The Nitty Gritty

I didn’t want all this cluttering up the race report, and only Tri-geeks would be really interested in this stuff anyway, so I put it here mainly so I can have a record myself.

IM MOO By the Numbers

  Anticipated Time Actual Time AG Place Overall
Swim 1:40:00 1:42:49 266/283 2379
T1 10-15min 14:37    
Bike (1st half) 3:35:00 3:39:00 (approx)    
Bike (2nd half) 3:40:00 3:42:00 (approx)    
Bike Total 7:00 to 7:15 7:22:29 248 2113
T2 10min 15:21    
Run 5-6 hours 6:06:19 227 2011
Total 14:20-15:20 15:41:33 246 2162

Actual in-motion time for bike: 7:16:49.  Average cadence: 84.6.  Average HR: 132.  Highest speed: 40mph.  Average 15.4.

What can I glean from this data?  What did I learn that will help me in my next Ironman?

Looking on the positive side for a minute (unlike me, I know) I was pretty much on base through T1.  The swim could probably have been a little faster based on my pool times but a) I don’t usually have 2500 people trying to beat the living crap out of me in the pool (once, for swim practice over winter we got to play water polo and that was actually pretty good prep for an Ironman mass start. . .but I digress); and b) I was trying very hard to stay conservative.  Furthermore, many of these numbers are moving in the right direction.  One way to tell if you have been keeping yourself under control is that you should see your placing numbers for each stage going up, as is the case here both for my AG and overall.  Sure I wasn’t in imminent danger of challenging for a podium spot, but my steady improvement indicates that I was passing people or they were falling by the wayside.  Less than six minutes stoppage for the bike; not bad given the unexpected toilet stop and the special needs change over.

If you look at my expected time you’ll see that I was only 20 minutes outside of the high end; however, I have to say that I felt I had a good chance of being on the lower end of that estimate based on my training.  But that seems to be me: my big long endurance events, be it a marathon or half Ironman or Ironman never quite seem to live up to the training promise, and I really need to figure out why that happens in general.  Maybe I’m just not a big occasion kind of guy.

Here, one big problem was the bike.  This isn’t a totally sucky time, but it is slow for me, even on that course.  If you read my race report you’ll see that I’m really not sure why.  I’ve been over it in my mind and there was nothing in my prep that seemed problematic.  The only thing that I can possibly isolate is that I was perhaps on my feet too much prior to the race, but not any more than most of the people I was hanging out with.  What is interesting is my HR.  132bpm is basically low zone 3 (3.2, somewhere round there), so given that this is over 7 plus hours (including the inevitable drift toward the end), this actually wasn’t as bad as a) I felt, and b) as I was deducing from my messed up Garmin.  So not zone 2, but not as bad as I thought.  Still too high?  Only someone with more experience than I could say.  I would say that I’ve done rides this year that seemed to me to be harder than Wisconsin and I had an average HR in zone 2.  There’s always the possibility I was wrong about those rides, however.  You heard it here first folks.  Mark might actually have been wrong.  Another possibility is that my zones have changed a bit.

The fact that the run went completely tits up is not, I have to say, a surprise.  Remember, the tag line for my blog was: Ironman, Life.  Balance?  One of the things I found this year was that I just had to let some of the run training go.  I just couldn’t do it all and something had to give.  The bike is the biggest single chunk of time (although my run was starting to give that a run for its money) so it was important to maintain that.  The big thing for me of course was the swim.  I missed a few of the optional Sunday swims throughout the year, especially toward the end, but there were very few weeks when I wasn’t getting my two swims a week in.  So I just wasn’t as prepared for the run as I should have been.  Moreover, I’d done very little brick work (although, on the flip side, I raced quite a lot this year).

I was, however, pretty happy with my overall prep.  Mentally, I was certainly tough enough.  Everything this year, from Frozenman way back when, to my rather daunting first tri, to Mountains of Misery, to the heatwave sufferfest rides had given me the mental toughness to see it through.  Other areas of my prep also went really well.  The bike rode beautifully.  Except for the fact that I hurt, but that was hardly the bike’s fault.  I put a lot of time into prepping the bike over and above the excellent job that Contes did (verified by a couple of lengthy pre-race test rides).  I knew that I was carrying more stuff than I needed, but what you are buying yourself with all that is really peace-of-mind.  Plus, you can bet that if I wasn’t carrying enough spare tubes and CO2 I would have needed them and probably ended up at the side of the road packing a Normann Stadler-style tantrum as I launched my bike into the corn.  Of course, none of this is any guarantee.  No one puts more time into their bike on our team than Ray, but there’s nothing you can do to proof against a snapped derailleur spring.

Other bonus points for me: packing the Pepto in my special needs bike bag, and packing the long-sleeved top into my special needs run bag.  Both were needed.  And they were special. 

Next Time

So what kinds of things do I need to work on for my next Ironman?

1) Core strength

2) Get my zones re-tested

3) Try and figure out what the hell was going on with my swimming that messed me up so badly for the bike.  Apart from the obvious, that is.  That it is swimming and really had no place in an event in the first place.

4) Work on my running (1 and 2 should help with that)

5) Spend the national debt of New Zealand on a new carbon bike with UltraFiddly SuperWheels (TM) and a concealed motor.


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