Thursday, August 15, 2013

Ironman Mont Tremblant Prelude

I am pretty sure that the folks at the Ironman Mont Tremblant expo won’t let me check in until I detail all my goals for race day on the internet for all to see. If you are curious to see how I stack up against all of this, you can go to on race day and check out how #494 is plodding along at Ironman Mont Tremblant.

So here goes – the goals for Sunday.

Swim: 1:05, and I’m angry about it.

WHY did I not train harder to go for that sub-1 hour split? WHY?

Well, probably because it would have meant 5-8 hours of extra swim training per week…which would have bitten into the quality and quantity of my bike and run training. Nope. Not going to do it for a 5 minute advantage in a day-long event.

That doesn’t mean I’m not irritated, nor does it mean that I won’t try to hang onto the fastest feet in my wave in hopes of dipping under an hour. It does, however, mean that sub-1:05 is OK with me.

Bike: I don’t want to talk about it.

No, really, I don’t want to talk about time. I don’t CARE what my time on the bike is, save the fact that I hope it is under 7:30 because I don’t care to spend much more time in the saddle than that. I got a powermeter for a reason, and that reason was to train and race smarter. The training is done, and now it’s time to race smart. I have a target normalized wattage range that I am to NOT exceed, along with a target heart rate cap that I am NOT to exceed. This ensures that my legs, and my entire body, make it to the run course with energy to spare. I’ve tested these ranges in training, and have had no difficulty ticking off a slew of sub-9 miles off the bike when I avoid power spiking or riding at too high of an intensity. These targets are what I can depend on, and mph just doesn’t figure into that. My speed will be what it is given my power output and fitness limitations against the course conditions on race day. It could be 14 mph. It could be 17 mph.

I just don’t care. What I DO care about is executing a solid marathon…

Run: Sub 4:30. I can't wait.

That’s almost 80 minutes faster than I ran/walked/limped the marathon at IMKY last year. Crazy, right?

Well, maybe not. Since last year, I took 47 minutes off my standalone marathon time, and it probably won’t be 96F on the run course in Mont Tremblant. Those factors, combined with a smarter bike leg thanks to my work with power training this season, should pay off with a much faster run leg this year. Enough that dropping over an hour isn’t a completely unreasonable expectation.

That said, I do have possibly unreasonable ideas about just how far under 4:30 I can go. These ideas are similar to the thoughts I had before the Myrtle Beach Marathon – I look at my training paces from track workouts, long runs, and brick workouts, along with my splits from other races this year, and I calculate out a time that I think I can hit. Then I look at it and think “No way. That is what FAST people do.”

We all know what happened there. A few weeks before the race, I contemplated possibly shooting for sub-3:50, then mulled it over with my coach. I went in with a race plan targeting 3:50-3:55 along with a promise to all those who have to put up with me regularly that I would be content with a sub-4 race. Then I raced faster than anybody – yes, anybody – thought I could that day and pulled off a 3:47 with a 3-minute negative split.

I’m taking a similar strategy here. A sub-4:30 Ironman marathon is solid. Something to be proud of, really, and I’m NOT allowed to complain about anything under 4:30, but I am still allowed to pursue something faster. I plan to take the first loop fairly easy, and aim to accelerate the entire second loop. I think that this will get me at least a sub-4:30 run, and it’s just a matter of letting my legs carry me as far under that time as they can. It might be a minute under, it might be more. It might be a lot more.

I might have told somebody what time I think that could be, and gotten the response of “Woah…good for you.”

I might still think I can go even faster than the time that elicited that response.

We’ll find out on Sunday.

Overall race time goals

This is a little tricky, since I have no goal bike split. But, I live and work in Washington, DC, so I’m no stranger to pulling numbers out of thin air to support conclusions I’ve already reached.

A goal: Under 13 hours

By conservative estimates, my swim+run+transitions shouldn’t take me more than 5:45. That gives me 7:15 to tool around on the bike and still come in under 13 hours. And even if I do spend more time on my bike, I still have the chance to make up the time on the run. This would be over an hour faster than IMKY last year, which is a solid time drop for just one season of training. Hitting this time on Sunday would be spectacular, and it would have me finishing before sunset. No running in the dark for me, thank you very much.

B goal: Under 14:12

This would be a PR from IMKY 2012. And unless I have a mechanical issue on the bike, I would have to either bike over 8 hours or run over 5 hours. Neither of those sounds like an appealing experience right now, so in the interest of having a good day, I hope I at least beat this time.

C goal: Under 16:59:59

Any day you get to cover 140.6 miles under your own power is a good day. Don’t ever take that for granted.


  1. Re: the swimming goal. I nodded in agreement over here. You made the right decision devoting your training time to the bike and the run. I'm not great at math, but I think people say the swim constitutes like 1/5 or 1/7 of your total Ironman race, so in the grand scheme of the day, it's not where you want to spend your energy.

    Also, you better believe I will be stalking--er, tracking--you on Sunday. Sending fast vibes your way, friend!

  2. You're gonna smash it. Have a blast!

  3. Definitely reasonable and doable goals! I'll be cheering you on from San Diego! Go get em!!! Good luck!!!

  4. I am so excited to see you kill this race, i feel it for you. loads of hard training went into this and you deserve that race!

  5. Yes. Any day you can do a 140.6 is a good day. Do it for those of us who can only dream. Sending you speedy strong vibes from London!

  6. I cannot wait to see how this goes and wait to see how the marathon (especially) goes. I cannot even comprehend spending that much time on a bike and now with the run and swim...oomph. No, that much extra time is not worth it for 5 minutes of a swim but I wouldn't be surprised if you still achieve it.

  7. Yes, I am certain they do not allow you to be body marked unless you have stated your goals on the internet. I read that in the athlete guide. :) Hope you have a great race!!!

  8. I like the approach - an energy-saving 8 hr warm-up for an efficient/satisfying marathon! There is no athlete I trust more to execute a plan!

  9. Rock and roll! I fully support that A goal....I KNOW you can do it! Regardless, go out there and have fun!!

  10. Just realized it's race day and I went to the website and you are killing it! Hitting your goals perfectly so now I am watching live coverage looking for you! The finish line clock says 13:10 and I expect to see you any minute and then I will cheer for you in my living room like a total and complete loser. Major stalker alert.

  11. "But, I live and work in Washington, DC, so I’m no stranger to pulling numbers out of thin air to support conclusions I’ve already reached."

    That is the truest sentence ever written.