1 day: The race is nigh

I have a plan to raise $10,000 for some awesome organizations by Sept. 22, 2013 – the day I run in Ironman Lake Tahoe. Thanks to you, we’ve reached that goal – currently at $10,927 raised! You can help us push well beyond the target by chipping in a few bucks to one of our deserving charities here! PLUS, you might just win a really cool prize! What!? Prize, you ask!? Up through Monday, Sept. 23, at 11:59pm we have our last fundraising push taking place! Details can be found right here.

The Race is Nigh

You’ve seen the posts for the past 364 days. You fundraised like maniacs and pushed us past the $10,000 goal. (Don’t forget, there is one last fundraising push going on right now. Check it out!)

I’m not going to dwell on the past year… yet. Now I look forward to tomorrow and take care of some other business items.

I’ve been asked a lot of questions about the race and other stuff lately, so this post is an FAQ of sorts. So, here we go:

Q: What is this race, and where is it?
A: Ironman Lake Tahoe – 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, 26.2 mile run – all in one lovely day at an altitude as low as 6,200 feet, and as high as about 7,200 feet.

Q: When is the race?
A: Sunday, Sept. 22. I’ll be entering the water somewhere between 6:40am and 7am (PDT). The race officially closes at midnight (17 hours later), but I’m hoping to be done well before then…

Q: Umm… WHY!?
A: So many reasons I can’t count. I’ll just give you the big ones right now. 1) I love triathlon. 2) I thrive on a good challenge. 3) It is a supreme opportunity to get attention for fantastic charities that could really use our support.

Q: How many Ironman races have you done?
A: This is the first full-length (140.6 miles) that I’ve done… and boy did I pick a tough one! I’ve done a few half Ironman races (70.3 miles) over the past year and a half, and have done fairly well… so this seemed like a natural progression.

Q: How is the fundraising going?
A: As of the time I submit this blog post, $10,927 has been raised by a whole cadre of supremely generous folks, and the assistance of a whole crew of diligent, dedicated fundraisers. There is one last fundraising push going on right now, with an opportunity to score a really cool prize! Check it out!

Q: How can we follow you on race day?
A: The best way is at the live race coverage page for Ironman Lake Tahoe at this link. Or just go straight to the Ironman website and follow the links. There are also Ironman tracker apps for your mobile devices that do the trick nicely. I am bib #2051.

Q: How fast do you expect to finish?
A: This is a tough one to answer, so I’ll walk you through the rationale in my head and establish fast and realistic targets for each piece:
* Swim (2.4 miles). My fastest swim in a 70.3 (1.2 mile swim) was at Lake Stevens in 2012 in 0:34:24 – that would translate into roughly 1:10:00 if I could maintain that pace. At St George earlier this year, though, I did the swim in really cold water at 3,000-ish feet of altitude in 0:40:33 – translating roughly into a 1:21:00 swim. So, at sea level my target time would be between 1:10:00 and 1:20:00; at altitude, however, I’ll back off a bit. Fast target: 1:20:00. Realistic target: 1:30:00
* Bike (112 miles). I’ll use Lake Stevens 70.3 (2:37:03) and St George (2:52:26) as reference points (56 mile bike rides) again. I am in better cycling shape than I was for either of these races, and might be able to crank out under 5 hours (about 22.5mph) on a flattish, sea level course. But IM Lake Tahoe is at a higher altitude, will start off at temperatures near freezing, and has more climbs (but some wicked long, fast descents). Fast target: 5:30:00 (20.4mph). Realistic target: 6:30:00 (17.2mph)
* Run (26.2 miles). I am in much better running shape than I was for those comparison races, so I’ll base this on my past marathon experiences. I am on form right now to run a marathon at a 6:30 to 6:45/mile pace – somewhere in the 2:50:00 to 3:00:00 range. My long training runs that I’ve been keeping dialed back have been in the 7:00/mile range (about 3:03:00). The altitude, plus having a long swim and ride in front, will have its toll… but I’ve been running well off the bike lately. A wide variation of possible results here. Fast target: 3:00:00 (just under 7:00/mile). Realistic target: 3:50:00 (8:00/mile).
* Transitions (T1 & T2). These will vary depending on the particular setup of each race, but are usually less than 2 minutes. With the cold temps I will be changing the routine. A lot. Dry clothes at T1, plus layers that I will remove on the course. T2 will be mostly unchanged from the norm. Fast target: 5 minute T1 and 2 minute T2 = 7 minutes. Realistic target: 8 minute T1 and 3 minute T2 = 11 minutes.
*** Add this all up to get… Fast target: 9:58:00 (let’s call it 10 hours). Realistic target: 12:01:00 (let’s call it 12 hours). So, yeah, somewhere around 11 hours, with a +/- 1 hour margin of error. (But, frankly, finishing is the only goal that counts here, right!?)

Q: What will you be wearing on race day?
A: My goal is to stay warm early, cool in the middle of the day, keep the muscles from fatiguing, and be as visible as possible to spectators and traffic. I think these clothes on the run should accomplish that:

What I'll look like on the run. Mission Athletecare arm coolers, 2XU calf compression sleeves, my Louis Garneau kit, and some bright Saucony headgear and Kinvaras.

What I’ll look like on the run. Mission Athletecare arm coolers, 2XU calf compression sleeves, my Louis Garneau kit, and some bright Saucony headgear and Kinvaras.

Q: What about the bike?
A: I’ve dithered around a bit with the wheel, fuel, hydration, and flat repair options for a while. I’ve settled on the disc rear and Reynolds Assault 42mm (both tubular) wheels due to the climbs and potential crosswinds. Fuel is GU taped to the headtube, Honey Stinger waffles in the bento box. Hydration is Skratch Labs (flavor TBD on race morning – I brought many options) in a TorHans Aero 30 bottle up front (filled with warm Skratch – race morning temps will be around freezing), TorHans VR aero bottle on the downtube, and regular bottles mounted on the seat tube and under my saddle. Flat repair is a canister of Hutchinson Fast Air taped to the stem. Here is what that looks like:

The Rocket Bike with a modified race day setup suited to altitude, course conditions, and all the climbs.

The Rocket Bike with a modified race day setup suited to altitude, course conditions, and all the climbs.

Q: Do you have any traditions or superstitions?
A: The biggest is that I let my hair grow out before a big race and have the cathartic “race day haircut” in the week leading up to the race. Because of the cold temperatures of this race (forecast high between 55 to 60, low between 30 and 34, depending on the information source), I opted to keep the ‘fro this time.

Q: How is Theo doing? He’s been stuck in that cone for a long, long time.
A: He’s doing better every day. I’m hoping to get that cone off his head soon, as his eye is making big strides. He is struggling a bit with the dry mountain air and altitude, but is soldiering on like a brave trooper. He is enjoying the crisp, cool air, though:

If he's sleeping, that means he's found a comfortable spot and is happy. At this moment he is quite pleased.

If he’s sleeping, that means he’s found a comfortable spot and is happy. At this moment he is quite pleased.

Q: Anything I can do to help?
A: Absolutely. Donate to a good cause (I have some options here for you to choose from). Cheer from wherever you are – for me and all my fellow participants. Say something nice to somebody for no reason at all. The more goodness that is floating about in the air on race day, the better.

This entry was posted in Gear, Ironman, Race Week, The Journey. Bookmark the permalink.

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