Monday, September 26, 2011

Reviewing The Numbers: Calories, Watts, and Pace at Rev3 Cedar Point Full Rev Ironman

Earlier I wrote a race report on my experiences at Rev3 Cedar Point. Today I wanted to dive a little further into the numbers.  First things first -- my nutrition plan. 


Race Morning Nutrition: ~1350 calories

The majority of the calories were consumed at the time I woke up or ~2.5 hours before my wave went off.

- Nutrition Shake (250 calories)
- Motts Natural Fruit Snacks (600 calories)
- Quaker Rice Cakes - Chocolate Crunch (300)
- Carbo Pro 1200 (200 calories worth) (sipped on this throughout the morning)
- Crystal Light Packet (Wild Berry Energy) (10 calories)


Bike Nutrition: ~2000 calories or about 400 calories an hour

I started the bike with the following bottles:

- 1 pre-mixed bottle (2x salt stick pills, 300 calories of Carbo Pro 1200 + H20, 1 Crystal Light packet)
- 1 pre-mixed bottle (2x salt stick pills, 1600 calories of Carbo Pro 1200, 1 Crystal Light packet)

Once I finished the first 300 cal bottle I switched to sipping the concentrated bottle and washing it down with water.  I did grab one Gatorade on the course and had roughly 80 calories of it. I also had 4 salt stick pills on the bike.

Run Nutrition: ~820 calories or about 270 calories per hour

At first I went thru aid stations grabbing one or two cups of cola, but I was finding around mile 17 or so that it wasn't enough so I started grabbing Gatorade as well.  I estimate that I had:

720 Calories of Cola (30x 2 oz cups)
100 Calories of Gatorade (8x 2 oz cups)

The Ironman Marathon Miracle Maker
That's it.  I didn't take anything else on the run - no gels, no gummies, and no salt. I will say that one specific goal of the race was to put down a lot of food.  And I spent a lot of time eating junk on rides and runs in hopes that my stomach could learn to turn it until fuel for the body. Overall the low output on the swim and bike definitely aided in proper digestion.  I had little to no bloating or gas the entire day.

Swim Speed:

Although there are no numbers for swim speed I will reiterate that I swam well below my ability. I did have a few moments of pressure throughout the swim which resulted in a couple of micro-surges, but overall I was not concerned about getting dropped and I had no reason to forge ahead on my own.


Bike Watts:

The goal of the bike was to bike extremely conservatively for the first hour and then dial it up every so slightly. Lucky for me my Garmin Edge 500 ran out of space mid-way thru the ride so I only have half of it.

1st Hour - 220 watts @ 136 BPM
2nd Hour - 230 watts @ 133 BPM

Trainingpeaks Powerfile 2011 Rev 3 Cedar Point Full Rev Ironman


In training I biked most of rides at roughly 75% of 330 watts FTP or roughly 250 watts.  Although I had no problems in training I wanted to take an even more conservative approach on race day and I believe the conservative pace on the bike set me up for a good run.

Run Pace:

The goal of the run was to keep a comfortable relaxed pace and see where it took me.  The following shows my run pace and average heart rate over the course of the marathon.  As you can see the run pace was fairly consistent throughout the race.  This is a testament to my bike pacing.


Putting It All Together:  Although I didn't have the fastest swim, bike, or run splits, I did manage to put together a solid race with no weaknesses in any of the disciplines.  I have worked hard on my swim and it shows - maybe not in the time but certainly in the level of effort. The bike was easy but that is how it is supposed to be, and my run was inline with my expectations.

So what was the key to my race? I would say the conservative approached that I was actually able to follow.  Most people - myself included - have a significant "knowing-doing" gap when it comes to the Ironman distance.  We know we should take it conservative but it is so easy to get caught up in the moment and in the process throw the plan right out the window.  Unless there is an absolute tactical reason why you have to race a certain way it is simply faster to race your own race.  Happy IMing!!!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Rev3 Cedar Point Race Report - 2011 Full Rev 140.6 Ironman Sandusky

Rev3 9/11 Remembrance
Ideally I would have liked to have been racing Ironman Wisconsin instead of Rev3 Cedar Point - nothing against Rev3 - but who can blame me when I live a block away from the start of Ironman Wisconsin.  Not to mention it would have be a no-brainer for friends and family to spectate.  Anyway, despite me best efforts at Ironman events this year, I have been saddled by disaster after disaster out on their bike courses, and the business side of me was screaming go to Cedar Point, hit the reset button, and set yourself up for a good payday in the Rev3 amateur series.  So Cedar Point it was. 

Swim (58:41): The swim was a mass-start for all age-groupers with pro men and pro women going off in separate waves roughly 15 minutes and 10 minutes ahead of us.  I wasn't too sure of the swim course because it was an awkard looping course, but the plan was not to lead the swim and I had hoped whoever was leading would know what to do.

Exiting Lake Erie
During warm-up I got a chance to walk thru the knee-deep muck that was present from a bombardment of 10-foot waves all week.  It was almost like quicksand and felt like stepping into the abyss.  I made a mental note as I watched the female pros go off and watched one face plant directly in it.  Ouch.  Then I heard the announcer say "45 Seconds Age-Groupers".  Well that sucks seeing as I am 200 yards out in the warm-up area right now.  So I b-lined it to shore - HR soaring as I did my best high-step impression.  I reached shore, dashed to the start, and then realized I still had plenty of time.  Well at least I was wide-awake and the throttle had been wide open.

So onto the swim.  The gun went off and we all started thru the muck.  It was a mixture of high-steps, dolphin dives, and akward strokes but clear water was near.  There was one guy who got away but I wasn't concerned.  I was not going to spike the HR to catch up so I just sat in a chase group of four as we worked from buoy to buoy.  We crossed the first lap and I had a chance to look at my watch - 27:20 - ok right on pace.  Lap 2 was more of the same, and the name of the game was energy conservation.  It was dead easy just how an IRONMAN age-group swim should be. I exited the water and I looked down to see 57:55 on my watch - perfect.

T1: Running into transition I was able to see that super-star age-grouper Jay McCurdy was also in the swim pack of four I was in.  He was my best competition and I knew that he would be a good guy to keep an eye on.

Bike (4:51:44): The Rev3 Cedar Full-Rev bike course was similar to Louisville and Wisconsin, but didn't have any major climbs.  The goal of the bike was just to ease into the bike and make the bike the easiest bike ride I have had all year.  99% of all age-group athletes swim way too hard, and then they bike way too hard, only to melt on the run.  There would be no melting today and I was firm in sticking to my simple rule of thumb - "if you can't smile then you are going to hard." 

One of the Few Climbs on the Course
So I set sail on the bike course passing the lead age-grouper within a matter of minutes.  From there I worked on picking off female pro after female pro.  I road extremely conservatively and this allowed me to consume a massive amount of calories - roughly 2000 by mile 80.  Amazing how well the digestive system works when you back off and keep a low HR.

The whole bike was rather uneventful and before you knew it I was rolling in back to transition side-by-side Jay.  We had kept each other in our sites the entire ride and switched the lead maybe 30 or so times.

T2:  I had now idea how big our lead was to third, but I knew that Jay was a fast runner and that was enough to worry about for me. There was no time to waste so I grabbed a one-pound bag of gummy bears, my garmin, and a red bull.  I cracked the red bull and slammed about half of it and exited the tent just ahead of Jay.

Run (3:08:20): The Cedar Point Full-Rev course consists of a relatively flat 2-loop course with little shade to escape the sun.  My plan was just to stay focused and hold a comfortable pace with good form.  Immediately  I fired up the Garmin and when it finally came online I was awarded with a sustainable 6:55 pace.

Now usually I have this "walk every 3rd aid station policy" due to overheating, but today I had no such luxury.  With Jay roughly 15 seconds back at mile 4 there was no time for walking and cooling off.  Instead I continued on at comfortable but aggressive 7:10 pace and just hoped I didn't melt.

At mile #7, I was relieved to know that I had roughly 52 seconds on Jay and I had over 7 minutes on third.  By mile #9 my lead had stretched to 56 seconds and roughly 7:30 on third.  I got to the turnaround and passed the final female pro in the race.  Splits were up to 2:20 on Jay and third was no longer a contender.

For nutrition I stuck to my miracle worker - cola - but later in the race it wasn't enough so I started adding Gatorade as well.  It was warm but it wasn't boiling out so a glass of water on the top of the noggin was all that was needed to keep cool. 

During lap two I was waiting for the normal pace creep that seems to always happen in Ironman Marathons, but it never came.  At mile 18-19 I had a little spot of maybe 30 seconds were I felt deflated but that quickly passed.

At mile #22 I got my final time check and my lead was down to 2:02.  I knew that unless I absolutely melted that the race would be mine.  Even though I accomplished all that I wanted to accomplish something about sub-9 still sounded nice so I threw out the untouched bag of gummies and set sail to try and bring it home.

At mile #25 I took one last look over my shoulder before I started the celebration.  Sub-9 wasn't going to happen, but I had a smile on my face as I executed the perfect Ironman-distance race of my life. I grabbed a US flag right before the finish and crossed the line in 9:02:38 as the overall amateur winner of the 2011 Rev3 Cedar Point Full Rev.   That 9:02:38 was good enough for 7th overall and would have netted me $1,750 if I had raced out of the pro field. 

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