Thursday, September 13, 2012

The final big weeks to Augusta

I'm a numbers guy. Watts, pace, weight, calories... I love to count it, estimating... always checking my w/kg, what was in that order of Nachos (I love me some chips & salsa... no way around it.) and, most pressing on my mind these last few weeks (really this last year) was...

Who would have thought, triathletes and little league ball players have similar diets

How fast do I have to go to break 4:30 in Augusta?

Well, I crunched some numbers. Considering similar transition times (it was about 5 minutes total last year) I need to have a

- 25min swim (1:10/100yd - current assisted of course)
- 2:22 Bike (23.6 mph)
- 1:38 Run (7:28 min/mi)

which would put me at a 4:29:49 - pffttt... AND an 11 second buffer. :P

So, what has to right? I can use some of my experience from last year at Augusta to map it out.

As far as before the race, the biggest mistake I made last year was just being way too active. I walked from the host hotel to the swim start, from the swim start to the swim exit, back to the host hotel, out into the city to find something to eat... all that walking was a big mistake. I justified it with the logic that with an already hurt hamstring, the walking would replace my *last* run before the race. What it really did was make my calves sore from all that walking around. Not the best idea. This year I'm off my feet unless absolutely necessary.

I suppose the swim is where we next stop to examine. I need to cut around 3 minutes from last years time. Augusta does a good job of making even the most "ho hum" of swimmers look like a studly fish due to it's very rapid current. I'm in one of the last waves to go off (why??? 25-29m should be closer to the front than most waves IMO) so, although I'll get a small benefit from an even swifter current, I'll have to be considerably more careful due to the likelyhood of physical contact coming throughout the swim as opposed to just the beginning (passing slower swimmers in other waves) I think my goal here is the most likely, as 6 months of fairly focused swim training has helped tune my speed towards FoP. That and the possibility of being eaten of course...
Well, it should be gators I suppose, but then the joke isn't nearly so witty.

Then we get into the bike (I'll spare you transitions - if I can keep them similar to last year I'll be happy) which is where my possibly biggest obstacle will come. Pacing. Last year my 2:27 was a good time considering I wasn't very careful with my pacing... I ended up riding about 12-15 watts lower (avg) than I had intended to, mainly because my old LYC wouldn't show avg. and current watts at the same time... fortunately my Joule2.0 solves that issue, so I should have a better guage of where I am at all times. Adding a more aerodynamic position and strength gains over a year (well, part of a year) means I'm sure I can ride a 2:22 bike split, and I'm also sure I can ride a sub 2:20 bike split... the question at that point is, can I do that and still run the 1/2 marathon I need to run. I think this will be the highwire I have to cross to be successful. A little too much "uhmph" on this ride and I'll be dying on the side of the road. Too little and I'll still miss my ultimate goal. (as no amount of freshness is going to make me run a 1:30 1/2 this year...sadly) Luckily, the bike is where I feel most at home, so I feel good about this.

And then of course... the run.
I won't try to lie to you or myself, this is where it's going to hurt. Starting later in the day means it's going to be hotter when the run starts. I know pacing the run has never been my strong suite (I have a bad habit of starting at a fast pace and then fading into mediocrity) and hell, running itself never has been either. That said, Augusta is a flat course. The time I'm looking at (1:38... keep up) isn't far off my last half mary (over a year ago in Knoxville, a decidedly hilly course) pace, and I plan to be a LOT smarter about my nutrition/hydration during the run this year. Last year I just slogged through (and, considering it hurt to run, I thought a 1:49 was acceptable) and really went to some bad places mentally, even taking a minute or two just to stop and stand and wonder...why the hell am I doing this. This year I plan to be ready to fight the battle on all fronts. Extra "rations" of coke and red bull in my fuel belt pods, sport drink and coke at aid stations, ice and sponges everywhere I can fit them to keep me from overheating. My garmin set to let me know when I am going too fast (or too slow) and finally some good old fashioned hard headedness to keep my mind from falling apart.
Still look a lot less runner and a lot more weightlifter I'm afraid

If all that goes to plan... and the day is favoring me, then... I'll have what I trained so hard for.

Of course, I'm a realist as well. Things can go bad, and they can go bad fast. I am fully aware I'm going to be racing on a razor's edge... one that something as simple as a missed bottle handup or kick to the face can quickly end. Nonetheless, of the things I can control, I will do my best to make them "perfect." To the rest, I'll leave lady luck in charge... maybe she'll be smiling on me!

Good luck to all of you other guys racing Augusta, I hope all of your goals are met and exceeded!

-Christopher Morelock

1 comment:

  1. After all you learned from last year and all the work you have put in, you will for sure go sub 4:30, and hopefully punch your ticket to Vegas. I have the Triathlon Calculator App on my phone and I am always plugging numbers to see what I need to swim bike and run for that goal time. See you in Augusta