I still owe a post about my fun trail runs in Montana from a few weeks back (lots of pretty photos) and maybe a post about how I was the fastest person on a group ride a a week ago (the boys just "wanted to hang on"). But instead, I am having a mini freakout over this little race I have in 3.5 weeks.
It didn't exactly click that I had a race coming up until Saturday night, I was getting my clothes ready for Sunday's ride and I realized that I have never worn the tri shorts I was planning on wearing during a long ride. And I've been terrible at practicing "race nutrition". For the past few months I've just been doing "whatever". Its mentally challenging, because my long rides now are the same duration as my taper rides back in June. So I don't take it all that seriously. I mean, I do, sorta (in case my coach is reading this...hi!). I'm riding well and not picking easy rides. And I'm picking challenging runs. I'm just lax on the "practice race day stuff" because apparently a 3.5 hr ride isn't long enough to make me worry about this sort of stuff. And don't even get me started on the eating and drinking. I have been soooooo not good about that. Thank goodness I'm at my St George weight. I'd like to be lighter, but mmmm wings. And beer. And pizza. And chocolate. I think I burned myself out with my 6 weeks of sacrifice leading up to IMCDA and I just can't motivate myself to eat that clean right now. Especially when everyone around me is in off season mode.
So yeah, I finally "practiced" Sunday and everything was fine. Cool.
The whole point behind signing up for Oilman was because I haven't race-raced a 70.3 since, oh, 2010. Texas and Boise. And those were my first 70.3's, and "the hardest thing I've ever done". I was going to race-race Boise in 2012, but my heel had other ideas. I've done 2 other 70.3s since 2010, but they were "practice your IM pacing" races. No pushing, no going too fast, just practice, and don't get too far in a hole where you don't have time to really recover for your last 140.6 build. So, coming off a really great race at IMCDA, I decided to do a fall 70.3 and see how fast I can go. I'm actually happy I set a late-season goal, because I still have my IMCDA fitness. I rode with my IMCDA buddy Ryan 2 weeks ago and I killed him on the climbs. I was shocked. It took him 5 min longer to climb the 2.5 mile stretch of Tomah Road. It got to the point where I was wondering if he was having issues and I went back to find him, only to have him pop up at the top of the hill. I was really bummed in 2011 about how I let my hard-earned bike fitness go and I'm pleased to see that I didn't let it happen this year.
So I had some time today to sit and think about goal times. I'd really like to get 6:30 at Oilman. My PR is 6:58, at Galveston in 2011 during my IMTX build. St G is a PR*, mainly because it had a crazy amount of elevation gain, with a time of 7:06. So..... how exactly does one cut 30 minutes off. It sounded reasonable until I looked at the numbers. And then I started freaking out a bit.
Swim and transitions, no problemo. Not worried about that.
Bike is where I start to get twitchy. The fastest I've ever done the Oilman course was at 15.9 mph / 3:31. Waaay back in 2009, when I did it as an Aquabike, and the bike segment nearly killed me. (going back and reading my race reports is entertaining... I've come a long way). The fastest I've done the local Harvest Moon course is 16.3 mph, and that was with double the elevation gain. And probably more wind. So assuming I do 16.3, that's only coming in at 3:26. 5 min faster. That's it?!? Lame. I was hoping for more like 3:15 but that gets into uncharted/fast territory, with 17+ mph paces. BUT, hill climbing (I did 3x the elevation gain on Sunday) and 4 YEARS more experience and hello, IMCDA strength. And I will have sea level on my side. I should be able to go faster than 3:26. But how much faster?
The run is also big question mark. I did a trail 12k on Saturday, which was 7.3 mi and ~700 ft of climbing. My average pace was 10:16. Pretty fast for me. I've been running up hills (even tried to run up a freaking mountain in Helena a few weeks back. 1300 ft climbing in 2 miles. Yeah, what was I thinking?). I've also been running pretty fast lately. But how fast? I haven't "raced" a half marathon in over a year. My 70.3 run PR is 2:39 or a 12:08 pace. Hilariously enough, my IMCDA pace was 12:03, for DOUBLE the distance. Jeebus, I sucked as a runner back then. My stand alone half marathon PR is 2:18 (10:36 pace). Soooooo. Maybe a 2:30 run split is possible?
That gets me to a 15-20 min PR, not 30, from looking at past results and crunching numbers.
Where will that other 10 min come from? We'll just have to race and find out.