Ironman Is About Problem Solving

[caption id="attachment_2682" align="aligncenter" width="337" caption="Source: blog29daysto.com"][/caption] I recently read that an Ironman event, and I would say Half-Ironman event, is about problem solving.  I wish I could remember where it was I read that but today it really hit home. Before I tell you about what happened to me today I will go into the fact that I have been thinking about this just about every time I go into a training session.  The reason I believe in this whole-heartedly is that the age grouper will be out on the course anywhere from 11.5 hours to 16h59m59s.  That is a lot of time for things to go wrong and how you react to that is what will determine how your day unfolds.  Let's also not forget that those hours are during the race, but the athlete is waking up at 3am and preparing that morning before the race starts.  That means that if you finish in 11.5 hours that the entire day took 15.5 hours, and if you use the entire 17 hours then the day will have taken you 21 hours. If you don't approach this type of event with the right mindset then you are going to think that those hours are double that.  You will not be able to prepare for everything that could happen but being ready to tackle those issues is going to make the day fun for you.  A racer cannot forget about nutrition and hydration, nor can they ignore their tubes and CO2 cartridges.  Let's not forget that you need cycling shoes, helmet, sunglasses, running shoes, visor/hat, race bib....I think you know where I am going with this. So here is how I problem solved this morning and kept my heart rate down and wound up with one of the best rides to date.  I decided that I wanted to start riding by 630am for my 2 hour 45 minute ride and 30 minute run.  This would get me back home 11am at the very latest.  I would be able to nap and relax and enjoy the day by doing this. I drove to Oak Grove Park where I have been starting my ride for the past two months.  I unloaded my bike, nutrition/hydration, helmet on, sunglasses on and off I go at 639a.  Perfect timing and I am feeling great.  About 25 pedal strokes into it I hear this noise coming from my back tire.  I just had a new tire put on so I immediately thought....are you kidding me?  I touch the tire and realize it's flat.  Not a problem as I have a pump in the car.  Turn around and head back, pump up the tire and let's go. I go about 2.5 miles and the noise shows up again.  My mind immediately goes straight to anger.  How can this be?  I turn around and ride on my rim essentially back to my car.  I pack up the car thinking I am just going home to get on the trainer.  It then hits me that there is a local bike shop right around the corner.  As I pull into the parking lot I notice that the shop is pitch black.  I check out the times and it opens at 10am.  It is now 7:15am.  Not happening. [caption id="attachment_2683" align="alignleft" width="193" caption="I was wishing I had an easy button at this point."][/caption] I drive home and on the way there I begin problem solving.  I figure I can use the trainer, but then realize I did not buy a cheap wheel the other day so onto the next solution.  I think I can go to the gym and if I keep my heart rate between 135-155 then it doesn't matter where I am since I am riding for 2 hours 45 minutes and need to stay in Z2-Z3.  When I get home I retrieve my road cycling shoes and then I realize I have tubes in the closet.  Of course I did not have one on my bike because I had recently used it (lesson learned.) I remove the back tire, replace the tube, pump it up and it seems to be holding.  Load up the bike and back in the car back to Grapevine, which by the way is about a 15-20 minute drive for me.  I drive up on a couple of riders and one is behind me.  The person behind me follows me all the way to where I park my car and when I get out he asks me about the Dallas Athletes Racing Team and if I am a part of it. I tell him no and that I don't know where they meet, but he is more than welcome to join me on my ride.  He quickly thanks me and says that he will ride with me for about 15-20 miles and then turn around.  I am happy to have a partner on my ride and we turned in an uneventful (which is a good thing) 2 hour 45 minute ride that covered 46+ miles and averages 17.2 mph.  He decided that the ride was so much fun that he would stick with me the entire ride.  Not sure as we kept climbing and climbing (about 1600 ft total of climbing) that he was still happy to be riding with me. During the ride I solved another issue I had been having.  If you recall my race report from CapTexTri I had major issues getting fluid through my SpeedFil.  It did not matter how hard I sucked there was no liquid coming through my tube.  This ride started out no different.  I was cruising along and about 15 minutes into the ride it was time to hydrate.  I sucked and nothing.  I did not get frustrated though because I was not going to let anything bother me on this ride.  I looked and noticed that the valve looked 'small' and I pulled it out with my teeth.  With that move the Accelerade started flowing and I had hydration the entire ride and began teaching myself to keep taking in liquids throughout the ride.  This is a lesson that I am learning as well as I drank about 5oz of liquid during my half-ironman race in California and could really feel the dehydration setting in during the run. At the end of the ride we exchanged phone numbers and I now have a person to ride with and I would be happy to have him ride with me again.  He typically averages 24 mph in a sprint race, he is going to Nationals in August and these will help me develop bike speed the same way I got faster by swimming with Greg. I ran into a number of different problems in this ride and by staying within myself I solved these issues and turned in a glorious easy/moderate ride.  My HR stayed low and my speed was decent for this HR Zone and I can attribute it to the fact that I kept myself level headed. Tomorrow I will post about exercises and lessons that I have recently come across to help you stay focused when issues arise.

Do You Let Problems/Issues Ruin Your Day?

What was the last problem you came across and how did you handle it?

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Jason Bahamundi

About the Author:

I grew up in New York and lived there for 34 years until I got divorced and moved 1600 miles to my new home in Texas.  I love New York and miss it but that does not mean that Texas hasn’t been great to me because it has.  It was here that I discovered endurance sports and specifically the sport of triathlon.  Triathlon has given me new life through all the challenges it presents.  I no longer look at life the same way and I can say that is in part due to my endeavor into this sport.

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