Monday, March 21, 2016

3 Weeks Till Go Time - Florida 70.3!

I'm sitting at home on a Monday morning, the 2nd day of spring, and school is closed today due to snow. In less than three weeks we'll be heading south to Florida for my first race of the season, Florida 70.3 in Haines City. I've never done a race this early in the season, and I've logged more trainer time over the winter compared to any other winter as a result. It'll definitely be interesting going from the relative chill of a New England spring to 75-85 degrees on race day. This is a destination race for Northeast Multisport , and there are about 15 of us heading down to race. Most are staying in a house together, but the family will be staying in a condo about 25 minutes from Haines City.

The plan over the next two weeks is getting in around four total rides in the bathroom to simulate humid conditions in hopes of getting in a little acclimation prior to race day. I'll also get in a little steam room time after each swim. My goal wattage during the race will be around 78%, which is around 5% lower than what I'd normally target in a HIM. This means I'll be looking to average around 265 watts rather than 280 on race day. The hope is that by dialing things down a bit in the heat and humidity I'll be able to have a solid run. Best Bike Split has me around 2:13 on 264 watts, which sounds good to me. That's right around the top times that were put down last year, the 1st year it was a non-pro race. I only have a few more days with my tri bike, as it'll be getting to the race with TriBike Transport. That will mean I'll be riding the CAAD10 for the last two weeks leading up to the race.

Looking at the run, I feel that my fitness has never been better. I've put in a solid amount of running over the past five months, and I'm seeing faster runs with a lower HR as a direct result. My 'easy' pace seems to be right around 7:20-7:30, and this will hopefully translate into a HIM run in the mid to upper 1:20's in Florida. One thinks of Florida without hills, but the run at Florida 70.3 has three punchy hills on each of the three loops. The goal is to target something in the 6:30-6:40 pace range, but to watch my HR closely. If the heat & humidity lead to a slower pace, so be it, but I need to be smart. It makes much more sense to be conservative to start and finish strong.

Swimming has been progressing well, and I feel that I'm right back to where I was in terms of pool times last season. I've been trying to get in three swims a week, and I did some 100's yesterday after a morning bike and run, and they were coming in around 1:22-1:23 on a 1:40 send off. The swim at Florida 70.3 could be a total disaster, though. The swim course was changed from a 'M' shape with a whole bunch of turns to a two loop course where you don't come back to shore. This means that swimmers could simply take it super easy and opt not to do the 2nd loop. It also means that when you start the 2nd loop you'll be jumping into another wave and the turns could me quite chaotic. Any way that you look at it, the swim doesn't seem very pretty. I'd honestly be happy with any time under 35', as it is going to be a non-wetsuit swim.

In terms of race-day goals, I'd love to win my AG. Taking a bit of time to look at who I'm racing against, it appears there are two guys in my AG who have gone sub 9 at the IM distance (Barcelona and Brazil, which are fast courses), so I definitely will have some work to do. I'd love to go sub 4:20. Putting together something like 34-35, 2:13-2:14, 1:26-1:27 should have me under my goal and in a pretty good spot.

Training has been pretty solid since January, when I began increasing my biking and swimming. I've been right around 5-6 hours of biking a week on 3-4 rides, with a long ride of 2:20-2:45 on Saturday mornings. Wattage for the longer rides has averaged 270+ to try simulating race day. Running has been around 5-6 hours a week, down a bit from 7-8 hours during my run focus. I've been incorporating some race-pace efforts in my longer Sunday runs, which have been consistently 14-17 miles. I recently did a 16.5 mile run with 2x 5 miles around 6:20 pace, which was comfortably hard.

Over the past weekend I competed in two team events at the Tri-Mania Summit & Expo, which was held at Boston University this year (MIT was the venue for the past several years). The first event on Saturday morning was a 4x1 mile relay, and I led off for our team. My goal was around a 5:00 mile, but I went out too fast, hitting the 1/4 mile in 68 seconds. I finished in 5:10 (12th OA), but with better pacing would have been closer to my goal. Our team finished with a total 4 mile time of 20:02, thanks in large part to a 4:49 by Coach Colin Cook and a 4:23 by first-year pro Lucas Pozzetta. Next up, about two hours later, was the 10k TT on Computrainers. I got in a good 45' warmup, then managed 351 watts for the race, good for 3rd OA. I added a 30' cool down to try getting in a decent ride on the day. Here I am leading off in the 4x1 mile relay (#25).

Northeast Multisport had two teams competing, plus PeakMultisport (my team), which is mostly comprised of Northeast Multisport members (I'm not that tall - just standing on the banked portion of the track).

I'm really psyched that my Mom will be joining us on our 4-day trip to Florida. My Dad isn't able to get around or travel anymore, but my Mom has a service that comes in 3-4x a day to help move my Dad, bathe him, and help him get dressed. The service will be providing folks during the time my Mom is away. She deserves a break, and is really looking forward to our trip. We plan on visiting Lego Land on Friday afternoon and on Saturday morning. We were there in February and Jackson loved it. He is turning three about a week before the race, and it will be awesome to have the family out there on race day cheering me on. I'm sure these next two weeks will fly by, and it will soon be time time to pack the bags for Florida. 

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