I've been going back and forth about what my plans were this year, and after I decided to hold off on Boston for the time being and focus on Triathlons it was just a matter of finding the right race. I've been looking at shooting for the Half-Ironman distance (1.9K/90K/21.1K) for a while now, and I wanted to find an early season race to get some experience with the distance.
I was originally thinking of doing Welland, as it's relatively close and the first opportunity for this distance. Fortunately, a few friends who are just looking at getting into multi-sport events started talking about Peterborough and as they had a half-iron distance Triathlon it helped to make the choice nice any easy. It's further away and will need an overnight trip, but given the length of this race that's not necessarily a bad thing (especially with friends to relax with the night before). It has the benefit of a more scenic course and buys me a few more weeks to prepare, although it's got more hills and will likely have hotter weather. Either way, as of this morning, I'm now registered and have a hotel reserved for the stay.
As such, it is now just a matter of getting ready for the race itself. The objective for this event is just to finish at this point, as a five to six hour race is a lot more than I've ever done before. Individually, the distances of the three legs are largely trivial for the training that I've done, however combined it's a tall order. My running and swimming mileage are more than sufficient at this point, so the main thing will be to get my cycling up to snuff in the coming weeks. With the weather getting better I'll likely be taking the bike off of the trainer very soon, and that will do a lot to help.
The other aspect that I'm going to need to work on is figuring out a nutrition strategy. Looking back on my data from individual exercises, I'm probably going to burn somewhere in the neighbourhood of 4000-5000kcal over the course of the race. That translates into needing to take in more than 2000kcal of fuel during the race itself which is a lot more than I've ever had to think about before. I also have to figure out the logistics of bottle exchanges on the bike, as that's where the bulk of that consumption will likely have to occur so the two aide stations will be critical.
Finally, I'm going to have to come up with a formal training plan for the coming weeks so that I peak at the right time. My dithering up until now has made that difficult, as without a specific target date it's difficult to plan things out. I haven't really found one that I've been terribly crazy about, but if I don't have any luck I'll likely look at modifying the plans that Friel has in his book. My main problem with his plans in the past has been the time rather than distance based targets, however that should be easy enough to work around (time target*planned pace=distance target).
Either way, I'm going to be busy over the next little while trying to figure out how to handle all of this stuff. In addition to the planning, I also need to put the Speedfil I bought at the end of last year on the bike and bring it in for it's spring tune up so that I can get her outside and start logging proper miles again. As always, I welcome any suggestions that you guys have to offer as the next couple of months are going to be a big learning experience!