Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Eye of the tater, baby


Once I had made up my mind to do IronSpud, I was willing to dig deep and do whatever it takes to succeed. No matter how tough or seemingly impossible the task, you just do what you have to do, knowing that it’ll pay off later. That’s just how it is for those of us who try to set an example for the little people.

Of course, I’m talking about buying speed, or as Triathlete magazine put it in an article, “How to buy speed when you don’t have time to train.” Naturally I do the training as well, but a little bit of assistance never hurts. And finding that assistance can be tough, those little hidden gems of speed and power. But again, that’s the kind of person I am: doing what needs to be done.

So the checklist that I’m going by, and that I’m providing here as a service to all of you, is as follows: compression tights, check; Optygen HP, check, though I have no idea what this stuff is supposed to do – it’s expensive, however, so it must work; aero helmet, ech, just how dorky am I supposed to look out there?; caffeinated GU/Infinit/etc., check; tight clothing to reduce wind drag, umm, yeah, not a problem; the flip-flop exerciser shoes, of course. These are my secret weapon – shoes that give you the equivalent of a strenuous workout just by virtue of wearing them. Between those and the compression tights, which essentially do the same thing, I’m now on a 24-hr workout schedule. Don’t try this at home, please - remember that I’m a professional.

One other iron-clad rule of triathlon is that one should never change anything before a race. I live by this rule, since it’s so easy to change one seemingly tiny thing and then watch everything fall apart on race day. That’s why this past Sunday, when I went out for another 100+ mile bike ride, the only thing I changed was my aerodrink straw. Oh, and my wheels and cassette. And shoes and inserts (brand new!). That was all – except that when I stopped at the WI convenience store for the requisite beef stick, I did adjust my saddle, raising it a tad. But other than that, I stuck to that rule absolutely. Another one of my pearls of wisdom there for others to emulate.

My ride to and from Wisconsin was not only part of the final Ramping Up phase of my training plan, but it also had a purpose: to find that damn fiberglass ear of corn wonder that I stumbled across on a ride last year, but haven’t been able to find since because I haven’t gotten lost in just that particular way. Sunday, I decided to retrace my steps. So I went to the gas station/convenience store in Darien, wandered up and down a couple of streets and decided they didn’t look right, turned down one street that had promise, went over a highway which made no sense, and suddenly, voila, there it was! Victory!

From there I decided to go for the dufecta, and swung by the ostrich farm for a few pictures. So even though I had to ride on about 20 miles of chipseal, which is what County Road K now is, sad to say, it was worth it.

Now that I’ve totally depleted any glycogen stores I might have had and have ensured that my legs are completely fried and sore as hell, it’s time to taper. For the uninitiated, “tapering” consists of a careful regimen of conserving movement and eating studiously and carefully. At its purest, that means sitting on one’s ass all week and eating nothing but donuts – at least that’s the traditional definition, and far be it from me to tinker with the tried-and-true.

I have also taken the time to perfect my race plan for IronSpud, or the culmination of all my hard work and deep breathing and striding briskly, and that plan can be boiled down into one word thusly: hammer. I intend to go full-out from beginning to end, leave everything I have out there, no holds barred. This will surely be a race against time - not that I haven’t done the work, as there’ve been hundreds of miles of cycling, hours upon hours of running, and, umm, I’ve swam a couple of times. And I’ve managed to cram this all into the last couple of weeks…..

Scene: Dropping off Kona at daycare last Friday, mentioning that we won’t be in for a couple of weeks since it’s Ironman time. Nancy, the lovely woman that works there, knows about this since I had changed up my schedule 2-3 weeks ago to get up super-early in my Ramping Up phase.

Me: So, you won’t see us for a couple of weeks. I’m leaving Monday for Idaho, for the race, and Kona is going to his girlfriend’s.
Nancy: Wow, already! You’ve been working really hard for 2 weeks now!
Me: Well, I’ve been training a bit longer than that….
Nancy: Oh, I guess, but the last two weeks has been the real training, right?
Me, sighing: Sure. Right.

The point being, all of that “pace yourself” stuff is for people who are not willing to be bold in their race execution. I will of course report back on how my plan works, though I’m sure it’ll be a raging success. How could it not be? Though I may also try my friend George from Canada’s suggestion – to go out with the leaders, then surge the last 5 miles. Though I might change that to the last 10, just to give myself a bit more cushion.

And with that, I’m setting off for IronSpud. See you on the road….


D said...

Other than not wanting to leave my kitties behind AT ALL, I wish I was heading out today!

You know, I'd call a big, fat DNF that ends in hours of donut eating an equal success to actually finishing. Just throwin that out there.

t-odd said...

Go get 'em. "'em" being donuts. Good luck and kill it. "It" being anything that you don't like. Have a good time.

Charisa said...

Good luck!!!