Effective Changes 04/02/15

With my first long distance race under my belt (IM 70.3 Cali), I thought I would recap some of the changes I made for this season and how they have worked out so far.

It all started with my switching to the early morning workout vs. exercise after work.  While the hardest part is getting out of bed between 4-4:30 a.m., it has proven to be a great way to get the day started.  I have found the quality of my workouts to be at a more consistent and higher intensity.  It is also cleared up time after work that can now be devoted to family and other obligations not related to triathlon.  I know as IMWI gets closer, 2x day workouts are on the horizon, but this change is one I should've started a long time ago.

Particular to racing, I made several changes to the bike setup.  Gone is the Profile Design Aero Bottle, replaced with XLAB Torpedo http://xlab-usa.com/torpedo-system.html.  The old one rattled and spilled going over any bumps.  The Torpedo doesn't have any of those issues.  The only flaw I found was trying to get the Gatorade Endurance bottle from the aid station to fit inside the black refill top without spilling 1/4 of the bottle on the road.  Unfortunately the Gatorade bottles have a wide valve and can't have a tight fit inside the XLAB refillable cap the same way a standard water bottle does.  I have had lower back issues in the past when riding aero for an extended period of time, so decided to try risers for my 3T Aura aerobars http://www.trisports.com/3t-mistral-zefiro-riserkit.html.  These certainly did increase the comfort and I noticed a number of the pros have gone to them as well.  I sold my 7-year old SRAM S60 wheels to swap to Flo 60-90 setup  http://www.flocycling.com/.  Unfortunately the WI climate didn't afford me the opportunity to ride outside before going to Oceanside, but the early review is positive.  I had no issues with cross winds.  They felt very quick on flat/down hill terrain.  The rear 90 was a little noisy, but that may have been of my doing.  It could be I need to get used to riding with more open space between the rim and carbon wheel frame.

I only made two changes for the run.  I am going to try and get away from Fuel Belt during races in an attempt to increase comfort.  With aid stations every mile during Ironman brand events, there should be enough nutrition and hydration on course.  I also decided to go with a Desoto Cool Wings white undershirt https://www.desotosport.com/product/CWSDS.  Knowing the forecast was for full sun in CA, I used this as an opportunity to keep the sun and heat of my shoulders and arms.  When you keep this shirt wet, it really does give off a cooling sensation, just as the product description says.  I poured water on it at every aid station on bike and run.  I did not use any sunscreen underneath it and had no ill effects.  I got chafed in the armpits along the seam of the shirt and will have to use vasoline there next time.

After taking a USAT nutrition class with Jesse Kropelnicki of QT2 Systems last summer, my focus in that area was going to change this year as well.  The focus on sodium, carbs, and overall calories was going to be higher. 

My race nutrition plan for Oceanside:

Drink (2-3 bottles/hr):  GU Roctane                 Gatorade Endurance
                calories         240                                 160 
                sodium         320  mg                           600  mg
                potassium   50mg                             280mg
                carbs             59g                                 42g
                sugar             15g                                 42g

Gel  (every (0:40):  GU Roctane  25g carbs; 125g sodium
Electrolyte supplement (1/hr):  Salt Stick:  215mg; 63mg potassium
Chews (as needed):  Honey Stinger--1 bag = 80mg sodium, 39g carbs, 40mg potassium

The only monkey wrench came at 4mi on the bike when I dropped my bag of Salt Stick caps.  However, I knew the sodium content of the other items in my plan and didn't panic.  I knew if I took in 1000-1500mg of sodium/hour, I should be in good shape.  I did away with all solid food...not even consuming as much as a banana during the race.  I have always struggled with even pretzels as the dry texture is difficult to take in at race pace.  My stomach had no problems with liquids and gels during this race.  My blood sugar stayed balanced, and coupled with the Cool Wings undershirt, the core temp remained regulated.  My HR was a little elevated on the bike, but I attribute this to the abundance of hills Oceanside throws at you.  My run HR was as steady as it has been in training.

Bring on the heat of south FL at St. Anthony's in 3 weeks.