Who is Ted?

I'm the father of two beautiful daughters and an amazing wife. For fun, I enjoy the long hours of seemingly endless suffering that endurance sports (mostly running, cycling and triathlon)provide. During my "down time" I'm an avid beer snob and self-described gourmet chef (in other words I like to burn things on a stove or grill).

Saturday, August 24, 2013

2013 Boulder Sunset Triathlon Race Plan

This one wasn't on my calendar originally.  But with the summer coming to a close, I was searching for a race that would meet the following criteria:

  1. It had to be at least Olympic Distance in length
  2. The cost had to be fairly low (under $80)
  3. It had to be a September event

As I looked through several online race calendars, I stumbled across the Boulder Sunset (I did the Sprint during my first season back in 2010).  The Olympic Distance had a $45 entry fee (plus an equal fundraising obligation) and although the race is on August 31st, I figure one day is close enough.  I also liked the fact that I could do some fundraising.  A close family friend is currently battling Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, and so I wanted to be able to raise some money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma society on her behalf.  Generous friends and family donated $135 to the cause!  Thanks to all of you.  It truly means a lot.
Swim Area at the Res (Photo from 303triathlon)
Background
It has been an unusual year for racing as I've tried a variety of events including an ultramarathon, a century ride, and a long distance swim.  Even though the summer is coming to an end, this will actually be my first triathlon of the year and it's hard not to be a little excited about it.  I feel like I'm in perfect condition for the event and coming off a half marathon PR a few weeks ago, I'm curious to see what I can do.
Race Goals*
For this race the theme is going to be Go Big!
1) I haven't always had the best luck at the Boulder Reservoir so my goal will be to change that this year. I'd like to have a PR on the 1500 swim this time. My fastest race time was a 28:00 something or other at Loveland L2L last year.  That said, beginning last winter, I've spent a lot of my pool time working on improved technique so I hope to see a payoff at this point.
2) One of my goals this summer was to improve my overall bike fitness.  I've been pushing the pace more on my rides and challenging myself to ride a bit more aggressively.  On top of that, I have the advantage of an actual tri bike this year.  My goal is ambitious, but I'd love to set a minimum pace somewhere between 21-22mph for this race.
3) Up until a couple of weeks ago, I wasn't really sure where I'd be on the run.  I spent so much of the previous year working on volume in preparation for the CPTR 50, I didn't feel like I had much in the way of speed.  Today I ran 4 miles at just under 7:30/ mile and I felt like I could have pushed that pace a little lower in an actual race.  I'm going to be ambitious on this goal and shoot for somewhere between 43-46 minutes.  I will be very satisfied with that kind of performance.
*As always, changing weather conditions or other factors may result in a need to alter some of these goals.
Time Goals
The chart below highlights my time goals ranging from Epic to Average.  I've set the bar a bit higher than usual, but I really want to challenge myself with this race!


Keys to Success
1) Believe.  If I want to perform and reach the goals I've set for myself, then I have to have confidence and faith in the training that I've done.  Positive thoughts and reminders are important and the only negative aspect of the race should be my splits.  Chris McCormack (aka Macca) talks about how he keeps a mental "filing cabinet" in his head when he races where he can access different motivations.  Here's what's going in my filing cabinet for Saturday a.m.:
For the Swim:
"You've put in quality swimming this year and dramatically improved your technique."
"You swam 2.4 in open water without a wet suit.  Think how much faster you feel in the suit."
For the Bike:
"While most folks spent the summer riding their carbon frames, you chose to ride your aluminum bike with the big, heavy wheels.  "You're my Boy Blue!"  Now that you are on a lighter bike, that pays off big time.
"It's hard to ride this bike below 20 mph."
"Don't be afraid to ride a little harder.  You're not going to kill your run because you are a stronger rider now than you've ever been."
For the Run:
"You spent 11 hours running 50 miles in the mountains.  A couple of hours racing an Olympic Triathlon is nothing.  You can push harder than you think."
"You just set a half marathon PR only a month before you turn 42.  You're faster now than you were in your twenties."
"Last year, the age group winner ran only 1.5 minutes faster than your best 10k time in a triathlon."
2) Focus.  In all phases of the race, it's important to concentrate and to stay in the moment.  This is especially true in the swim.  Concentrate on getting a rhythm established, and you will do fine.  Once you get on the bike,  same thing.  Start working on your cadence and work to keep a fast, steady pace.
3) Stay Cool.  When you get to the run, it's likely to be a bit warm.  Get cool as early as you can and practice smart cooling/ hydration throughout the race.
Race Week
Sunday- Weights (30 min)
Monday- Rest
Tuesday- Rest
Wednesday- Rest
Clean Bike, Get Tools and other Bike stuff together.
Thursday- Use your race checklist to pack everything so that you can get out the door on Friday afternoon.
Friday- Rest. Travel to Denver.
Saturday- Race Day.  Be out the door by about 6:30 a.m. as that should give you time to get to Boulder, get your packet, get set up, etc.

Race Day Information
The transition area opens at 8:30 (It's a long walk from the car to transition, so see if you can't remember to get everything in one trip).
DON'T FORGET YOUR USAT CARD!!!)
Olympic race starts at 10:00am
Make sure your bike is in a low gear
TURN ON YOUR BIKE COMPUTER prior to leaving transition


Overhead view of the transition area
Swim:Take your wetsuit down to the beach, but wait until close to race time to put it on.  It will be warm already so you want to keep cool as long as you can.  Get down by the shoreline and see if there are any larger landmarks for sighting.  If allowed, get in the water a couple of minutes before the start and swim 100-200.  If you can get an angle on the course, it would be good to line up towards the left as much as possible.  That said, there's no need to be up front for this one.  As soon as you are clear of the wash, work on getting into a rhythm and concentrate on that.  The last bit of the swim, remember to kick your legs a little more to get them warmed up for the bike.  Swim until you are very close to the beach and remember that you will be a bit dizzy as you stand.  Not much to do about that, but just be prepared to look like a drunk!

T1: As you get into the transition area, remember where your bike is located.  Some kind of reference point may help with this.  If you are staying focused, you shouldn't have a problem.  If there aren't strippers, you should have your wetsuit down to your waist by this point.  Get the suit off quickly and grab the hammer gel out of your helmet for the back pocket.  Put your helmet on and your sunglasses.  Use the extra towel to dry your feet as best you can, and then get your shoes on.  Head out of transition and get to the mount line.  Concentrate on getting on the bike and clipping in.
Bike: The bike course begins with a slight climb over the first few miles.  That said, don't be afraid to push on this part of the ride.  The second half of the course will be faster and easier so you will have plenty of time to recover on the back stretch.  Remember that your bike energy will ebb and flow a little bit as you encounter risers, wind, etc.  Even if you feel out of breath at some points, you will recover and you can get back into a groove.  You should have plenty of water in your bottle so aid stations on the ride shouldn't be needed.  That said, take your gel about 3/4 of the way through as this will help when you get to the run.
Bike Course


T2: This is always a tough one because you're tired and sweaty from the ride and you have a lot of things to do in as short amount of time as possible.  Start with your race belt.  Then pull of your helmet and switch to your visor.  Next work on your socks and shoes.  Take your time and get them on so that they're comfortable.  An extra 20-30 seconds sucks, but it is better than having to stop mid run.  Take some water and get going.
Run: It's about 1/2 mile before you'll really get your legs under you.  Do an assessment of how you're feeling.  There's an aid station outside of transition so if it's hot you can work on getting cool right away (just watch that your feet don't get wet).  The course will be out and back (2 loops) which is something a bit new for you on a triathlon).  It's a fairly flat course so there shouldn't be an issue with hills.  Once you get through the first 3 miles, it's time to assess again.  Miles 3-4 and 4-5 are key.  If possible push on these a bit more (remember you did mile 3-4 in 7:09 last weekend, so it's doable).  A trick for getting a faster split is to pick a distance a ways ahead and run at a faster pace to that point.  Take a minute or two to return to normal race pace and then pick another spot up ahead).  Remember that there isn't any racing left once you finish the run portion.  Don't leave anything out there.  Give it everything you got and you'll get a great result!

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