Here we are.
After more than 960 run miles, 1,672 miles on the bike and 78 miles in the water swimming we only have 70.3 miles to go.
When you put it that way, the half-ironman doesn’t sound so bad. Of course racing 70.3 miles with only a short 3-4 minute break in transition getting out of our wetsuit, into our shoes and onto our bike and then another short 1 1/2 minutes transitioning from the bike to the run is a little different from just consistently logging training miles.
We have had a good mixture of volume and intensity during this training cycle, very rarely riding any mileage slower than 19-20 mph, and very rarely running any miles that were more than 30 seconds +/- slower than what we hope will be our run pace during the half marathon portion of things on Sunday.
The swim is going to be the big variable – as it is for a lot of triathletes who do not come to the sport with a strong swim background. I would not be surprised if I am out of the water in just under 45 minutes. That is what we are hoping for. But it could be as long as 3-4 minutes more than that if we have some issues with sighting on the course, there could be a current in the river and of course, the entire “swimming in a crowd” aspect of the open water swim in a triathlon.
I am going to try to stay calm early on the swim, settle into a rhythm and then gradually start to pull harder and quicker after the first 300-400 meters. 1,931 meters is a long way to swim, that is almost as far as Michael Phelps swam COMBINED in all of his olympic races. The first 200 meters is not going to make or break my day at Kerrville. In fact, the entire swim is going to make up only 15% or so of my total race time no matter how fast I swim. It is all about staying calm, not panicking and not expending useless and very precious energy out there in the water thrashing around like a wild-man.
We’ll have plenty of time to go “beast-mode” during the bike and the run.
The swim just isn’t the place for that given our experience level and skill set.
This week has been a good one leading up to race day. We are 100% over our viral infection. The antibiotics did the trick and we only have one more “dose” of pills to take on Saturday morning before we are officially done with our treatment.
We had a very nice run on Tuesday, a solid swim Tuesday afternoon (1,000 meters in 20:58) and a quick ride on the TRI bike early Wednesday morning (12.6 miles in 38 minutes). The bike is tuned up, cleaned and lubed and ready to roll after I had it in for some adjustments and a new rear brake cable at the Bicycle Sports Shop. Short of a flat tire on race day knock on wood – the bike should function just as we hope it will on race day.
After an easy 10K run Thursday morning and a final 1000 meter swim Thursday afternoon, there are no workouts left on the calendar. Just complete rest on Friday and Saturday and we’ll be headed off to Kerrville for the race.
This is a two-transition area race where T1 (swim to bike) is in a different location than T2 (bike to run).
That is going to require me to leave my bike overnight on Saturday in the transition area near the lake and our hotel – returning there on Sunday morning pre-race to lay out my transition area mat, my shoes, helmet, glasses, gloves, nutrition and all of the things I will need to flip the switch from swimmer to cyclist. It also means that coming out of the water I need to “bag up” all of my swim stuff and transition area things (wetsuit, goggles, cap, towels etc.) before I depart on the bike. The race officials will move my bag to the T2 area for me to retrieve it after the race.
T2 is a “clean transition” area, meaning that my run bag is going to be arranged there on the rack by my race number. I will have to come in on the bike, find my bag, rack my bike, dump my contents out, (run shoes, visor, watch, race number belt, nutrition) – get changed, rebag my bike items and then head out to the run course.
This is going to make my transition times a bit longer than usual, but it is the same for all of the athletes. I’m going to use the extra time to focus on the task at hand, catch a breath and get ready to do battle in the next phase of the race.
The bike course is a two-loop course for the Half-Ironman participants, so I will be able to get a good feel for the hills and wind on the first loop, then start to hammer away on the second loop.
The run course is actually a 4-loop course for the half-distance. So I will run past the same areas many times giving me a great opportunity to see Dawn and Landry and get some much-needed encouragement and smiles during the last phase of the race.
I hate to put a time goal out there on a race like this with so many variables. But we’re going to call the ball at 5:15 to 5:20 for Sunday. Anything faster than that we will call a big win. Anything slower, we will have to just keep fighting to the finish and determine where we need to work harder the next time. This is the end of the road for the triathlon season for us. After a recovery week we will fall right into Houston Marathon training for the race on 1-13-13. Our “A” race for the year, and our assault on that sub 3-hour marathon.
Sunday is a celebration of a lot of hard work and a lot of tough training. I’m going to remember to smile a lot and enjoy it while I am out there.
There are a lot of people who would love to be out there doing what I am going to be doing in Kerrville – Dom most certainly being one of them.
I’m going to cherish the experience, race hard and hopefully create another memory for little Landry to draw on as she gets older.
Sunday will be the day her Daddy became a half-ironman finisher. Time to go get ours.
If you would like to track me during the race on Sunday please visit:
After you fill out a quick registration, enter my name: Joe Marruchella and you can sign up for e-mail or text message alerts during the race.
Thanks for all the great support during this training cycle, especially my two girls at home who put up with early morning alarm clocks, long bike rides with Daddy being gone on Saturday mornings, and some slow shuffling sore muscles and much-needed naps on the weekends. You guys are the greatest, I could not love you any more than I do. Bring those hugs to the finish line on Sunday. I’m going to need them