So last week I was thinking I'd take Racine pretty easy and just not worry about the results.
What a difference a week makes.
This weekend I did a pretty tough training day just to determine where I was in my fitness and how Racine could go for me.
Saturday I did an hour interval run, no issues. I followed it up with a 90 minute masters swim of about 4,500 yards. Mostly hard and fast.
Sunday was the real day as I did a 63 mile hilly ride at race pace followed by a 1-hour, (7 mile) run also at race pace.
I could tell right away I was a little tired starting the ride, but I ignored that and did my best to maintain 240 watts for the whole thing. I also tried to maintain pace on hills, however some were too big and I had to grind a bit. I also worked out the nutrition.
At the end of the ride I finished off with 242 watts as an average. I should add - it was 85 degrees by the time I finished.
I started the run and had planned on hitting an 8:30 pace. that was my plan for the race as well. When I looked at the garmin I was hitting 8's flat. The way out was flat to downhill, the way back was slightly uphill. So the way back I was hitting 8:20's.
That workout plus some conversations have given me the confidence I need to try and race this thing. My overall goals are still similar, but speed targets have changed.
The primary goal is to finish strong, no walking. At least not due to pacing issues. I want to hold it together on the run.
Goal #2 is to break 5 hours.
If my times hold up - 27:00 - 2:00 - 2:38:30 - 2:00 - 1:48:00 I will finish with a 4:57:40.
However there is also the possibility of breaking 4:45. Maybe.
I've made a small change to my bike position to increase aerodynamics. It has not effected my power. Assuming really good conditions - I plan to hold 250 watts. that is a small bump but realistic considering the course and my Sunday ride. At the halfway point I'll evaluate how I feel and either bump up or down depending on conditions.
the course is really flat and fast...so 250 watts should realistically have me going at 22 mph. I've been using 21.0 mph as my benchmark. that may be conservative. either way I am pacing off power and that isn't impacted by conditions. My ride on the hills at 240 watts with stop signs, etc was at 19.5 mph. Often times you can add 3mph from training to racing. We'll see.
That is a 6 minute savings.
On the run I really felt like I could push harder in training. So I've changed my plan just a hair. Instead of holding 8:30's for the first half I am going to drop that down to 8:00's for the first 5k. At that point if I feel good I am going to bump it up a notch and see if I can't go around 7:45's.
For me it was never a question if I can hold these paces. I've done it in training. I just didn't have the confidence. But there were many times in that training run where I intentionally slowed down. And at the end of the 7 miles I almost kept going to get in 13. I felt that good. My legs were only just starting to get a little tight.
So, my stretch target is 250w = 22+mph = 3:32:45 with a run averaging 7:50's.
That puts me at 4:46:26.
I suspect I'll shave time off the swim (especially if it is short like ususal) as well as transitions. 2 minutes per is a bit high. Plus if I am close to breaking it in the last half of the run, I really think I'll be able to pick it up to get under. I'd have to be pretty close though. The good news is that 250 watts may still be a touch conservative. My normal power for that training ride was 248 and I felt great coming off the bike. So my power deviation is pretty small and should set me up for a good run.
We'll see. Conditions will dictate a LOT. I can handle 85 degrees, above that and I'll have to slow down.
As always I'll have to evaluate that morning based on current conditions and the weather report...and then see how I'm feeling at certain check points.