I have three events this year; 1) my first marathon, 2) my second half-Ironman (Oceanside being the first), and 3) my first full Ironman (Panama City, Florida). My first marathon took place just over a week ago, so that’s checked off. I now have just under seven weeks to prepare for the Boise half-Ironman.
First off, I have no doubt I’ll do better this time around. I had zero coaching for my first half-Ironman (other than general advice from friends), and I wasn’t doing much self-coaching either. I just went out and swam, biked, and ran a little farther each week. In retrospect, it’s something of a miracle I finished my first half, even if it did take me seven hours and thirteen minutes (includes a trip to the medical tent to take care of a sliced-open big toe that evidently happened during the swim–who ends up with a foot injury in the swim?!).
This time I’ve been religiously studying the Triathlete’s Training Bible (I guess since the word “bible” is used I should clarify that I don’t actually take the TTB to my church meetings), have had a coach (although he’s having to discontinue his coaching services to me due to his crazy busy schedule…but that’s a topic for another post), I weigh at least 10 lbs less, maybe 15 lbs less (can’t remember off the top of my head how much I weighed for my first one), I’ve already got a half under my belt, not to mention a marathon, I’ll be using a Garmin vs. just biking/running blind, etc. Oh, and I don’t plan on cutting my toe open on the swim. In just about every way I’ve got a huge advantage over my first half. Actually, in every way. I can’t think of a single advantage I had doing my first half-Ironman over this second one.
The med-tent visit alone took over 10 minutes, so that takes us down to 7 hours even, let’s say. I was running 12-13 minute miles, vs. 9 minute miles now, so let’s say 3:30 minutes shaved off per mile on the run x 13 miles = 45:30. We’re already down to about 6:15. Oh, on my first half-Ironman swim my goggles came off and I got sunscreen in my eyes. You better believe that added some time to my swim, so let’s take off five minutes there–6:10. And this time on the bike I’ll be in the aero position (I rode a road bike without aero bars last time). That should shave off at least five minutes, I would think.
The above time-savings don’t reflect anything about the course. Add to the list of positives that Boise has just over 400 ft of elevation difference on the bike ride (albeit a bit more consistently hilly, whereas Oceanside has one very large hill and then some smaller ones) vs. almost 800 ft. for Oceanside. The runs are both relatively flat, as near as I can tell. But I think the easier bike course should get me to within striking distance of doing a sub-6 hour half-Ironman, which I’d feel pretty darn good about at this point in my triathlon career.
There is some risk, however. Last year it rained. That would probably slow me down a little. But if nothing else, I’m pretty sure I won’t be as bad off as this guy when I finish. That guy’s experience makes my cut toe at Oceanside look like a pinprick.
Well, tomorrow is the first day of training, and here I am typing this up at 12:39 am. I’m not off to the best start when it comes to getting adequate rest.