1. PRE-RACE: I do plan better. I am bringing better pre-race and post-race clothing. I am also bringing more appropriate running shoes (my shoes from my marathon).
2. SWIM: This race last year was the last “bad” swim that I had. After this race I was more mentally prepared. I was able to swim my own race. I will be starting an hour later than last year. There will be a lot of people in the water in front of me. I have been in this situation before. I may not be the fastest swimmer but when starting from the back I am faster than everyone in front of me. There will be people really struggling (I can empathize). I think (hope) my race experience kicks in and I am able to meet my time goals. Fear – My swim volume is nothing compared to last year. I have not swum in the open water since August. But I am a better swimmer. It is rumored that the swim was long last year. Last year: 40 minutes Goal: 35 minutes.
3. BIKE: My bike volume is nothing compared to last year. I have only rode 50 miles twice this year. I am not going to race this year at the same intensity as last year. However, I think I am a little faster. I want to clock in with the same bike split. I have my GPS set to auto-lap every 7 miles (56 miles / 8 = 7 miles) to remind me to take a gel. Last year: 2:42 Goal: 2:40
4. RUN: Much better prepared. This is my experiment: What is harder? Run a half marathon and then run a half marathon at the same pace (which is what I did at my marathon) or bike 56 miles and then run a half marathon? I am going to attempt to run the half at my marathon pace. This is going to be a challenge. Last year: 2:01 Goal: 1:35.
5. ENJOY THE RACE: I won’t stop and smell the roses but I will enjoy the spectacle.
So there you have it in a nut shell. Last year I did this race in 5:30 and this year my fantasy goal is 4:59:XX. This time goal is just out of my reach and I do not think I have taken the necessary steps to step up and hit it out of the park. But if I am able to execute perfectly and nothing unexpected jumps up the time will be as follows: RACE TOTAL = 330 minutes – 5 minutes (SWIM) – 25 minutes (RUN) = 300 minutes or 5:00 half ironman.