Big Day Out #2 – Ironman Australia 4.4.15
Today is the second big day of training in pursuit of Ironman Australia. Like the last BDO, this is inspired and comes from Joe Friel’s Training for Serious Triathletes. I have done this throughout 3 ironman seasons and it works.
So last night we had some pasta dinner with string beans and mushrooms with fresh basil from the garden. It was bed time around 10PM. This morning we woke up at 5AM. I immediately went for 2 medium blueberry muffins, a hot cross bun, medium red bull. I got my swim stuff together, sat down, and looked at past results. I did a 15minute stretch routine listening to music, and 30minutes before had 200 calorie cliff shot blocs. This totaled around 750 calories. We left at 6:50AM got to the pool and were warmly welcomed with a full on crew. We had at least 8 triathletes and other friends/family. We all put on our wetsuits, had some great volunteer lifeguard from fellow triathlete James Steer and hit the water. I recommended that everyone do either a test of 1k, 1.5k, 1.9k, 30min, or 1 hour. At around 7:05, I said, GO!; Fiona starting 30 seconds off of me as to be able to focus on her own swim.
I went out hard for the first 100 to simulate race start in 1:18 with my Xterra wetsuit, TYR tinted goggles, and Challenge USA Cap. I lapped the watch at every 500 to monitor progress. Just like BDO#1, I found my pace to fall off at 2500m in going from 1:30 to 1:33. From 3K on, I knew I was getting slower seeing the 400’s go in 6:02, 6:12, 6:17, and 6:19. I tried to focus on my form but knew the fatigue was setting in and couldn’t figure out what I was doing to slow me down so much. Going forward I’ll continue to work the 6K swims and more paddle work for ingrained strength in the next season. When I compare to 4 weeks ago: 7:26, 7:37, 7:36, 7:40, 7:38, 7:45, 7:52, 6:23, we see that the first 2500 were all faster but the last 1500 were very much the same. This tells me that I can hold on to the effort in the back half while working harder on the front. And, while the training has been the same at 25 hours for each of the working BUILD weeks, recovery, nutrition, and hydration have all been strong and overtraining or lack of better recovery is not a concern here. My goal for next season will be to hold 4K for 1 hour but for now, the goal is to now backup these 58:35 and 57:53 3.8K swims with Race Day, 4 weeks from tomorrow.
I jumped out of the water practicing taking off my wetsuit, had Endurox R4 recovery drink, came home, and now I’m sitting down eating oatmeal with brown sugar, cinnamon, and maple syrup. The bike ride starts at 8:45 so it’s time to get organized.
It’s 3:40PM and I just got back. Fiona is already back as well since we were both doing the 5hour test ride. I’ve already scarfed down an Endurox R4 recovery drink and am in the recliner analyzing my data. I’ll also have another Coke and a Banana. Run is at 5PM-7PM and then church at 7:30PM. Yep, that’s how we roll!
SO the ride. We started off getting right on into it. We headed the 10min or so to ANZAC hill and climbed that which is a 2- 2:30min climb with grade of 10% increasing to 15% for the second half. Came down, then headed out down the S. Stuart Highway to one of the peaks about 1hr10min away from home. I turned around and quickly saw Fiona. She was doing pretty good. We headed back to Anzac and did it a 2nd time. I headed home, put on 2 new bottles one with Cytomax, 1 with water, and filled up my camelpak a bit more. I downed a coke. We took off together back to Anzac hill. After the turn I saw Fiona. She had had a flat so I gave her a spare tube. Back to Anzac hill for the 4th time and by this time I thought I would throw up. It was very difficult but I just knew I had to get up it. Putting out 400watts just to get up the beast is something. From the graphs at https://connect.garmin.com/activity/736567821 you’ll see how my HR would spike from the 131 average to 152 each time. I got home and now I’m back here. OK. So how did I feel? Well, I felt pretty good. I lapped the clock every 15minutes which allows me to stay in the moment and control what I can control. I drank at 7min 10min, and 15min but by the half only drank 2.5 liters which is not enough. Even with the coke, the 3rd quarter (always the hardest) suffered a bit. I know that this was due to not drinking enough because I ate plenty. Every 15min I was eating and ate approximately 2,350 calories w/ gels and fluids at 470 calories per hour. I did have 2 salt tablets as well. Towards the end of the third quarter I did get it back and was able to maintain.
The course was great. I haven’t done this exact course before but tried to mimic Ironman Australia which included a beast of a hill 4 times, some cross wind, head wind, bits of climbs, and 2 loops. I found that at times I had difficulty holding power with a tail wind and going at 41KPH. Other times I was doing upwards of 45KPH and holding pace. I thought I would be close to breaking 180KM for the 5 hours but too much stopping from traffic lights in town, and unable to scream down the hill of Anzac. Detailed analysis says I held 3% variability index which is good; it says that I remained consistent and never really coasted. My goal was 240watts NP which is 78.4% Intensity and I held 241watts which is 78.8% Intensity. Also, at 181 pounds or 82 KG, this is 2.9 w/kg. I still have a long way to go; the pro’s hold 3.5-4.0 w/kg. And Fiona smashed it holding 3.2 w/kg!!! Yes, my wife is tougher and more powerful than me!
Lastly, I had my TT with new Profile Design aero arm rests (1st new ones in 4 years), they worked great. I also had a new SRAM RED Cassette (1st new one as well) and it changed gears quickly. I didn’t put my aero disk on the rear wheel, I had a camelpak, I didn’t use socks (cuz I won’t in the race as I will pee on the bike), and for the first time ever, I used my Rudy Project Wing helmet with visor. It was not hot and while I did sweat, It was fine. .. Now off for a change of clothes and a quick shower. The run is in 45minutes!
It’s 11:22PM. The door is open and I’m waiting for Dominos to bring me a real Vegorama pizza and not the disgusting pizza covered in meat that they gave us. And yes, we’re still going.
So to summarize, the run went really well. Fiona and I stayed very consistent running for 1.6K and then walking for 30 seconds. I was cramped pretty much the entire 2 hours in my core and at the hour had to run inside to get more coke. This was definitely due to loss of salt. We stayed with each other stride for stride during the run as the sun fell and a giant full moon rose. Ah! Pizza is here, just downed two pieces and it looks way better than that bacon on the old one. Ok, back to the run. So I stayed quite mentally tough. During the 2 hour run I was thinking get to the next aid station and then you can walk, on the cramps I thought it will get better (it never did). I thought that the pace was easy and that I could hold this all day. (of course its harder after racing for 6 hours!!!). Eventually Fiona and I finished. I weighed in at 174.4 and lost 5.6pounds in the 2 hours or 2.5KG. We ran 24.5KM. So clearly I was quite dehydrated and another hour would have been a struggle. Today really taught me to use the aid stations in IMA and make sure I drink a ton.
Transition 3. We ran inside, both took showers, got 2 water bottles, and I got a protein/Endurox R4, banana, strawberry, soy milk, almond milk, and oreos shake and we were out the house changed and ready in 12 minutes! We drank the shakes on the way to church and then sat there for nearly 3 hours.
Today was absolutely epic. It was a very successful day with the strongest ever swim, bike, and run. Everything improved over the last big day out 4 weeks ago and I learned more about hydration in todays effort. It was also a spiritual one for me, as they usually are. Being able to do this, being capable of it, using His gifts, and being able to share it with my best-friend; it’s all incredibly emotional and heart-felt. As I finish this beer, and give Sydney one piece of our pizza, I must step back acknowledge how awesome our sport is.
I am confident heading into Ironman Australia. Will it be enough to qualify for the Ironman World Championships? Realistically, no. But, there is always a chance. So what I must do come race day is stay mentally focused for 9 hours and 30 minutes and do my best to succeed.
Last thing I’ll say is that Fiona and I are vegetarian. We have been that for more than 3 months now since 1/1/15. This has been critical to our quick recovery, our performances, and improvements in our training. What started as a desire to not get Cancer after reading The China Study, was boosted by the physical stress that a vegetarian diet removes as noted in THRIVE. As for all the other shit we ate today, well that’s Ironman for you. Sugar and Caffeine. Not sure how much caffeine I did have but it was a shitload since its 12AM now and not necessarily tired.
I enjoy seeking out reports like this as there is so much to learn in our sport. I hope you have gained from it!