I want to start this post off with a few thank you's:
First, thank you Josie Mae. Yes, I'm thanking my 3 month old daughter. For sleeping. Like, really sleeping, for 3 hour segments at a time during the night. Couldn't have done this without you!
Second, the weather. WOW! What a great day for a race! I mean, you can't ask for better conditions. This race is known to be historically hot and windy, and it was neither of those this time around. High of 82?? Basically NO WIND.
Third, my wife, best friend, and outstanding coach, who all happen to be the same person :). She really helped me figure out a plan that maximized my training potential on just those 3 days a week. I think the results speak for themselves! Speaking of, I did so well I may never train more than three days a week again....just sayin ;).
Speaking of, lets tackle my wildly inaccurate predictions :). Some (ahem, Drew), might say I was sandbagging. I prefer to say I was cautiously realistic. And as you will see, I wasn't THAT far off from my pre race predictions!
Swim: Predicted-- :35-:40
Spot on my friends!
The swim, however, did not start off, or go well, for me. Typically I am pretty relaxed and go out and just do my own thing. I will mix it up with the pack at times but tend to swim just off to the side of them and stay out of the melee. Yes, I lose any drafting potential doing this. I don't care. For me its about starting the day off right, staying calm, swimming MY pace, and setting up the rest of my day. I attempted to do this today as well, and I was WELL off to the side of the main line/group, but I kept having people swimming on/over/under me. I mean, seriously, I had more contact in this race than any of my IM's! I kept telling myself, just give it a few minutes, let the crowd thin out, its all gonna be fine--but it never got better! Even after the turnaround, with me way out to the side, still, people swimming PERPENDICULAR to me. Oh well. The swim ended, as they always do, eventually. I looked down and was pleasantly surprised to see a :35 looking back at me! Hell yeah! Not a bad start Harwood!
Ok so I was off on this one. Just a little. But. BUT. See my previous prediction post! This bike course is notoriously hot and WINDY. I based my prediction off of this! But let me tell you; on this day, this course was FAST. Like, RIDONCULOUSLY FAST. Like, the fastest 1/2 course I've ever ridden, although not the fastest 1/2 bike split I've ever had (2:26 Galveston). The course is flat; it does undulate consistently with very small rollers, but nothing significant. No need to stand up on the pedals or even get out of aero on the climbs, unless you are just stretching those muscles out. I had a bike plan based on where I felt my bike fitness was, and I stuck to it. The plan going in was NP of 215-225W. I always(sometimes) try to start off very easy, and my first 30 mins I kept the NP just below 200W. Lots of spinning and just trying to loosen up the legs and get them ready for the day ahead. After that first 30 minutes, I let the power creep up to the 220 range and held it steady until the turnaround. I felt really good at this point, and could tell I was having a good day. The plan going in was to push the bike as much as possible, and feeling as good as I did, I went for it. Miles 30-48 I put my head down and hammered, tried to keep the NP 240-250. At mile 48 my NP for the whole ride was at 225, and I started slowly backing off. Miles 53-56 I cruised, spinning my legs and just let the power fall down to around 200W. My legs were barking at me the last 15 miles, but that 3 mile mini cool down really breathed some life back in to them,and I dismounted feeling I had a lot left to put in to the run. NP for the whole bike, 217W. I was good with that.
Again, NAILED IT! Man, I have to say, I am PUMPED with this run result. With the limited amount of running I've done the last 10 weeks, to have this run, was awesome. I started off with a super easy RPE, I didn't want any crashing and burning 3 miles in! I still managed an 8:20ish pace for the first 3 miles, and did not feel like I was working terribly hard. I was able to disguise my lack of running fitness for the first 8 miles, but then it started crashing down. I passed the AIM tent heading out on my second loop, and was instructed by my coach via Chuck that I needed to keep up with Bird. Excuse me? HA! But I decided to try. He was about 3 minutes ahead of me at the turnaround, so I picked up the pace for the next mile and a half, and thought I was doing OK. But those 12 minutes at about 8:00 pace were really just my last grasp at greatness before reality set in. And did it ever set in. UGH. It suddenly became infinitely harder to keep those feet moving. I was slowing WAY down. I ended up walking for about 45 seconds at each aid station instead of my usual 15 or so. And the pace in between wasn't much better. I think I hit one or two 10:00 miles there around mile 11 and 12. It helped seeing teammates and friends on the course, but afterward I had several people tell me it was obvious I was struggling on my last loop.
So my final time ended up with a 5:02:xx! HOLY CRAP how did I do that? 14 minutes off a PR, which is a ton, but geez I didn't expect to be anywhere near that honestly. Really the great time came down to the bike, it was just such a perfect day and course for a super fast bike split.
Oh yeah, I did end up in the med tent for the first time ever following a race. It was unwarranted, but really didn't want to put forth the effort to argue with the dude. I'm usually pretty nauseous after a race, so I did what I usually do--find a nice shady place to lie down and rest! unfortunately for me, this happened to be within site of the med tent, so a few minutes later I see this big tall dude leaning down over me. We chatted for a couple of minutes, he gave me my little mini mental status exam, which I passed, then after asking a couple of times if I wanted to go to the med tent, and me gently rebuffing him, I finally gave in and said, yeah let's go. So I went in and cooled off under a nice fan, drank some water, and chatted with the ED docs for a bit. No biggie.
I wrote the majority of this the day after the race, but have never sat down to finish and publish. Too lazy to put forth the effort to find some race pics to upload, so you're stuck with just the narrative. Sorry! But thanks for checking in! Until next time.
Sunday, September 20, 2015
As i stated in my last post, I was going to train for this bad boy on 3 days a week of training, and as you can see, that's by and large what happened. I didn't even get in the workouts I thought I would on those three days each week, so I ended up with even less training than I anticipated. No build period. No peak. But I am tapering! :) So I guess we will see what it gets me!
I have to say I feel less stressed about this race than I have any other. I feel absolutely no pressure to go out there and get X time because that's what I feel I should be able to do on Y amount of training. I know I am under-trained. Big time. But I'm OK with that. Overall these last 2 1/2 months have been very enjoyable for me. I haven't felt stressed trying to make sure I get my workout in EVERY day. I haven't been in a state constant state of dog tiredness every day, which has made everything else even better. When I am at home, I haven't felt exhausted when Hunter is asking to be chased, wrestled, thrown on the bed, or some combination of the above(hint: he ALWAYS wants these). His favorite game these days is, "Run into your arms, toss me back on to the bed!" This game involves him running and jumping off of the bed, me catching him, spinning around, and then tossing him back onto said bed. Its a lot like tossing a 40lb kettle ball. Over. And Over. This has been my strength training for the last 8 weeks, as we do this about 80 times a day. Its a good core workout, and if anyone wants to come over and take my place to give it a try, I will gladly let you sub in :).
Switching gears back to my race, I want to talk about race predictions, because that's always a fun thing to do, and is totally pointless because you have no idea what the conditions will be the day of the race, and because I just said I didnt feel the pressure to go get X time :). I stated I thought I could do about a 5:45 in my last post, and I think that is still about right. Assuming the swim will be the right distance, there will be little to no wind on the bike, and it won't be terribly hot on the run(we always have perfect conditions for these things, right?), I think best case scenario I could do the following:
Swim: assuming its wetsuit legal, I should get under :40 fairly easily. :35ish is probably best I can do with my current swim fitness. I swam, uh, once a week for the past 4 weeks??
Bike: maybe a 2:45?? probably closer to 2:50 or a little over. I've been instructed to ride hard and just see what I can do, so I may well end up with something a little faster.
Run: probably a 1:50ish at best. Especially if I bike under 2:50. And its 70 degrees. And overcast. More likely 1:55-2:00. But I have been running well, that 1-2 days a week that I've been doing it :).
So race day is in 6 days! I've got a 6 mile run today, one final short swim/bike/run on Wednesday, and the race next Saturday! So I should be well rested at least, right??