Well, Ironman Canada is now only 6 days away!!! My training has diminished and will continue to diminish in an effort to allow my body to recover completely from the previous months of stressful Ironman training.
We are planning on leaving Calgary on Wednesday for a leisurely two-day drive to Penticton. Ironman Canada is on Sunday, August 25. You can watch live coverage at the Ironman Live web site http://www.IronmanLive.com on Sunday. The start cannon will blow at exactly 7:00am Pacific time (8:00am MST, 9:00am CT)
I've been contemplating my time goals for Sunday and I think I have a fairly good idea of what I can expect from me based on my training these last few weeks, my IronMan Utah ½ distance time, and my Ironman Florida time last November.
Swim - 3.8 km
My 3.8 km swim at my first Ironman, IronMan Florida in November of 2001, was 1 hour, 20 minutes. It was a perfect day and the waters were calm. I can't use my horrific swim in Utah Lake as any kind of indication as to how my swimming has improved since then because I have no idea how far I swam in the 1 hour I was in the lake. All of my swim training is done is a 25 meter pool, and I can average 30 second lengths (50 meters per minute) for 1500 meters including bouncing off the end of the pool to turn around. Based on that time, I would be looking at 1 hour, 16 minutes for an Ironman distance swim - very close to my actual Ironman distance swim time in Florida. The question is - how much time will I SAVE by swimming with a wet suit AND not having to stop and turn at the end of each 25 meter pool length? Well, my average pool swim time when I was training for Florida was about 5 to 10 seconds per 100 meters slower than my current time, so I could estimate taking about 5 minutes off my Ironman Florida swim time.
Swim Estimate for IMC = 1:15
Bike - 180 km
My average bike speed for Ironman Florida after finishing the totally flat 180km bike course was 29 km per hour (6 hours, 11 minutes). My cycling HAS improved since IMF, as has my cycling equipment with the purchase of a new tri bike and new ZIPP carbon fiber wheels. Evidence of this increase in speed is my Ironman Utah average bike speed of 32.1 km/hour - an increase of slightly over 3 km/hour. However, The Ironman Utah bike course was much shorter than a full 180 km and I probably could not have kept up that 32 km / hour average over the full Ironman distance. Also - Ironman Utah was relatively flat meaning that it would be a much FASTER course than Ironman Canada. Balancing the increase in speed with the mountainous IMC course, I can estimate conservatively that I should be able to maintain 30 km / hour for the entire IMC course.
Bike Estimate for IMC = 6 hours
Run - 42 km
My running has improved considerably since Ironman Florida, which was my first marathon distance run - 4 hours, 47 minutes. My Ironman Utah run time was 1:59, but the distance was only 21 km. I really think I could have kept that pace for an additional 21 km, which would have resulted in a marathon time of 4 hours. I ran the Valley of the Sun Marathon in Phoenix on my birthday in March of this year in 3:36 placing me 12th out of 52 in my age group. But I can't use that as an estimate because I didn't precede the marathon with a 3.8 km swim and 180 km bike ride warm-up. If I want to accomplish anything at all at Ironman Canada, it's to finish the marathon in 4 hours, so I am going to make that my goal.
Run GOAL for IMC = 4 hours
Total IMC time Estimate/Goal = 11 hours, 30 minutes
According to last years Ironman Canada finishing times, a time of 11:30 would have put me in 57th place out of 255 in my age group resulting in around a top 20% finish.
My training is 'in the bank' and I'm very pleased with my progress in that regard. For that, I thank the excellent training from my coach Steve Pyle, patience from an understanding wife and family (allowing time, putting up with wild mood swings, and dealing with greatly diminished energy levels), and the flexibility to train as smart or as hard as I want.
I have a bit of race experience under my belt with Ironman Florida, and Ironman Utah and I think I have a pretty good system devised regarding my consumption of water and nutrition. But on race day, as any experienced Ironman triathlete knows well, ANYTHING can happen! My equipment can fail, the weather can fail, my foot can fall off, I can instantaneously combust. Like my coach always said "The bad thing that happens to you on race day is never what you think it will be".
Mostly, in order for me to meet my goals, I'll require a bunch of plain old luck. So please - wish me luck!
"I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have." - Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)