Ironman Texas is coming up Fast And Furious (Karen loves these movies and I think we are slated to see #6 soon) and I am behind on my monthly progress report. Let’s also toss in the fact that the email I got from Maria this week with the subject: Welcome To Build Phase leads me to believe that the monthly progress reports for Ironman Texas 2013 may not be as prompt as they were during the first two months. That email kinda scared me if I am being honest.
I had every reason to be scared as well when the Training Peaks email for today had the words: **If it doesn’t hurt, you aren’t pushing hard enough :) Well ok then. I knew I was walking, or swimming, into unchartered territory but I also knew that it was an opportunity for me to improve on my Ironman Texas swim of 1:36 from last year as well as the 1:30 swim from Ironman Arizona. Both times are by no means horrible, but can certainly be improved upon. During today’s swim session I nearly puked which tells me that I followed Maria’s advice and pushed hard enough.
This build phase comes with the knowledge that I will be going on a lot of solo rides to help build my mental strength. This is not a big deal as approximately 95% of my rides last year were all solo rides. The beginning of this year I chose to ride with faster cyclists to help improve my speed and break the monotony of riding alone. Now that I am going back to solo rides I am sort of excited to just let it all go out there with my own thoughts, speed and understanding of where my heart rate needs to be and not worry about keeping up with the group.
Since my last Ironman Texas progress report a lot of things have happened. I have raced 70.3 San Juan, Karen and I got the flu and now she has pneumonia, we also put our house up for sale, and I have been engaged in starting a project that I have been thinking about for the past two years. I would love to expand on the project for you but the timing is not right just yet. Once I have gathered more information and there is more to share I will be sure to let you know. Until then please hold tight and enjoy the rest of this post regarding my progress toward Ironman Texas 2013.
This was my Achilles heal last year and it reared its ugly head at Puerto Rico. I swam a 45 minute 1.2 mile race which is 4 minutes slower that last year. While this year was much choppier the real reason I was that much slower has to do with my sighting. I probably swam an extra 1/4 mile that day and that cost me time and energy. At first I was disappointed in my swim but once I got back in the pool I found that my stroke and ability to keep the paces I had before the race were still there and maybe a bit faster.
Maria will be putting some open water swims on the schedule so I can work on my sighting, but I will also try to improve my sighting in the pool. While not the same it will help in the long run. I believe that I can swim a faster pace than 1:36 for this years race. If I swim the goal of 1:15 than Ironman Texas 2013 will have been 21 minutes faster and that is a lifetime. For this month I would give myself a B in the swimming category because I am swimming faster but sighting has to be worked on. The Ironman Texas swim course is not a straight shot so sighting is going to be imperative.
I found myself enjoying the ride in Puerto Rico immensely even with keeping my HR higher than I have in the past. Our goal was to maintain a 145 heart rate and I was right there but the best part was that toward the end of the ride when the climbs re-surface I didn’t get worried or bothered by them. Last year I remember thinking that this was the worst possible place to have those climbs so over the course of the year I have improved my cycling. I told Maria in our bi-weekly chat that I felt like I could have sustained that effort for another 56 miles and that made me happy. I was not spent and was setup for a good run.
This year I finished San Juan in 2:51 which is 5 minutes slower than last year but felt much better and being that this was not the A race of the season puts me i a good position to break 6 hours at Ironman Texas. If I am able to ride a 5:40-5:50 for the 112 miles I will have knocked off 15 to 25 minutes off of my time. That is an eternity at the Ironman distance. For this past month I would give my cycling a B+ as I think I have done well but there is work still left to be done.
Oh, running how I have missed thee. Not really but the miles are not piling up the way they have in the past and that is deliberate. Our focus has been on swim and bike and I have seen positive gains there. That doesn’t mean I haven’t seen positive gains on the run though. This week after being recovered from San Juan I went out and ran a Z2 20 minutes off the bike and my pace was down near 9:00/mile. Typically at the HR I maintained I would have been near a 9:30/mi pace. That improvement tells me that I am more efficient on the bike and capable of putting forth a good effort on the run.
At San Juan I was able to execute the race plan of picking up my heart rate/pace over the course of the 13.1 miles and while I was tired at the end I was not fully spent as I was a year ago. I managed to come in only 2 minutes off my time from last year and was able to pick it up as the race went along. Last year I did not have that effort or plan and blew up half-way through the race and just wanted to end. Over the course of the last month I have seen improvement in my efficiency which leads me to believe that a sub-4 hour marathon is feasible at Ironman Texas. A 3:55 marathon will have shaved 15 minutes off my time from last year. Feeling strong to date I think my running has been on par and would say that I earned a B in this past month. Again, nothing to be ashamed of but also know that there are improvements to be made.
Ironman Texas Is In 50 Days
If somebody were to ask me today how I would do at Ironman Texas this year I would tell them that I could race and finish at or around the same time as my Ironman Arizona race which was 11:53. Knowing that I have 50 days to hone my skills and sharpen my ability gives me faith that the 11:15 goal that I have as a target is more than feasible. With a 25 minute improvement on the bike and a 15 minute improvement on the run and nothing else changing the end result would be 11:19 based on Ironman Texas last year or 11:13 based on Ironman Arizona.
My confidence in my ability continues to grow even as the muscles get more sore, the hunger pains grow sharper and my sleeps get more deep. The build phase is upon us and unlike build phases of the past I am fearful but excited simultaneously as I know these are pennies in the bank to the results I want at Ironman Texas. As John is fond of saying: stay in the moment. That means that when I am swimming that is my concern When I am cycling that is the only thing I need to think about and when I am running the only sound i my head is the pitter-patter of my feet.