Monday, September 30, 2013

Head down, doin' work...

I am sure I am not the only person that cannot believe Ironman Hawaii is a mere 11 days away... I have had my head down, checking off the workouts one at a time, trying not to be overwhelmed by the whole. Somehow summer came and went and we're down to tapering, packing, finalizing race set-up details, acclimatization and staying on track nutrition-wise.

Summer is over... rainy season is back in CA
Ironman Hawaii will be my 10th Ironman and my 4th time racing in Kona. My preparation for each race feels very different. Some workouts repeat from race build to race build but others are unfamiliar when I check my weekly Training Peaks plan. I've had a couple of big bike weeks here and there but for the most part, I've been logging 18-20 hours of training on a weekly basis with recovery built-in as easy days rather than recovery weeks. This variability to past years is unnerving since I don't have key workout performances to show specific progress (year to year, race to race), rather just general metrics around power, pace, heart rate and good ole' perceived exertion. They all seem to be pointing towards the fact that I am pretty fit, but maybe not that fast... I guess Ironman revolves around "not slowing down", so this sense of deep fitness is likely a positive.

For the first time ever, I'm getting a few more race details dialed in than I have done in the past. This is partly because our sport keeps evolving and products and training protocol keep improving. This past weekend's long bike ride was a test of my new hydration set up with the X-lab torpedo system (thanks MBK for the hook-up!).  Blanco was incredibly patient with me as I tested out different straw positions, choice of lids and computer positioning during the ride to ensure the set-up was completely comfortable.

Xlab Torpedo is front and center
I've also put myself through a mini "sauna protocol" to see if it will help me acclimate more quickly upon arrival on the island. A tweet about the sauna seemed to inspire some conflicting opinions on its value, which is great, since I know that putting myself out there requires me to be open to feedback. I'll report back post-race on whether I think the sessions (one week of daily 25-30min sauna sessions in a dehydrated state) were valuable and their impact on my acclimatization and race experience.

I have tried to focus on nutrition more this year than in past years with the help of a couple of friends. Kim Schwabenbauer worked with me on nutrition at the beginning of the year.  Sticking with her healthy principles were aided further with the fantastic recipe advice of another friend, Jess Cerra. I do 99% of the grocery shopping and meal preparation for the family so I really wanted to keep things healthy, interesting, simple and yet fun for me to cook. Thankfully, Blanco will happily wolf down anything and everything I create so much of the fun is the joy of having a happy customer ;)  I will admit that I have had a hard time cutting down on wine consumption... I am not perfect. This was last night's delicious bottle... Tyler pinot noir from Lompoc (a town we pass through on our annual coast ride).

While Hawaii will bring to a close my 2013 racing season, planning for 2014 is already underway. Team Blanco does not have a final schedule just yet but I do know that wherever I race and train, I will be stylishly outfitted in Betty Designs gear! I was thrilled to learn that I will be an official "Betty" next year... and of course, Blanco is now hoping for his own personal "My wife is a Betty" kit in hot pink. Keep waiting hon'... :)