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Thanks for all the emails and positive feedback on my race report. There have been several people that asked questions, mostly about the same things. For that reason I thought I’d make another entry answering some of those questions, and I’ll add in a couple more stories about the race.

I’ll start with a photo that I stole from Henk’s facebook. Thanks Henk!

This looks like the finish line, and yes, I see there was a girl that nearly passed me. I’m sure she was a pro!

Anyway, there were some comments and questions about the power data I shared, and about my nutrition plan. George Vargas noted that the Garmin data for the bike and run seem to show that total climbing is high, especially for the run. I didn’t really look at that, and rarely do except on some long rides. I’ve heard many discussion and explanations, and I don’t profess to know which ones are correct, but wide ranges in total climbing are common between people doing the same rides. One explanation is that small bumps in the road can add up to significant elevation changes that never really happened. Another is that GPS units don’t use the roads, but use the natural topography to calculate elevation changes. Some units use an altimeter for calculating elevation, but there can be errors when there are changes in barometric pressure. I have looked at my elevation when I pass elevation signs, and it usually within 10 feet of what the sign says, so actual elevation seems to be accurate. It is the total climbing that is questionable.

Most of the questions I received were about nutrition. I used to think that I wanted to eat as much as I can tolerate, which is what many people still profess. In training I found I could eat a lot of calories on the bike and be fine, but during long training rides when nutrition is needed, the intensity is increased, gastric emptying is slowed. The goal still was to eat as much as I could tolerate, but on occasion I would run into gastrointestinal problems (i.e. bloating, gas, diarrhea, frequent voiding). Last month I went to a talk that Jim Vance (coach and professional triathlete) gave on nutrition, and he said the goal should be to eat the least amount you need, not to eat as much as you can. I have a feeling that I could have eaten less, but wasn’t willing to test this more than I was comfortable with. I did eat less than I had planned on before the race. Was this a reason why I was slower than I had expected? I really don’t think so. I slowed on my run purely because I had only been doing short runs (3-6 miles primarily), so my muscular endurance was lacking. I never felt hungry or weak, and I also never had any GI problems. Also I never had to use the bathroom during the race, which worth some time.

As far as training with power, I can’t imagine doing it any other way now. I was resistant to getting a power meter because of the cost, and it has taken some time to learn how to use it. I know I still am not using it (really the real time data and post workout/race data) to the fullest. I’ll just comment a little on the charts I posted from WKO+ just to give you an idea, but also remember that this is a very small fraction of the analyses you can do with the power data. If there are specific questions about any of the charts, feel free to post a comment.

The first chart was my Performance Management Chart, and I only included the past 4 weeks because this includes my taper. Usually I look at the previous 6 weeks. The blue line is the Chronic Training Load (CTL) which represents the work load over the past 6 weeks as well as my fitness, the pink line is the Acute Training Load (ATL) which represents the work load over the past week. The yellow line is the Training Stress Balance (TSB), which shows how fatigued (or rested) I am. In short, I was able to maintain my fitness and be rested for the race. Whenever you rest, you sacrifice some of your fitness, so it’s a balance.

The summary data I posted for the bike shows some interesting things. First of all, it shows the highest average power for certain lengths of time. Notice that the difference between 10 minutes and 60 minutes is very small, because this was a time trial without surges and sprints. The power would go up some on climbs, but overall I was able to keep my power ranges fairly narrow. My normalized power was 277 watts, and my weight that day was 185, so this is a power to weight ratio of approximately 3.3 watts/kg for the 2.5 hour bike. I can use this number to monitor my progress in other similar distance races. Comparing times between different courses can be a difficult gauge because of differences in terrain and winds.

My choice of power meter has been the CyclOps powertap. There are a lot of options on the market, and I primarily chose this one because of cost and I can easily move my rear wheel to different bikes.

And now just one quick story. As I was loading my bike on the car at 0345 on race morning, there was someone across the street doing the same thing. He of course was doing the race as well, and said that he had done it the last nine years. He had come out from Colorado and was staying with his in-laws that live across the street. After the race I find out that he had one of the best performances of the day. Tim earned third in his age-group, 32nd overall. Tim would have earned a Kona spot, but already had one. I guess I’ll be seeing him there! Congratulations Tim!

Place  Time  Lname Fname Age  Swim  Bike         Run

3    04:22:25   Hola, Tim    36     25:08   2:30:29   1:22:37


I have deleted my previous posts, primarily because I hadn’t written anything for some time. I intend now to write up some race reports, and welcome any comments or criticism.

Date: Saturday, 27 March 2008

Start time: Pros 0640, I was in the 7th wave starting at 0700. My wave was the second of two waves for my age group, M40-44.

26 March 2008

The day prior to the race I had taken off from work. I had already checking in on Thursday and prepared my bike so that I wouldn’t have to mess with it on Friday. I got up around my usual time, around 0430, and after having some coffee and eggs I started a pre-race brick workout. The brick consisted of 30 minutes on the trainer, 5 minutes at 200 watts, 10 minutes at 250 watts, 10 minutes at 270 watts, and 5 minutes at 290 watts. A two mile run immediately after at my intended race pace of about 6:45. Everything felt great and I was looking forward to feeling fresh for the race. At 0800 I did a short swim at La Jolla Cove to the ¼ mile buoy and back, primarily to stay loose and feel the cold water again.

I ate a lot less than I normally do before a race. Often when I feel pre-race anxiety I feel I need more carbohydrates and think I am hungry. Oatmeal right after the brick provided me with a quick carbo-load (I had kept my carb intake pretty low the past couple days), and after the swim had an egg sandwich on multi-grain toast. During the day I had several pieces of fruit, and then for dinner chicken breast and sweet potato. I intended to eat just one sweet potato, but ended up having two dinners (1630 and 1900), so I had one large and one small sweet potato, and two chicken breasts.

My performance management chart for the 4 weeks prior:

Race morning

I got up at 0300 race morning, had some coffee, then jumped on the trainer. I spent 20 minutes on the trainer, 10 minutes at 120 watts, fairly low cadence, 5 minutes at 200 watts with normal cadence, and then the last 5 minutes I did some 30 second surges followed by 30 second soft pedal. It was very early, so I wasn’t looking for a high quality warm up like I would do closer to the race.

I was dropped off very close to the transition area at about 0440, so I had to wait a few minutes for transition to open. My plan was to find out where the TCSD bike racks were and my age group rack to see what would be the best. I was amazed to find the TCSD bike rack very near the exit from the transition area, and grabbed a great spot right away. This was also super cool in that I got to hang out with fellow club members prior to the race. After getting my transition area set up it began to get windy and I was getting cold. It was too early for me to do a run warm up, so I was looking for a place to sit down. After wandering around for awhile I sat on the stairs inside the garage of the apartments next to the race start where I was sheltered from the wind. I only sat there for a couple minutes when someone approached me to give me 50 cents and a banana, then he realized I was doing the race. Bob, and his wife Sally from Laguna Niguel were staying there for the race, so they invited me into the apartment where it was nice and warm. This was an awesome way to relax for 30 minutes before my run warm up.

I ran about 2 miles for my warm up, and felt incredible. I anticipated a great race.

My pre-race nutrition consisted of: 3 egg whites and 1 whole egg (140 kcal), oatmeal (300 kcal), powerbar (220 kcal), gel (100 kcal), for a total of 760 kcal. This is a lot less than I used to eat before long races.

Swim

Before my race start the sun was starting to come up, and the winds seem to be dying down. There was hope that I wasn’t going to be hypothermic for the first hour on the bike like I was at Ironman Arizona. The swim seemed much smoother than I remember it being the last couple years. I swam the buoy line, and stayed on someone’s feet (from my swim wave) at least 90% of the time. My swim times have been slower than last Spring, so I was primarily trying to conserve energy. I felt good on the swim, and ended up with a split of 29:11, a little over a minute slower than last year.

T1

My transitions are generally pretty quick. I started taking my suit off on the run to the bike, and as soon as I got it down around my waste I stopped and finished taking it off. Running without the suit on is a lot easier, so with the suit over my shoulders I ran and was able to straighten out my number and race belt that I had on already. I had been keeping my shoes on my bike the past couple of years, but occasionally it seems to hurt the transition more than help it. For example, at the Desert Tri I ended up losing a shoe at the start and had to run back and get it. I found I could wiggle my feet in the shoes without using my hands while I’m fastening my helmet. When I ran out of the transition, Hatala was right in front of me and he proved my point when he fell after trying to jump on his bike with his shoes on already. He got up quickly, but was struggling a little to actually get his shoes on and get going. I don’t think that saved him any time.

Bike

My bike plan was to utilize the power meter throughout the race. I planned on 250 watts for the first 5 miles, during which about 3 people (including Hatala) passed me, but I passed all of them later. Since I was easing into the run I decided to go ahead and eat a mini-cliff bar (100 kcal), which wasn’t a good choice because it was hard as a rock from the cold. At about 3.5 miles there was a hill, and my plan for the hills was 300-330 watts with cadence of about 90. Since I did this I felt pretty warmed up, so I went ahead into my cruising power of 270-280 watts. At about 28 miles was the first real climb, and I maintained my plan of 300-330 watts with cadence of 90 on all the climbs. I was using a 11-28 cassette which allowed me to do this. I stayed aero unless my speed dropped below 10 mph. At the crest of the hills I would stand and surge to build momentum for the descent, and then recover from the climb. On one of the later climbs, Navy Seal Mitch Hall flew past me, which I couldn’t believe. He was in one of the last waves, and he was flying by me! I had heard that he was in great shape, and he proved that with a 15th place overall finish and 1st amateur finish. Congratulations Mitch!

I thought the bike portion was going very well, and I felt I was racing smart with my power zones. At around mile 40 there was a 10 mile stretch of heavy winds. I was riding a disc wheel, and definitely felt the pressure of the wind, which made me rather tense.

Nutrition on the bike: Gatorade at three aid stations (about 150 kcal), maltodextrin and Cytomax from my single water bottle (200 kcal), 1 cliff bar (100 kcal), 1 gel (100 kcal). Total: 550 kcal. I carried an additional 350 kcal that I didn’t use.

My power distribution:

Summary data for the bike:

T2

The bike to run transition went smooth, and was uneventful.

Run

I felt great at the start of the run. I was very relaxed, didn’t feel like I was pushing the pace at all, and was running faster than my plan of 6:40-6:50 per mile. I thought, “if I feel this good and relaxed, I’ll just go with it”. Unfortunately my pace kept dropping and then I was not relaxed, and I was trying to go faster. Overall it was an okay run. My time was 1:33, and I was really anticipating sub 1:30. Although it didn’t seem too hot out, at some point I realized that I was getting hot. I started dousing myself with a lot of water and used sponges trying to keep cool. My pace would pick up after cooling for a couple minutes. Although I wasn’t uncomfortable with the heat, I think it was partially why I wasn’t able to keep pace.

Run nutrition: 3 sips of Gatorade and 2 small portions of gels, about 100 kcal total. I was primarily taking sips of water at each aid station.

Run summary data:

Finish

I finished in 4:39, a PR for me on this course, but I didn’t PR any of my splits. I expected to finish sub 4:30, so I was a little disappointed initially. My training plan however has been to focus on short course until mid-June, so I haven’t been doing any long runs or long tempo workouts on the bike. My next big race is Superseal in two weeks, so I should have a better idea how my recent training is preparing me for Olympic distance races.

Total calorie intake: 760 kcal pre-race (starting 3.5 hrs before start), 650 kcal during race. I used to eat 1000-1200 kcal prerace, and about 1000 kcal during a race this length.

Preliminary results:

Place Time Number L name F name City Pro Cnt Cat/Tot Category Swim Tr1 Bike Tr2 Run

121 04:39:15 587 Cook, Jerald SAN DIEGO CA USA 12/338 M40-44 29:11 2:40 2:32:13 1:19 1:33:54

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