Monday, 26 September 2016
A conservatively paced non-wetsuit 4K swim should have taken about 65 mins. My swim split measured 4.25K and took 86 mins. It was clear that the end buoys had drifted and it transpired that several safety kayakers were pulled out of the lake as the conditions were too difficult for them. The 2 hour plus swim cut off was extended by 30 mins but there still a large number of athletes who didn't complete the swim.
The bike route was a one loop out and back with 2 small loops at the end of the 'out' section. Very fast going north, very slow going south. It was best described as rolling with sketchy road surface and the heat of the day made for a tough ride. Water at the aid stations was in cheap flimsy 750ml bottles, that didn't fit the bottle cages and the crap nozzles allowed half of the water to drip on my legs, soaking my feet.
Friday, 23 September 2016
Very early start, up at 5:15 to eat then to meet Lloyd for short walk a few blocks to the bus pick up which was scheduled for 6:00, giving plenty of time to get to lake for swim practice. 70 mins later - no show. Two buff athletes with shaved legs on a dark street corner and not even a car horn or wolf whistle.... losing my touch.
Managed to get a lift from another team GB athlete and the day was saved.
The lake was 26.5°C (wetsuits being forbidden over 24.5). Murky shallow water. The murkiness being a blessing in disguise, as not seeing the lake bottom hid the fact that it was only about 5' deep in places and you could stand up. Water was choppy but this will suit me if conditions remain. ITU still insist we show up tomorrow with with wetsuits, I'm guessing in case it snows overnight? Or the race director has a neoprene fetish?
Back to the hotel for a race briefing from the ITU GB team manager. Bit confusing, generated more questions than it actually answered. We slag off the Ironman brand but they really know their shit when it comes to race organising and this has become really obvious here.
Another bus to get bikes to the lake for check in. Packed in like sardines but got there eventually. The race organisers paid lip service to checking bikes & helmets - another example of poor organisation.
Had brief chat with Jodie Swallow about her race and Kona before letting her grab a photo opportunity with me and my GB Age Grouper brethren.
Hopped back on the bus back to race registration to get race belt number swapped, (all athletes had the wrong name - another f**K up).
Also blagged some nice food from the VIP area which took the edge off my hunger - a bit.
Took a coffee stop on way home and topped up glycogen stores with chicken and bacon croissant. Then back to hotel to fill race nutrition bottles and prep gels etc...
Resisted the temptation to take an afternoon nap.
A bit of e-research highlighted 'Zio's' Italian restaurant as being a sure bet for a spot of light carb loading. Jackpot. Warm fresh salty white roll with herby olive oil. I gobbled it down and, bugger me, another one took its place. This was accompanied with Baked Chicken Cannelloni with bacon, onions and an artichoke dip. Whoa.
Wearing an Ironman T-shirt to an Okie restaurant in event week has its perks, better not tell them I'm a fireman, I will never fit out the door let alone race tomorrow!
Pretty confident I have over eaten today (ya think?) shouldn't need (or want) too much for breakfast.
Finally managed to escape and returned to the Holliday inn to settle down for an early night eased with a couple of podcasts.
Less nervous for tomorrow's race than races before. Really raring to go. 'Fired up' is an honest understatement!
I will give it everything tomorrow and I plan to cross that finish line totally empty. It's a foreign distance, sitting somewhere between half & full Ironman (except the swim, which exceeds iron distance). Pacing will be a gamble and I will risk going harder rather than going conservatively which may very well be a painful mistake. Ultimately though, the weather may have the final say. Here we go again!!!
As always, thanks for all the awesome support, see you on the other side!
Thursday, 22 September 2016
The Holliday inn is in the Bricktown district. So called as most of the cafe's and restaurants are in brick built warehouses abandoned since industrial decline in the 1960's but recently renovated.
There is now a man made modern twisting canal which twists through the district which is fed from a huge rowing lake and kayaking rapids centre. This is where the expo and race HQ is located.
I woke ridiculously early this morning with an eagerness to explore. Had 1st Bagel in a year but balanced the guilt with eggs n bacon - naturally!
Little stretch in the gym then walked the canal path over to the expo/registration site.
Met with fellow M45 athlete Lloyd & his long suffering supporter (wife Jane). Turns out he has too much in common with me - very spooky. He also qualified via IM Frankfurt 2015 is the same age and uses a similar spec of Tri equipment.
After registering, I spoilt Lloyd & Janes romantic canal walk back to the hotel by tagging along but made amends by shouting them a coffee at a great cafe opposite the hotel, where we met the Team GB event manager.
I hopped on the bike and executed a solid TT test ride on the roads leading from downtown Okie. Just like Frankfurt last year,i somehow managed to end up on a motorway (sorry, freeway), bit dangerous especially avoiding the shredded truck tyres on the hard shoulder. Good speed/power - the carbs are kicking in. I just felt I had an extra gear! Got back in one piece and ran a 5K brick in the heat of the day. Legs are all good.
Quick cold shower and chicken, almond & pesto salad at my new favourite coffee shop before heading over to race HQ where I met with 30ish other GBR AG's for the opening ceremony and parade of nations. GB were the 3rd largest contingent, behind USA (10 times as many yanks) and China. Had a chat with Ben Hobbs of TRS Radio (I rocked the cock Grant) and had the obligatory GBR team photos taken.
Another coffee on way back then out for pizza. I asked the girls on the Holliday Inn front desk for their recommendation and 'Knucks Wheelhouse' didn't disappoint. I had pork rinds for starter, then a Mediterranean pizza - only a medium and it nearly beat me. (Won't be needing pudding, or breakfast for that matter).
Back to the hotel for a bit of blogging, social media reconciliation and bed.
All went pretty standard, crap flight food, no sleep, couple of movies and touched down in Dallas. "Sorry sir, we don't have your bike box, please fill in a loss report". A stressful hour passed and I was located at the other end of the airport on another planes arrival carrousel.
Crises, diverted, I had time to relax with chips, dips & shredded Beef Tamales - queue the first food pics of the trip.
Slept the 1 hour something flight to Oklahoma, grabbed my luggage (thankfully), and got the transfer to the newly built Holliday Inn Express in Bricktown Oklahoma. Clean, spacious next to the gym/pool and can have bike in room.
Now r e l a x.
Tuesday, 20 September 2016
After an amazing weekend supporting Grants 1st Ironman in Wales, I feel like I need to put my feet up, not get them running - being Grant's 'wingman' involved a lot of getting about the course (25 miles in fact), very little food and very little sleep! It was an awesome experience though and a real landmark in Grant's Triathlon journey!
I'm ashamed to say that I've struggled with motivation for my A race this year and the build/peak training sessions that I usually thrive on, have tested me mentally if not physically - but they are in the bag now and I'm in great physical shape for the ITU Long Distance Championship in Oklahoma (Saturday).
Similar to Kona last year, you have to qualify for this race and get to represent your country in the process (and pay a hefty £160 for the race suit). The distances are a little different to the 'Ironman' - 4K swim, 120K bike and 30K run. It should take me 7-7.5 hours, compared to the 9.5-10 for Ironman.
The race uses the 'Redman Triathlon' course and looks extremely ordinary, at least from the little I can research online. Lake swim (potential for non-wetsuit), very straight, rolling bike ride and then 3x10k laps along the lake. One interesting aspect may be the weather. 35°C and windy. This should suit me with my previous Frankfurt/Hawaii history.
Here is a short video of the event.....
See what I mean - not exactly Kona but hey.
So what's changed since Kona last October?
I've completely changed my approach to to eating both in everyday and training. Switching to healthy whole foods and drastically reducing the carbs has increased my endurance, smoothed my energy levels and reduced my weight a few Kg's - all of this should improve long distance race performance, the theory being, fat adaption will reduce my reliance on carbs for fuel, instead utilising my body's natural fat resources - this should ensure I can prevent late race bonking by not being reliant on carbs that the body struggles to metabolise.
February's knee Op seems an age away now. I've raced the half iron distance well since the Op and other than 4 weeks of missed base training, I've got to be happy with my condition today. I'd have liked to have increased my fitness from this time last year but would estimate that I'm pretty much at the same level.
New wetsuit and few bike tweaks but no major changes.
So prepared to be hit with Daily blog updates...... I fly to Oklahoma via Dallas tomorrow - here we go again, yee ha!