This week is Peak Week - the biggest week of training before the race. Technically taper starts next week, but with the hours still being around 15 next week, it doesn't quite feel like a taper. Yesterday I finished up my final long run - an hour bike ride followed by a 20 mile run which I did at an 8:47 pace. It's the quickest long run to date. I have nailed all of them - two 16s, two 18s, and one 20 miler. I have used each of my long rides and runs as dress rehearsals. I once heard that "Perfect practice makes perfect" and that's what I've tried to emulate during my training. I have worn what I'm going to wear in the race. I have practiced my nutrition and hydration as I'm going to do in the race. I have worked on my mental stability as I'm going to need in the race. With a mere three and a half weeks to go, here's what I've nailed down.
I have swam more open water this year than in years past training for triathlon. I am feeling calm and relaxed in open water now. I hope to use that zen in the race to keep myself calm and remember there's a lot more race to go. Depending on the water temperature (I heard it was warm on the news) I plan on wearing my long sleeved TYR Hurricane Cat5 wetsuit. If it's too warm for that, I've got a no sleeved wetsuit or a swim skin (although not WTC legal, I think it can still be used under USAT rules). Otherwise I'll just swim sans wetsuit. I'm allergic to my wetsuits and my swim skin chafes me badly, so I have no problem swimming without. I did it in Louisville, I can do it again. I plan on wearing my team tri top, my bike shorts, and my calf sleeves underneath my wetsuit. My Garmin will be on my arm as will my watch. (Why both? More on this in a minute.)
My goal is to minimize time in transition. Yes I want to make sure I get everything I need, but why waste time in transition? Even though the goal is to finish, it's still a race and I still want to be competitive. In T1 I will get out of that wetsuit, put on my socks and bike shoes, helmet, and sunglasses. I will spritz on a little sunscreen and use a little chamois cream. Hydration and nutrition will already be on my bike.
So you asked, why wear both a watch and a Garmin? Because that's how I've been training for the bike. The Garmin will go on my bike and used as a bike computer. I will be tracking speed, average speed, rpms, and most importantly, heart rate. The watch on my arm will be used to determine when to take salt tabs, eat, and hydrate. The type-A+ personality that I am has this crazy schedule where I drink every five minutes, eat every thirty minutes, and take a salt tab every thirty minutes. It's not complicated but it keeps my mind fresh because I'm always thinking of the next time I must eat or drink (along with constantly checking my heart rate). I will be using the Gatorade on course. I have trained with Gatorade all summer. I will be supplementing water as needed. I will be using a combination of strawberry Gu Chomps and vanilla Gu based on what time it is. My plan is very intricate, but it has worked for me.
I actually think my T2 is going to take longer than T1 which is opposite than most people. As I mentioned in the swim section above, I will be wearing bike shorts. Good for people who can do the full 112 miles in a pair of tri shorts. I am not one of those people. In T2, I will change into my tri shorts and change my socks to running socks. I will be wearing my lucky Boston Marathon ball cap. I will take the watch off my arm and will be using my Garmin to finish out the race. I will spritz myself with a little more sunscreen and spritz myself with some TriSlide for my underarms and chest. I will be wearing my water belt. I will take off my heart rate chest strap. And most importantly I will put on my garage sale sticker over my Garmin. What????
I have debated and debated about the water belt. Frankly, I don't want to wear it. There are water stations, for crying out loud! But I've gotten used to it. It doesn't move and I don't really notice it's there. It will allow me to bypass the aid stations and keep to the routine that has worked for me. It also has a large pouch on it that will allow me to carry my gels and salt tabs. I don't like, though, that I will have to stop and fill it up probably three times and that I will probably have to stop and walk to get out the gels and salt tabs and take them. But pretty much everyone walks through the aid stations to do that so I'm okay with that. Again, that's how I've practiced. I will be taking a gel and salt tab every four miles starting at the two mile mark. So why the sticker??? I like to run by feel. I know what the different heart rate zones feel like without ever looking at them. I know how to go hard and when to back off. With years and years of running under my belt, I have become quite good at understanding pace. If I get wrapped up with what the Garmin says it will drive me insane. I plan on keeping that sticker on for a good 10-13 miles and maybe for the whole marathon. So, as my husband says, why even wear the Garmin? Well, that's a good question and something I've been wrestling with. But because I will have started my Garmin and used the multisport function since the beginning of the race, I'd like to keep it on so I at least have a record of my race.
Most importantly, I am going to STICK TO THE PLAN!!!! I am going to remember to smile a lot and to have fun. And hopefully have the day I've been dreaming of and practicing for.