Thursday, August 18, 2011

Alcatraz Race Plan

Date: August 21, 2011
Type: Slightly longer than Olympic Distance Triathlon
Goals (Time):

  • Total: 3:35:30
  • Swim: 40:00
  • T1: 7:00 (includes half mile run)
  • Bike: 1:23:30 (18 mph)
  • T2: 2:00
  • Run: 63:00 (9:00 pace)
Goals (Qualitative):
  • Enjoy yourself -- this is a beautiful course and you're doing the best thing possible to appreciate the beauty
  • Maintain a racing edge all the way through.  Stay mentally focused and in controlled collaboration with your body.
  • Use the terrain challenges to build confidence.  You've been training with difficult terrain and others have not.
  • Finish strong, but with nothing left.
  • Watch the heart rate and manage around lactate thresholds.  Remember around 162 on the bike and around 172 on the run.  Only exceed the thresholds when there will be a chance for recovery afterwards.
  • High cadence on the bike.  90-92 is the goal.  Don't be afraid to shift so you can maintain that.
  • If a woman passes you on the bike, do not try to keep up with her (you Neanderthal!)  If she can keep up with you on the bike, she probably runs at least a minute a mile faster than you on the run.  She is not that drill sergeant at Fort Bragg you had no respect for.
Actual race plan:
Leave at 3:10 AM to arrive around 4:00 AM.  Drink canned coffee and eat some carbs during the car ride.  Be quick about setting up transition and get on the first shuttle to the boat.  USE THE BATHROOM BEFORE YOU PUT ON YOUR WETSUIT!  Pack everything the day before and try to sleep by 8:30.  At wakeup put on sunscreen liberally.

After the shuttle ride, take it easy and try to find a spot where you can catch a few Z's.  Until the briefing you won't know how the swim start will work, but you're starting in the middle of the Bay.  You don't need to worry about positioning too much.

So you've jumped off the boat.  Just swim smoothly with a minimum of effort.  Once you've warmed up a bit, pick up the pace a little bit, but keep your form good.  The chop may keep you from breathing bilaterally.  If so, pay extra attention to sighting.  Kick as little as you can.  Your legs are for the other parts of the race.

When you come out of the water, your legs should be in great shape.  Get the suit off quickly, get it in the bag and get those shoes on.  Now you have a half mile run to your bike.  Don't hold back.  You want do that half mile in under four minutes.  When you get to the bike switch into the bike shoes and get going.

Now you're on the bike and it's time to get your heart rate down.  So take it easy.  Drink and eat.  The gummies will give you some caffeine so you should be eating some of those every 10 minutes or so.  Eat bars at 30 minutes and one hour depending on how you're stomach handles it.   If things go well, you'll get 5-600 calories and 30-40 mg caffeine on the bike.

Attack the hills.  Outbound, stand for up to one minute on ascents.  Inbound, limit it to thirty seconds.  Your descending skills are pretty good so you should be able to pass people both during climbs and descents.  But watch the heart rate.  Pedal to maintain a heart rate below 162.  You can go higher on climbs, but you want to bring it back down as quickly as possible.  On Great Highway, maintain a cadence of 90-92 rpm.  There will probably be some crosswinds.  Some people are going to gun it and burn themselves out on Great Highway.  Let them.  Some will just be faster than you.  That's okay; you'll get faster.  There are some hills right before you get back to transition.  Preserve energy here.

Handle T2 quickly.  When you get out on the run, first focus on getting your heart rate in the low 160s.  You want to keep your heart rate there except for climbs until the Sand Ladder.  Run the bottom third of the Sand Ladder.  Walk the middle third and run the last third.  Your heart rate will likely be in the high 170s at this point.  We want to bring that down to about 172.  Keep it there until you get to the Golden Gate Bridge (except for climbs.)  If you've fueled correctly, 172 is going to set your pace around 8:30 or even lower.  Now it's time to burn everything left in the tank.  Don't freak out if your heart rate climbs above 180.  Keep pushing it.  No one is going to pass you because you didn't realize you're almost done.  Just push it.  Don't worry about your slobber.  Don't worry about other people's slobber.  Push it.  Your body should feel miserable when you cross the finish line, but that's very temporary.  You will be all smiles after you complete this race.

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