Part two of my Cedar Point Race Report/Experience. I left the Bike out and will post that next. It’s been a busy couple of weeks catching up on life! Hope you enjoy and thanks for reading.
MORNING OF THE RACE
Race morning’s always go by so quickly, and this one was no different. I actually slept pretty well the night before the race. I found that taking two Ibuprofen PM the night before a race helps me sleep well, and takes away any left over inflammation I may have. Since we were staying at Hotel Breakers, which was literally 300 yards from the swim start, I was able to set the alarm a little bit later than usual… Alarm went off at 4:45am and the nerves started right away. I woke up, took one last glance at my race plan and started through the motions. Breakfast consisted of oatmeal, 2 pieces of whole wheat cinnamon raisin toast with Brummel & Brown butter (this stuff rocks), a bottle of Cytomax and a Larabar (which I ate on the way to transition).
My better half’s dad stopped by and drove me over to transition (was great to have such an awesome support crew there with me all day!). Once we got to transition, I made my way over and dropped off my special needs bags, hung up my transition bags, and went over to pump up my bike tires/load my bottles on the bike.
I must say that once I got into the transition area, my nerves subsided. It’s remarkable how we process feelings. If we’ve done the work, deep down we know we are ready for any challenge that we face. This was no different. I felt ready. Calm. Collected. Ready.
I’ve read a ton of other race reports, and feel the need to share a couple additional details that helped make the overall experience what it was… these are the things that go unnoticed by so many, but they are the ones that you remember. The morning music selection was awesome… as I walked up to the event I heard the subtle tones and steady beats of Death Cab for Cutie (I Will Possess Your Heart)… perfect, calming, serious, and yet mission-oriented. The next song up, and the one I heard on the way out of transition was AWOLNATION (Sail)… for me, I couldn’t have asked for two better tracks to start the day. Great job to @SeanEnglishLive. Well done amigo!
After taking care of everything I needed to do in transition I headed back to the hotel room to get my wetsuit on, have a couple more sips of water/cytomax and then head out to the swim start. It was a simply gorgeous morning and you could definitely feel the seriousness in the air of all the athletes preparing for the day ahead. Though, the most overpowering feeling came from the realization that we were doing this on a day that would always be remembered… the 10 year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
The Rev3 crew surprised everyone and put out a very nice tribute on the beach - 1 flag for each of the lives lost on that day, 10 years ago.
Pic: 9/11 tribute. Photo - Rev3 & Eric Wynn
Pic: Dawn rising, watching the pro men swim start & staying warm.
Before I knew it, it was time to watch the pros go off. I didn’t get a chance to do a warm-up swim, but wasn’t bothered by this at all. I figured I had 2.4 miles to start warming up, then 112 to get warmed up for the marathon at the end of the day.
As I made my way to the swim start, there was a brief moment of nervousness that started to creep in. After all, this was what I had been training for all year, and preparing for mentally for a lot longer. The time was here to start a day that would be my first 140.6 triathlon. As the nerves rose, I remembered something that helped calm me down a ton… just two weeks prior I went out and finished an Olympic Triathlon swim extremely strong with no wetsuit! I kind of chuckled, smiled, got ready, focused and made my way to the front of the pack.
Pic: My starting point in the front, middle/left of the pack for the swim.
Pic: Gun went off, and the sludge trudge began.
As I hit the sludge, I looked right, looked left and reminded myself to take in every moment of the day. ”Stay in the moment, enjoy the experience,” I repeated over and over. Then the race really began as I started dolphin diving about 100 yards into Lake Erie. At this point I was feeling good and started right in to my plan to swim strong for the first 300 yards and hold my ground. My first lesson learned came shortly thereafter. It was awfully hard to hold my ground when I was on the left side of the pack with people pushing me further out from the buoys as they tried to get out of the chaos of the front pack. Lesson learned, next time I’ll be on the right side of the pack and look for fast feet to hold out of the gate.
Generally speaking, the swim was pretty good. The course was two loops in a triangle fashion with the first bringing you back to the start and the second taking you right in towards transition. I settled in to a solid rhythm as we hit the first turn buoy and finally found myself towards the inside line. I knew that I had lost the faster feet at the front of the pack at this point, so just settled in to my own comfortable pace and decided I would start to push harder after the first lap. As I made my way in towards the beach on the first loop, I went to look at my watch to see how my pace was holding only to find out that somewhere along the way it had been kicked and stopped at 16 minutes. Oh well, not much to be done other than hit start again and get back at it.
By the second loop I found a couple of other folks that were starting to push the pace and pass people - so I hopped on a train of about 3 people all the way to the last turn buoy. At this point, I felt like we were slowing a little bit too much for my liking and pulled around them and pushed the pace to the beach. It was such a great feeling knowing that all the hard work and training had payed off to the point that I could lift my pace for the last 1,000 and feel great doing it.
With about 300 to go I stuck with my plan and eased my pace to start lowering my heart rate and increased my kick slightly to get blood flowing into my legs. It worked like a charm! I hit the sand with a smile and a heart rate in high zone 1. Score!
Pic: Exiting the swim - happy and feeling great.
Pic: Out of the water, wetsuit coming off and heading into T1.
Pic: Walking through T1 to my bike rack - maybe I should have picked it up a little!
Pic: The cone-head helmet crew in T1 - we triathletes are an odd breed.
I felt great getting out of the water and was heading up the beach towards the wetsuit strippers. Saw two guys on the left side that looked like they knew what they were doing, headed there way and was on my way in 10 seconds. Perfect! Found my bag right away and headed to the changing tent. Empty seat right by the exit and I had a great volunteer who put everything back in my bag I didn’t need. Again, bonus! I took my time, made sure I had everything in my pockets I needed and headed out of the tent. Part of my race plan was to walk through T1 and force myself to keep my heart rate down. With a 6 plus min transition, I definitely accomplished that… :) It worked, and I was below where I wanted to be heading out of T1.
Up Next: the Bike & Run - this is where it starts to get interesting!
So, it’s been about three weeks since I finished my first 140.6 triathlon, and honestly, I think it’s taken that much time to soak it all in. Before I get too much further into the race report, I want to stop for a moment and thank everyone who supported me and TEAM FIGHT. Without your support, I could not have accomplished the biggest goal of it all… to raise over $1,500 for the Ulman Cancer Fund. We did it and the totals are still coming in as some folks mailed checks, but it looks like we’ll be close to $2k for this round!
As humans, we go through life setting and completing goals. Ever since I was young, I was intrigued by the sport of triathlon and especially the 140.6 Ironman distance. For me, completing my first triathlon at this distance will always stick with me for a variety of reasons, but mostly, because it was the culmination of years of preparation and it really could not have gone much better. Without further ado, here’s the race report.
As you’d expect - it’s a bit long, so I will be breaking it up into 3 parts (Travel & Pre-race, Morning & Swim, Bike & Run). Here’s part 1 hope you enjoy!
TRAVELING TO CEDAR POINT
946 miles is just over 6.5 times the distance of a Full Rev triathlon and yet, in a car it took us only a couple hours more than it did for me to finish 140.6 miles under my own power… imagine if we still relied oh human and horsepower for our transportation! Geez!
We had a great road trip up and broke it into two separate days of traveling so that we arrived the Friday before the race with enough time to drive the bike course, check in to the hotel, complete athlete check-in and cruise around the expo for a little bit before settling in for the evening.
Overall, the trip was pretty uneventful and we saw some sites (neat, interesting, awesome, and weird). Not limited to, but including the NFL Football Hall of Fame, a giant power generator that looked like some upside down train engine from the future (picture below for your viewing pleasure), coal mines in West Virginia, great wildlife and so much more.
PIC: Some sort of futuristic, upside-down, power generating device.
One thing I will say about the trip, is we were thankful to borrow this behemoth vehicle that easily fit everything a triathlete and support crew could ever want. We took all the necessities - microwave, toaster, multiple clothing bags, tri bag, bike, trainer, wheel sets, a cooler packed with goodies for the road and meals for the race, fruit - you name it, we had it. Could you say we were overly prepared, probably. Was it a little bit less stressful knowing that anything we wanted from the comforts of home (especially nutrition wise) was at our fingertips, definitely.
PIC: Everything a triathlete and support crew could want!
I was a little nervous from being in the Rover for so long and having my legs feel pretty stiff by day two. We were really ready to get to Hotel Breakers (the host hotel for the race), but I thought it would be good to drive the bike course on the way in - namely because “flat” is a relative term to describe bike courses. I was so glad that we took the time to drive the course Friday on the way in though. It was gorgeous! So different from the monotonous training routes that I did my longest rides on. Small rolling hills that you could ride through, shady parts, a couple little downhill sections with one longer portion, and loads of corn fields!
After a day and a half of being in the Rover, we were definitely ready to be out of it and happy to get to Cedar Point!
PIC: Hello Cedar Point!
After arriving and getting settled into our hotel room we went right over to the transition area for athlete check-in. It was great! The volunteers were so friendly and seemed genuinely excited to be part of the experience for the athletes, a theme that continued throughout the race. The first stop was to get my arm band (#92) then on to the next stop where I was weighed in (they do this as a precaution for medical reasons to get a starting weight), next up was the photo booth and then on to get my timing chip. It was such a cool touch to take a fun, personalized photo with me and my better half that went up on the big screen when I crossed the finish line!
Once we finished with athlete check-in, we cruised around the expo to check out all the goods and then headed back to the room to get some dinner and rest.
SATURDAY BEFORE THE RACE
Waking up Saturday morning the mood was positive, focused, and celebratory. After 5 months of challenging training, life’s ups and downs, the realization that I was 24 hours out from the start of my first 140.6 triathlon began to set in. As I got up to go through the motions, I began to think about the advice that a few seasoned-triathletes who have qualified for Kona multiple times told me… “Enjoy every moment of this experience. Appreciate the fact that you are healthy enough to complete an event of this distance. Have fun. Stay positive.” So, that’s just what I did.
The morning started with my normal pre-race breakfast and then I focused on getting through my pre-race workouts quickly so that I had some time to enjoy the afternoon and not feel too rushed at any point of the day.
Saturday Morning Swim: 700 yards, easy with 3-4 race pace efforts; focused on sighting, technique and comfort in the lake.
The lake was fairly calm, but very murky. The swim felt pretty good with two minor exceptions. The first was that when you got in the lake there was nearly 100 yards of this thick sludge (who knows what it was, but I’m still alive with no degenerating limbs - so it couldn’t have been too toxic). The second was the cooler water temperature. Us Floridians get cold when the temperature drops and I am no exception to this rule. Luckily, after about 5 minutes in the water I warmed up and the fear of having a cold water induced “ice-cream headache” on race morning subsided quickly thereafter.
PIC: Trudging through the sludge.
PIC: The scene on the beach Saturday morning was awesome.
Saturday Morning Bike: 11 miles (give or take) at about 18mph average. I had 3 goals for this ride. First, make sure that everything was okay on the bike (gears, etc.). Second, ride the start/finish of the bike course down the rough road along the coast of Lake Erie to get a feel for how it would be on the way out and back. Third, and most important, loosen up the legs a little bit with 3-4 race efforts for 90 seconds each.
The bike ride went great on all accounts! I learned that the road was rougher than I thought, but holding a bigger gear would be the best way to get through it. Additionally, it would be important to check my back bottles after getting through the section on the bike as I saw a couple people lose them just during this ride. It felt great to get the legs warmed up and I had to hold myself back a couple of times from going too hard… a great place to be!
Saturday Morning Brick Run: an easy 2 miles right off the bike at around a 11 min average pace with 3 pickups for 90 seconds at approx 8:30 pace with full recovery in between and a couple steady race efforts at 9:30-9:40 pace.
Throughout the run I felt focused, and happy. How could one not be when all things are firing in sync! Not much else to say about this one.
After the run I headed back to the room, showered, ate some lunch (orzo with lean turkey) and kept hydrating with Hammer HEED & Cytosport. Lunch done, it was off to the Athlete meeting and bike check.
The REV3 crew did a great job with the athlete meeting. They provided a full update regarding last minute bike course changes and answered all sorts of questions. The bike course had to be changed due to construction on part of the it, which was promised to be finished by race day - but wasn’t, the REV3 team had to make a few last minute adjustments. Normally, this wouldn’t be a big issue, but heading out of Sandusky, OH towards the country there are lots of things to deal with - namely railroad crossings. The local police, officials, and race director were able to find a route that was not impacted by any such obstacle.
PIC: Athlete meeting Saturday before the race.
PIC: Racking the trusty steed. Loved these racks - so much nicer than the normal “A-frame” style racks.
PIC: Nice touches from the REV3 folks - personalized name plates.
PIC: Bike racked, wrapped, and ready to spend the night! Note: I find that 3 Target bags work perfect to wrap the bike - two on the front bars and one tied on the seat.
PIC: View of transition area from my bike rack location.
After getting my bike racked, I walked through transition as a practice for race day - exiting the water, grabbing my bag off the peg board (I scored a great location right at the end of the first rack), through the transition tent, back to my bike and then through Bike Out. It’s always good to do a quick walk-through to help visualize the motions.
Once that was done it was back to the hotel room to settle in for the afternoon which consisted of double checking my special needs bags (then setting them aside so I didn’t keep checking them), keeping my nutrition and hydration plan on point, and relaxing.
Last solid meal was at 4:30pm and lights out by 8:30pm.
Next up - Race Morning & the Swim!
Thanks for reading!
If you’ve been following this blog since the beginning, you know that I have been using Joe Friel’s book as a guideline. I’ll give a full review of it in another post, after the race, but one of the key component’s that he talks about is writing out your race plan after your last Peak Week workout on Sunday. So, yesterday, in between getting some things done that have been neglected over the past couple of months due to long training weeks, I outlined my race plan for Rev3 Cedar Point - Full Rev next Sunday.
Warning - it’s a bit long, and overly detailed. Originally, I wasn’t going to post it, however, I know reading others has helped me and maybe this will help someone else prepare. Someone who may be going through the same thoughts/feelings as they get closer to their first iron-distance triathlon.
I found that taking the time to sit and write this out literally put me into a different mental state that has stayed with me. Like most new things, one must experience the process to fully understand the feelings associated. Bottom line - it helps. Ironman triathlons are as much a mental effort as a physical one. I believe this level of detail will help when my mind gets tired.
Some of the Race-day morning schedule may change as I haven’t seen the course yet and don’t know the distance to/from transition areas, etc. Other than that… this is it in its fullest. Note: all time goals are based on training estimates and “decent” weather conditions.
RACE DAY PLANOverall Race Keys for Success:
Swim: 1:13 - 1:18
Transition 1: 4min - 5min; (Walk through transition; Relax)
Bike: 5:45 - 6:05
Transition 2: 3:30 - 5min (Slow jog off bike, Relax through transition)
Run: 4:25 - 4:35
Swim Keys for Success:
So - with that, I’m signing off and getting ready for the week ahead.
PS - please consider a small donation to TEAM FIGHT. We’re still closing in on our goal!
Thank you for reading, and supporting TEAM FIGHT. Please consider a small donation to help support young adults affected by cancer. As little as $5 will help get us to our goal! Less than a month left to get there!
Big Day Number 2 - In the books!
In summary, this one was better than the last, but still short of what I would have liked to accomplish. I am now left somewhere in between feeling ready to go for my first iron-distance race and wondering if I have enough training time under my belt. The tough part is knowing that I don’t believe I can train much harder during the next week or two without negatively impacting my performance as I need to let my body absorb all the training it’s been through as well as shed the fatigue.
Big Day Swim Recap: 2,300 meters; 41:01 total time
So, a couple of changes from the last big day swim. First and foremost, was not allowing myself to overheat due to the wetsuit. I accepted the fact that if it was too hot, I would come in, drop the wetsuit, and keep swimming. Luckily, the water temperature wasn’t boiling warm like last time - cool enough that I felt okay to swim in a wetsuit. The second change was that I wasn’t going to push the pace nearly as hard as last time and see how I felt afterwards.
The day started off as an absolutely wonderful morning, couldn’t have asked for better ocean conditions.
I headed out into the ocean and was feeling calm. Started my watch on the way in the water, as I will on race day. Dolphin dove out a little ways and then started swimming. I was moving along and felt good.
How could you not enjoy a morning like this? That’s me, cruising along in the ocean.
And then, out of nowhere, about 10 minutes in to the swim I got smacked in the face by a jellyfish! Slimy, stinging, and completely unpleasant. I wiped it off my face as fast as I could, but it still got the best of me and left some unpleasant small welts as a parting gift. I was startled to say the least and headed right to shore with my head above water.
My support crew was there, concerned, wondering what the heck happened. All she saw was me thrashing around in the water on an isolated stretch of the ocean - not a good thing to see happen. The pain was bearable and didn’t seem to be getting any worse, but I really didn’t want to have that happen again - so, we headed off to the backup swim location and jumped right back in the community pool.
While I didn’t get the full swim in that I wanted, due to time, I was still able to get in a solid swim and felt great (besides the jellyfish sting) getting out of the water. Even though I felt good, I still forced myself to take in two bottles of hydration before the bike and eat a light breakfast - very similar to what I’ll have after getting on the bike during Rev 3 Cedar Point.
Big Day #2 Bike Recap: 88 miles, 20.6 mph - Tired of Florida Heat!
Definitely felt better getting on the bike this time - not nearly as fuzzy headed or fatigued as the last Big Day. The fact that I was feeling good, the weather wasn’t too hot yet, and that I was able to get a pair of Zipp 808 Firecrest Wheels from my local bike shop, Champion Cycling, to test out the bike setup for race day helped a lot.
I cruised along to a first loop average of over 21mph. I was flying (for me) and felt great! Heart rate was steady in the lower portion of zone two and nutrition plan was going well. I was pushing a little bit harder than I normally do, but not by much and to compensate for it, I increased both my caloric intake (slightly) and hydration as well as electrolytes.
I hit the mid-way point took on some more water bottles, swapped out my nutrition with a new bottle of Perpetuem, and took off again. After I stopped, I knew that the temperature was getting pretty hot and humidity was through the roof. It was now entering the hottest part of the day and I was beginning to feel the effects of the heat… it’s almost indescribable. It just persists and persists… relentless really. At first, you feel like the weather is getting warmer, then your mind accepts how hot it is outside. Any exposed skin begins to feel like it’s slowly cooking. If I’m honest, I’m really looking forward to Cedar Point not being 100 plus degree heat index! :)
The next 10 miles ticked by and I dialed back the effort a little bit. When my awesome support crew came along, she said I looked a little wiped out - more so than normal, so we stopped and talked for a bit. I was pretty beat up when I stopped and realized that I needed to cool off a little bit, so I took a short break in the car with the ac on and took in some more fluids. After the break finished, we noticed the time and I decided that it would be best to cut the bike a little bit short so that I could focus on my run in the afternoon… I really wanted to have a good run.
She departed, I headed south for another couple of miles and then turned around to head back to base camp for the day. As soon as I did, I was kind of angry with myself for not doing the full 5-hours/100 miles that I had planned. So with that, I decided to slowly increase my effort and then ride the last 5-10 miles at LTHR to get in some good muscular endurance work. I started to cruise along and finally pushed hard… I was amazed! I was holding 24mph plus with heart rate below my LTHR and it was still hot out! Came into base camp and had found the positive vibes again. I needed that last hard effort to overcome the mental negativity that was starting to creep in.
All in all - very happy with this bike effort and hope that I am able to put something similar together on race day.
Big Day Run Recap: 10.79 miles, 1:45 time @ 9:45/mile pace
As I wrapped up the bike a little bit later than I had wanted, the afternoon run didn’t get started until about 5:30pm. This actually worked out great, as there were some massive thunderstorms that came rolling through the area in the afternoon.
It was time to get the last bit of training in for the day - so, my better-half and support crew and her dad (who are both training for the Disney Marathon in January) headed out with me for the run. Within the first 500 yards I knew it was going to be a good run. Normally, I run my long runs in my K-Swiss Blade Light Run shoes, but this time I decided to run in my Newton Distancias. The combination of a lighter shoe along with my legs feeling surprisingly fresh helped me cruise through the first couple of miles at a sub 9:30 pace and low heart rate, which for me was awesome.
I decided about 20 minutes into the run that I was going to try and hold that pace and only walk for about 15-30 seconds every 10 minutes or so to drink water at “aid stations.” It worked, and I felt like I had more in me - which is always a good thing at the end of a long day and long three weeks of training! I also decided to try drinking Coke during the last 30 minutes of the run to see how it would work for me… mixed with water, worked great. I felt more alert, quickly, and was able to push through the last 30 minutes at a faster pace.
I ended the day with a 15 minute cool down walk through the neighborhood and after washing up a bit, a giant turkey sub along with some Recoverite.
Big Day Recap Totals:
I’m happy with the progress from the first Big Day 1 month ago. I believe that my training during the last 3 weeks and mental preparation helped a lot. There are now only 26 days… wait… whaaaaat?! 26 days! That’s it! 26 days until Rev 3 Cedar Point - Full Rev. As this post goes out today, I feel ready and will do my best to keep that outlook through to race day.
As always - thanks for reading, and supporting TEAM FIGHT. As little as $5 will help get us to our goal! Less than a month left to get there!
Thank you for reading, and supporting TEAM FIGHT. Please consider a small donation to help support young adults affected by cancer. As little as $5 will help get us to our goal!
So, the biggest training week I have ever completed is in the books and I’m already wondering if it’s enough. In the world of triathlon most follow a periodization training program where you first go through multiple base periods to build a foundation layer, then build your fitness before peak training for your “A” race.
With this approach, and in following Joe Friel’s plan fairly closely, last week was over 220 miles and nearly 20 hours of training. This “biggest week ever” is kind of surreal to me now, as it was immediately preceded by what is now my second biggest week ever at just over 200 miles of training. Even more amusing is that I’ll have my biggest day ever in training this coming Saturday (my second big day - feeling that this will go better than last time)… seems to be a lot of personal records to break in a few short weeks, but overall I know that this is what I need to do in order to get myself physically and mentally prepared for the Rev 3 Cedar Point 140.6 triathlon that is now just over a month away.
This past weekend was also my biggest weekend of training that I’ve ever done (not just in this training program, but ever)! It was a killer and deserves a little bit of blog space for others reading that may go through the same thing in the future.
Saturday consisted of an 18 mile run followed by a 2 plus mile swim at the UNF Aquatic Center. The run went pretty well. I was happy with the overall pacing, how I felt, and the fact that I made it through feeling as if I could have gone another 8 miles if I needed to. With that said, I did learn/remember a few things along the way… after 15 miles my legs hurt.
I also tried out a new nutrition items for my run. Normally, I have been going with Hammer Gel, but I have read and heard such good things about EFS that I wanted to try it out in training. For me, I found that the Vanilla EFS Liquid Shot is a bit too sweet for my liking taste-wise, but the nutrition seemed to sit with me well and worked for the entirety of the run. I don’t know if this is what I’m going to use for race day or not just yet, but I’ll have to make that decision soon. Funny how having choices is a blessing and curse. There are a lot of studies surrounding that in the psychology and marketing world… but I digress. It’s good to know that I have two options that will work for me come race day. At this point, I’m leaning towards the EFS, even with the taste, just because I had a good solid run with it and may need that mental recall on race day.
After wrapping up the run, I headed home, took a quick break, ate some food and rested for a little bit and then hit the pool at UNF’s Aquatic Center.
The swim was also a tough one as well, but I was determined to get through the full set. Here’s a break down of the workout (all distances are in yards):
6x50 Descending Times
4x300 ME (4:25, 4:24, 4:26, 4:27)
1500 Aerobic between 1:50-2:00/100 pace
10x25 Fast Technique with Full Recovery
100 Cool Down
The longest ride of training was scheduled for Sunday morning. I was wiped out after the past two weeks and fatigue began to have an impact. Normally, I’m up between 4:45 and 5am on Sunday morning’s to get nutrition in the system and try and beat the heat. This Sunday I got up around 5:15, and really got moving around 5:30am. 45 minutes may not seem like a lot, but it turns out to be the difference of about 8 degrees in temperature and nearly 12 in heat index.
I made it out to the bike, started the ride and was determined to at least get a good first loop in. Mentally, I had already given myself an out of going back home if it was getting too hot out or too windy or… fill in the blank with any other “reason.” I hit the first turnaround point in Vilano Beach averaging just about 20mph, which for me is pretty fast with a good, low heart rate. I headed back north and struggled a bit mentally, but felt pretty good overall. As I was about half way back up it was like someone turned on a giant fan… the wind kicked up in a nasty fashion - cross-headwind. It felt like it was coming out of every direction. Couple that with the heat ramping up and I was battling to just keep going. This time, it was a mental battle as physically I felt strong.
As I turned the corner onto Ponte Vedra Boulevard, there was another cyclist on a TT bike. I let him pass and then realized that he wasn’t going that much faster than me. I rode about 10 yards behind him for 5 minutes and then decided to pull up alongside. Normally, I train alone so it was enjoyable to have someone else in the vicinity holding a similar pace. We chatted and rode together for about 5 miles holding a solid 22-23 mph into the wind and side by side (no drafting). I looked down and my heart rate was still in zone 2! Couldn’t believe it. I was ecstatic to know that I could push a little harder than I normally do and hold the pace.
After he turned off, I headed back to the car and was in a weird place mentally. It was windy, hot, humid, and I was solo on my ride again. I decided to head home and figured that I would at least get another couple hours in on the trainer to make it to 100 miles for the day.
Once I got home, I forced myself to get on the trainer pretty quickly and start getting the miles in/holding a good pace and heart rate. As the miles ticked by I watched a few Ironman replays and thought about how I had talked myself into “giving up” on the day a number of times. Mentally, I allowed myself to take the easy route - head home… only go 100 miles or 5 hours instead of the 6 hours I had planned. I was mad and realized that this was my last shot at hitting the 6 hour mark… I pushed through.
About 2 hours into the session on the trainer (I have a Blackburn Ultra Trainer - which I think I’ll be changing out this winter), it started to seize up. I was more than frustrated at this point. I was tired. My legs hurt, I just wanted to finish my ride… and it wouldn’t let me. I took a short break, refilled my water bottles and got back on the bike. This time it worked. Well, it worked for at least another 40 minutes and then seized up again. The second time, I was about to throw in the towel and call it a day. It’s amazing what little things will do to the mind when you are at your limit. Somehow, I gave it another 2 minutes and it seemed to correct itself. That moment was the moment I knew I was going to finish the workout and head out for a run afterwards as well.
The day had thrown new obstacles at me that I’d never experienced with that state of fatigue (mental and physical), but I was able to push through. I have a feeling that this will be huge for me on race day.
Overall, I’m feeling more fatigued than I would like to be right now, but I’ve only got a week of tough training left prior to my next rest/test week and then my final long ride/run before Peak and Race Prep.
I can’t believe that the Full Rev is this close.
With that - signing out for now.
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Thank you to everyone for the support! Warning, this is a long post. I tried to keep it short, but there was too much that needed to be shared and documented (so that I can go back and keep the lessons learned). Also, I’ve found that it helps me to learn what other triathletes have experienced, so I didn’t want to keep out some key details. Hope you enjoy it!
I arrived to the beach at about 6:40 am to get ready for the swim only to find out that the current and waves decided to pick up overnight. Normally, the waves wouldn’t bug me too much, but rather than push it hard in the open water on the first of two scheduled “Big Days” I decided to move to the backup location, a community pool nearby.
Big Day Swim Recap: 3,650 meters; 59:31 total time
As we pulled up to the pool, it was actually looking great. Nobody around, lanes in the pool, and all to myself. I felt ready and got into my wetsuit (I’ll be wearing it on race day so I want to get as comfortable in it as possible). Ironically, I think that was the demise of my bike portion (more on that later).
The swim started out pretty good, and I felt comfortable. I had a little tightness in the shoulders of my wetsuit for the first 20 laps, but then it subsided and I found a steady rhythm. About 20 minutes into the swim I started to notice that I was definitely warming up a little too much. Thoughts started to pass through the mind, and I should have listened to my gut which said to take off my swim cap and possibly even get out of the wetsuit so that I didn’t overheat. Rather than listen to my instinct I forced myself to continue to push on and even started to push a little harder in the swim. After all, my muscles felt good and my breathing wasn’t too bad so why not keep going.
As I was nearing the end of my scheduled 1 hour swim, my better half and awesome support crew, said that I was close to 70 laps. I was absolutely amazed and started to do the math in my head… I was near the full distance swim in around an hour’s time. Unbelievable!! I decided to keep pushing and ended up swimming a total of 73 laps (3,650 meters or 2.27 miles) in 59:31. I really couldn’t believe the distance/pace on this. Got out of the pool pretty happy to say the least.
As I walked over to the shower to rinse off, I noticed that I felt a little dehydrated, so I got some water in pretty quickly. Figured that I just needed about 24 oz or so, and headed to the house for a quick rest before the bike. This would turn out to be a big mistake.
Big Day Bike Recap: 61 miles, 18.3 mph - Very Dehydrated
I started off on the bike and had a nice 50 mile loop planned. As I got into the first few minutes of the ride I noticed that my heart rate was about 15 beats per minute higher than they normally were. Though this seemed much too high at the time I figured that it might have just been the wind or maybe the hard effort I put in on the swim… either way, surely it would come down. It didn’t.
I settled in to my peddling rhythm and began to focus on my nutrition plan. I kept thinking my heart rate seemed high, but also kept finding what I thought to be logical explanations… must be the effort, the pace (was holding about 20mph in a strong cross wind), the earlier swim, the heat… and so the list went on. The only item that wasn’t in the list was the one that would take me off the bike at just over the halfway point of my scheduled ride time. Dehydration.
After noticing that I was going through water much faster than my normal long rides, I was so thankful to be able to take on additional bottles from my better half and wonderful support crew who met me out on the training route. I started to feel a little better, but that only lasted for a brief few minutes. Miles 40-50, my heart rate continued to be elevated, my perceived effort was much greater than it seemed it should be, and my mental state started to crumble a bit. When I pulled in to the planned quick stop at mile 50 I felt light headed, and a little nauseous. Something was wrong.
No matter how hard it feels, I normally keep pushing through, but this time, I just couldn’t do it. I drank some more water, had a couple more endurolytes, and got off the bike. ”I think I cooked my insides,” were some of the first words that I could mutter. At this point, I realized that the decision to keep the wetsuit and swim cap on for the entire hour swim was a big mistake and I was paying for it dearly. Later in the day we estimated that I lost nearly 5% of my body weight due to dehydration, even though I was taking in water at a slightly higher rate than normal on the bike. Simply put, this was/is unacceptable and a huge lesson learned.
After a short period of time, I decided that I needed to at least try and get back on the bike. After about 7 more miles, I realized that I was doing more damage than good and decided to call it short. Humbled, hurt, and mentally distraught I slowly peddled back to base camp for the day.
Big Day Run Recap: 10 miles, 1:47 time
After an extra hour recovery after the bike, about a gallon of water, some Hammer HEED, a turkey sandwich, and some more water, I decided that I had to at least give the run a try. I was concerned that if I wasn’t able to complete the run my mental confidence would be in a state of hurt. So, with that focus I set out, my wonderful support crew along with me on her bike the whole way. It was not the fastest run by far, but it felt good to get it done and finish out the day. The first 45 minutes of the run felt pretty good overall, the next 20 minutes were a little tough, but the last portion was just what I needed. I averaged about 155 heart rate (steady zone 2 for me) at a 9:40 pace and then was able to push the last mile at a sub 8 pace. With that, I decided to call it a wrap for the day rather than continue another mile… I wanted to end on a high note and needed it mentally.
Big Day Recap Totals:
All in all I can look at this big day a couple of different ways. I’m choosing to look at the positive from it and take away the lessons learned. Not only am I choosing this path because I would rather be optimistic, but also because as a first time iron-distance triathlete, I need to keep the negative thoughts out of my mind. There are only 7 weeks left until Rev 3 Cedar Point and I can’t afford to let negativity settle in to the mind.
With that, here are some lessons learned and positives from the day:
At the end of a long day like this, I’ve found that I still enjoy the sport of triathlon and I want to do better next time. I look forward to my next Big Day on August, 13th and will be ready.
Thanks for reading.
So, it’s been way too long since I last posted. Though, the training hasn’t let up at all. I just completed Base 3 today with a very tough 93 mile bike ride after yesterday’s wonderful sprint triathlon. Generally speaking, I’m feeling good, but definitely a little nervous about the upcoming build periods leading up to the big race. I can’t believe that it’s only 77 days until the big race (Rev3 Cedar Point Full Distance). If I’m honest, I’m a bit nervous about the distance, but have made some great progress in Base 3 during the past 4 weeks. During Base 3 I clocked a total of nearly 45 hours in training and about 540 miles. I also had my longest ride ever at 100 miles on one of the hottest, smokiest days (proud of that effort) that we’ve seen in a long time. Notes for Base 3 & Things that I’ve Learned: With those updates, I’m going to get some food. Need to keep the body fueled and recovering quickly. Build One starts tomorrow and the intensity and distance increases yet again. Within the next 3 weeks I’ll have my first “Big Day” training as my program shifts to focus on training sessions closer to the actual race. Wow… 77 days. Here we go!
So, it’s been way too long since I last posted. Though, the training hasn’t let up at all. I just completed Base 3 today with a very tough 93 mile bike ride after yesterday’s wonderful sprint triathlon. Generally speaking, I’m feeling good, but definitely a little nervous about the upcoming build periods leading up to the big race. I can’t believe that it’s only 77 days until the big race (Rev3 Cedar Point Full Distance).
If I’m honest, I’m a bit nervous about the distance, but have made some great progress in Base 3 during the past 4 weeks. During Base 3 I clocked a total of nearly 45 hours in training and about 540 miles. I also had my longest ride ever at 100 miles on one of the hottest, smokiest days (proud of that effort) that we’ve seen in a long time.
Notes for Base 3 & Things that I’ve Learned:
With those updates, I’m going to get some food. Need to keep the body fueled and recovering quickly. Build One starts tomorrow and the intensity and distance increases yet again. Within the next 3 weeks I’ll have my first “Big Day” training as my program shifts to focus on training sessions closer to the actual race.
Wow… 77 days. Here we go!