This year's Honolulu Tinman Triathlon was a great race for me. The swim was especially good. The bike was fine. I thought I fell apart on the run but somehow managed to come close to my estimate. Quite different from Honu, and last year's Honolulu Marathon. Plenty of take-aways, the biggest being how to deal with muscle fatigue.
As always I came up with my estimates by writing down a bunch of different times, putting them in a bag, giving it a good shake, then setting it aside and looking back over my recent Training Peaks data. Tinman is like the Honolulu Marathon (and Hapalua) in that there is no cutoff time as there is in Ironman events, so for this race I did not even care about time. I did try to peek at my swim time as I ran up the beach, but since I can't even walk and chew gum at the same time I decided not to risk it. Once I hit the swim exit timing mat and pressed "Lap" on my Fenix 2 my swim time was lost to me, and there is no official clock anywhere near there that I know of. Just as well. For the bike the only numbers I cared about were power and heart rate; knowing my time would not help. On the run I was looking primarily at pace, with heart rate and cadence there on the same screen. So, during the race I had no idea what my time was. That is why I am so surprised by how close my estimates were.
The best thing about the swim was the complete absence of stress. I knew what to expect, I had my plan, and was ready to go. This time I did not hold back to let the others get out ahead, I took off as soon as I could and ignored the the thrashing going on all around me. Just as I figured it was not long until I was mostly alone. I did pass one struggling swimming who appeared to be doing a frog stroke; dog paddle arms and breast stroke kick. "Gee," I thought, "even I have better form than that." Maybe a frog is not the best label. They look funky but they can swim pretty fast. The wave behind mine began to catch me just as I got to the turn around, but only a few; no traffic jam at the turn. About twenty yards past the turn is when the pack got to me. Mostly I did not care, but there was one swimmer who insisted on getting just in front on to my left, swimming with considerable feet-down sag and constantly a threat of kicking me in the face. Finally I just pulled up, moved to the left, and got away from her. I felt as though had I held my spot I would have ended up over the reef along the shore, a place you really want to avoid.
I actually ran across the lawn to the bike coral. In the past I walked, the problem being vision. This time I just assumed the ground would still be there and hoped that the folks ahead had already found all of the ironwood seed cones. Who ordered the grass cut the day before the race? I spent an extra minute washing all the blades off before putting on my bike shoes. By the way, the Shimano TR9 shoes are incredibly comfortable and have held up well through lots of miles this season.
Speaking of apparel, I wore my IT&B kit and love it, same as for Honu. I have had problems with gloves. I have two pair of Giro Monaco gloves, one white, one black. Very comfortable. The white pair turned to stone after a run through the washing machine. I tried using hand moisturizer to soften them. Worked fine, but dissolved the tape holding on my tri bike's handlebar tape. The black pair remained soft but dyed my palms black. I know the rule about nothing new on race day, but even so I dropped by IT&B on Saturday and picked out a new pair of Pearl Izumi Elite gloves. Well, as I rode away from T1 I realized I had forgotten to put on gloves. The new gloves. No problem, rode fine without them. While packing up after the race I discovered I had not removed one of the tags, so I would have pulled a Minnie Pearl had I worn them. I did wear them Tuesday on the Tantalus Ride -- on my trusty Merlin road bike -- and the jury is still out. I like the synthetic textured fabric at the pads, but I don't like the way they feel on the drops. Could be that I have not ridden on the drops for many months.
Coming into T2 I felt ready to run. Complete opposite of Honu. I took off at a good pace, right where I wanted to be on the flat, around 14 min/mile. I had sworn an oath in blood to run the entire race, no walking, but by the time I turned right onto Paki I broke my vow and walked a bit. Going up Monsarrat was a walk/run. From 18th Ave on it was a mixed bag, but I did try to keep my walking pace as high as possible and I guess it paid off. When I did run I went faster than plan, and when I walked it was not as slow as in the past.
Even though I made my plan I feel the need to improve my ability to keep going hard for longer periods of time. We call these activities endurance sports, but the fact is, there are two distinct types of endurance. Aerobic endurance is about training the body to conserve glycogen and avoid running out of fuel. Muscular endurance is about training the body to endure repetitive muscle contractions, in particular getting rid of the byproducts of fuel burning that accumulate in muscle cells and inhibit performance. Aerobic endurance is improved with long workouts at low intensity. The kind of runs that we older athletes prefer to do. Muscular endurance is improved through Lactic Threshold workouts, usually long duration intervals at or near LTHR.
Going forward, my workout schedule is dominated by marathon training, with just enough swimming and cycling to keep me in the game. A typical week of runs looks like this:
Mon 3 mi base
Wed 4 mi, last mi @ tempo
Fri LT intervals, typ. 3 x 12 min at 95% LTHR, 2:30 recovery
Sat Long run
Sun Easy bike or run
My marathon prep long runs officially begin Aug 27, with a little sag for the Century Ride. My current long run mileage plan is 12, 12, bike test, 14, Century Ride, 12, 15, 15, 12, 16, 16, 14, 18, *, 13, race.
Two weeks out , where I show an asterisk, I am trying something different. Thursday of that week is Thanksgiving. I plan to run 13 miles on Thursday and 13 miles on Saturday, a marathon split over two days. If nothing else that should burn off the turkey pounds.
I am going to be reading up on fatigue and sharing what I learn in future posts ... stay tuned.