It’s hard to believe that Wildflower is already here. 12 weeks of training – 6 of which were punctuated by travel, flew by and our first big race of the season is only days away. For Taylor, Wildlfower Olympic will pose a set of challenges she’s never experienced before: heat, hills, and more hills should make for an interesting day. Although I’ve raced Wildflower Long Course once before, I did it under optimal conditions – 16 weeks of textbook training minus a two week work trip to Chile. Two years later, I’m a stronger athlete, but have different expectations for Wildflower this time around; here are some of my top race goals for Saturday.
1. Don’t get hung up on time. I’m writing this mostly to remind myself. Wildflower 2012 was one of my best races to date and I gutted out a 5:58 finish – no small feat at Wildflower. Since then, I’ve shaved 14 minutes off of my half Ironman time – albeit on an easier course. Going sub 5:44 at Wildflower would be a huge result and one that’s within reach, but not a priority for my B race.
2. Focus on the long term goals. My A races this year are Vineman 70.3 and Ironman Lake Tahoe. If I want to execute at those, I’ll need to practice and solidify my strategy at Wildflower first. I’m animate about not wasting 12 weeks of base Ironman fitness in 6 hours – this is a long training day, not a race.
3. Save it for the end. I’m in great bike shape right now, but that doesn’t mean that I should hammer for 56 miles. I want to run the last leg – that means having enough in the tank to let it rip and beat my 2:02 half marathon in 2012. There’s a big difference between pushing hard for 10K of the run versus 6 hours of the race.
4. Caffeine taper – I love my morning coffee. A lot. The second one tastes really good too. This week is dedicated to acute caffeine withdrawal for the sole purpose of saving its magic for race day. I did this in 2012 for both Wildflower and Ironman Lake Placid and it worked like a charm: the caffeine in my race nutrition had me bouncing off the walls in a good way.
5. Make the most of the elements – the forecast calls for a high of 86 with 15 degree winds. This has the potential to impact my bike and roast me on the run – all I can do is put my head down and soldier on.
6. Marginal improvements – not leaps. Goals 1-5 culminate in this one. My major goals this season are to break 5:30 in the 70.3 and make a serious dent in my Ironman time. If I can improve upon my 5:58 in 2012 without overexerting myself, then I would consider that a good benchmark for my fitness this year versus the last time I ran a full Ironman.
7. Have fun out there – Wildflower is an incredible challenge with an unparalleled atmosphere. I’m really excited to race again and show Taylor a good time too.