Well, in just eight weeks I’ll be in Madison checking in for IM. I know.
But first I’ll be heading to the lovely Finger Lakes region of N.Y. to race another 70.3. I signed up for Musselman back in the spring because it’s a High Cloud team race and there are a lot of us — and other DC Tri folks — headed up for the weekend. The region is supposed to be beautiful and the race well-run. Mostly, I’m looking forward to the locally-made cookies, ice cream, fruit and other goodies at the finish line.
In all seriousness, though, this is a really good opportunity to test out how far my fitness has come since Kinetic and do a little pre-IM race simulation. Sure, a 70.3 is TOTALLY different from 140.6 in almost every way, but it still requires good execution, smart nutrition and solid pacing.
Here’s what I’m thinking for Sunday.
Goal #1: Execute my actual race plan
IM is execution, execution, execution. I’m going to go into Musselman with a plan of where I should be when and how I should be feeling and what I should be eating/drinking at any given point. A 70.3 is still going to be faster and more of a race than IM will ever be, but it’s not a balls-to-the-wall sprint for which careful planning matters less. On race day anything can go wrong no matter how much planning goes into it, but it’s always better to have that plan than to go in blind. And this time, with a few 70.3s already under my belt, I have a good idea of what to expect from my mind and body.
Goal #2: Have a smoother — and therefore faster — swim
I didn’t have a great swim at Kinetic due to poor sighting, fogged goggles and general lack of practice in open water. I swam a 34:34, which is fine, but I’m a better swimmer than that. I should be able to go a few minutes faster at least if I’m efficient. This time around, I’ve had a few more open water experiences and will try to find a good pair of feet on which to draft. Hopefully my goggles and sighting won’t frustrate me and slow me down. I want to come out of the water NOT frustrated about this leg.
Goal #3: Test drive race-day nutrition
Again, at Kinetic, my nutrition was a total fail. I blew up on the run because I couldn’t figure out the whole eating-on-the-bike thing. I tried solids, realized my throat and stomach weren’t having it and then basically ignored all nutrition and hydration for the rest of the ride. Then I tried to drink on the run but felt full and gross and ended up walking a fair amount to calm my stomach down. I do not want to feel that way ever again. This is such an important part of IM, and I need to get it under control. I’ve since gotten the mechanics of eating while riding, as well as some insight into what works with my stomach and what doesn’t. I’m also planning to carry a water bottle on the run, which I’ve started doing recently and really like.
Goal #4: Podium
I always have to throw this one in there. I’ll take podium spots while I’m still in the baby AG and can. Like at Kinetic, the awards are bottles of wine. Yes please. Isn’t that what you race for too?
In summary, Musselman is more about feeling ready for IM than racing for the race itself. And I’m okay with that. I want to do well, I want to go faster and harder than I did at Kinetic, but ultimately I’ll consider it a success if other factors besides speed fall into place.
So — good luck to anyone else racing this weekend, and see you next week!