Every race has lessons to learn from it. Some have more than others… those tend to be ones that go horribly wrong that have more obvious lessons to learn. However, even on races that go well I think that if one reflects on the race long enough, areas for improvement can be found… even if you won that race.
I obviously didn’t win 70.3 NOLA last weekend, but I felt like I had a great race. Squeezing in a top 10 finish with some big names on the start line such as Andy Potts, Matt Charbot, Eric Limkemann, Ben Hoffman, and Trevor Wuertel to name a few. I had a short conversation with my coach after the race, thanking him for this help and expressing my satisfaction with the race. He told me to think about the race and get back to him with 3 areas that went well, 3 areas for improvement, and if anything in the race made a light bulb turn on. Here is what I came up with:
1. Nutrition – I felt my nutrition, hydration, and electrolyte replacement was spot on. I never felt weak. At times I felt like I was loosing steam, but would know to take a shot of NAPALM (on the bike) or some coke (on the run). With the exception of 1 gel on the bike course and a few shots of Coke on the run course, all my nutrition came from Infinit Nutrition. I absolutely love their product. I have never had any GI issues with their product and it works. Every time!
– use coupon code MAVERICK at checkout to save 10% on Infinit products.
2. Bike pacing – I felt my pacing was pretty even. It wasn’t until about mile 40 when Chris McDonald caught back up to me (I rode solo the entire ride prior to that) that I was able to work with anyone. At that point the wind was so strong, evn sitting 12 meters back was a big difference in power. I would guess 50-60 watts difference. That’s why my average the last 45 minutes or so was much less. – I love my Rotor power meter and Q-rings. Pacing is so important in longer races and a power meter makes it much easier to gauge my effort.
3. Run – I felt strong and smooth the entire run. My attitude was 100% positive the entire race. I did feel like I had another gear from a breathing/heart rate standpoint, but when I tried to kick it into gear around mile 3 (a huge hill/bridge at the beginning of mile 2 took me a mile or so to find a rhythm after that) i just didn’t have the snap in my legs to get the pace to quicken. Other than that, the run was great. I passed 6 or so people with authority. So fast they didn’t even try to match my pace.
Things that I could improve on:
1. Swim – I’ll try to make this brief. The water was warmer than what the “official race temperature” was. I swam in my full-sleeve wetsuit in the same water temp on friday and was burning up. Even swimming easy I felt like I was going to over heat. On Saturday, I used my swim skin and was very comfortable in the water. I decided to use the swimskin on race day knowing from previous experience if I over heat in the swim my bike leg often is embarrassingly slow. At the start of swim, I got caught in the mix with some of the slower swimmers. I was right in the middle and couldn’t get out to catch the guys I know I can get out of the water with that ended up being about 1:45 ahead. That group consisted of Trevor Wuertel, AJ Baucco, and Ben Hoffman. I was out with Hoffman and Wuertel last year in this race, out with AJ in San Juan. Maybe part of the reason was they were using wetsuits?? Not sure. But one the athletes I coach sent me an email with a good idea on what to do next time the water may be too warm for me to use a wetsuit, but still wetsuit legal – wear my Blueseventy
Core shorts over the swim skin. They give you middle body/hip bouncy but without covering my whole body and cooking myself before the race starts. I think I will do this in the future. – Use code MAVMIKE to save 20% on your next Blueseventy order.
2. Run – as mentioned in the “the things that went well” I felt like I had another gear on the run from a cardiovascular standpoint, but didn’t have the snap in my legs on that day to knock down the pace an extra 10-15 seconds per mile.
3. I really can’t think of a third thing that could have been improved on for the race. I really think it boiled down to the swim. If I were able to get out with the pack I know I can swim with (Weurtel, Hoffman, and Baucco), I would have had the advantage of a group to pace with the entire bike leg (or at least more of the bike leg). I spoke with Eric Limkemann after the race and his wattages were similar to mine, but since he was in a group he was moving faster. So if I did manage to get a group for the bike leg, I’m still not 100% certain I would have been able to out run Hoffman and the 6th place guy to claim the final position getting paid, but would have definitely been at least 7th.
Light bulb of the race – suggestion to use the core shorts. I think that is a great solution to me just getting hot in wetsuits really easily.
I also received a really cool/nice message from Alex Bok (manager of TBB back in the day). I met him at the Maverick Multisport Pre-season camp in January this year: