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 ;)