Tag Archives: nutrition

Week 1 Review – Iron Dartmouth

This isn’t the race report, you’ll find that here instead… this is the regular review of the week just gone, and the plan for the week (and block) to come.

I don’t have much to say about the race week really, it’s always a stressful time, especially when you are carrying a potential injury into the race. I was glad that I consulted a physio – having that third-party objective opinion really helped. His view was that my tendon wasn’t badly damaged, wasn’t about to rupture or anything, and that gave me the confidence to make the start line at least.

The race went better than it might have done. I had a great (for me) swim, and an on-target bike ride, which should have set me up to meet my #1 goal of a sub-11 finish. Well, I always knew this goal might be tough on this course. My 11:08:18 wasn’t too far off the mark, but my run let me down. To be fair, there weren’t many people *significantly* faster than me, only 5 people ran under 4 hours. My #2 goal was to do well in my age group, 1st place in 45-49 surpassed that goal and 4th overall is amazing. My #3 goal was to be strong throughout and enjoy the race – this was achieved though I could have been happier with my run.

Could I go faster? Yes, I have no doubt. I think I have only started improving my swim, and given the poor conditions for this 1:07, I would make sub-1:05 my next goal. I think I could take up to 15mins off my bike time, especially on a different course, or on a calmer day – I have to be sure about pacing myself properly though. General consensus is that an IM marathon will be open marathon + 10% (optimistic), or commonly 45min (possibly more realistic), so my expectation of a sub-4 hour run is not outwith the bounds of reality. All told, I think I could aim at a 10:45 realistically – still a long way off a Kona qualifier!

So, what went wrong? Not much, but something did on the run. Whether it was the lack of running in the previous 3 weeks, threat of an injury, pushing too hard on the bike, nutrition / hydration, or just the tough run course, I don’t really know. I’m fairly sure the nutrition and hydration was ok. I was peeing on the bike frequently, and twice during the run. I’m sure that the pre-race run issues didn’t help, but I had a similar problem last year at the Bridgetown long course, where I ran significantly slower than I thought I would, given my level of fitness. There, I think I pushed the bike a bit. Here, I wouldn’t say that I had, but it would have been very interesting if I could see my heart rate or power output against optimal race levels – would it show that I put out too much work during the ride? Should I start planning how to train and race using gadgets rather than relying on ‘feel’, or should I get better at ‘feel’? If I’m not already good at it – the argument presumes that this is the issue, and I’m not 100% sure of that.

What’s next? Well, I plan to take 2 weeks or so to recover, hope to fit a swim in in the next day or two. My legs feel like they are recovering well enough, gammy second toe on my left foot notwithstanding. I’ll plan to try a bike ride at the weekend, but running might take a week or two to come back. If I feel good after two weeks, I’ll plan to sign up for the Bridgetown Long Distance. Still unsure about trying for a marathon BQ before September though. Longer term, I still want to run under 1:28 for a half-marathon for a certain all-time PB, I’m tempted to stick to half-ironman distance next year, though equally tempted to make another attempt on sub-11 IM!

So, that’s that then. Possibly my final post? I started the blog to document the training I was doing to complete Epic Dartmouth iron distance, and that’s done.

June 30, 2013 – Iron Dartmouth – Race Report

Well, look ‘ee here… 30 weeks of training and we made it – race day. Here’s how it panned out; where we see what all the hopes and fears, early mornings and late nights, dedication and bloody single-mindedness amount too…

There’s just so much that can go wrong racing long distance triathlon. Getting to the start line un-injured is hard enough, then making sure you have equipment and nutrition plan dialed in and everything organised in the right bags in the right place, including contingencies and adaptations according to what might happen in the race, the looming threat of imminent mechanical, physiological and/or psychological breakdown. Needless to say, I didn’t really sleep well again…

I watched the clock changing all through the night and at 4:30 or so, decided I might as well just get up and start getting ready. Rather than bothering the other guests in the B&B, I had packed breakfast, such as it was, in the car, so stood and ate a bagel with some cottage cheese and two chocolate flavoured meal replacement drinks – good for 1000kCal or so. That seemed to work ok, though, really, a nice cup of tea and some proper food would have been preferable.

Got to the race site and checked bike and bags in, then went through body marking and changed into race kit – good timing with not too much hanging around, but not rushed either. Met up with the fab Bridgewater Triathlon Club crew. We had 5 individual racers, plus a team entered. At around 6:20am I said my fond farewells, drank a bottle of Gatorade and went through to the swim start area – no coming back now.

After a quick warm-up, we were counted back into the water and with a strong breeze blowing and squally rain, we were off! Despite there only being 120 or so swimmers, it took a while for things to thin out, but by the turn at ~1000m, I was swimming with the same group who were going about my pace. In particular was one female (different coloured swim hat) who I kept swapping draft off and we stayed stroke for stroke the whole way – turns out this was Dot Martin, half (with John) of a great couple from Vermont we had met and shared a meal with the night before. The backside kilometre was quite choppy with the wind kicking up the waves – it had also blown the warm water down to one end of the lake with the colder water coming up to replace it. Still, I was fairly comfortable and I was almost sad for the swim to be coming to an end – I could have swum all day! No problem sighting the buoys, so much open water practice, plus you could actually follow the wire strung under the water to which the markers were affixed. Out and helped off with my wetsuit by the jolly ‘strippers’ – wayhey, flying brine! I checked my watch: 1:07:12 – wow, happy with that – great start to the day.

I got through T1 without mishap in a reasonable 4:07, clambered aboard and off for the long ride. Now. On a nice day, this is probably a pleasant scenic bike, but this really wasn’t a nice day – felt like I was racing in Scotland, except a tad warmer. Overall, though, not a bad route, 180km as one out and back. There were no great hills to speak of, hardly needed to get out of the saddle, one rough section of road for a few km otherwise good surface, well-signed and marshalled with aid stations every 20-30km. The time went by quickly; battered by the wind and rain, I had been picking off riders, making up ground, and coming to the turnaround I was able to count the riders in front and reckoned to be around 10th position, with an unknown number of those being team, aqua and epic distance riders. The bike and wheels behaved perfectly, I had worried about using the disc rear and 60mm front Flo wheels in strong winds, but I had no issues with control at all. Cool moment, as I came past the end of the airport runway, a plane was coming in to land right over me. I felt comfortable the whole way, though the last 25km I maybe pushed a bit hard, into a strong headwind on rolling roads. Off in 5:28:19 – right on target. Proved to be the 2nd fastest bike split amongst iron racers and 6th fastest overall, though Sam Gyde’s 4:44 made everything else laughable, but then he has won his age group in the world championships the last two years!
Nutrition: 5 Clif bars and 5 bottles of Gatorade.

Zipped through T2 in a speedy 1:57! As soon as I started the run, I knew it was going to be a slog. Whether the last three weeks of no running had more impact than I thought, or whether I pushed the bike too hard, I don’t know, but I started off slow, and got slower. The first lap, I ran 10.55km in under an hour – good enough, and I didn’t lose too much more on the second lap, but the third lap was a real struggle mentally and physically, I lost 16min and my hope of my goal time. The final lap was slightly better, I revised my goals and was happy in myself. Although I had no clear idea of where I was overall, I knew I was ahead of some of my key age-groupers. Thankfully, I had no major injury upset, though my right achilles got sore at one point – generally you are in a fair degree of pain by this point. There are some significant uphill sections on this run, and I had to walk them on the last half. Otherwise, I managed to keep the slow plod going.
Nutrition: Gu gel roughly every half hour at water stations 1 and 3. Gatorade and water at stations 2, 4 and 5. Some cola on the final lap.

The final few kilometres are a joy though, you know you’re going to make it and you can relax a bit. Coming in to the last 500m is one of the most epic experiences you can have, but the best part was having Jane there at the end to share it with – she made a lot of this possible, picking up the slack from the the time I spend training, and supporting me through the rough spots. Thank you.

So, what did all that training time amount to? Apart from a very gammy toe and the inability to tackle stairs unassisted? Overall time was 11:08:18, good enough in the small field for 1st in my 45-49 age group, and 4th overall! So, I didn’t hit all my goals, but hey! I’m plenty pleased with that…:-)

Photo: Liane Clarkson

More than that though, and one of the reasons ironman (with a small ‘i’) is so popular is because it is so life-affirming. I’m 46 bloody years old… and in the best shape of my life. I might have failed in some areas of my life, but in this; when I take control over controllable things, make a plan, read my body’s reactions and learn, face up to my fears and worries, laugh at the pain –  *and overcome it all* – that, my friends, is what it’s all about, really what it is all about.

I’ll do a more in-depth think-through of where things went right and wrong in this week’s review – and also consider what to do with this blog! Thanks for listening.

June 22, 2013

Good day today – albeit with no running, but my ankle feels absolutely normal during ordinary movement – not running for bit longer to make sure though. Physio appointment on Tuesday, might wait until after that.

Swam in the lake, 3400m in my fastest time for this route. Felt great; consistent and strong stroke.

Fixed various items on my bike before heading out for a ride. You’ll remember that a screw on my armrest broke. I had phoned Vision / Full Speed Ahead tech support and the fellow there said to email my postal address as he might have a “couple of spares kicking around” – I did, but never got a delivery receipt, so in the meantime I ordered some titanium screws. Well, the titanium ones haven’t turned up yet, but FSA came through – can’t complain about that.

I finally worked out a solution to where to put my flat kit to free up the top tube bag for nutrition. I got some CO2 canisters and can now lose the pump. There’s room beside the rear bottle cage to strap a bag with tube, levers, inflator and one CO2, which keeps it out of the wind – neat. I have commissioned a home-made bag to fit the space with some velcro on the back. There’s only room in the front bag for 3 or 4 Clif bars though, which isn’t enough – that still needs a bit of thought.

Reset my brakes with the race wheels on, and am reasonably sure that I don’t have brake / chainstay rub honking up hills now.

Rode the Park plus Mersey River Chalets drive route for 70km. Rode steadily, without pushing too hard, but still managed a time nearly 3:30 faster than previously. Maybe these wheels do work!

Now, if it wasn’t for this lack of running…

June 16, 2013

Another beautiful sunny day – would have been perfect for a 2 hour run in the park. However, that’s not going to happen now because of this ankle injury. Missing this session is the one that I’m very unsure as to its effect on the race – it feels like it would have been crucial, but maybe that’s just me being paranoid.

Alternate plan is an hour or more swim followed by a two hour ride in race kit. I haven’t worked out carrying nutrition plus flat kit yet. I need to put the CO2 bracket on and try to fit tube and levers under my saddle. I also need to find some tape for the valve hole on my disc.

By the time I got going, the wind had picked up but still nice and sunny and warm. Quite the chop on the lake though, managed 3400m or so, and feel really comfortable in rough water – that’s something to my advantage if I ever have a race in poor conditions. I’m not that fast a swimmer, but getting thrown about in the water doesn’t generally phase me too much.

I had out the race wheels back on the bike and setting off wasn’t going so well. Wind noise in the aero helmet means you can’t hear a damn thing, the front wheel was all over the place in the blustery sidewind, and then the back wheel moved in the dropouts and came to a grinding halt – on a hill. Not happy by that point, at least the wind was a straight headwind by that point! Hopped off a few times to sort the rear wheel, but when I finally got going properly again I settled in, starting working calmly and ended up riding a good pace.

By the end of the day, it has been a solid training day in adverse conditions – I got through it strongly. Ankle seems to be improving – hopeful for a return to running next week. Cool.

May 26, 2013

Committed to a long ride today, though the poor weather continues. Tough day yesterday, coupled with feeling beat this week and the weather – decided to stay closer to home than the original planned trip to Bridgetown. Rode out to the Grafton car park in the park and back for 60km, then down and back to Hillsview, 53km, and back out to the park for a total 173km. Strong gusty wind, and occasional showers made this fairly unpleasant really, but as a ride it went ok. Felt like I rode steadily – got the nutrition nailed, though I get sick of so much sweet stuff.

Hopped off and ran 12km, just looping 4km so I could retrieve food and fluids. Setting off was about as bad as I remember running off the bike, but I was patient, went gently, let me breathing catch up with my legs and just work into it slowly. Paid off, the second loop was about closely monitoring my breathing / effort and adjusting my pace accordingly, as if I had a long way to run. By the final lap, I felt able to pick up the pace and still run with control. Lots of race learning in there.

March 9, 2013

Stomping the miles out this week – looks like I’m going over my planned hours, but feeling great, so I’m just going with it.

Long bike day. Started with the intention of another day in the basement, but Eurosport wasn’t showing either Paris-Nice or Tirenno-Adriatico races today, and the sun looked as though it might actually shine, so I ventured out of doors, despite a fairly stiff chilly nor’easter. I almost regretted my decision as it turned out to be pretty baltic and after 50km I looped back to the house for a bite to eat and a warm-up, at least my water bottles didn’t freeze like last time! Bravely set out once again, in the other direction for another 55km. Not a fast paced ride, but a good 105km in the sun.

Hopped off and discovered I couldn’t feel my feet. Despite that, I ran 6km in a shade over 30mins, and by the end, at least a little feeling had returned! Wasn’t a bad run, but I have to remember to keep on top of nutrition on long training days. I should really have had a gel, or a half bottle of energy drink before running, even for a short run – it’s good practice, and I was starting to run out of steam.

I ordered a rear bottle cage (Xlab Delta 300), because only having one frame cage, and an aero front bottle is not going to be enough, especially once the weather warms up – there aren’t many places around that I can stop to fill them either. Once my long rides get up to 5 or 6 hours, even this is going to be a problem, but I didn’t want a double rear hydration system – I my come to regret this.