Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Knowing My Strengths and Knowing My Weaknesses and Being Realistic

There is a reason why I keep meticulous logs of my workouts: So that I can look back and gain a perspective on where I was and where I am now. This has really helped me gain confidence in what I am capable of right now, but also in the future.

I think going into a major race, like a Half Ironman for example, it is a good thing that you know your weaknesses, so that you have a backup plan is X happens followed by Y. Here are my strengths and weaknesses for the following 4 major aspects of a Half Ironman. I have done 5 so far to iron out the kinks!

Strength: I have put up a LOT of yardage. Over 100,000 yards so far this season. That shear volume right there is enough to get me through any swim.
Weakness: Lack of Open Water Swimming. Can't really help it. The lakes up here only unfroze 3 weeks ago!
Strength: Intensity in the pool. Big check next to this one! I made sure to keep hammering out the sets of 100's, 200's, and 300's.
Weakness: Not staying on anyone's feet during a race. I always struggle with this and find myself in no-man's land. Finding feet can not only speed you up, but save LOTS of energy!
Being realistic: If conditions are good, based upon my training, holding a 1:30-1:33 pace in the water is realistic. If I can find some feet and hold onto em, this can improve the pace. Being in a wet-suit always helps :)

Strength: I am waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay ahead of this time last year. This time last year my fastest long training ride leading up to New Orleans was a 17.75 mph average over 57 miles. I wound up with a 20mph avg on race day on flat and windy conditions. In comparison, this past weekend was 65.91 miles @ 19.97 mph on rolly and some hilly terrain with some wind. Galveston is flat as a pancake with few turns.
Weakness: Galveston is going to be in the 70's, humid, and windier. I haven't ridden or ran in anything north of 50 degrees...
Strength: I can stay in the aero position for the entire ride. Last year, I couldn't!
Weakness: The wind. I am not as worried about heat on the bike (knocks on wood!). I wish I had more time practicing with my ZIPP wheels. I have an 808 rear and 404 front. I have done two long rides on them and have hit some serious cross winds. I am still here in one piece blogging about the experience so that means something. Except I have a feeling the winds down there might be a tad "different." Hoping to go out into the middle of the course on Saturday and test out the ZIPP's in said wind.
Being Realistic: As long as the wind's aren't too brutal and my ZIPP's don't turn me into a sail boat, based upon my training, anything north of a 20 mph avg is totally realistic. I will be holding 200 watts from soup to nuts, so 200 watts is 200 watts regardless of the wind. If it is a headwind and I am going 14 mph and I am pushing 200 watts, then so be it. If I have a tailwind and I am going 28 mph and pushing 200 watts, then WOO HOO!!!

Strength: I drop kicked a 15K the other weekend @ a 7:06 pace not rested the day after a 58 mile race pace ride.
Weakness: It was 40 degrees that day....did I mention its going to be 30-40 degrees warmer down in Galveston?
Strength: I am a good 12 pounds lighter than this time least year. Less Kryptonite anyone?
Weakness: Heat and Humidity ARE my Kryptonite.
Strength: I now run WAY faster off the bike than starting out running cold.
Weakness: Have I mentioned the heat factor? Oh wait....
Being Realistic: I'd say this is the biggest unknown factor of all. In cool temperatures, I fly. In heat and humidity, its game over. Basically as long as I stick to the plan of holding the correct wattage and getting the appropriate nutrition down on the bike, it won't be a legs issue on the run; it will be a "staying cool" issue on the run. Based upon training, I have been holding a 7:30 pace for the 4 mile brick runs after all of my long rides. Again, this is in cooler temps where overheating is not possible. I guess by Sunday afternoon we will all find out how this run goes!

Strength: Last year I dialed in my nutrition. And it worked (I just have to remember to eat while waiting for the swim). Fortunately I have one of the first swim waves @ 7:15, so this won't be as big of an issue.
Weakness: Because of the mild temperatures I have been riding and running in, I haven't needed to drink every 5 mins to keep up with my sweat rate. Hoping my body can handle the shock of more liquid on race day. With the heat and wind, I might not have a choice.
Being Realistic: Stick to the plan Jon. Stick to the plan! You have done this with success SO MANY TIMES. Just stick to the plan....

So there you have it! My legs are 75% recovered from the weekend and this morning's short run was WAY better than yesterday's run. I have been hitting the track and just doing 4-5 laps with a bunch of 100 meter pickups thrown in to get some speed work. I mailed off the ZIPP's via FedEx yesterday and picked up my bike case from storage.

I think the anticipation is what is killing me the most! I'll prolly check in with y'all on Friday in Texas ;)


  1. You want to see some wind?

  2. Sending positive race vibes your way buddy even though you don't need it. You really have busted a move since last year and the improvements are speaking volumes. 2011 is gonna be a great year for Swicyclorun!! I'll be keeping an eye on you, Jeff and Shannon this weekend online.

  3. Sounds like you have a solid plan Jon. so far the forecast is calling for some (a lot) wind but the temps are going to be in the mid-70's and the wind usually keeps the humidity at bay. Basically if the forecast is right it will be San Diego weather (-:

  4. My 2 cents... on the run, you are worried about the humidity and heat. I have found that losing weight allows your body to handle the warmer temps better.

    I think you will be fine dealing with that weather change and like Jeff said, San Diego weather, should be a PERFECT day for a race :)

    Don't over think it either and like you said, you have a plan, STICK TO IT!

  5. Wow, you are so meticulous in your observations. That alone will help you in the big race. I wish you the best of luck and will be cheering for you from Colorado!

  6. Jon, I am totally cheering for you this weekend. Best of luck. You freaking got this, no question. I like the evaluation of your strengths/weaknesses for sure. I think the biggest issue will be heat, but you will be fine. Just remember to STICK TO THE PLAN!!!

  7. How did I miss the fact that you are riding Zipps?!?!?! When did that happen? Clincher or Tubular?
    I hope you luck out and have zero wind. I'm sure there are a bunch of us here that would like to see your bike split on a flat course with little wind.

    Have fun out there!

  8. I hear you on drafting during the swim. It is tough. I had one race last year where I had a pull for about 1/3 of the race. I stayed behind him until he missed a turn. I looked back and he was bobbing in the water trying to catch his bearings. I felt bad when I saw him go off in the wrong direction, but not much you can do in the water.

    The hardest part about drafting wasn't finding feet, but finding feet that were going the pace I wanted to be going. I have fallen in behind someone before only to feel like the drafting was slowing me down in the long run.

    Good luck in Galveston! Hopefully that weather cooperates :)

  9. Looks like a great plan! Nice work on the bike, I guess we won't be able to ride together now that you're SO speedy!

  10. beautiful!!

    great assessment and planning
    love your inventory on self and seeing where you are at. Cant wait to see how it goes for you. GL!


  11. Super! I love what you did here and how you keep track of everything. In the end it comes down to the day of the race and anything goes in any department. The key is to be ready to deal with anything in a positive way. I'm sure you'll do great, all the best!

  12. Jon, the only thing I can say is that you are going to kick ROYAL ASS!
    Get out there and do it man!

  13. Good Luck to you!!! You will be great!! Positive vibes coming your way!!! Think of Race execution for the rest of the week. Visualize it and Do it!! :)

  14. you are not only awesome you are an inspiration!

  15. Great post, have fun this weekend, dont lose to Jeff and I want to know what good mexican resturants are there, I miss good mexican food

  16. It sounds like you've got the game plan all figured out. Journaling really does help in seeing the progress you've made. You're killing it since last year at this time. For your sake, I hope it's not too hot and humid, not windy, and that you can find some feet...I'm not very good at that.

  17. Just stumbled across your blog! Good luck this weekend; I'll be there too. I have the luxury of living here so I've been riding G'ston. Truthfully, it's hard to predict the wind this far out. They say if you don't like the weather here, wait a couple hours. It changes on a dime!

    True the course is flat. There's only the San Louis Pass bridge, and that's not really a climb. Be prepared to deal with headwinds, as some parts of the course twist and turn and those cross winds turn to direct headwinds and tailwinds for a bit, but there is generally relief. Last I saw was 18-20 mph winds from the S, which changed from Monday.

    Good luck to you! Stick to you plan and race your race. Glad to be following you now!

  18. Kick some Texas Butt Jon!! You are so prepared for this race and like you said Stick to Your Plan! I can't wait to hear all about it.

  19. You have been doing so awesome with your training and have made some good progress! You are going to ROCK your race! I'll be sending good luck vibes your way!!

  20. I have 808/404 too. You've done the work now reap the reward. This is a taste of what Placid will be like!

  21. Sounds like you are ready to rock this weekend! Have a fun and safe race!

  22. You are such an honest athlete and I love that about you...

    You are going to have a great race!

  23. Good luck Jon!!!!!!! Can't wait to see how this unfolds! You have trained so hard and strong, I know you will rock this, hotter weather or not!

  24. You have dotted your i's and crossed your t's. You can't change the weather.

    Just execute!


Don't be shy! Leave me a comment!