Well folks, it’s about that time!
Ironman Lake Placid is only days away and I’m experiencing every stage of race day jitters; anxiousness, nervousness, excitement and… the inevitable second-guessing of my life decisions.
In the spirit of race day preparation, I want to fill you in on my training status (most importantly re-capping Ironman 70.3 Syracuse) and how I plan to get ready for race day.
Warm Up Race: Ironman 70.3 Syracuse:
A few weeks ago, my sister and I put our training and race strategy to the test at Ironman 70.3 Syracuse (a half-distance Ironman). It was a challenging day with a choppy swim, head wind on the bike, and a super humid run. Despite these hurdles, we both beat our previous recorded race time (that’s “PR” in race lingo)!
Overall, we were happy with our mental and physical performance on the Syracuse course.
As an added bonus, our support crew got to practice their photo skills:
Fellow racers loved our chocolate milk race day get-up (even though pale skin and orange don’t quite complement one another).
More Ironman Training:
After re-grouping and re-hydrating our training was on the right track, but we really needed to go hard over the next 5 weeks on the bike to feel comfortable with 112 miles on race day.
One positive about the Syracuse race day heat and humidity was that it allowed us to put our race day nutrition to the test. We didn’t find chocolate milk at the finish line (boo!!!), but they had plenty of get-in-my-tummy pizza greatness.
After Syracuse I jumped right back into training feeling strong, pumped, and ready to log long, quality training hours over the next several weeks.
Ironman Taper Time!
I had a heavy 3 weeks of training after Syracuse. It felt amazing to push my physical and mental limits! With that behind me, I’m entering my ‘taper’ phase – reducing exercise and recuperating before the big race.
Since May, my training plan started “bricks” meaning double workouts in one day, mostly biking and running. Being able to practice running right after a bike ride helps train running muscles to kick-in “like clockwork” and make race day transition from bike to run easy and familiar to the body.
During my 6-month training plan, my longest distances logged were:
Running: 18 miles
Cycling: 112 miles
Swimming: 2.6 miles
Two weeks from race day is the official start to taper time. This two week window allows for the peak muscle, tissue, and mental recovery needed for optimal race day performance. During taper time, I focus on maintenance work outs to maintain my fitness level (and so I don’t go crazy). I know it makes me sound like an over achiever, but when your body is used to 12-19 hours/week of training… cutting to 6-8 hours/week can make you bonkers.
… and a break from caffeine!
Speaking of bonkers…. taper time includes a weaning from caffeine and no alcohol! A caffeine taper can look a little different for each athlete (depending on your body’s response and dependence to caffeine). For me, I’ll start with a “half-caff week” where I’ll cut my caffeine in half each day until, wait for it… I endure a full week without caffeine before the race!
Let me explain why I do this before a virtual riot and angry tweets. Caffeine tapers can really help runners and triathletes during long distance races. Abstaining allows an extra kick from the caffeine in fuel gels and soda at aid stations (which I’ll definitely need on the run).
I’ve been extremely committed to training, recovering, and nutrition over the past 6 months. That foundation will get me to the finish line, but having an occasional caffeine kick on the race course can help maintain my A-game mentally to push onward.
Eliminating caffeine before a race also helps me focus on hydration and log some solid sleeps! Taper time is all about reaching peak recovery (including rest and hydration), so I’m ready to tri on race day.
It can be a psychological challenge, but, between you and me, I’m welcoming taper time with open (and tired) arms!
Can’t wait to be back for the real deal!
Ironman Lake Placid: Follow My Progress
My sister and I will head to Lake Placid, New York the Thursday before race day (July 23rd) to swim in Mirror Lake and tackle pre-race day duties and festivities. Feel free to live stream IMLP on race day to follow my race day progress. Based on my training progress, I expect to have an 8:30-9pm finish time!
It has been real, it’s been fun, and it’s been real fun blogging about my IMLP adventure. I hope I inspired you to discover your “IMLP” while bringing a little fun and joy to your screens. Hopefully, I will be writing to you in my August blog as an “Ironman”. Until then prayers, best wishes, and words of encouragement are welcome!
Split milk: Rain, Rain Go Away…
As usual, there were a few bumps in the road since my last check-in….
A scheduled outdoor 5-hour bike ride became a 5 hour indoor trainer ride when I awoke to scattered thunderstorms (I can do rain, but thunderstorms should be a no-go for all). Several moo-vies and peanut butter crackers later, the clouds parted for just long enough to sneak in a 30-min run.
Not what I had planned, but mission accomplished! Lesson: Always have a Plan B…and a positive attitude.
Be sure to follow me on social at Ironman Lake Placid!