2021 Ironman Couer d’Alene Big Day Out #2

Yesterday I repeated Big Day Out (BDO) from 4 weeks ago in preparation for my 16th Ironman. Fiona and I did essentially the same thing for her comeback race from Ironman Arizona 2018.

The day started out with a 6AM wake up, medium RedBull, 2 pieces of toast with jam, and then driving 90seconds to the 25 meter pool at Rancho Sahuarita, Arizona that finally reopened after 2 1/2 years; they replaced the entire pool. Yes, I am that lazy.

I wanted to confirm my expected swim time with BDO#1 where I swam 4,250 yards (25yard pool) = 2.4 miles at Clements Pool in 55:44 with a wetsuit. The problem is this pool is heated and very warm. I wore new race goggles that leaked a little bit from the start so now want to try the custom Magic5 goggles that Jan Frodeno uses. I also swam without a cap to try and keep me cooler and thought of the sessions that former Pro Julie Dibbens has pros like Matt Hanson doing in Boulder in a wetsuit. I was hot the whole time but dealt with it again to validate swim time. This time I went 56:29 or 44sec slower. I attribute this to the heat, now cap, and meters vs yards which is slower. I went 3,850 meters since that is = 2.4 miles. Fiona was right next to me just going steady, not looking to test or use wetsuit. This is rmin faster than heading into Kona 2019 with a swim skin BDO and 10min faster than a year ago heading into the cancelled Ironman St George.

At home I washed the chlorine from the wetsuit and we got our nutrition ready for the bike. We waited 90min as recommended by Joe Friel in Your Best Triathlon but then commenced with what Joe Gables had recommended for Heather Jackson in her prior big days: (2hr bike, 1hr run, 2hr bike, 1 hr run all at race pace). We started the first 2hour ride together on our Wahoo Kickrs in Watopia mimicking the course by going to the flats for the first hour where I held around 260-265 watts listening to Techno, trance, and EDM. Then we headed to Volcano KOM where we repeated this on around 290-300watts. This brought me to 269watts/270NP which is 80% Intensity Factor, 128 TSS, exactly the same as 4 weeks ago. I was very tired at the start of the ride with giant bags under my eyes from too much caffeine lately, not enough recovery, and a big prior weekend of 124miles, 7hr37min ride up Mt Lemmon followed on Sunday with a 19mile run at 7:49/mile. It was one of the fastest long runs I have ever done after one of the biggest rides of the season and it wiped me out. That week totalled 24.3 hrs of training as well which was my biggest week in 4 years so fatigue was literally at all time highs, as well as my fitness.

A 12min transition to the treadmill and I did a progression run to faster than race pace starting at 7:59/mile and finishing at 7:26/mile. I averaged 7:41/mile which was faster than the 7:46/mile from 4 weeks earlier. After another 12min transition I was back on the bike. I had the a/c on to 70F vs 60F i usually have it on and believe in running in colder temps to bud the run fitness while getting geat acclitizdd closer to race day.. it will be 70F to 100F,… luck of the draw.

I rode with a friend Elliot Kawaoka and we were riding around the 270watts, 3.3-3.7w/kg. I was sweating a lot here and it was going to my head, a reminder to ride my own race in 4 weeks! My brand new Wahoo Bolt computer was working amazing, the best triathlon tool I have bought since the treadmill. Again, started in flats, then back to Volcano KOM which I have been doing weekly 6X at Sweet Spot 88%-92%IF in preparation for IMCDA. I had another Clif Bar, Banana, and salt tablets now as I could feel cramps in the core coming from the amount of sweat loss. But i think the solid food helped me not have to make a pit stop on the 2nd run. I had Gatorade Endurance I bought on Amazon and also was eating cliff Shot Bloks every 20min for about 400calories per hour. I again nailed the power with 268/269NP, 80%IF, 127TSS and HR on 127 for both sets. This is between the 125 and 130 from BDO#1 and are explainable for doing this post swim. I am also quite happy with the HR since race day HR will be around 130, so I have margin to cover this. I have noticed HR dropping 2BPM per year since I started racing marathons in 2009.

Another 12min transition and I was back on the treadmill and in training room 2 while Fiona was heading to the Rancho Gym. This time I was looking to go faster and progress the entire run and did so from 7:59 to 7:16/mile averaging 7:40 which was slighly faster than the first run and 5s/mile faster than 4 weeks ago. I had cramps in my entire core for most of this part of the run while only drinking a big gulp of Coke every mile but used it to mentally toughen me up knwing I could suffer this same fate as I jad in prior Ironmans. At the end I was down to 174pounds, down around 5pounds so even with the salt tablets, it was obvious that dehydration was my big issue, brought on by the swim. I will make sure I am drinking more on the bike.

Ultimately, I am quite proud of this workout. With much more accumulated fatigue including 19.7 hours of training and 55miles of running, for the week, I am looking forward to tapering and coming into the race fresh and sticking to my goals. After all, raceday shouldn’t be anything new, it should be a reflection of the training one has put in day in and day out.

Memorial Day brought me yard work and an 8mile run at 8:40pace. I am going up to 63miles this week which is a recovery week from swim and bike but sticking to the Hansons Marathon method I have been using for 2 yrs now. If I need to adjust quality, then I will.

After more thoughts about my swim, and what did I do to improve by 4minutes in a year it would be, taking off and getting my spine naturally put back in place, and then ultra running with PRs in 50KM and 50Mile. I think this gave me an endurance base that helped my breathing and strengthened my core. Next year we are looking to go faster than ever before at IM Arizona. I will be targeting Zion 100KM ultra between November and April to develop that required base and then head into Ironman training in May 2022.

The training is not yet done and I wont be ready until I hear that canon go off.

This week I also spent $400 on new Rudy Project prescription sunglasses using funds from my HSA account. My current pair of Oakleys were continuously slipping down my nose during the Mt Lemmon climb because they are not cycling glasses. I also bought the Rudy Project Wing helmet with a 40% discount thanks to The Heather Jackson Project.

Of my 15 Ironmans, I am proud of 2 of them. 1) 9:22 at Western Australia having put up my run PB of 3:26 and the 7th fastest amateur bike of 4:45, out of 1,100. 2) 9:34 at Ironman Arizona having PRd in the bike of 4:44 and 13th fastest amateur of 2,300 and coming 2nd in M30-34 earning 1 of 2 spots for Kona. Ironman is so damn tough that performing at your potential is absolutley The Chase. The reason I am so damn excited for this race is that I belive I will be able to race at my potential. And when I do that, that euphoria, felt during only those rare occasions will fill me up with so much happiness that I will be so damn proud of myself. I know I can do this. I am going to do this. Its all about The Chase.

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