Monday, April 13, 2009

Lessons From New Orleans 70.3

You'd think that I would have learned a few lessons and retained a few things by now - but no.  I'm thick or forgetful.

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  1. Don't mess with my sleep.  VIP party - fun, but it messed with my sleep.  I also forgot my Tylenol PM and slept less than 6 hours total in the 2 days before the race.  Dumb.
  2. Look at the race map and check for where the support will be.  I was looking for water on the run course at about mile 1 and found out these were placed every 1.5 miles or so and there was no coke or sponges.  When you sort of expect these things - not having them gets in your head. 
  3. My wife took a Tylenol PM and slept right through the morning and never wished me good luck.  I was worried about her - because it wasn't something I'd imagine would happen, so I actually worried about whether or not they were safe instead of focusing on my race.  Never underestimate how much 'good luck' means to someone racing.
  4. Less stuff.  When we picked Macca up, he had a small plastic bag with food, a wetsuit, goggles and sneakers.  I had 300lbs of stuff.  He finished 2nd, I barely finished.  Wasting time on all of the 'stuff' is energy I could have focused on getting everything else 100% right.
  5. Arrive early.  It was hot and humid.  I could have stood to get there 1 day sooner and spend more time outside in the heat and humidity. 
  6. Fix what is broken quickly.  I spent over a month hoping to get over a bad cough.  It took another month getting antibiotics to work.  I could have just got it fixed right away and not wasted another 6 weeks hoping to heal up.  When on antibiotics, heal up then train - 3-4 days off are better off doing nothing instead of 21 days doing a little. 
  7. Know where to go.  I figured there was one Marriott in New Orleans.  I also figured it was called the Sheraton.  I went to a lot of Marriotts and a Sheraton.  Had I just printed out where to go, I would have saved energy and time getting to the right place. 
  8. Stay in the race hotel.  I thought it was pricey so I stayed in a decent place that was cheaper - I should have just stayed at the host hotel with a roommate.  A lot of time and energy were spent driving back and forth.
  9. A flat race means a lot more pedaling and less rest.  I under-estimated the course and paid for it. 
  10. Since I always struggle to get my season going with consistent training until Jan/Feb - don't sign up for a race in late March or early April.  Do some sprints or Olympic distances first - get the cobwebs out and do something in May - Honu or Florida 70.3 sound pretty good.
  11. Stay in the moment - stay in control of the car.  Advice from Macca on race morning for when I hit a bad patch. 
  12. There are 3 legs and one of them might not be perfect.  Move on.  I thought I had a bad swim but for me, it wasn't.  The course was a tick long and the extra 2 mins or so it took threw me off and made me think I had a bad swim. 
  13. Drive the course at the same time as the race.  People swam in the lake at 4pm and said it was brutal.  Well, the winds blow hard then.  They don't in the AM - but driving the bike course I stayed in the car.  I should have got out and at least checked to see what it felt like outside.  Maybe I should have just taken a nap.
  14. My coach wanted me to keep my HR low, but it was windy and hot - so I didn't feel like I was racing and lost some mental momentum letting folks go instead of marking them.  I was more worried about racing to a number rather than racing.  I'll likely go by more 'feel' next time and push myself to race.  I'd rather blow late in the run physically rather than blow mentally on the bike.  My HR at New Orleans was 10 beats lower than Vineman.  It was 20 beats more boring. 

Some other things:

  • Pros eat crap after a race too.  Macca got a #9.
  • Continental Airlines was awesome to fly.  They over-charged me on the way out by $25 and the lady refunded me the money.  They were 100% on time for all 4 flights - I even got some 'food' sitting in coach. 
  • Say hi to everyone in the airport carrying a bike, you never know who you'll meet.  I met and and then  All really nice guys - I'll likely end up working with all of them (I have with Brian already) at some point during the year.
  • Scott, Ian, Macca and I launched  - more on this in the next few weeks.

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