Since Ironman Cabo I have been crushing myself keeping with my theme of early season load.  For the most part my body has responded well and I have kept getting stronger.  I have recently started working with WORLD FAMOUS cycling coach Nate Loyal who has given me a few key workouts to complete over the past two weeks.  I have seen my cycling jump to new heights in a VERY short amount of time.

 

Last Thursday I met with Gareth Thomas to get my Blood Lactate tested which would give me a good grasp on my current Lactate Threshold and the watts I should be aiming for in an Ironman/Half Ironman.  As we were going through the testing protocol I was upping the watts nicely every four minutes.  Gareth would prick my finger and see my lactate was low.  This went on until I hit 330 watts.  Almost immediately it was SYSTEM FAILURE.  I hit the wall, and I hit it HARD.  I could barley turn the pedals.  Gareth was perplexed.  I was so smooth and then so pathetic.  I informed him I had raced Cabo then, the next weekend, “rode”(Hammered!) the L’etape Du California.  With countless hours on the bike and in the pool between.  Gareth came to the conclusion that I was fatigued and that I needed rest.  ME REST?! NO WAY!!!!!!!!

 

The result of the test said I had a threshold of 310 watts.  It may be a bit higher, but numbers are numbers.  I am not going to sugar coat anything.  I’ll take it, base my race wattages off of it, and keep building.

 

Fast forward three days to New Orleans 70.3.  I had a bit of trouble in the AM prior to the race.  My helmet clip had fallen off somewhere in the bayou which meant I would have to go find a clip or go helmet-less which was not very aero considering the abnormally large size pumpkin I have.  Luckily Marc and his crew from Bicycle World were at the race to help me out.  He grabbed a clip off of a new helmet and quelled my fears of my watermelon being exposed to the wind.

 

As in my previous race I was going into New Orleans with a few goals that I wanted to adhere to.

 

  • Keep my head stable in the swim.  Gerry and I have been recording/watching videos of my swim and we see that I am way too “loose” in the water.  Gerry wants me to stabilize my dome and hopefully the rest of the body will follow.
  • Open it up on the bike.  I need to ride stronger and the only way to do that is to push it and see how I respond.  Based on Gareth’s test I should have a half Ironman pace of 85% of 310 watts which would be 263 watts, but I have been really focusing on 280-300 watts in training so I was going to attempt to keep it in that range.  I have NEVER ridden this solid for 56 miles so I was testing the waters.
  • Keeping it in that wattage range I wanted to see how my legs would respond on the run.  I have been running really strong as of late.  Why should that change??????

Notice:  I did not mention anything about nutrition on this list.  EPIC FAIL!  With the heat, humidity, wind, and increased intensity of a 70.3, caloric expenditure would be up so caloric consumption MUST go up.  I chose to disregard this fact assuming I had learned and my nutrition would just “happen”.  In hindsight, I burned 2300 calories on the bike according to my computer and I took in, at most, 800 calories in the form of PowerGels. NOT GOOD!  I will always make nutrition a race specific goal from here on out.  When I do, I am performing, and when I don’t, you’ll see what happens…..

 

On to the race.

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The gun went off.  I pushed hard.  Was left behind pretty quick.  But I stuck with my effort and my focus on technique.  My higher end is definitely coming along.  I feel I can push the MY pace on the swim so that is an indicator that all of my pool work is paying off.  I exited the swim in 28:02 which was probably the fastest I have ever swam in a half IM.

 

I hopped on my ride and started hammering away.  I was just staring at that Garmin trying to maintain that 280-300 watts and it was going well.  I was passing other guys pretty regularly and I was feeling good.  The headwind was INTENSE for most of the ride, but instead of trying to power through I just kept the wattage in the range.  This gave me something to focus on rather than the pain inducing “silent killer”(wind).  I had my 78/TwentyFour Series Profile Design wheels(Get your at Cynergy Cycles) and my Elite Tri Suit from Champion System to help me be as aero as possible, but it was still a grind.

 

The only hiccup I had was when I hit a bump around mile 30 and my Garmin popped off.  Not wanting to lose a $300 computer I quickly stopped, threw the bike on the side of the road, and started searching for the elusive device.  Luckily no cars were coming through because I was running around like a maniac looking for it.  Finally, after thoroughly searching the ditch on the side of the road, I spotted it right in the middle of the road.  It was like looking for your hat when you are wearing it on your head.  I grabbed it and was back on my way.  Some of those bumps were BIG!  I finished the bike in 2:14.  I had a normalized power reading of 294 watts which was 30 watts higher than 80-85% of 310 watts which would have been ideal to have a good run off of the bike.  I averaged 25+ m.p.h.  As I said earlier I really wanted to test my limits.  I did and I was about to find out that I was still susceptible to have a miserable run.

 

Side Note:  Numbers are numbers, you YOUR numbers don’t lie.  This goes for swimming, biking, running, weight-loss, etc.  Triathletes LOVE to make excuses as to why this went wrong or why that went wrong(See @Triexcuse for a plethora of examples).  If your numbers say you are capable of one thing and you “think” you are capable of something else, 99.9% of the time you will be wrong.  Here are a few examples.  If you are swimming 1:30/100m in training do not expect to go out and swim 1:10/100m in a race.  If you have a Lactate Threshold of 310 watts and you ignore the fact that you must keep your Half Ironman effort around 250-265 to run well off of the bike and you go too hard, you WILL suffer on the run.  It may not be sexy to you or your friends to say you can hold a WHOPPING 2.1watts/kg(for example) on the bike, but it is what it is.  Use those numbers to get stronger and have the best race YOU can.  Andy Potts pays attention to his numbers.  They are super strong, but he has been training at an elite levels for years with consistent improvement.  Know yourself and know your numbers.  Then stick to them.  You will not need to make excuses.

 

I quickly put on my Skechers GoSpeed 2’s and ran out of transition.  I knew right away that my legs didn’t have the “pop” they had had in my previous two races.  I was going to pay for that effort on the bike and I was going to pay for 13.1 miles.  I pushed and tried to get my legs going but they were gone.  I was just trying to concentrate and focus on getting to the finish line.  The miles ticked off.  I was not paying attention to my pace but looking back at the results I averaged around 7:30/mile.  My run split was 1:25.  It is what it is and now I know that I cannot hold such a high effort on the bike.

 

Overall I finished in 16th place in a time of  4:10:32.

 

So it’s Monday and I am flying back to Los Angeles.  I am totally beat up.  I feel like someone hit me with a bat over and over.  It’s painful but it’s a good hurt.  I did some work yesterday and I will be stronger for it in the long run.  I’ll take a few days of easy recovery then get back “ON IT!”  See you in St. George.  RACE HARD!

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