The Did Well Assessment (Part 2.1)

Posted: July 9, 2011 in In Transition, Motivation

Alright, now that the back slaps and kudos’ are all over with, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty; namely, what needs to improve before September’s A-race.  It’s now been 11 days since my first Half Iron event and I have exactly 11 weeks left to get my shit together, so to speak, and make damn certain that I am on target to perform at my absolute best come September.  I don’t want to look like a complete tool in my first International event, do I?  Hell no!  And certainly not in front of my mother either.

So, without further adieu, I present you my next ‘Do Differently’s’ after last weekends Welland Half Iron event for immediate and future development leading up to the Cancun 70.3.

1.  Waves.  I love open water swimming and enjoy an opportunity to get into my wetsuit and brave the canal and inland lakes in my immediate area at least once a week, but Cancun is a very different type of open water swim with surf, salt water and about 3000 other eager triathletes all furiously paddling like their life depends on it.  Waves are something I seldom have to deal with when I swim in the canal or pool.  In fact, the most waves I ever experience would be the little bit of chop created by the 7:30pm Aquafit class whom I share the pool with on Monday nights.  Hardly anything to get excited about.

But where I’m confident in the water already, I would still like to be prepared to better deal with a more difficult caliber of open water swell.  To be able to familiarize myself with this style of open water swimming, I am going to make a point of getting more swims in Lake Ontario as opposed to relying on the nice and protected waters of the Welland International Flatwater Center – particularly on rough weather days; the wavier the better actually.  In fact, I hear on Saturday mornings the water gets fairly rough, that’s providing the “Bacteria Count” is low enough for a public warning to issue.  Yummy!  Oh, and forget about the wetsuit as well since Cancun is not a wetsuit legal event; time to get swimming in all that stink el fresco.  After a summer of Lake Ontario, the crystal clear waters of Nizuc Beach are going to seem like paradise. The 84 F temperature will appreciated as well.

2.  Heat.  Yeah, nice right?  But there it is: I can expect heat soaring into the 90’s almost certainly with a humidity index that nearly reaches out and slaps you in the face.  I once had an opportunity to run a half marathon, the ‘Unilab Run for Wellness’ in Bonifacio Global City, Philippines when the humidity level managed to reach 89% before 6:30am.  Now, the distance and time I can deal with, but not being to breathe is an entirely different matter altogether.  It felt like trying to find your breath while submerged in a pickle barrel; in other words, it sucked.

I want to be better able to maintain my breathing successfully throughout this competition.  So to better condition myself I am planning on enrolling in a few hot yoga classes so I can specifically focus some training on my breathing and, hopefully, enhance my ability to mentally conquer the uncomfortable feeling of being slow-cooked from the inside out.  Remember, I’m no 140 lb skinny-minny and big dudes like me need to produce more energy in order to go quickly and that added burned energy results in heat…period.  I need to make peace with this fact and instead get used to ‘embracing the suck’.

3.  Run.  My run has been improving by leaps and bounds in the past few months and I want to continue using this as my newfound ‘secret weapon’  in Cancun, in that I will be able to turn out a strong run despite the excessive heat and humidity that’s practically guaranteed to be waiting for me.  So, going forward, every opportunity I have to get out and run in the heat of the day I’m going to take advantage of.  I’m going to be “that guy”; the guy I said I would never be…all dripping sweat with a grimace of painful exhaustion tattooed on their face at high noon.  Yep, that’s gonna be me!  In fact, I have already attempted two runs while working out of the Lafayette, Louisiana office this week (story to come) where temperatures soared well into the mid-90’s and it felt like my lungs were liquefying in my chest.

To boot, I have already signed up for the Twenty Valley Run, Wine & Dine Half Marathon with my coach on the weekend of my 39th birthday this summer (July 18th) just to keep me honest and pounding the pavement.  I don’t give a fig Newton about wine, but any race advertising “secret tunnels”, well, shit, I’m all in!

4.  Hydration.  Although I already hydrate fairly successfully I may need to recalibrate this current plan to take the heat into account.  At the moment, I don’t find it necessary to hydrate or bring water for anything lasting under an hour, but, I haven’t attempted this while running in conditions similar to that of the surface of the sun.  However, increasing the rate you sweat also increases the amount of fluid lost in your body… makes sense, right?  This means then that the more you sweat there is less fluid in your body for jobs such as maintaining blood plasma volume which means less available oxygen in your blood.  But it’s not as easy as just drinking more, as if I drink too much, then this can be just as bad as salt will leave my body in sweat at too higher rate and this can lead to cramps.

Therefore, I’m going to step up my current hydration plan to more closely resemble what I will need to be familiar doing on race day in Cancun.  After all, you race the way you train so if I require extra water and fuel to cope with the extreme temperatures, then I better start perfecting that habit now, right?  I am also going to do some preliminary research on salt tablets as a means of protecting myself from that possible cramping issue and whatnot as a result of losing too much salt and electrolytes through my sweat.  There are an infinite number of sports products on the market that cater to salt intake and I’ll inevitably do a little dabbling here and there first to see what benefits me.

Game on.

  1. The Post Race party after the Twenty Valley Run looks like a good time too (and just in time for your 39th 😉 )

  2. Joe Ferguson says:

    I love this stuff. Train hard man.

    I’m starting to get into the bike thing pretty hard. Right now I’m only going out twice a week, but I’m working on my on and off road skills. Kenny from Thornton Cycle is hooking me up with all of the right equipment for my rides and teaching me the ways of the cyclist. He even has me hooked on Le tour de france.

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