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).

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Considering the Pros and Cons of Austin 70.3

This weekend has been centered around continued training for the upcoming Ironman 70.3 in about a month.   There are about 3 good weeks of training left until it's time to shut it down a bit before the big race.  As expected, training has been a bit of a challenge with work and family commitments coming first.  Still, I've been getting in at least one long run/ ride each weekend including a 20 mile run and a 40 mile ride the last couple of days.  I also managed to get back into the pool last week after a two week hiatus (unplanned).
20 mile run to and from the local U-Haul.
In the next few weeks I'll be sitting down to create a race plan that will include possible finishing times.  While there is still some training to do, I think there are a lot of upsides to this race.
1) Altitude: The race is much lower and altitude than Pueblo which should translate into a bit more oxygen in the air.  More oxygen should help with overall performance.
View of the Austin Bike Course
2) Bike Course: There's a whopping total of about 846 feet of elevation gain on the course.  Compare that to my relatively flat ride today (I was actually seeking out some hills) which had an elevation gain of more than 1,400 feet.  The profile of course makes it look more challenging, but a careful study reveals that even most of the steeper climbs are actually spread out over a few miles.  For example, there is a climb of 150+feet that begins around mile 12 of the race.  It reaches the peak at approximately 15-16 miles which works out to an Everest-like 40-50 feet of gain per mile.
It's not K2!
3) Tri Bike:  I've only done one triathlon using "You're my boy Blue!" and at the Sunset Triathlon, I recorded an average speed of about 21 mph.  I've experienced similar speeds on longer training rides with the bike as well.  However,  Sunset was an Olympic distance race, so for a 70.3, I'll plan on being a tad slower, hoping for about a 20 mph average for the ride.
4) Base training and previous performances: It's been a good year despite starting with an injury.  Since May, I've run a 50 miler, completed a 106 mile ride, and PR'd on a half-marathon.  Austin is my "A Race" so I feel fairly confident that I can achieve a personal best.
Of course there's always a flip side.  A few concerns for this race must also be considered as they can impact race performance as well.
1. Travel: Unlike most of the races I've done that have only required a few hours of travel, this one will be a much bigger trip.  Still, the fact that we will arrive on Friday means that I will get a full day of recovery before race day and that should be enough time to recuperate.  2. Separate transition areas:  I've never done a race that has two separate transition areas.  The unknown can always cause some issues.  That said, having a less congested transition area might actually be an advantage.  No way to be sure on this one.
3. Bike Course: Yes, the bike course is also an advantage, but there is some indication that the roads are a bit rough.  I previewed a little of the course on Google and it looks to be a bit of a mixed bag.  There appears to be some chip-seal in some patches, but overall the road quality doesn't look vastly different from what we have here in Southern Colorado.
4. The Unknown: Like any race there are circumstances that are beyond our control.  Inclement weather, mechanicals, or even explosive diarrhea can conspire to affect race day (here's hoping it's none of these, but especially not the latter) performance.
GI issues, while never good in any situation, can have a huge impact on Race Day performance
At the end of the day, there's no way to know for sure what will happen.  The only thing to do is keep training and preparing as time will allow.  The effort expended now will be the biggest factor in determining performance in a few weeks.

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