Wow, it’s the last Ironwoman Wednesday before race day! Over the past few months, I have been linking-up with Jamie at From Couch to Ironwoman and Michelle at IronwomanStrong every Wednesday! We’ve all been training for Ironman Louisville, and are coming together to share our journeys and talk triathlon with all you other half and full Ironmen and women! Don’t worry, this won’t be our last Ironwoman Wednesday just yet, but it is the last one before Ironman Louisville, which is THIS SUNDAY!
Today we’re talking Race Plan. I still have some tweaking to do mostly depending on the weather, but the bottom line for an Ironman race is that you have to have a plan. You can’t predict everything, so flexibility is important, but a plan is absolutely necessary.
So what’s my plan?
I’ve already packed the bags, but will be laying everything out on Friday and doing a final check. The blanks and ? are adjustments I’ll make based on the weather, which at this time is fluctuating between sunny and thunderstorms around the mid- to upper-90s. Oh yes, like my friend Holli said, it’s the Louisville Special…with extra heat!
So the body is ready, my race bags are packed, what’s the plan?
Pre-race: Pablo and I will be driving parts of the course and possibly riding some of it pre-race. Originally I was convinced that I didn’t want to see the course, so it would all be novel, but I think that only works on the run part of a triathlon.
Being able to swim in the water and get a feel for the visibility, whether at the actual site or in another OWS location is great, because pool and OWS just are not the same.
For the bike course it’s even more important. Seeing parts (think hills) of the course for Raleigh 70.3 was extremely helpful, because I mentally prepared for them by visualizing them the night before and saving energy for them on race day. I’ve heard all kinds of stories about Louisville’s hills, but instead of freaking out about other people’s interpretations, I want to head out and check it out for myself.
We’re planning to hit up the expo early and focus on picking up our packets and walking around just a little bit. While I like socializing with fellow athletes and definitely plan on meeting up with Jamie and Michelle and going to the banquet, I’m the type to isolate and get in the zone, so I won’t be hanging around pre-race events too much (You’d think I was aiming to win this thing the way I’m talking about “getting in the zone”).
Transition: Louisville will be a hot race, so when we rack our bikes, we will be taking air out of the tires. Then the morning of the goal is pump tires, place nutrition on the bike and get to the swim start line!
Swim: Whenever possible I do an in-water warm-up. I talked about this before, but I’ll say it again: embrace the warm-up! Since we can’t do an in-water warm-up, I do plan on doing a little warm-up on shore. Then we stand in line waiting for the start! My plan for the swim itself is very simple: find your rhythm, don’t let the washing machine freak you out and just keep swimming.
T1: The plan is to jog to my bag, change and head out on the bike. It shouldn’t be too long, but I’m not going to rush myself either.
Bike: This is where a plan is crucial, not just because the bike is the longest part of the race, but because what you do during the bike effects how the run will go.
The best thing I heard someone say is: There is no such thing as a great bike, without considering the run. You can’t look at a triathlon in segments, you have to look at it as a whole.
Since it’s my first Ironman, I plan on taking my time on the bike. My goal is to stay ahead of the cut-off times and be strong for the 2nd loop of the course and for the run and to keep up with my nutrition and hydration. My watch beeps every 15 minutes as a reminder for me to eat and drink and my food is broken into bite size pieces to match those intervals. If it’s hot, I’ll probably have to step up my salt tab intake and hydration…haha, IF it’s hot, such wishful thinker.
Oh and I’ve got 112 miles of scenery to take in with 2,000 of my “closest” friends, and I plan on enjoying every second!
T2: The one thing I won’t do in T2 is what I did at Raleigh, freak out about the run. Instead I plan on celebrating the fact that I just covered 114.2 miles, picking up my race bag, changing into run gear and just focusing on getting to the the first aid station.
Run: For the run I’m on a 5:1 and then I have an every 30-min nutrition plan using GUs, shot blocks and salt tabs. I’m probably going to eat some oranges too, and some coke and broth, but it all depends on how I feel. I’m really looking forward to reading the notes my friends and family wrote for me. Instead of having them in my special needs bag, I plan on putting them in my pocket in T2 and reading them during my 1-minute walks.
And of course there are my mantras. On the hills, I tell myself how much I love the hills, I love checking off the mile markers as I ride, and throughout the day I tell myself things like “You got this,” “Failure is not an option,” “One step at a time,” “Make it happen,” “You chose this, you are so lucky to be doing this” and “You are DOING an Ironman!”
And that should get me to the finish…no wait, that WILL get me to the finish.