So I've still been feeling a bit tired this week, but after two espresso's this morning I'm feeling nervous and excited about this weekend! I did a short run workout yesterday morning with some hard 200's thrown in and boy I felt tired. I guess my body is still in the "feeling tired" part of tapering. Last night I slept 8 hours and still had trouble dragging myself out of bed this morning! But like I said, a couple of espresso's later and my heart is pounding a little - either I've had too much coffee or it's the ball of nerves that has mysteriously appeared in the pit of my stomach...
If I compare how I feel today to how I felt a few days before my first half ironman last year (Vineman in California) I would have to say that I feel completely different. Physically I feel stronger this year and I'm even a few pounds lighter than I was prior to Vineman last year. Mentally I feel tough, because I know that I've done a half ironman before. But I don't quite have the same "this is a huge big deal" that I had last year and to be honest for some reason I don't feel quite as prepared. I think a lot of this has to do with the fact that (a) I've done a half ironman before so it doesn't carry the same awe and excitement as the first time you do something, (b) The training group hasn't been as cohesive this year, there's only a few of us going to this race compared with more than 10 of us that went to Vineman last year so not as much nervous energy to feed from, and (c) No flights to worry about, no shipping bikes, and it's just a short weekend trip away rather than the 5+ days we spent in California last year. Instead, it's an 8hr road trip to Lubbock. A bit of a different kettle of fish!
Although my goal for this race is truly just to finish (and I mean that), I'll be aiming for a sub 6hr:30min finish. I did 5hr:47min at Vineman last year on a much easier course, so I think it's reasonable to give myself an extra 45min at Lubbock. Lubbock is going to throw heat at me (current forecast is around 95 degrees, so hot hot hot), wind (16-17mph), a bit of altitude (3000ft compared to 600ft in Austin), and some drier air (now this, I think I will like!). Apart from my time goal, I have a few other things I'd like to accomplish at this race:
2. Sub 6hr:30min
3. Focus on swimming efficiently. I've spent the last 6 weeks learning how to swim more efficiently. I haven't been swimming as much yardage as last season, but I'm been doing a lot of drill work and my swim stroke is feeling really good right now. But the real question is how well my stroke holds up over 1.2 miles of swimming.
4. Try and maintain around 95rpm on the bike. Don't push any really big gears. Keep the effort easy and save my legs for the run. Don't be too concerned about my speed here and don't try and chase anyone down :) Oh, and try not to lose my bottle cage and bottles this year!
5. Have a good solid run. Be strong on the last few miles. I struggled during the last few miles at Vineman last year and I want to try and improve this part of my race at Lubbock. My running has been feeling really strong this year and I've been running well off the bike, I just have to keep my mental focus during the run.
It's going to be fun.