Just read my entry after the race last year and it’s boosted my confidence for tomorrow. I do feel quietly confident not because I feel on fire in any of my training sessions but just because I’ve had a consistent block of training in the past 10 weeks and that normally means a decent performances. My expectations are not to have a stella race just to have a solid one. If I do that I will be more than happy with where I’m at. I wrote the following this morning and this afternoon:
The morning before the race and it’s such a great atmosphere.
I joined Stephen and Russ for a swim out to the Coffee of Hawaii boat at 6:45am … back by 7:05am and thats it for training. Now just soaking up the atmosphere and having a superb coffee before meeting Jo for breakfast. I had a few nerves last night but slept well. Once I’m up and about I feel no nerves at all. In fact, it just feels amazing to be here and be part of it. I’m even enjoying an almond poppy seed muffin with my latte. In these final days I’m erring on a few extra carbs. Both Jo and I have commented on how quickly you notice the difference – within a day of the extra carbs and less training and there’s a noticeable change in the body fat around my tummy. Our bodies are pretty incredible when it comes to keeping that extra for later.
Thoughts inevitably are mostly about the race and a fair bit about after the race and relaxing. I feel in good shape and that preparations have gone well. Preparations could have gone better but couldn’t they always ? I’ve had a consistent block of training since Kona last year, I’ve not had a single niggle and have been running better and better. Tomorrow I feel I’ve got one of my better Kona races ready to come out.
This is the race I’ve done most often. Numerous attempts doesn’t always equate to useful experience but I have had a variety of conditions and a variety of performances. From my experience there are a few things I will be focussing on
- Not getting too stressed about being on front line of the swim.
- Aim to have the confidence not to redline at the start. I will go steady, hold my own and hopefully not get my usual swim exit photo where I look like I’ve been through 10 rounds in the ring.
- BIKE – critical. Like last year “I’m not racing until I’m back on the Queen K heading to Hawi” This year I’m taking this further. It’s focus on hydration, nutrition and capping my power till after the descent back from Hawi. No “racing” till back on the Queen K – hopefully that will keep me in check. Capping my power – absolutely not over 300 !! Reason I say that is in training I’ve sometimes kept aero on some of the rises glanced down and seen 320 or higher – those figures are not ones I want to see on Saturday and will really target being calm on the rises when often people power by. Remind myself it’s a TT, I’ve no idea about anyone else so what others do around me should have no bearing on what I do. Easier said than done.
- RUN – looking forward to it. Despite the naysayers the one thing about the vibrams is I want to get out and run in them. The mere act of running is pleasurable… hopefully it will last beyond the Ali’i turnaround.
Been considering calf guards for the run and have some I could use but they’re harder to get on than compression socks so I think I’ll be going completely traditional for the run – running shorts, no compression. I’ll stick out like a sore thumb even without vibrams on my feet.
Since I will be wearing a one piece for swim and bike I’m more or less decided on wearing a HRM. This is really for my long term benefit. Never before have I raced with one so I won’t use it to moderate my efforts but it will be useful to have the data post race. I now have a Garmin on the bike that will record the data so I will race with it through to the run then ditch it. Still not found a watch I’m happy to wear throughout that will record HR. Hoping I will find one soon so I can get HR on the run. I’d like pace as well but those watches are huge.
The racking has now started. Jo is done and I’m on the balcony watching it all unfold. I feel very calm and normally do until I start trying to go to sleep … then all hell lets lose in my stomach. I remind myself that it’s really just a long scenic ride with a catered run after and that usually calms me a little. To be honest, it’s only visualising the first 30 minutes of the race that really gets me nervous.
Jo and I are now relaxing in our room. I for one don’t want to go to sleep as that starts the nerves. Racking was the usual efficient affair with someone showing you round. The more I do these races the quicker I manage to pack my bags (nothing much changes) but it means I always end up with a stronger feeling that I’ve forgotten something. I’m committed now to the vibram policy as there’re the only shoes I’ve packed. Thanks to all of you that have been positive about it – whether you believe it’s a good idea or not you know that at this point the best thing you can do for someone is give them confidence they are making the right decisions.
I had dinner with Roger, Mary and Russell heading to Bongo Bens where I’ve had my pre race dinner for the past 3 years. I followed it with a latte and a chocolate scone … so feel I’m sufficiently fueled now.
All there is to do now is to suffer the worst nights sleep of the year…