Ironman Arizona is officially in the T-Minus single digit days. 9 days until the cannon goes off and I embark on my second Ironman race of this year. Leading up to taper week I was nothing but exhausted and hungry and just wanted to get the race over with. Now that I am in my taper (check out my taper tips here) I have been able to put my game face on as my body has been healing and getting plenty of rest while fine tuning the last bit of race prep. That last bit is nothing more than reminding my legs that there is a race coming up and they need to be prepared.
As with any race I reflect on the training and how well/poor it has gone before determining what my goals should be. I then toy with the idea of whether or not I want to let the world in on my thoughts. Is letting my goals out of the bag a way to set myself up for failure if I don’t reach them? Is it a way for me to gauge what I have done in training so that I can prepare for the next race? Is it a way for me to motivate myself when I am at Mile 100 of the bike or Mile 18 of the run? The answer is yes to all of these questions. I enjoy putting a goal out there for everybody to read because it gives me motivation to chase those numbers. Simultaneously it gives me the opportunity to gauge how well the training went and thus what needs to be tweaked for the next event, because there will be a next event.
Ironman Arizona presents a few intriguing scenarios for me. The first is that this swim will be wetsuit legal, where as Ironman Texas was not. The other scenario is that the bike is 3 loops of approximately 37 miles. IMTX was one large 112 mile loop and I enjoyed that immensely as the sites and the sounds were different throughout the race. Having 3 loops on the run at IMTX was great because I knew where I was the entire time and I am hoping the same holds true for the bike here at IMAZ. The run is 3 loops at IMAZ and I enjoyed that previously so hopefully I can enjoy that again this time around.
I swam IMTX in 1:36 without a wetsuit so I have that working for me. In addition to that I have been doing a minimum of a 1 mile swim, and the majority of the time a 2+ mile swim in the open water every Friday for the past two months. That has given me some terrific data to dissect and analyze and so I feel comfortable saying that my swim time will fall somewhere in the 1:25-1:28 range.
I have been swimming the 2+ miles in the range of 1:11-1:15 but you have to throw in water temp (currently holding at 68*) and about 2,000 of my closest friends. The one benefit I have going for me is that we are doing a counter-clockwise swim and I breathe to my left so finding the buoys shouldn’t be too difficult outside of the fact that we swim directly into the sun when we start.
For me this is where I should be able to make up some time as I am more familiar with my nutrition and what I need to get through the 112 miles. If you recall I consumed so much liquid on the bike at IMTX that I wound up throwing up twice. I have dialed in my nutrition and adjusted my bike to the point that I will have 2 water bottles filled with 440 calories each (880 total), 3 HoneyStingers (1 at the start and then every two hours – 480 calories) and 1 bottle of EFS Liquid Shot in the Kona-Mocha flavor (400 calories.) This will provide me with 1,760 calories and I will take water off the course every 10 miles or so to stay hydrated.
With a goal time of 5:50-5:55 (18.9mph – 19.2mph) I would have consumed just under 300 calories per hour and that should be more than enough to avoid any issues whether they be over-consuming or bonking. This goal time is just slightly faster than IMTX which I finished in 6:05 or 18.4 mph. The course at Arizona has an elevation gain of approximately 1500 feet while Texas was at 1600 feet. Very comparable.
This is where I think I have made the most improvement and the majority of that is mental. Going into Texas I was concerned about running the marathon and the pain and a lot of that had to do with the marathon I had endured at Las Vegas in December. I hurt a lot after the Las Vegas marathon and I think that was still on my mind when I was in The Woodlands. I ran a respectable 4:09 at Texas which is 20 minutes faster than my first marathon but was definitely not what I believe I am capable of.
I have knocked out 20 and 22 miles runs during this training cycle at an easy 9:00/mi pace. When I say easy I don’t mean that it was just something I did, but it was more of a pace that did not knock me over and did not make me feel as if I was going to pass out. I believe that my endurance and my mental capacity at this point can have me running a 3:50 marathon. If I cross the line anywhere between 3:50 and 3:55 I will be happy with that outcome. A 3:50 marathon is a 19 minute improvement and I have a much better plan than I did at Texas.
My plan is to walk for 10 seconds at every other aid station starting at Mile 2. This will cut down on the time I spend walking which I did quite a bit of at Texas. I also plan to not carry a hand-held water bottle and instead take water off the course. That handheld felt like an anchor when I was on the 2nd loop and wanted to throw it in the garbage. This time I will have a flask of EFS Liquid Shot in my shorts pocket along with 2 HoneyStingers in my jersey top. That will provide me with 720 calories and just under 240 calories per hour.
When I tally up all these times I am looking at a finish time of: 11:05-11:18 then throw in 10 minutes of transition and the final goal time is 11:15-11:28
I cannot tell you how ecstatic I would be with that time but even more so if it is 11:18. The race is on November 18th (11/18) and my father’s birthday is November 18th. If I am near the finish line around 11:15 I will wait and cross at 11:18 in honor of my Dad.
I will be sporting bib #1572 if you care to spend some time on Ironman.com tracking my progress through the dessert. Of course, as Karen Whitlock pointed out 1572 is a 12 surrounded by another 12 (5+7) and that just happens to be my birthday as well (12/12.) As some might say…..that’s a whole lotta karma.
So there you have it folks. Thanks for reading and if you are racing IMAZ or plan to be out there let me know so we can try to get together.