This was it. The day had arrived: March 27, 2010. I’ve been mentally gearing up for this day since I registered for this race 10 months ago on May 26, 2009. I’d say that I began my serious training and preparation for my first IRONMAN 70.3 at the beginning of 2010.
Of the four elements in triathlon, yes I meant to say four, I identified two liabilities to work on in my race preparation. One, swimming. Two, nutrition.
Since January, I’ve been swimming at least three times per week for about 5 miles/week. Each Tuesday, I swam on my own at LA Fitness, following the swim workout created for me by my coach. For my other two weekly swims each Wednesday and Friday, I joined a Master’s Swim program with the Escondido Swim Club. In the last four months, I have swum about 95,000 yards. My swim pace decreased from about 1:50/100 yards when I first began to my current fastest pace of 1:37/100 yards. I swam my fastest 1.2 miles in the pool in 41:37.
For as much as I could control about my apprehension of water, I did as much as I could in the pool to overcome any doubts and fears. Swimming, swimming, and more swimming. I definitely improved both my speed and my endurance.
The big question still lingering: How would I do in the ocean? Where the water is dark and cold. Where there are tons of other people around me splashing and kicking in my face. The day before the race, I downloaded a race preview talk given by professional triathlete and coach, Jim Vance. I planned to follow his advice to acclimate to the cold waters of the Oceanside Harbor:
- Warm up prior to the swim so that I’m sweaty with the wetsuit on.
- Dunk my face and head into the water and breathe to prevent hyperventilating.
- Let my wetsuit fill up with water.
- Choose an appropriate place to start in relation to the other swimmers based on my ability.
With respect to nutrition, I enlisted the aid of expert nutritionist, Kim Mueller, of Fuel Factor. She performed a diet and exercise analysis on me. From the diet analysis, she created a baseline meal plan for me of 2200 calories per day, along with a plan for extra calories to account for pre-workout, work, and post-workout recovery. In the last four months, I learned a lot from Kim about how and when to eat to fuel my workouts and races as well as recover from them. Armed with a new nutrition regimen for the last four months, I must say I have never felt better. In the past four months, not only have I maintained a sub-10% body fat percentage, but I have also felt great for all but two of my workouts and events. My nutrition and diet, the fourth discipline of triathlon, have given me confidence in my body’s ability to perform based on providing it with the most ideal fuel.
A week before the race, Kim gave me the best advice. I think it was the key for my mental outlook on race day. She said:
Just go out there and have fun. Enjoy each sport as you do them. You’ve already done the hard part and all the work. The race is the easy part.
This totally put me at ease. Along with the tips from Jim Vance, I felt very relaxed for my swim! I don’t think I have ever been more prepared for a race before. Swimming, cycling, and running had all peaked at the right time.