Big Day Out. IMCairns #1

I consider myself a “Mostly Vegan” athlete. I’m at Starbucks and paid $.60 extra for Soy Milk in my Chai Tea Latte but bought an everything bagel with cream cheese. At home, we rarely buy dairy including cream cheese instead, using vegan butter. Last night we went out to Mod Pizza. I had it filled with all the veggies I want but had the cheese. Typically, when at home we’ll buy the only vegan pizza available from Walmart. This IRONMAN season, we have tried to be as disciplined as we can be with the most hiccups coming from free food at work or occasionally when we go out to dinner. In the past when I had gone vegetarian and “mostly vegan” I qualified for the Boston Marathon, set a 9:22 IM PB, and qualified for Kona. This season my goals are to get on the podium at the Asia-Pacific Ironman Championship in Cairns 2019 and do it by setting a personal best. In order to achieve this, I’ll need to swim 1hour, Bike 4:42, Run 3:27:30 and spend 7:30 in Transition to net me a 9:17. So that leads me to what we did yesterday; Big Day Out. The 8 hour training day at race pace gives a fair indication of what one could expect. Start with a 1hour swim, 90min rest, 5hour bike ride, 90min rest, 2hour run. We’ve been doing these since my 9:22 and Fiona’s 9:59 at Ironman Western Australia in 2015 and have continued on the day thanks to the Joe Friel Triathlon books.


With advice from former Pro Sean Foster of Fluid Movements in Melbourne, Australia and my own research backed up by the Australian Institute of Sport, we carbo-loaded as we will come race with 2 days of loading. 4 liters of Sprite, Airheads, Gummy lifesavers, white bread, muffins, bagels, PB&J sandwiches, Non-Vegan Cheese Ravioli, Spaghetti Marinara, Non-Vegan Garlic Bread, and the night before having nearly a full bottle of Champagne.


We woke up at 5AM. I had 2 pieces of toast, 1 sugar-free RedBull, banana, and I think a Clif Bar. We left at 6 and drove to the Oro Valley Aquatic Center north of Tucson, Arizona. We went there specifically for the 50m laned pool. It was packed with swim squads but they gave us a lane and Fiona and I shared it right next to our friend Katherine.

Swim 3.8KM: 1:02:22

The task is simple; swim 1 hour at race pace. But after covering 500m in 8:08 and then 8:04, decided on going the full 3.8KM. We use pull buoy in nearly all of our swimming since race day will be wet-suit and my legs are very heavy. It puts me into better body position. So splits were 8:08, 8:04, 8:12, 8:12, 8:13, 8:18, 8:20. I did have issues with my Cap and then leaking goggles during the last KM and will need to put goggles under Cap in future. Also of note was that I increased my SPM over the last km due to fatigue from 60 to 62 and I went slower. I need to maintain my rate while maintaining pressure because when I pick up my cadence, my form goes to shit, and I slow down. I was quite consistent and felt good. Fiona did 400’s and Katherine was pacing me on 1:32 pace during my 1:37. After the swim Fiona said that next to us swimming with Katherine was Professional Triathlete Frankie Sanjana who had just finished 6th at 70.3 Texas. We had a bit of a chat and it was awesome saying hello. Not only had she beaten Lindsay Corbin but she was just behind Meredith Kessler! Of course, during the swim I couldn’t help but thinking that I was swimming the in same lane as Lionel Sanders did in his OREO Valley YouTube video. So cool! Looking back at my training history I find that 50m non-wetusuit/pull buoy swim is 2-3s/100m slower than wetsuit come race day. So, I’m right around the 59-1hr mark right now. This is an all-time best for 50m non-wetsuit swim.

T1 – Drove back home had a PBJ sandwich and prepared the training room.

Bike 5hours: 275NP/274avg, 325TSS, 3.37w/kg, VI 1.00, Avg HR 129

Again simple task; ride 5hours at race pace. I wanted to focus on making sure I ate every 20min and drank enough. My coaching advice to Fiona was the ZWIFT NYC Everything Bagel ride because this most closely simulates the IRONMAN Race course along the Captain Cook Highway with some hard climbs up Rex’s lookout lasting near 5minutes. On this route, you get that twice with the KOM’s in both directions. NYC Central Park is also undulating. We bought our Wahoo Kickrs last year for our anniversary and hands down is the best investment we have made, after our power meters. Now why a trainer? Because my time in zones: 1 Recovery– 3min, 2 Aerobic Endurance-1hr18, 3 Tempo-3hr15, 4 Threshold-22min. This outside is impossible. Inside, it’s safe, dialed in, and a great way to train. During the 5hour ride I consumed 2,475 calories while burning 4,920: 4 cokes, 1 banana, 1 Clif Bar, 1 Monster, 3.5 Clif Shot Bloks, 1.5 Gatorade, 1 Heed, 1 Milky Way Bar. The window was open and the fans were on, I listed to the 80’s top 100 on Sirus. My goal was 270 watts but I just went with it and am blown away by the level I achieved yesterday. This TSS is massive and does indicate that my FTP is definitely higher than the 341 I currently have it set at. Next week we’ll test and the only question is do I do our historical 30min test of which I should be able to maintain 352watts assuming 78% IF or do I go for the 20min test of which I would have to maintain 371watts assuming 78% IF? Since I’m much more an Aerobic Endurance athlete vs an Anaerobic Athlete, and since my V02 Max Repeats have only really approached 367-371, I’ll probably go for the 30min effort and then do a 20min Lactate Threshold HR Test during the last 20minutes. All of this comes from the likes of Joe Friel, Hunter Allen, Coogan, and Jim Vance. All their books are in my library. Lastly, if I then held 265NP come race day, this would be 10watts higher than my all-time IM PB and at Cairns I expect would net me the 4:42 having gone 4:49 in 2017. I typically see 1 watt = 1 minute. This is an all-time best by 10watts/3.8% over the last 6 months.

T2 – I took a quick shower and then went in the Normatec’s level 2 for 30minutes. We prepped our bottles and Fionas sister Jennifer who is here to Bike in San Diego, Sedona, and Tucson helped us set up aid stations.

Run 2 hours: 15.2 miles at 7:54/mile, 127 avg HR.

Again simple task, run for 2 hours at race pace. But I’ve also just had my best ever 5hour/Ironman ride. Running has fallen to my weakness. This year I changed things up by competing and finishing a 50KM and a 50mile trail race during the season. They gave me strength but still, coming off the bike and then asking to run hard for 2 miles, it’s just so hard. And that’s why this is so awesome. Because it is Not easy, it Is hard. (Also why finishing is so sweet!). I had bottles of Gatorade, carried water, and wore my headphones for the run. Every-other aid station I was drinking down a bottle filled with 2 sugar-free RedBulls. My splits around 8min miles were holding but starting to slip by 1hr15min. Then, the RedBull hit and my pace dropped 10-20s/mile and I overtook Fiona. I felt great (not about overtaking Fiona). I was also downing salt tablets (4-5 in total) and drinking each aid station. I was cheating however, after each aid station I stopped my watch which allowed me to run a complete 2 hours. We ran an out & back course along the Pecan Farm that again simulated the IM Cairns run course: flat, sunny, and looped course. I also had 3 GU Gels, one every 30min. This isn’t the fastest I’ve run. I was running 7:20-7:26 in the lead up to Challenge Atlantic City in 2014, but I bonked badly that day in the heat. Also, my HR was 5-10BPM higher than it was yesterday. Of course the stopping helped lower it. During out 800m repeats this season my HR would recover from 147 to 90 within 50 seconds.

Wrap up

I’m most excited to know that I just had my best BDO Ever with 8 weeks till race day. There are of course things I need to work on like my core, my neck which is chronically bothering me now during the bike and run (but isn’t from my bike setup). My nutrition is just fine and I had energy the whole day thanks to the carbo-loading until dehydration was setting in, because I didn’t drink enough on the bike. In the end I burned 7,000 calories and weighed 6 pounds less at the end of the day. I had a VEGA Recovery, Almond Milk, and RAW Plant Fusion Protein with frozen mangoes while Fiona was overdosing on Caffeine. We then went to MOD Pizza and had a few beers finishing off the night with Saturday Night Live and Normatecs.

8 Weeks to go. Stay Tuned!!!

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