I started Monday morning with a 2,500 meter pool swim because I overslept my 6 am Open Water Clinic. 2,500 meters. To think that was just over half of the Ironman distance can be a bitter pill to swallow.
I felt pretty good about my effort, but during the day I had a craving for insider information on Ironman Wisconsin. What are the secrets for making your day great? Almost everything I read said the same thing, “Don’t burn yourself on the bike.”
So, after work on Monday night, I took that “don’t burn out” information on my ride with specific concentration on gearing down early going into the hills. It was a “just ride” after all and after numerous bad efforts, I was looking for a reason to not throw my bike off the Shelby Bottoms pedestrian bridge.
The outlandish amounts of baby strollers kept my crushing urges in check. It was a loveable, fresh, clean, and no burnout approach . . . that worked like a charm.
I paid close attention to my speed on the climbs and it was typically only a mile or two per hour slower than aggressive climbing. The difference was, I rarely, if ever felt like I was breathing hard and crested every hill with energy to gear up and go after the downhill if I chose.
Most every expert points to the run as the key in Ironman.
If, for example, you think you have the capability of averaging 20.4 mph on the bike at Wisconsin, you’ll come in around 5 hours and 30 minutes. But, if that takes all you’ve got, a 4-hour marathon goal could easily end up 5:30. On the other hand, if you hold back a bit and shoot for 18.7 mph on the bike (a 6 hour ride) that may be enough to save your legs for that 4 hour marathon. The 30 minutes you gain by hammering the bike nets you an hour loss in the race.
It’s taken me several long rides to realize racing a bike for 112 miles is no picnic. I saw so many people walking the marathon at Louisville and, while I completely understand it, I don’t want that to be my fate. Time is one thing, but running the entire course is one of those things I would just like to do. I’m hoping I can pace myself well enough complete the run, and . . . make it solid.
So, swim, bike, run. The masterpiece puzzle that wrenches the core of every triathlete. Each event toying at your brain like a needy child. They all want more of your time and the balancing act becomes maddening. Swim wants to chill and hang out with dad and splash around in the water. Bike wants to go on a long vacation. Run wants to stay at home and work on the playground in the backyard.
All of your kids and their needs are important, but it’s looking like I’ll get the most long-term benefit from building that playground with Run.