Week 5 – Race Week {Steven’s Ironman Experience}

This week started my 5th “real” week of training for Ironman Texas 2012. It is actually a very easy week for me as I prepare to race in the Tall Texan Triathlon in Boerne on Sunday. Although my workouts are shorter this week, with nothing longer than an hour, they are focused on maintaining proper form. These short, but focused workouts are designed to keep my legs moving but also help keep me fresh for the race.

I bought a new wetsuit a few weeks ago so an open water swim on Sunday finally allowed me a chance to try it out. I’m sure everyone who was out at Lake Lewisville that afternoon thought I was “mad” for swimming around in March (bad pun, I know, but my Dad will enjoy it). The water was pretty cold at first but the wetsuit kept me warm and felt comfortable other than a little issue with the fit in one shoulder that I need to fix in order to not fatigue as fast during the race.

The Tall Texan is a half-iron distance race. It starts with a 1.2 mile swim, a 56 mile bike ride filled with lots of hills, and a 13.1 mile run to finish out the day. From everything I have heard and read online, this is one of the toughest half-iron distance races in the state due to the hills. I have also read many stories about being jarred to complete fatigue on the bike due to most of the roads being chip seal. From riding in the MS 150 bike ride the last 5 years I know how uncomfortable that is as all the vibrations are transferred through the bike in into your arms and legs so I am definitely not looking forward to that part of it.

Overall, I have a few goals for this race. The first is just to see how my fitness is progressing along with a long day of “training”. This will be my longest race to date so it will also give me a chance to see how my body reacts to the longer distances. The main thing I am hoping to get out of this race is to dial in my nutrition plan for the Ironman. Most people consider nutrition to be the 4th stage of triathlons as you will typically burn anywhere from 500-1000 calories per hour. Take that over a 12-17 hour day and you have to find a way to replace all that energy. The problem is, as you exercise, your body transfers blood flow away from your digestive tract towards your working muscles, which slows down digestion. Therefore, you have to be very careful to make sure what you eat and drink agrees with your stomach or you could be in for a rough day. This race will have similar food and drinks to what will be offered at Ironman Texas so I will be able to find out if I can just count on eating and drinking what will be on the course or if I need to carry all of my own nutrition (besides water) along with me.

If everything goes right, I plan on finishing in around 6 hours. Still a ways from the top of the pack but based on the last few years’ results should land me on the podium for my age group. Stay tuned next week as I will have a full race report as well as details about my training for the week.

Recreation Programmer

City of Wylie