Well, my first race of the season is coming up this Sunday and I sure hope I'm ready. I ended up missing a whole week of training because of a bad cold and it always takes my legs a few runs to feel like they are back on track. I went for an easy 45 min run on Tuesday and I'm hoping to do an hour today. Then I'll rest my legs Friday and Saturday and hope for the best.
So my plan is to basically repeat the run I did two weeks ago. I have been testing a different fueling/water plan for the past few months and I think I have that dialed in now too. For my half iron last June, and my half marathon last October, I used my hydration pack and carried my own fuel/water mix with Nuun and Carbo-Pro.
However, because it is cooler right now, I don't need as much water so I'm planning to carry my hand held bottle only and refill it at the half way point. I don't think this will take me more than a minute to do (and has taken me considerably less in practice).
I went to a few places to buy some more Nuun (Orange Ginger) but couldn't find any. Then I noticed Kelowna Cycle is now carrying Hammer Endurolytes Fizz. I've never tried them before but they look very similar to Nuun except they have a lower salt content. I bought a tube of the grapefruit flavour and tried them on my last run. They tasted fine and seemed to be pretty much the same as Nuun. I will have one in my bottle when I start and I will carry another tablet to drop in my bottle when I refill.
Because I don't want to bother with Carbo-Pro during the refill, I decided to test Espresso Hammer Gel in a gel flask. I know I like it and it doesn't bother my stomach but I've never been able to figure out how and where to carry the flask when I'm running and found Carbo-Pro in the hydration pack so much easier. I definitely don't like taking gels straight from the pack - they are too thick and hard to eat when I'm running and breathing hard. I much prefer it mixed with 2/1 gel/water.
On Tuesday, I found a way to strap my gel flask to my hand held bottle and it didn't bother me at all. I was even able to drink from the flask without taking it off my bottle so I think that's going to work just fine. To attach it, I used one of my reflective velcro arm straps to wrap around the bottle and the flask. It held fairly well on its own but because there's the possibility of it sliding down a little on a long run, I also attached a small piece of sticky-back velcro to the bottle and the flask so it won't accidentally slide out.
I will take one gel right before I start the race (mainly because I don't eat much breakfast on race day), and then I will take one at the 45 min and one at the 90 minute mark. This coincides nicely with the big hill climb and the end of the race.
I'm expecting it to be fairly cold at race start, probably between 3-5C (37-40F) and not likely going to warm up more than a few degrees by the end. Therefore, I plan to wear tights, a base layer, Sugoi mid-zero jersey and my vest. There are showers in the forecast so if it looks like it might rain, I'll probably wear my jacket instead of my vest. I will wear my Oliver Half Iron cap and a headband to cover my ears. I won't take gloves but I can pull my sleeves down over my hands for awhile if I need to. I plan to take my ipod and I have 2:15 worth of motivational music and Podrunner 180 bpm ready to go.
The race course is mostly flat but has one longish hill between 9-11km mark. At that point, the elevation climbs about 45 m (150'), most of it in the first km. Here's the elevation profile.
If all goes well and my legs are feeling good, here's how I plan to run it. My goal is to stay in HR Zone 2 for most of the race with the exception of the hill at km's 9/10 and the last 2-3 km. I want to start off conservatively and run the first 2 km at a 6:30/km pace (10:25 mile). Then I want to speed up a little to about a 6:15/km (10 min mile) for the rest of the race. I expect to slow down to 6:30-7:00 km for the hill, and then hopefully speed up to 5:45/km (9:15 min mile) for the last few km's. My goal time is around 2:15.
That's the plan. The reality may be something completely different. Ultimately I will listen to my body and do whatever speed feels good, and keeps my HR in Zone 2. I want to feel good after the run and not need a week off to recover.
Keeping my fingers crossed. :)