Friday, March 23, 2007

All the Gory Details

From the St. Patrick's Day race last weekend.

My time: 55:38 (8:58 pace) 65/219 (place)

not bad, for me, eh?

Jason rocked it, as usual (he thought he was slow!):

50:07 (8:04 pace) 42/129 (place)

Latest Taper News:

Cold--steadily going away but still feeling fatigued. Argh. Have taken off more than I wanted to this week but considering it is the taper, guess that's okay. More important to rest. Have been focusing on sleep, herbal tea, and taking the Zicam and vitamins. The Zicam does seem to lessen the symptoms and speed the cold through the system.

Taper workouts--After Monday's swim and bike, went down hard Tuesday and Wednesday. Started feeling better Thursday. Went for a run and did 1 final session of weights. Was planning on a swim today (Friday) but after my first full day back at work am feeling completely wiped. Have decided to rest instead, begrudgingly. Think this is the best option in the long run. Again...ARGH!

Knee--Has been bugging me after every run lately. Know it's my ITB flaring up again (outside of right knee; upper part). Decided to wait until my last long run 2 weeks ago to bother me. (Double ARGH!). This is a recurring issue for me; no, it's not my shoes. Have great shoes and orthotics. It's weak hip abductors. When I push the mileage and slack on the weights and the stretching, it's a recipe for injury. At least I know what it is!

It feels better this week but the pain is there and nagging when I run. Started up after 1.5 miles on my 4-miler Thursday afternoon. Ebbed and flowed from a 1-3.5 (pain scale 1-10) throughout. Was worse going uphill and pronounced on the push-off. Recovery strategy has been REST, ICE, COMPRESSION, and ELEVATION (RICE), as well as a lot of ibuprofen. And stretching of the IT band. And therapeutic massage. Going in today and once more on Wednesday. If I can make it through the race, will start physical therapy to get back on the right track before the marathon in June.

My knee plus the cold has me totally freakin out about the race next weekend! On the other hand, I have everything I need now for race day--bike is tuned up, all my supplies--ready to go. Plus, I know ALL the gory details--I can picture it in my head. I've even outlined a schedule and list of items to bring for race day. Also, Jim Vance, pro triathlete and Tri Club San Diego member, has a pretty cool website where he discusses California 70.3 in very extreme detail ( Plus, there's an entire podcast found on the race website ( where Paula Newby-Fraser interviews Roch Frey (race director) about next weekend's race from where to park to what the course will be like. Finally, I live in the area and have had the opportunity to go up there and check out much of the course a few times. It doesn't get better than that.

RACE DETAILS!!! (the inside scoop)

Weather: I looked it up (it's early and can still change). Looks perfect. 0 chance of rain. Will start out around 50 and get to about 60 for a high. This can all change but considering it's been rainy the past few years, this is good. It's a bit on the chilly side, for me, so I will dress accordingly. Unless it's a Santa Ana condition, I'm expecting chilly. No worries about dehydration! Oceanside is ALWAYS windy when I ride there. I expect a headwind at some point of the ride, and from what I've heard, it's on the way back. Bummer.

Pre-Race Notes: First, because of daylight savings, it will be DARK upon arrival. The transition area opens at 4:30 and closes at 6:30 so even though my wave probably won't leave until 7-7:30, I need to get there early for a premo spot. There is NO parking close to the transition area. Spectators will be shuttled in. Athletes will ride their bike (WITH HELMETS ON) from parking to transition with transition bag in tow (~1.5 miles). Since it will be dark, I'll need to pull out my lights.


1) Swim--in a dirty harbor but at least there's no swells! In water start. COLD!!! The water is about 57-59 degrees right now. Come prepared. Wetsuits are a NECESSITY! To confound things, there is absolutely NO time for an adequate warm up before your wave starts (which doubly sucks since a warm up is even more critical in cold water). You are not allowed in until 3-7 minutes before the gun goes off. ACK!!! My strategy: jog on the beach to warm my core temperature up. The second I'm allowed in the water, no pussy-footing around. DIVE RIGHT IN to that icy water. It will suck for a moment but acclimate me the quickest. Once you get started, all buoys will be to the left every 100 meters. On the way back, the buoys will be to the left and the crowd will be to the right (something to look out for all you right-sided breathers).

T1: Once out of the water, a brief run through sand (nothing terrible) before hitting the transition area. I plan on taking my time. No sense in skyrocketing my heart rate (which is always too high at this point anyway) in T1. Because it's a long bike for me and it will be chilly, I plan on doing the surfer change into bike shorts (no changing tents, that I could see, are provided), pulling on a bike jersey (with my picnic supplies inside) and some arm warmers, maybe even some gloves, depending on how cold it is, socks, shoes, helmet, sunglasses, and I'm off.

Bike: The first 25 miles will be flat, fast, and with a tailwind. It will be tempting to go all out because it will feel so easy. My strategy: save it for the winding hills on the back 25; I've heard they can really get ya. Not only that, but expect a strong HEADWIND, the last 11 miles (Doh!); my least favorite. My plan is to skip the aid stations and rely on my own provisions throughout, which I've trained with. Nothing new on race day!

T2: I'm definitely changing socks to prevent blisters. If it's warmed up, I'll do the surfer change to some running shorts for comfort and maybe a singlet too. I plan on stopping to use the Port-a-John here; otherwise, I'll run into trouble down the road. Snap on my fuel belt with my number and I'm off. Don't linger too long or the realization that I still have a 13. 1 mile run to go will sink in.

Run: A very easy, flat course, which will be lined with spectators. The only thing I don't like is that it's 2 loops--3 miles out; 3 miles back; 3 miles out; 3 miles back (and change) (BORING). I'm going to hate that turnaround when everyone else is going to the finish. Argh! Be mentally prepared to zone out through that. In addition, there is some deep sand to run through at the beginning of each loop (you have to do it twice), which sucks, mostly b/c you get sand in your shoes! This is Paul and Rochs' thang--they feel since you're racing in California, you should run on the beach. I'm sure I can think of a few things and tell 'em where to stick it on race day when I'm running through that sand!

THE FINISH!!! (I haven't thought beyond this point; I don't really need to, do I? Eating? Sleeping? Massage? Postpartum depression? J.K.)

Race Goals: It's all come down to this: what is my goal? It's my first time so in all honesty, I just want to finish before they kick me off the course! I guess that would be in less than 8 hours, or before 4 pm. That said, I've been training hard for 20+ weeks, following my plan religiously, and feel confident (did I just say that?) about the distance. I think I can do the swim in about 40-45 min, the bike in 3-3.5 hrs, and the run in 2-2.5 hrs, with transition times being 2-5 minutes. That would be about 7 hours. I have 8 before they throw me out (1:10 for the swim and about 4 for the bike, then the run). That feels like it's cutting it close. However, I would be very happy if I could do 6-6.5 hrs. We'll see. I just want to feel happy and strong at the end. Like I've accomplished something. I don't want to be pissy because I didn't do it in the time I expected. So I'm trying to set conservative goals.

Here's My Detailed Plan (hey, I'm Type-A, OK? It's okay to stop reading if you don't want even MORE detail):

Rachel's Race Checklist California 70.3

§ Warm Up Clothes
§ Bike Pump
§ Rag
§ iPod with pre-race music
§ ID
§ Towels (2-3)
§ Balloon for Transition
§ Chalk
§ Black Magic Marker
§ Transition Backpack
§ Timing Chip
§ Eye Drops
§ Back up glasses
§ Spare Pair(s) swim goggles (one Rx)
§ Zip Cords
§ Baby Powder
§ Cereal Bars
§ Sunblock
§ Chapstick
§ Electrical Tape
§ Spare Tubes and Pump

§ Watch
§ Tri Top, Sports Bra, Tri Shorts
§ Wetsuit
§ Body Glide
§ Race Cap
§ Silicone Cap
§ Ear Plugs

§ Bike
§ Bike Number
§ 2 water bottles
§ Jersey
§ Shorts
§ Socks
§ Shoes
§ Cliff Blocks
§ Electrolyte Tablets
§ Fig Newtons
§ Sunglasses
§ Arm warmers
§ Gloves
§ Vest
§ Headband (to cover ears)
§ Spare Tire Kit in Pouch (Patch Kit/Pump/Tube)
§ CO2 cartridges (2)

§ Running shoes with quick-tie laces
§ Socks
§ Fuel belt with 4 bottles ice water+ electrolytes and number
§ Cliff Blocks
§ Singlet

Post Race
§ Change of Clothes
§ Comfy Shoes

To Do List
Final Taper Weeks:
Consistent, planned workouts at lower volume (same frequency)
Plenty of rest, including off days and lots of sleep (naps)
Good nutrition
Daily stretching
Weekly Massages
Daily Meditation/Relaxation (plan out race day in head)
Keep up with vitamins
Avoid getting sick
Bike tune-up (including new chain and new brake pads)
Purchase new running shoes, quick tie laces, aero bottle, CO2 cartridges, goggles, bike shoes, bike helmet.
Practice transitions.
Make sure race day checklist is complete.
Rest, relax and take it easy!

Days Before Race:
1. Pick up race packet Friday March 30, 2007 (or even Thursday).
2. Consider taking Friday off, or at least half-day.
3. Do very light swim, bike, and run to get all muscles moving and test equipment.
4. Practice transition.
5. Stretch.
6. Meditate.
7. Eat well.
8. Pack everything up in truck.
9. Prepare coffee and morning routine for next morning.
10. Relax.
11. Ready for bed by 7:00 pm
12. In bed, lights out by 8:00 pm.

Race Day Schedule:
Saturday, March 31st, 2007
Race Day!!!
. Wake.
Coffee pot on.
Shower, brush teeth, put on contacts, apply sunblock, deodorant, baby powder, and dress.
Eat breakfast—juice, oatmeal with fruit (raisins and banana).
Stretch and meditate. Relaxation techniques.
4:00a. Leave for race.
Arrive 4:30-4:40a. Dismount bike. Final tire pressure check. Kiss Jason goodbye. Pack gear up (backpack) and bike to transition area (1-2 miles) WITH HELMET ON!
5:00a. Arrive at transition area.
Set up transition.
Place bike on rack.
Clearly mark with chalk and/or balloon.
Lay towel on top for drying and beneath for setting up stuff.
Check water bottles in bike. Check tire patch kit. Check race nutrition stuff in Bento box.
Lay out bike shorts on bike. Put appropriate items in pockets (Cliff Bocks, Thermolyte tablets, Fig Newtons).
Make sure helmet adjusted properly. Put sunglasses and race belt with number in helmet and helmet on hoods of bike.
Make sure race numbers on bike.
Put baby powder in socks and socks on top of bike shoes.
Lay jersey, vest, arm warmers, gloves, headband under bike shoes, in case necessary. Lay running shoes with Quick-Tie laces, fresh socks with baby powder, visor, fuel belt behind bike shoes.
Empty trash bag for wetsuit under transition towel.
Go to the bathroom.
Get body marked.
Study transition area exits and entrances. Picture in mind.
Go for light jog.
Go to the bathroom.
Put on sunscreen.
Stretch. Deep breathing exercises. Relaxation techniques. Listen to iPod.
Go to the bathroom.
6:15a. Final evaluation transition area.
6:25a. Exit transition area (closes at 6:30).
Put on bodyglide and wetsuit. Relax. Take goggles, cap(s), and ear plugs.
6:40a. Watch first few waves in water to evaluate swim. First wave starts at 6:40 am.
Move around to keep warmed up. Relaxation exercises. Jog to warm up.
Jump in water as soon as possible. Dive in to get acclimated as quickly as possible. Practice deep breathing exercises and swimming relaxed, long, easy strokes to warm up.
Position towards back with other slow swimmers.
Start! (~7:00-7:30 am)
Swim 1.2 miles. Estimated time: 40-45 min. (Time limit: 1:10 or 9:10 am).
All buoys will be on the left every 100 meters.
Practice bilateral breathing. Switch sides every 20 strokes. Count to help settle into relaxed pace. Swim more to left side on way out to help orient.
On return, can breathe more on right side because shoreline helps to orient (dominate side). Still switch occasionally to check location.
Kick final 100 meters to warm up legs.
T1(~5 min):
Exit swim. Remove top half of wetsuit, then cap, goggles, and earplugs.
Run to transition area (about 300 meters). Take it easy to allow breathing to return to normal and also to avoid slipping.
As enter T2, orient using preplanned landmarks.
Locate bike.
Take off wetsuit. Put into bag.
Change into bike shorts. Put jersey on. Dry feet, put on socks, bike shoes and fasten.
i. If cold, put on arm warmers at this time.
ii. If really cold put on gloves, headband, and vest. Will decide this BEFORE starting.
Put on sunglasses and helmet. Fasten.
Dismount bike from rack and trot to mounting area.
Carefully clip in, (avoid falling), and WE’RE OFF!
Bike 56 miles (estimated time 3-3.5 hrs; start deadline is 9:20 am; finish deadline is 1:30 pm or 4:10h).
Steep hill 800 meters in.
Take time to warm up first few miles. Settle into pace.
Pace for first 25 miles (flat and fast—don’t blow up).
Big hills last 26 miles—rolling with 3 challenging climbs, especially corkscrew climb at 35 for about 10 miles).
Avoid aid stations, relying on own hydration and nutrition instead. Use them as landmarks—there are 3: 13, 25, and 45 miles.
On steep descent at end, do not pass or go over 25 mph to avoid penalties.
Prepare for headwind final 11 miles (even though flat).
Last 5 miles, slow up on drink and food. Also, focus on spinning more to prepare for transition to run.
T2 (must finish bike by 1:30 pm; est time for T2 ~2-3 min):
Rack bike.
Remove helmet and shoes.
May also remove sunglasses. If wearing bike shorts, will want running shorts (need to change in port-a-john).
If wearing bike jersey, will probably want running singlet.
Put on new socks and new shoes with quick-tie laces.
Put on fuel belt.
Run 13.1 miles (est time 2-2.5 hrs). (must finish by 4:00 pm or 2.5 h, although will be allowed to unofficially finish afterwards).
3 miles out, 3 miles back, 2x.
Some sand at beginning and finish (200 meters).
FINISH!!! (est. time 6-6.5 hrs.)


Jenö said...

Just over a week to go now! Can't help but think that you'll be ready looking over today's post. Just don't forget the bit about "enjoy the race"!!

Re your comment on my site - "JFS" is just short for "just-effing-swim". Not one of my more creative acronyms, but what can you do, right?

Sit tight for a good final taper week and then let rip!

Don said...

See you there!
I can't wait. I hear that they have sunshine in California. I have not seen that in awhile.
Good Luck & Enjoy!

JeffM said...

Good luck- 20 weeks will pay off!!
I didn't understand what the balloon was for, unless you mark your area with it.
Outstanding recon and meticulous planning- you're ready!!

Jodi said...

Holy moly, you are so ORGANIZED!

I'm getting super excited too. Bib numbers are up! I'm 1705. The 25-29 Age group leaves at 7:29.

Wooohoooo! See you there!


RunBubbaRun said...

Wow, that is pretty organized. Definetly got the mental prep done.

Good job on the race. Hopefully your cold will be totatlly gone soon.

At this point the all hard work is done. Just absorb the training form the past weeks.

qcmier said...

I think you are more than ready. Now enjoy!!!

Kate said...

Type A maybe, but I know I'll be looking back at this post before my first 70.3

I'm so excited for you!