At 6:40am next Saturday I slap some baby oil on my arms and legs; slide on my wetsuit and find a friend to zip it up and seal it at the back; and then a few minutes later I jump into Lake Taupo (courtesy of Ngati Tuwharetoa) and wait for the Ironman New Zealand start gun at 7am.
At about 8:05am I should be exiting the water and running toward transition where I receive my cycling gear bag. Once changed, I'm off for about 6hrs on the bike. When that's over, the running shoes go on and the marathon beckons.
It's not called the longest day for nothing.
The training has gone fairly well. Fortunately, swimming is not an issue for me. I'm 6'4" and have big hands, long arms and big feet. And I'm quite flexible.
The big hands ensure I catch a good deal of water. The long arms allow me a good reach and long forearms assist in the pull phase of the stroke. The big feet and flexible ankles/feet mean a strong(ish) kick. I am lucky. I don't need to do as much swim training as a lot of others do. If I focus on my stroke and rhythm (especially ensuring I drive and rotate my hips) then I can just keep going. Apart from the start, when 1,450 swimmers converge into about 200 square metres and mayhem ensues for about the first 5-10 minutes, I should be fine.
My plan for the bike is to go quite hard for the first 90k when I'll be fresher, and to keep the food and water intake very regular (60gms of carbs per hour and 1x600ml bottle of water per hour). If I can get through the first lap in about 2:50 then I'm on track for a 5:50 bike, which is my aim. I expect to tire, and slow down after about 135k or so. But with K's in the bank, 5hrs 50 is not unrealistic.
Then comes the run. The bloody run.
I think it's fair to say a 6'4", 86kg, white, lanky European is not the ideal shape to run fast. I mean when you look at the best runners, they are about 55kgs ringing wet, and light on their feet. I tend to stomp, rather than glide. I have worked a lot on my running, and have a plan of sorts for race day which focuses on a very good rhythm and running on my toes as much as possible, so we'll see what eventuates.
My energy during the run is taken care of with Gu Chomps (4 per hour, or 23gms of carbs) and Enervetine liquid (about 23-25gms of carbs per hour). This will give m 46-50gms of carbs per hour, which along with the odd cup of Coke and other titbits at the aid stations should be enough - plus plenty of water and electrolyte drink.
I hoped to focus a lot more on more on my running this time round, as I said here. But a foot injury (Posterior Tibial Tendonitis) meant no running for December and a lot of January. Consequently, I am going into the run a lot fresher. That might be a good thing, or I might pay for it. I'll only know the answer to that about 25k into the run - probably about 4-4:30pm next Saturday.
I'm off to Taupo on Wednesday evening. If you feel inclined, on Saturday you can follow my progress here: www.ironmanlive.com. My race number is 1030.
I'll give a report on how it went sometime after Saturday.
UPDATE: The distances are a 3.8kilometre swim; 180kilometres on the bike; and then a marathon run - 42.2ks.
26 minutes ago