Ironman Florida: 4 Weeks to Go

Ironman All the Time!
I’m sitting at my desk (except when I’m taking pictures of the desk) contemplating 28 days left until the race. Today is a light training day as I’m in a rest week of my periodization plan. Two more intense weeks to go then it’s all about the taper, baby! I’ll be getting out to bike a bit and run this afternoon, but right now I’m catching up on the checkbook and other computer-related chores.

I’m also waiting for coverage to being for The Ironman. Hawaii. Kona. The World Championships. It’s being broadcast today via the ironman.com website so check it out if you want. Coverage starts at 11:00 EDT and the first racer across the finish line won’t be until after 7:00 EDT so you’ve got plenty of time.

It’s amazing how tri-focused I’ve become in the past six months. Yes, I can name the major players in the sport and the industry. I can barely do that with the Braves and I’ve been following them for years. Yes, I can spout tri-centric terms and discussion and I know what you mean when you say “I Fartlecked” (although that’s a runner term, not a tri term). I’ve remarked to several people recently that I don’t know what I’m going to do with myself after the race is over and I’m not spending so much time focused on one thing. I expect I’ll find something (like yardwork).

My training is coming along and I’m no longer as freaked out as I was a couple weeks ago. I’ll finish this race, although I revised my finish time upward to 14 hours. I’ll probably come in under that, but 14 hours is my projection. There’s just no telling how well I’ll do on the various legs, but here are my assumptions. These are reasonably conservative.

Swim Pace / 100 Yds 0:02:05
Bike Pace (mph) 16
Run Pace (min/mile) 12

swim 1:28:00
t1 0:08:00
bike 7:00:00
t2 0:10:00
run 5:14:24
Total 14:00:24

If you knock the bike pace up to 17 mph, I come in at 13:35:42.
If you up the run pace to 11.5 minutes per mile, the time is 13:47:18.
If you do both, I’m in at 13:22:36.

Going fast on the swim has no appreciable effect on these times, so I won’t be. The swim is the part that has me a bit worried. Not that I think I can’t do it, just that I’ve never done a swim under these conditions. One of the hard-fast rules of racing is “Never do anything new on race day.” Well, this will be new and I don’t have any way of training for the scrum of the swim. I can go out and do some open water swims in my wetsuit (next week) but I can’t find 700 of my closest friends to do it with, in the ocean. No fast swim for Bill. It will be go as slow as I need to to get onto the beach in good condition. I’ll remind my readers that I felt like yakking after my swim last week. I hope to avoid that for the race.

The bike pace is a big unknown for me. When I was doing initial time projections in the winter I was figuring about an 18 MPH pace as a good goal. With what I’ve been doing lately on my long rides, I’m not sure that 18 MPH is a reasonable pace, but I haven’t ridden the actual course, which has looonnng rolling hills, not some of the severe ones I get around Atlanta (even on the Silver Comet, see the footnote).

So 18 MPH might be achievable, but for projections I’m sticking with 16,

The run is also a big unknown for me. My long runs have been clocking in around a 10:30 pace, but I’ve only gone up to 16 miles to date and they haven’t been after a 112 mile ride. I’m also determined to finish this race strong and not in the condition I was in at the Nike Women’s Marathon, so I will be taking it as easy as necessary during the first 2/3 of the run to keep myself in good shape. 12 minutes per mile is a good pace, putting me in at 5:14 for the marathon.

As an aside, Jenn and I like to poke back and forth about our marathon times. She maintains that her marathon time is better than mine (which was true for the Nike Women’s, by 3.5 minutes) but I hold the line that my average marathon time is better (she’s done two, I’ve done one). The debate lies in whether I should consider the ironman marathon time in this average. I’m leaning toward no as she’s insisting I decide before the race.

The time discussion here notwithstanding, the important thing to me is to finish. If I finish in 16:59:59, I’ll be happy. That’s my line.

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