Friday, July 24, 2015

13 Watts, 13 Minutes

IMMT is now just over three weeks away and I have one last weekend of heavy training before the taper begins. I'm feeling strong and pretty confident about how my training has gone. For this post however, I'm going to focus primarily on the bike, which is my strength, and where I feel I underperformed two years ago at IMMT.

In 2013 I biked a 5:06 on 232 watts. My goal for 2015 is to bike 4:53 on 245 watts - 13 minutes faster on 13 more watts. If it was strictly the same setup as before, this would be hard to attain by simply pushing 13 more watts. However, I've made several little changes that I feel will add up to a significantly faster bike time on only 5% more power.

A few things have changed on my bike that should make me a bit quicker. I've changed out my front brake to a TriRig OmegaX, which has a smaller front profile. I've swapped out my Adamo saddle in favor of a Dash one, which is a savings of around 300 grams - nothing aero there, but, with climbing, any weight savings help. It took me close to three months to adjust to the minimal padding of this saddle but I now love it. I've also dropped my bars by about an inch, slightly lowering my frontal profile to get a bit more aero.

In terms of clothing, I'm wearing a PI Octane suit this season and have gone from the Lazer Tardiz helmet back to the Giro Advantage2 helmet. My flat kit will be split in two parts - the tube and levers jammed under my seat and CO2 and inflator in the tail of my helmet. My bike will be free of most crap that people throw on for an Ironman - as aero as possible. I'll also be running latex tubes inside my Continental GP 4000s tires.

On race day I've decided to use the on-course nutrition for the bike, which is Gatorade. I'll start the bike with two pre-mixed bottles so that I won't have to visit an aid station over the first 30+ miles. I'll be taking SaltStick caps due to the lack of extra sodium in the regular Gatorade - I keep them hidden behind my BTA bottle in a M&M's mini container that's velcroed to my stem.  I'll be concentrating gels in a small watter bottle that is in a cage zip-tied under my seat - again out of the wind and as aero as possible.

Based on riding a 2:18 on 275 watts at the 70.3 WC at Tremblant I feel that 30 less watts should result in a time of around 4:53 - about eight minutes slower per lap. I've also used Best Bike Split, and, depending on wind, temp, and other conditions, the prediction on my time is in the 4:53-4:55 range. One thing I'll be doing is printing out and taping a piece of paper behind my bike computer that simply says: STAY AERO! I'm amazed how many people don't remain in the aero position during an IM. I've noticed that I tend to come out of aero around 16-17 mph when starting to climb - if I can remain in aero down to 12-13 mph it can pay big dividends come race day.

Finally, I've decided that on race day I'll be shaving any exposed hair. This means in addition to the usual legs I'll also be going smooth on the arms. Videos posted by Specialized regarding time savings ( have shown that simply shaving arms can be good for over one minute saved during an IM - if eyebrow shaving would result in time saved I just may do it. Overall, I feel that all of these small changes should result in a big chunk of time saved.

Pushing 13 more watts is a decent change from two years ago. I've had longer rides this year than in 2013 and am feeling very strong on the bike. Just yesterday I did a 3 1/2 hr ride and averaged 264 watts: The middle 2 1/2 hours were at a average of 272 watts, and my HR was only 143 for the ride. 245 watts is a number I'm capable of and I should be able to have a strong run to follow.

Finally, I'm feeling pretty good in the water of late. I had a swim this morning in Echo Lake near Jackson, NH, where I did 5 laps of the small lake. The swim resulted in 4600 yards swam in 1:03: If I can have a swim close to this at Tremblant it will be a good start to the day!

Nantucket Triathlon Weekend

This past weekend I traveled to Nantucket, where I grew up, to do the weekend double of a Saturday sprint and a Sunday Olympic. It was nice to see my family, and my brother, who lives in SF, was home as well. I got to the island on Thursday morning with Jackson and Katie came on Friday evening. On Friday evening NEMS members doing the race had a nice pre-race dinner together - Jackson did a decent job and managed to stay in his highchair for nearly 2/3 of the meal!

The sprint is a much larger event, with 750 racers this year. The Olympic generally only has around 150 participants. Having not done any short course racing in nearly two years I didn't know how things would pan out. Overall, the results were what I expected: solid swim, good bike, no speed on the run (plus an odd cramp on the Olympic run).

The swims are in salt water at Jetties beach with a rather long run to transition (~300 yards). I feel that I had decent swims in both events. On the bike I was hoping to have the fastest times, but came up just short on both days to Lucas Pozzetta, another NEMS member who is looking to lay down a real fast time at AG Nationals in a few weeks. Power was 315 watts (26.4 mph) for the sprint and 295  watts (25.9 mph) for the Olympic. The Olympic was the first race I've gone under an hour on the bike (57:56 was my time). The sprint run was decent (6:05 pace), but during the Olympic I had a nasty side cramp that forced my pace close to 7:00 for the first 2.5 miles. By the time I was able to recover I had a hard time making up lost time, and finished with an avg. pace of 6:44. I nearly caught the guy ahead of me during the last 100 yards, but lost out in a sprint.

Overall, I placed 6th in the sprint and 5th in the Olympic, winning my AG on both days. Times were 1:08 for the sprint and 2:09 for the Olympic. For the middle of IM training, I consider these decent results and look forward to getting back to training. It was also fun to catch up with other NEMS members doing the race and to chat with Coach Colin about pacing at Tremblant.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

IMMT Training

Ironman Tremblant is now six weeks from tomorrow, and I'm feeling quite strong. I just finished my longest ride of the year on Mount Desert Island, ME. The ride was 5 1/2 hrs, 110 miles and had 8,500 ft of climbing, including going up Mt. Cadillac, and was followed by a short 30 min transition run. I was on the bike at 4:50 am, and able to avoid most traffic. This was my third 100+ mile ride, and I have two more 5:30 rides scheduled leading to IMMT. Both of those rides will be done at home, and should have a lot less elevation!

As I was nearing the in-laws house I was a few minutes short of 5:30 for the ride, and decided to do a very short out-and-back. Turning around on a hill, I somehow managed to end up falling on my left side, having lost momentum. No real damage was done, save for a little lost skin. At least there was no traffic and I don't think my graceful fall was witnessed!

I'm very happy to say that my Achilles seems to be back to normal (knocking on wood!). After getting the three EPAT treatments in May and June I eased back into running, and have been able to get in two longer runs over the past two weeks. The run on Sunday of last weekend was done in the basement on our treadmill due to real nasty weather, and I was able to knock out 14.3 miles in 1:45 with zero pain. Tomorrow I have a 1:50 run after an easy hour on the bike. This run will be done in a portion of Acadia Nat'l Park, and goes along some very picturesque shoreline areas.

My swim still needs a bit more work over the next several weeks. There are times in the pool where it seems to click and I can knock out some good sets, and other days I feel very 'blah.' I had a decent OWS yesterday morning in Echo Lake, getting in about 4000 yards in 1:01 - two loons welcomed me to the lake! (It's hard to make out the 2nd one - right where the tree shadows meet the water) I think that with some quality swimming over the next month I should be able to have a similar swim to IMMT in 2013, where I swam 1:06. Coach Colin feels that my swim is fine and that putting in the extra time in the water wouldn't be worth it - that time should be spent on the bike or run.

Baring any further setbacks on the run, I feel that if I can execute a strong race at IMMT. With good conditions, I know that a sub 5:00 bike is realistic, and I should be able to have a much better run than two years ago, when I didn't take in any nutrition for the first 7 miles of the run. I'm working with a nutritionist, and feel that I now have a plan for the run. In previous years, I kind of 'winged it' on the run, but that doesn't fly at longer distances. I'll be using the on-course nutrition for the bike and Cliff Blocks and gels on the run. I just need to execute the training leading in to IMMT and I know good things will happen!

I want to acknowledge that my training has been very hard on Katie and Jackson. She allows me to put in the training hours and be away from home for long hours on the weekends. I'm really looking forward to when the season ends and I can sleep in and spend weekend hours with the family. However, it would be kind of nice if the season didn't end until mid October ;) If I do qualify for Kona, I'm thinking that the training won't be as intense, especially with the school year beginning two weeks after Tremblant.

Katie, Jackson, and I are heading off to France a few days after Tremblant to visit 'Uncle Ted.' We have a 12-hr layover in Dublin, which should be fun. We fly in to Barcelona, and will be away for a week. We are really looking forward to this trip right before the school year begins again.

I'll end with two pictures - one, a gorgeous view on a hike Katie and I did up in Acadia, and another of Jackson with a yet-to-be-determined superhero name - any ideas???