Friday, October 25, 2013

Mighty Magnolia 2013–Training and Prep

Congrats on your come back – Ginger – Living the Tri Life

Don’t call it a come back, I’ve been here for years – LL Cool J

Before the race, the last triathlon I did was the Mighty Magnolia (clears throat) 2011 and I did not do any running races since RnR NOLA 2012 (half PR).  Well, there was a trail run that I ran in a banana suit last fall (Rattler Ramble).  It is not like I have been sitting on my duff – it is just I have not needed to toe the line.  My bike volume has been the biggest ever (I have averaged 130+ miles per week since March), the run volume has been low to moderate but consistence and the swim – well, I got in the pool some before this race.


Packet pick up the night before

I signed up for the Might Mag way back early in the spring.  I made a commitment.  I put down my money for accountability reasons (and the race is much cheaper the earlier you register).  You also get to start earlier (time trail start based on when you register – I was number 16).

I ended up having a good race, not a great race but a good, solid race.  I generally only sign up for races (triathlon, running or otherwise) when I can do my best.  I like to push myself, test myself and reach for PR’s.  I have a good track record of achieving these because I don’t race every weekend.  I am not interested in doing a training race – training is training and racing is racing.

But this race would be different.  I haven’t exactly been sitting on the couch the past year (remember, lots of biking) but I am at the very upper limit of my comfort zone in weight, which is defined as all of my clothes still fit me just fine but they might be a little snug.  I’m not hitting the big and tall racks but I could stand to lose 10 pounds (and 15 to get to my absolute leanest).  And when it comes to racing light is right – nowhere around that fact.



I often say that I am a proficient swimmer – I’ll get through the swim but I’m not going to win any races in the water.  Looking it up (well advanced in an art, occupation, or branch of knowledge), proficient that might be too strong of a word.  I am more of a confident swimmer.  I am a water jogger and like most triathletes the swim is just a way to get to the bike.  I am not a line watcher and I would much rather being playing water basketball or water volleyball than swimming laps.  I tallied my swim training sessions for the year the breakdown is nothing to brag about.

One of those (the weekend before the Mighty Mag) was actually an open water swim.  I also wore the wetsuit for the first time on race day since the last time on race day (2 years).  I tried it on the night before and hoped that it would fit (I did have to get some help from a big strong man to zip me up – thanks Chris).
I have been biking a lot this year – more than ever AND better than ever.  I have travelled to 3 large group outings (century rides and the type) and I have been training with a lot more focus.  I have embraced the training with intensity and concentrating on longer power efforts.  This has meant that I have participated in fewer group rides.  I have found that when I am in a group ride I am very rarely riding where I need to ride.  Depending on the group, I am either coasting along in the draft or in fear of being dropped.  A lot of my rides have been solo (early morning) and at my intensity level.  Guess what?  I am riding better than I ever have.
Last year I rode my race bike twice, for a spring time trial on the trace (I got a PR - 30:21 @ 23.33 MPH (for 11.85 miles)) and for a fall (late summer) time trial on the trace (I got another PR and finally broke 30 minutes – 29:46 @ 23.78 MPH (for 11.85 miles)).  I did not ride my race bike at all this year – all miles were on my road bike (even a hilly Epley Road TT – road bike no aero bars – results).  I also got a new road bike in mid September (a Litespeed C1 – I will tell you all about it in another blog post, promise).  I brought my race bike and my new road bike out to the Mighty Mag race site the weekend before the race.  I wanted to do some aero testing.  I have a powertap power meter and with a careful consideration for details you can extract the difference in CDA (coefficient of drag) using the Chung method (pdf and calculator).  I used the same wheels and tires on my race bike and my road bike.  I did a couple of test runs to establish a base line.  After about 30 or 40 runs (8 combinations tested) I determined that my HED-3 wheel (with Bontrager Aero TT tire) and my Rocket Air aero helmet is the fastest combination on both the road bike and the race bike.  The race bike was a good deal faster than the road bike (riding in the drops).  However, the race bike was very uncomfortable (soft tissue issues – in fact I wondered to myself how I could have ridden this bike in an IM – oh yeah, actually riding the bike more than once a year, that’s how).  Even though the Mighty Mag is only 16.5 miles I decided to stick with the road bike (it was not as fast but pretty fast for a road bike).  I then sent out the call to triathlete community to see if I could borrow a set of clip on aero bars.  They responded, in fact Lance even brought me two pairs to my house.  I slammed the stem on my road bike and bolted the bars into place.  I only got a short shake down ride of about 10 minutes the morning before the race with the new set up.
Road bike in race trim
Slammed stem
I went out to the race site two weeks before the race to ride the
course with some friends.  After riding the course and a slow transition I ran most of the run course (skipped the little out and back sections).  This was my first brick in two years (since the last time I did this race).
So that was my training and prep for the race – lots of things were not optimum -
  1. Very little swimming and zero practice in the wetsuit
  2. Changed everything on the bike (including the bike)
  3. Running mileage way down, weight up and zero bricks

This started as a race report but ended up being a short training / prep / triathlon year in review.  Stay tuned for the race report!



Living The Tri Life said...

Welcome back!!! :)

Карина said...
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