8:16am, second to last to start. Well, this is good, and this is bad. The good-I won't have but one wave behind me, so there won't be a thousand of us in the water, swimming over each other and kicking each other in the face. The bad? Yeah, this means my bike leg will be finishing around noon, and my run will start just as the heat of the day is peaking. I looked at the extended forecast too, just to see. The weather gurus are forecasting a high of 86 degrees, mostly sunny and light SW winds, a low chance of rain. So, it's gonna be HOT! I feel ready for this now.

What's left for training and other misc activities? Well, I've started my taper. I've got a TT ride planned for tomorrow, maybe 20 miles, at an easier pace, just to spin out the legs one last time. Tuesday will be my last run, maybe a 4 to 5 miler at under race pace. More of a recovery run than anything. Wednesday, I will catch a pre-work swim. Thursday, my buddy from work (who is also a first time tri guy, doing this 70.3 for his first, albeit he is over ten years younger than me!) and I are doing an open water swim at North Beach in Lake Michigan, right where the race runs. Water temps have been good, surprisingly, from the mid 60s to about 70 from all this heat and lack of strong west winds. Got to love it-a hometown race advantage, being close to the race site is an advantage, right? Friday sees the official IM expo open, so we'll be heading down during the day for packet pick-up, maybe a little shopping for IM schwagg, and dinner at a little Italian place downtown with friends. Saturday, we have the race meeting at noon, and then bike check-in. Gear checking and packing/unpacking rituals will begin in the middle of the week. Check over all gear, pack it up. Unpack it. Repeat. I'm stocked up on Hammer gels, Powerade, Luna bars and Perpetuem fuel (also by Hammer, which I have switched to almost exclusively).

Speaking of shopping, I'm expecting a package from FedEx in the next day or two. I will post a quick pic once I get it-yeah, of course it's for the race! I will post some pics of the IM expo and race areas on Fri and Sat. My buddy is borrowing my DSLR to shoot race day pics on Sunday, so we'll have a ton of race photos too. I told him to get a pic of Craig Alexander and TJ Tollekson, they'll be eating and showering by the time I start my run, I bet!!

Thats about all I got for now. Stay tuned for updated race info as the week goes on! IM Racine 70.3 is getting close and I'm getting pumped!