People asked me a year ago what I thought I would do @ Lake Placid. I told them, "I will let you know three weeks before the race."
Sorry for the major cliffhanger folks! But I didn't know then. How could anyone 52 weeks out?
But I think I do now.
As long as I cross that finish line, I am PR-ing this distance.
Ok, now that that is out of the way, what should I expect? Based upon my training and where I am now (less than two weeks out), here are some predictions:
I first need to mention that I am purposefully forgetting that I have gone a 5:03:xx in a HIM. It was a flat course and it does NOT count! The "take your best HIM time, multiply it by 2 and add an hour" formula just got thrown out the window. The "you will finish when you finish" formula has been enabled
In training: I did the full 2.4 mile swim 3 weeks ago in 1:10. I did this on my own with no draft. I also followed the buoy line and didn't need to site (which I think saves time). I also ran into three different people and was interrupted.
On race day: Following the buoy line? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Not gonna get near that mayhem! Hopefully on the second loop it will stretch out enough to get on it. Not gonna worry if I don't. I am also not gonna gun it and swim at any sort of high intensity. The swim could be as little as 1/12th of my day. Its NOT worth the energy! I still have a LOT of biking and running to do.
In training: I have done this course in hot conditions, windy conditions (from both North and South Directions) and in cold and wet conditions. Other than a tornado and snow, I think I have my bases covered in riding this course in the most extreme conditions.
I have done a single loop in 3 hours flat. I have done two loops in 6:15. I have also done two loops in 6:38. For some reason 6 hours on this course seems to be some standard to break. Did you know that riding 112 miles in 6 hours flat is an 18.67 mph average? So I have averaged 20mph in training on a couple 100 milers. BIG F-ING DEAL. Did I have to run a marathon afterwards? NOPE? Was the terrain super hilly? NOPE! Does this mean I should try to maintain 20 mph for Lake Placid? HELL NO!
On race day: First Loop: My easiest gear is still too hard. My easiest gear is still too hard. My easiest gear is still too hard. This applies specifically the first 8.5 miles of climbing out of town. Gonna be fun watching how many people buzz by me standing up on this first section. It will also be fun buzzing by them on the 2nd loop as their gas tanks reach the big ole "E".
The Placid bike course is one to be respected. Its surely does not have the steepest climbs, but it has the additive effect that bites hard. Its a neat course that somehow hides 6,000 feet of climbing. You also have to remember that there is a 26.2 mile run to be done!
I train with power on the bike, and based upon my last few long ride, putting a cap at 170 watts on the flats will hold me back, yet still allow some speed. On the climbs, its all about RPE. This is holding 40 less watts than my HIM wattage, which is 210. Swallowing my pride with this one! I may have lost some top end speed on the bike this season, but I surely sacrificed it to go long (except for the Ridgefield Sprint where I won my AG. THAT was fun!).
The biggest unknown. I have swam 2.4. I have Biked 112. I have never ran a marathon. Does this really matter? Not really. My coach explained to me that his first ever Marathon was at Kona and that his longest run prior was only an 18 miler (of course I am still wondering if he is human).
In training: The longest I have ever run is barely over 19 miles, and that took me 2:45:00 to do. I run best in cold weather (I think everyone does). Placid could be hot and muggy to downright cold and rainy. For the run especially, I wouldn't mind a little drizzle and cold.
On race day: My run training is there and I am ready to run a Marathon! I would rather bike a 6:30 and run a 4 hour marathon than bike a 6:00 and run a 4:30 marathon. Is it a pride issue? I think its more of a "my feet hurt" issue. 30 extra minutes on the bike is not that big of a deal compared to an extra 30 minutes of pounding pavement.
What will get me here? A) Pacing the bike. B) eating properly and C) getting fluids down. The bike is the #1 thing that will make or break this run. I hope it makes it.
Transitions: 10-15 minutes for both.
Its a bit of a run from Mirror Lake to the Olympic Oval. Then you gotta get your bag, get your bike gear on, pack your swim gear. Get your bike, run across the oval to the bike out. I am just exhausted thinking about it!
For the bike to run transition, I might need to take a moment and just sit down and recollect my brain. At this point I will be 7+ hours into the race. My brain might be on Mars or Jupiter.
Total Finish Time Estimate:
11:35 - 12:25+
Oh great, even my most conservative time has me freaking out!