I have now been in Arizona for nearly 7 weeks. It is amazing how fast time has gone by. It kind of feels like I’m in the movie Groundhog Day. Almost every day is the same; sunny and warm. A week can go by in the blink of an eye. I have been warned by friends who have stayed here for long periods of time in the past that you can actually get sick of the nice weather. It is safe to say that by no means am I sick of it. I most definitely could live here year round, for the rest of my life…though I have not experienced the extreme heat of the summer. But, to be honest, we have had a few days around 90 degrees, and not once have I thought, “It’s a bit too hot right now.” One day I will come here in the summer, to see for certain.
The past few weeks of training have gone really well. This time round, I decided to go 9 days hard, take two days recovery, and then put in another 9 days hard (as opposed to 18 straight). I think this style of training has a lot of benefit, with a lot less risk of injury (when compared to a straight 18 day block).
Building for an early season race has definitely been an interesting experience. Seeing as I have never done a triathlon so early in the season, nor have I tried to compete at a high level so early in the season, there has been a lot of trial and error (and this was to be expected for a first time). I have constantly been comparing workout results now to equivalent results leading into Muskoka 70.3. At the very least, my expectation is to have a performance similar to what I had there, at Texas 70.3.
One of the crucial workouts that I did before Muskoka 70.3 was a 90k TT. Actually, I did four 90k TTs all at race wattage. With hindsight, I would say that was a bit overkill. This time round, I decided to do one. Additionally, I decided to run 10k at race pace off the bike as well, something I didn’t do in my preparation for Muskoka 70.3 (I ran off the bike after biking for long distances, but never at race pace after a bike ride of equal or greater length to the race). I did this workout on Friday March 21st. It actually went better than I thought it would. I held a greater wattage than I had intended (my initial intended wattage was a bit too relaxed), and ran about a minute faster for the 10k than I had intended. Needless to say, this was a great confidence boost.
Exactly nine days out from Muskoka 70.3 (August 30th) I did a run workout of 2x5k with 3:30 recovery. I decided to do this exact workout nine days out from Texas 70.3 as well. Unfortunately, my girlfriend had gone home (she’s the best pacer in the world!), but fortunately I had my friend and training partner John Rasmussen (second best pacer in the world), who was feeling ill and yet still willing to help out (thanks!!). I biked 170k the day before (something I did not do when I did this workout prior to Muskoka) but was still able to post similar times. Leading into Muskoka 70.3 I went 16:22 for the first 5k and then 16:30 for the second 5k. This time round I went 16:32 for the first 5k and then 16:30 for the second 5k. Here is a graph of the results:
I had one more workout that I wanted to do for comparative purposes. Exactly one week out from Muskoka 70.3 I did this workout: 2 x (30 minute bike @ race wattage to 5k) with 8 minutes recovery in between. Going into Muskoka I held 343w for the first bike and then ran 16:31. After the 8 minutes recovery I held 347w for the second bike and then ran 16:19. This time round, John Rasmussen was feeling much better and decided he would do the workout with me (he is training for draft legal racing, so would sprint by me periodically and then fall back onto my wheel). My intention going into the workout was at the very least to repeat the times and wattages I had done going into Muskoka. For the first bike (due to where we rode it ended up being a 33 minute bike) I held 353w and then ran 16:18. After taking 8 minutes recovery, I pushed 347w for the second bike and then ran 15:46. John broke his off-the-bike 5k PB (twice) and so I got wondering if perhaps I had broken my off-the-bike 5k PB as well. Turns out I did! The fastest I had run for 5k off the bike up until that point was at the Leamington Tomatoman in 2012 where I ran a time of 15:47. Needless to say, the workout was very motivating. I was super pumped to keep training hard, but unfortunately the next day I was scheduled to begin tapering for Texas 70.3. Here is a graph of the bike results from each of the two intervals:
As for swimming, I am confident with saying that I am at least no worse than I was in Muskoka. I have had the opportunity to swim open water once a week for the last seven weeks, so I would say that my open water swimming proficiency has improved. I have also encountered lots of great swim coaches over the weeks, who have all helped me to improve from a technical perspective.
So now I am in the most dreaded part of training and racing: The Taper. I am not doing a massively large taper into Texas 70.3, as my A+ race is in another month in St. George Utah, but I am definitely allowing myself some much needed recovery time. I haven’t raced a triathlon (aside from a short indoor tri in February) since Muskoka 70.3, so I am itching to get back out there. There is nothing I enjoy more than laying it out on the line in a big race…and judging by the bib list, Texas 70.3 may be the biggest race I have ever done.
This will be the last you will hear from me until after the race. If you are interested in following along on race day, the race-day coverage will eventually be found here:
The gun is set to go at 7 am Texas time, which is 8 am in Ontario. I sincerely thank my many supporters for allowing me to pursue my dream. I will be racing for you on Sunday.