Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Barb's Race 2014 - Race Plan

"Having the performance and race results you want in an A-priority race largely depends on having an effective strategy. A race strategy is nothing more than a plan that covers the race-day variables over which you have control. You don't for example, have control over the weather or how fit your competition is. You can, however, plan how you will deal with various weather conditions and how to pace yourself relative to other athletes. You should plan for all of the variables that are within your control" 
Joel Friel
"Triathletes Training Bible"
  • Pacing
  • Equipment
  • Transitions
  • Nutrition
  • Weather
  • The Sky is Falling

Race Week

My tapers continues...
  • Sunday - 30 minute sauna session w/ a 45 minute run after church
  • Monday - 1,500y swim (45 minutes)
  • Tuesday - Run (30 minutes)
  • Wednesday - 1,500y swim (45 minutes)
  • Thursday - P90X Stretch
  • Friday – Short run or maybe a swim in the Russian River

I will continue to get 7-8 hours of sleep per night and focus on eating nutrient dense food and taking my supplements. Thursday evening will probably be some sort of pasta meal, but I don’t want to over-do it.

Throughout the week I will be assembling all of my gear on the dining room table. This will allow me to check and double check to make sure I have everything I need. Normally I would be stressed out enough just worrying about my stuff, but this time I also have to remember to pack a few things for Lindsey like my road bike, Giro helmet and her new Betty Designs tri top.

I am going to practice my tire changing skills this week and will practice with a valve extender. I am also going to have HS work with me on filling the Fuselage quickly (I need to be able to empty 20 oz. of water while passing through the aid station). I will also work on grabbing food out of the Fuelcell. I may need to order an additional bento box to hold my food.

Friday morning I will drop the dogs off and then we will make our way over to Windsor. I’m hoping to get in to the first or second mandatory meeting so I can get a choice spot for my T2 set up. This year I will remember a towel for this transition area. I will attach my race bib to my belt, stick in a GU Roctane in the holder, stick my running hat in one of my shoes with a Zip-lock bag holding my Sport Leg supplement in my hat. I will then wrap my race belt around my shoes.

After we are done walking around the expo, we will leave and then stop at the grocery store on the way to our rental house. Lindsey and I still haven’t agreed on a pre-race dinner menu. I’m leaning towards something safe like brown rice pasta with a marinara sauce and one glass of wine…just to take the edge off.

When we get to the rental house, I will review what I need for the race and I will plug my Garmin in to make sure it is fully charged. Depending on how I feel, I may go for a quick run or I might go down to the river to check things out and get my feet wet. Afterwards, I will rub my legs down with Penetrex and magnesium oil.

Stuff to Pack
  • USAT card and photo ID
  • Sweat shirt and pants
  • Betty Design kit
  • Wetsuit
  • Goggles (plus back up pair)
  • Bike
  • Helmet
  • Cycling/Running glasses
  • Garmin watch & charger
  • Mike’s Garmin for the bike
  • 2 transition towels
  • Feetures socks
  • Cycling shoes
  • Running shoes
  • Running hat
  • Race belt
  • Hammer hydration tabs or Nuun tablets
  • 2 Clif coconut chocolate bars
  • 2 GU Roctane (Passion Fruit)
  • 2 Kind coconut almond bars
  • Smart Water
  • Sport Legs (3 doses)
  • Penetrex
  • Magnesium oil
  • Compression pants

Race Day

The house we are renting is about 7 miles from the race start, so there is no need to get up super early. I normally get up around 4am, so if I can stay in bed until 4:30 or 5:00, that would be good. Breakfast will consist of eggs on toast with grass fed butter, coffee and either FRS or a Red Bull. I will drink a chia fresca about an hour and a half before race start. One hour before the start of the race, I will take my first dose of Sports Legs. I will also massage Penetrex into my ankles and calves.

This year I will remember to wear something warm to the race start. Last year I was so cold because all I had was a t-shirt.  I will put my hair into a short pony tail and will liberally apply sunblock to all exposed parts.

It's a bit chilly in the morning
I hope to find an open spot nearest the spectator fence line to rack my bike. This will make my gear handoff with HS easier.

When I set up T1, I will spread out my towel and place my right sock in my right shoe and my left sock in my left shoe. Last year I put both socks in one shoe and then ended up putting the wrong sock on the wrong foot and had to start all over. It seems like a minor issue, but cost me some time since I had to clean my feet off again. I also plan on having a squirt bottle with water to clean my feet (something I didn't bring last year). 

I will open one Clif bar (leave it in the wrapper) and place it in my helmet along with my riding glasses.
I will use my new pair of goggles for the race. I will give a back-up pair of goggles to HS to hold for me just in case something happens to my new pair.

Prior to entering the water I will turn on my Garmin, set the multi-sport mode, and let the satellites sync with the watch. If for some reason my watch gets kicked or the lap button gets pressed, I will not fret over getting my splits. I plan on mounting Mike’s Garmin on my bike so I can see my pace (I have a hard time riding and reading the watch) so it will not be necessary for my watch to be capturing the data. If there is an issue with my watch, I will start a new session on the run so I can see what my pace is, other than that, the Garmin is just something nice to have…not a necessity.


My goal for the swim is to do what I did last year. I am not looking to make a big improvement in my time. I want to be relaxed and to use that time as a warm-up for the rest of the day. If I can make one improvement, it would be swimming straighter.

Not so straight last year

I plan on lining up to the right of the group near the bank/trees. I may line up on the starting line, I don’t think I want to be too far in the back as things get pretty congested.

When I come to a point in the river where it is too shallow to swim, I plan on doing the porpoise as opposed to just trying to run through the water. Last year I did more running than porpoise and I think it made my legs a little tired. It also made the bottom of my toes sore.


When I exit the water, I plan to run up to transition. I will unzip my wetsuit as I go and will once again I will utilize the services of the wetsuit strippers.

I will then run to my transition area, place my wetsuit, cap and goggles in my transportation bag. I will next squirt off one foot, put my sock and shoe on and then repeat with the other foot. I will then begin eating my Clif bar as I put on my helmet and riding glasses. Prior to leaving T1, I will place my towel and any garbage in the bag and toss it to HS as I run out to the bike course. I plan to have finished the Clif bar by the time I leave transition.

Once again I will run my bike to the top of the hill prior to mounting.

Running to the top of the hill

My goal for the bike is to average 18.6 mph (more or less). This will give me a bike split of approximately 3 hours. Last year I averaged 17.4 mph for a bike split of 3:13:14. Last year I had a couple of mechanical issues that I hope to avoid this year (my chain came off and I had to stop again to re-attach my bike bag that was hanging by a string). I have had my bike checked out by a mechanic and everything felt good at the Tri for Real #2.

If I encounter a mechanical issue or, God forbid, I get a flat, I will deal with it calmly and I will handle it. I know how to change a flat. I may not like it, but I know how to do it. It will not be the end of my race. I have one tube in my Shiv’s Fuelcell, but may place an additional tube in the back of my shirt.

Last year, my first test came on a little short climb not more than a few miles after leaving the swim. For whatever reason, my bike didn't change gears and I had to do this climb in my big chain ring. I made it to the top, but it left my legs a little shake-y. I will note the location of this hill and make sure I have the correct gearing prior to starting the climb.

When I come to a descent, I will stay off the brakes as much as I can. There is traffic control in place so I do not have to worry about a car cutting me off.

I will remember to eat and drink throughout the ride. I will probably need to refill the bladder on my bike at the first aid station using my Smart Water in the rear bottle cage. I will toss this bottle and replace it with a Gatorade from a volunteer.  At the aid station in Geyserville, I will take my second dose of Sports Legs and eat a Kind bar.

Chalk Hill will be a slow, steady climb. I will not concern myself with my pace during the climb. Once I start the descent I will stay aero as much as I can and I will watch for the rough patches that seem to plague this section of the course.


I will run to my transition area and remember to smile for the camera ;-) Once I rack my bike, I will take my third dose of Sports Legs. I will change shoes, put on my hat and race belt and take a drink of Gatorade or whatever I have. I will not concern myself with eating anything right now…there will be plenty of time for that at the aid stations.

Forgot a towel for T2 last year
Hi-fives will be in order for any of my family & friends waiting patiently for me to finish. As I leave T2, I hope that HS or someone will be able to tell me the current temp. This info will be crucial to how I approach my run.

How hot is it Hot Stuff?


My goal is to start my run at a nice, easy pace. If the temperature is in the 80s, I will start off at a 9:30 pace for the first 3 miles. If the temp is cooler, I will start at about 9:15 or 9:20. (Last year my first mile was at 8:34…much, much too fast).

 I will run up every hill this year. Last year I kicked myself for all of the walking I did. Last year my average pace was 9:45 for a run split of 2:07:37. My goal for this year is a 9:00 to 9:15 pace for the run. However, I understand that this goal is very dependent on the weather. As of today, the 10 day forecast only extends to next Thursday with a projected temperature of 88 degrees.  Last year the temperature was in the high 70s, high 80’s could potentially be a problem.

My hope is that all of my late afternoon training runs and passive heat training in the sauna will pay off. Last weekend the heat at Rancho Seco did not seem to affect me as much as it normally does. I will just keep reminding myself that the faster I run, the sooner I’m done…Just kidding! I plan on reminding myself how much it sucked last year after the race looking back and feeling like I didn't give it my all. This year I want to leave it all on the race course…no regrets.

Since the aid stations are about every mile, I will be a little more prudent about how much I eat and drink. Last year, I ate and drank at every station and ended up feeling a little water logged by the end of the race. I do plan on putting ice in my top at every aid station. This helps keep my core temp down (or at least it feels like it) and it gives me a nice, cold portable treat to tide me over until the next aid station.

Final Thoughts

Last year after Barb’s Race, HS and I reviewed my race performance and came up with a goal for this year.  Here is my “graded” goals for this race:

A – 5:45 finish time. I think this is possible if the stars align, I have no mechanical issues, the weather is mild, and I have no issues with my Achilles.

B – Sub-6 hour finish time. This was my A goal last year. Unfortunately, I missed it by a little more than two minutes. Shuda- cuda-wuda thoughts have haunted me since that race. If only my chain didn’t come off. If only I didn’t have to stop to re-attach my bike bag. If only I had ran up the hills instead of walking. Blah blah blah.

C- Same time as last year. I will not be a happy camper…don’t come up and congratulate me ;-)

D – Slower than last year. I realize that this is a possibility in any race, but I pray that all goes well and I won’t have to face this.

F – DNF.