Sunday, October 2, 2011

My Race Plan

So, now that I have all my packing done and I have a chance to take some deep breaths and simply relax, I thought it was a great time to give all of you an vague idea of my fueling plan, pacing plan, race goals, and race expectations for Kona.  Skipping all the pleasantries, let's start with fueling...

I've put together a nice spreadsheet a week or two ago that summarizes my race breakfast, bike fueling, and run fueling.  The cool thing about this was that I was able to look at what my calorie/hr intake will be with a range of bike speed and run pace that I expect (i.e. "for which I'm hoping!").  My biggest priority with fueling plans is SIMPLICITY!  I don't want to be doing math during the race, and I don't want to be concerned with how I'm going to bring all my calories with me on the bike or run... just keep it simple, and TRAIN LIKE YOU RACE (this obviously doesn't include level of effort, just fueling)!

The bike... quite simple really (surprised?)... every hour I will take in a Gu (carrying 2 Gu flasks with me) on the :15 and :45 minute marks.  Also, will be taking in about 20oz of Powerbar Perform (provided at each aid station) each hour.  This equates to ~370 cal/hr... a very good number for my stomach and effort level.  Because I like to get in just a little bit of solids early in the bike, for the 2nd and 3rd hour, I'll be eating a powerbar instead of taking in the 2 Gu's.  Maybe this can be viewed as slightly complicated with different plans for different hours, but when you've done every long bike ride with the same fueling... it's almost instinctive.
The run... maybe slightly simpler... I rotate this plan by every 3 aid stations.  Aid station #1: 1 Gu, 2-3 cups water --- Aid Station #2:  1 cup Perform, 1-2 cups water  --- Aid Station #3:  2-3 cups water --- REPEAT.    All in all, this equates to ~320 cal/hr depending on my pace

The swim... ha, just keep swimming really.  The first 100yds or so will be hectic and the adrenaline will be ridiculous, but after that I'll just look for my rhythm and maybe someone to draft.  Once I'm comfortable, I just stick it on cruise control and watch the camera-men underneath me... awkward. As many of you know, I'm not a strong swimmer and with zero-current conditions I hope to keep a 2:00 /100yd pace.
The bike... I really don't know what speed to expect with this discipline on this course... mainly because the there is such a wide range of conditions that I could face.  But, I do know this... I hope to build my HR through my zone 2 consistently throughout the 112 miles.  Effectively, this should set me up to be in good condition for the marathon.  If you ask me, there is not such thing as a strong bike with a weak marathon.  My bike plan is not to show off my cycling ability, but rather to set me up to run a good marathon.  One thing that I is a very valuable gauge for hydrating and fueling... if my HR is too high and speed not as high as I would expect, DRINK WATER!  If my HR is lower than expected and I'm pushing out a good speed, TAKE IN CALORIES!  These are two aspects of racing that can help keep you from a DNF... and it's applicable on the run as well.
The run... assuming my bike goes well... and this is a HUGE assumption...  I plan to keep myself in mid-upper zone 2, and eventually I'll be comfortable with pushing it into lower zone 3.  This pace can range from 8:00 to 9:00 depending on the weather, my race plan execution so far, and how well my peak/taper has set me up for the race.   No matter if I'm running 8:00 or 9:00+, my biggest concern at this point is to find a pace that I can carry through the entire marathon... if I start to hit a wall out in the Energy Lab, it's going to be a really tough return trip back to the finish on Ali'i Drive.  If I'm feeling like I have some room for extra effort when I'm coming out of the Energy Lab and onto the Queen K (about 8 miles remaining), then I'll possibly try to dig deep and push my limits a bit further.  At this point in the race, training can't prepare you for this test... all the racers are out there in the middle of nowhere with nobody around to cheer you on.  It's gut-check time and time to realize whether you've executed your race well.  It's the hardest point of any race, and the reason why you sacrificed all that time in training... and you never know what it will feel like or how you will perform until you are there in the moment!  It's the best part of every race!!!

All of this in mind... my EXPECTED (not a goal time, I'm not sharing my goal time :) ) finish time is 11:20:00.

Race Goals:
  • Execute the fueling plan (this was one of my major mistakes in IMFL last year, and the reason that I "bonked" on the run... slowed from a ~8:00 to 9:xx pace)
  • Don't walk the marathon
  • Enjoy the post-finish with my family, Allison, and Donna