Monday, May 7, 2012

IMSG: More thoughts.

I'm really, really happy I did that race this weekend. Here are a few more random thoughts that bubbled up during my seven-hour drive back to San Francisco from Los Angeles.

Firstly, a BUNCH of friends did a bunch of different races this weekend. Congratulations to all of you! A lot of the M2 guys appear to be crushing just about every race they enter -- so bad ass. (Maybe some of that will rub off on me when I taper down for Switzerland!)

Now I cam come out of this race with some important fitness-related knowledge. My fitness is much more sound than I had thought, which is awesome. But now I know what the two major areas are that I need to work on over the next eight weeks to really improve in Zurich.
  1. I definitely need to have my bike fit re-examined. Something's not working right now. I'm not comfortable, and I'm not seeing the power numbers I expect.
  2. I want to work on more low-cadence/high-power strength intervals over the next few weeks. Most of what I've been doing to-date has been 90+ RPM. Let's build a bit of muscle/strength by going lower/slower.
  3. In each of the three Ironman-distance races I've completed, my legs stiffen up by the midpoint. I'll never get to where I want to be if I have to walk half of every marathon I attempt. I'm going to try to address this with brick workouts (which I've done none of so far this year) and more hill-related training (which I've done very little of so far this year).
I wonder what recovery will be like? I think I'll give myself a week of easy spinning and then build back into intensity toward the end of next week. Hopefully the success during this week's race means my Achilles problems are long gone -- but I'm going to continue to operate as if they're hiding behind the next corner. Don't get over-zealous, Andrew!

For the past two years, I've been targeting one large Ironman race per season. I've been striving to attack each target race with the best condition possible. This past weekend gave me the opportunity to race in conditions that weren't ideal - and I'm not talking about the weather. I had almost literally run my legs straight into the ground over the three weeks leading up to Ironman St. George, so there was very little taper involved. And driving for twelve of the twenty-four hours prior to the race? That's definitely against coach's orders!

I think I really needed to do this race for another reason, too. I needed to make the Ironman into something smaller. I've always made it out to be a Big Deal, but basically "winging it" and finishing as strongly as I means I don't have to be so afraid of the mileage. An Ironman? It's just a long day, essentially!

The Veyo Wall would've been one hell of a climb on any other day. That's the kind of painful steepness that becomes legendary on a triathlon course. It's a shame it was overshadowed by the headwind on the stretch never-ending stretch into Gunlock!

I wasn't sure how I'd handle the heat at IMSG, but I managed. I used Salt Stick tablets for the first time ever and I think they helped immensely. I definitely downed a lot more water at this race than during races past -- a good thing for sure!

The sheer difficulty of the St. George course (wind and heat included) was a definite challenge. This should give me a great deal of confidence when I tackle the relatively flat Zurich course. BRING IT, ZURICH!

At one point during the roughest half of the swim, after I thought I'd reached the spread out section of the race, someone decided to randomly swim over me. I don't know where he came from or why he decided that, of all places in that whole, huge reservoir, I was swimming exactly where he wanted to be swimming. There wasn't another soul for twenty-five yards in any direction. I sat up and looked at him and shouted, "SERIOUSLY dude?!" He said something back, but I think he thought I was talking about the swells.

By the way, the two-beat kick I've been trying to perfect in the pool is awesome in execution during a race. Wetsuits are so freakin' buoyant!

The songs that were running through my head on repeat during the bike course were:
  • Penitentiary by Citizen Cope
  • Free Fallin' by Tom Petty
  • We Both Go Down Together by the Decemberists
  • A rather profane Tenacious D song that I shall not name.

Despite the ridiculously high level of difficulty, the course was actually quite beautiful. The reservoir, encircled by distant red-rock mountains, was quite beautiful at sunrise. And some of the vistas on the bike ride were absolutely incredible - you could see for fifty miles, maybe a hundred!

I've now done four races in my De Soto one-piece tri suit. It's super comfortable, but I think it's starting to wear thin. I might shop around a bit and explore two-piece kit options.

I guess I should start thinking about next year's race(s)? Couer d'Alene, perhaps? Cozumel? Canada? Hmm!