The Plan

29 Mar

So that thing above is my fueling and hydration worksheet for Nautica. I’ve never filled one of these out before. In fact, I didn’t even know they were a “thing.” But apparently, they are a thing and a good thing at that. The fueling/hydration worksheet helps you got solid on your plan for calorie/fluid consumption during the race, but that’s not why I like it.

Can you read my chicken scratch up there? No, OK, here’s what I’m planning: 19 minutes on the swim; 1:15 bike; 35 minutes run, for a projected finishing time of 2:09–NOT 2:14, which is what I wrote on the worksheet. What can I say? Math has never been my strong suit. This means that I should be taking in a total of about 300 calories and about 30 ounces of water/electrolyes during the race. The projected times above are based on my most recent training metrics.

But not entirely. See, I overestimated a little. Why? Well, because I’m  trying to leave some room for nasty conditions. The weather could suck. It happens down here. The weather lady says, “All clear for tomorrow!” And then tomorrow comes with a Cat-3 hurricane named after some old lady. The current could be against us on the swim. The out and back bike course goes over two causeways, twice. No idea how my legs are going to feel by the last bridge. And if it’s windy? Forget it. My legs will be mush by T2 and that will effect my run pace. I’ll have to start out slow, try to recover a bit and see if I can maybe push it at the end.

So there are all of these variables, right? And it would be dumb not to take those variables into consideration. But if I set my time goals, and thus my nutrition needs, based on a conservative estimate and variables beyond my control, I’m basically setting my mind to expect less than greatness. If I want greatness, I need to set my mind to greatness, or in this case, just a slightly more ambitious finish. By putting my nutrition needs for that ambitious finish down on paper, I force my brain into greatness mode and I don’t back down until I finish as planned. Barring, of course, the aforementioned Hurricane Bertha/Agnes/Pearl, in which case, just finishing will be good enough.

And this is the real reason I like the Nutrition/Hydration worksheet: it makes you put it all down in writing.

I HAVE to commit my plan for these times to memory and stick to it. No deviations! Now, I’m not aiming for something absurd, like a sub-2 finish, since that goal wouldn’t have ANYTHING TO DO with my times for the last several weeks. But here’s another wrench I’m gonna throw into these works: I got a Garmin yesterday. My friend just upgraded to the 910 so I bought her slightly used 310 at a deep discount. I wore it for the first time today and for the first time in the 7(?) months I’ve been training, I got to see what heart rate zone I was in and when. In other words, I got to see the true difference between perceived exertion and actual exertion. Turns out, I haven’t been working as hard as I thought.

What I thought was DEFINITELY Zone 5, is actually Zone 3. This means the difference between my heart beating say, 145 beats per minute and 170 beats per minute. So today I tested myself on a planned 20 minute transition run, (meaning, I ran right off a sixty minute bike ride) and I was in Zone 3 almost the whole time. I knocked off 2.52 miles in 19:52 and I felt pretty good.

This is sorta funny but potentially dangerous for me because now I have data that “proves” I haven’t been doing enough, which is basically the record that’s been playing on repeat in my mind for the last, oh, 20 years. That’s the bad news. The good news is that I CAN ACTUALLY WORK HARDER! I thought I was maxed out at 16mph on the bike but I’m not! Whoopie!

I’m getting ahead of myself. For right now, what this means is that setting my goals a little bit higher for Nautica isn’t totally nuts. And if the conditions are shitty, oh well. THAT stuff is beyond my control. And the conditions will be shitty for everyone so it’ll even out. And besides, it’s my first time racing this bizarre distance (not quite a sprint, not quite an Olympic), so any finish is a PR. Plus, there is absolutely no chance of placing in my age group given the size and quality of this field so the (self-imposed) pressure is off and I can make the really important goal this time to just have fun.

The last time I made “fun” my goal, I had a fantastic race. I felt healthy at the start (albeit slightly terrified standing on the shore looking at the swim course) and healthy at the finish. I came in 15 minutes under my projected finish time–more likely because I wasn’t really thinking about such things yet–and I remember enjoying the hell out of that run. Maybe I didn’t push myself quite as hard as I could have but it was my second race and my first attempt at an International distance so I sorta just went with it.

This time, I will no doubt push harder–mostly because I have now put my intent down in writing both on the worksheet and in this post. So you all can hold me accountable if I don’t give it 150%. I promise to be totally honest in my race day recap. The punchline here, however, is that there’s absolutely NO difference in nutrition/hydration for a 2:09 finish and a 2:00 finish. So this whole exercise was pretty pointless. But I’m fine with that if you are. Just don’t tell my mind.


10 Responses to “The Plan”

  1. bgddyjim March 29, 2012 at 7:01 am #

    I personally love the “enjoyment” races. As I get older, I rather enjoy having fun with races – I’m too old to not enjoy this.

    Good luck on yours.

    • Mark March 29, 2012 at 1:40 pm #

      Agreed. I did not run ING this year for fun, and it bit me because of it. Now I’m back to racing because I want to, even if they’re only “little” 5K races. PRs will not happen every race, but they will happen eventually if you keep doing this long enough. Getting faster is just a by-product of not quitting.

  2. bgddyjim March 29, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    I thought your times were for an Olympic at first – all I could think is holy crap, she’s freaky fast! Holy smokes… Then you got to the 16 mph on the bike, and I was like, ok – she’s human after all!

    Have you worked on anybody on that? I might have some tips that could help get your speed where you want it.

    • mymultipersonality March 30, 2012 at 12:00 am #

      I am SOOOO totally human. I finished my last (and also first) Olympic in 2:46. This one is short like 3 miles on the bike and 2.2 on the run, so 22.5 miles total. And I would LOVE any advice you have to offer for speed work on the bike. I feel far more built for biking than I do for either swimming or running.

      • bgddyjim March 30, 2012 at 12:24 pm #

        I sent you a few tips and some questions to look at over the weekend that will give us something to work with. Only one, depending on your answer would necessitate purchasing anything – the rest are strategy related.

      • mymultipersonality March 30, 2012 at 1:47 pm #

        good. my training purchase budget is maxed out at the moment. I’ll look at everything and get back to you. Thx!

      • bgddyjim March 30, 2012 at 1:53 pm #

        Nothing to worry about then (with the budget). It’s not that important.


  1. Will Tri For Swag « mymultipersonality - March 31, 2012

    […] seeing the transition setup, I think I might need to be pretty flexible with my previously estimated times. Transition is MASSIVE. It’s a good 1/4 mile from the swim exit to my racking position and […]

  2. A Classic Day (Nautical South Beach Triathlon: 4/1/12) « mymultipersonality - April 2, 2012

    […] happens when you set your goal to “fun.” I achieved and exceeded yesterday. Blew my plan right out of the water and actually crossed the finish line with a huge smile on my face and my […]

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