The Beaver Plan
So tomorrow is my first ever half Ironman race! Despite having already done one Ironman, my crash last year and the ensuing fractured collar bone ensured that the planned IM build Half was off the cards.
This year, I arrive to the start line in much better shape. I have been putting in some 20 hour weeks recently, which is really starting to show through. Mid-week rides of 90k with 2000m of climbing are just part of the day, and are done after a swim in the morning and a full day at work. Compare this to just a few weeks ago when the equivalent sent me to sleep for the rest of the day just after I got back from Russia, and there is a nice noticeable change! I just hope I haven’t pushed too hard, and arrive at the start fatigued. Though the easy rides in the last couple of days have shown the legs are coming through, so all should be well…
So the plan for tomorrow. By writing it down I will hopefully be able to stick to it, and have it in my head! I am doing almost everything the same as my IM, so it will be a good chance to see how everything fits together. I have already ditched the calf guards after my run this evening showed that they really do not suit my new running style, and just cause foot and shin problems. No idea why, but I feel better without them, so I won’t be wearing them. Also will save me a good few minutes in T2!
After arriving early and getting my transition set up, I can get half way into my wetsuit early to make sure I get it on up high enough, and then spend the next hour going to the toilet constantly and catching up with friends. Toilet breaks could be interesting, given that I have to practically undress to wee with my trisuit on… could be some IM-style relieving going on! I am also having to go old school for the race tomorrow, and race without Heart Rate, since my chest belt has decided to die on me, and nowhere has any 2025 batteries in stock!
At the swim, I’m going to try and get in early to have a warm up, make sure my shoulders are OK (still unsure if my wetsuit fits me properly!) and try and get close to the front but to one side. The lack of speed work, and big break mean my swimming isn’t quite where it was before the big break, so I’m not going to be swimming too quickly, but I would like to go under 35 mins. If I can place myself close to the front, once the big melee has settled down, I should be able to find a pair of feet to sit on for the swim.
T1 will be interesting, at in includes a 1k run from the lake to transition, which is going to be a mudbath! If there are no wetsuit strippers, I am going to run along and get my wetsuit down to my waist (which takes a while anyway..) and once I’ve done this, I will get it off, so I can run better. Then its just a case of putting the arm warmers on, or jersey if its really cold, and carry the bike to the mount line, ‘cross style!
The bike should be relatively easy, given my recent training. I just want to take it easy, and ride within myself. I’ve got some jelly babies, 4 gels, a couple of bars and 2 bottles to fuel me. I’ll aim to have a gel and a good handful of Jelly Babies every every, as well as a bottle, then move to bars when I feel like it. Theres also an extra gel for emergencies, and I can grab water at the food stop. Given its not too long a race, I can push the 2nd half of the bike as the legs allow, but hopefully it should be under the 3 hour mark, which would be pleasing. T2 will then just be a case of rack bike, helmet off, socks and shoes on, fuel belt on, grab visor and go.
As ever, it will take 20/30 min for my running legs to properly come back to me, but once they do, I should be able to find a good rhythm to settle into, and just have an easy first 10k, which is comfortable. Once I go past the halfway mark, I can up the pace, and push as much as the legs are up to. For nutrition, I’ve got 3 gels, and 4 fuel belt bottles, so aim for a gel and bottle every half an hour, then I have a spare caffeine gel is I start to lag. Hopefully I should come in under 2 hours, and if the legs are good, then training runs certainly say I should be able to, which I would be very happy with.
So all in all, I should be under the 6 hour mark. If I do, then sub-12 is definitely on the cards for Switzerland, which is my primary goal for it. Also I want to enjoy it! Its my first half, and should be good fun! It is also likely to be the last fun I have before IM switzerland, as once I have recovered, I go into a big IM build and really crank the hours up to get some good endurance down.
Good luck to all racing!