The day many of you have been training all year for is almost here! You are ALL ready to go, both mentally and physically! You have put in lots of good, hard work to get ready and now you are going to lay it on the line!
I just wanted to give you all some last minute tips, as well as say how excited and proud I am to have you all racing and representing Kain Performance! This year has been long in preparation for this Ironman event and one that I am sure has brought many challenges for many of you.
Preparing to compete in an Ironman event is hard, made even harder when juggling both work and family commitments. Be proud of the fact that you are making it to the start line and know that you have plenty of support out on the course on race day! Race day is the culmination of all your hard work, but I am sure all the long training and friendships you have made this year will be a lasting memory for most of you. I wish you all the best of luck on race day and want to personally THANK YOU for being part of the Kain Performance Team!!
Here are some last minute words of advice from a guy who has been around the rodeo a few times:
Keep a positive mind set! You are ready to go, focus on between your ears.
Stay calm in the eye of the storm. There are lots of distractions and hype the week of the race, emotions run high. Enjoy the experience, but take some time alone to reflect on all the hard work you put in to get here. I like you to “visualize” yourself having a great day! Go though the entire event in your head, from the swim, T1, bike, T2, and the run. Be POSITIVE in your visualization.
You will have lots of ups and downs throughout the day. This is normal, so keep the negative thoughts to a minimum! Stay positive! You will have each other out there, as well as lots of friends and family. Even the great Mark Allen said during his talk to us that he would go through some low points. He just said he would think of something positive and get through any negative chatter he had in his head.
Be prepared for the cold. The weather looks like it is going to be a bit chilly on race morning.
— If you don’t have one already, get a “squid lid” and test it out before race day. Be sure and test it and use Vasoline, or Body Glide to prevent chafing. Two swim caps is good if you don’t have a squid lid.
— I also recommend wearing ear plugs. This helps in cold water, as well as in open water swims. I will have some on Saturday morning for anyone who needs, or wants some.
— You may be able to wear some booties if the water/air temp is cool enough. Check with the Ironman officials for sure, but this will help with cold feet.
— Warm up! As hard as it will be to get in and warm up on race morning, this will help with the shock of hitting the water for the first time. I would get in before your start and “test” the water and do a little warm up.
— You are racing at altitude! Pace yourself throughout the day and especially early in the swim. Walk into the water, don’t run. Start out nice and easy and build to a comfortable pace.
— The swim start is self seeded. Don’t start with faster swimmers if you are not that fast! This will only lead to having faster swimmers brushing by you and make the swim tougher.
— Be sure and pop your head and sight every 3-4 strokes and do your best to swim a straight line. No need to swim further than needed.
— Ironman events have changing tents. You will grab your Transition bag and run to the tent to change. Volunteers are there to help you. Bag up what you don’t need and give to a volunteer. You will get this bag back after your race. There will also be a changing tent at T2 as you come off the bike. Take your bag to the tent, change into run gear and bag the rest.
Take some time in Transition to get warm. I would recommend not swimming in your race kit if the temperature is too cold. I would change into dry clothes and put socks on for the bike. You can also start with a jacket, arm warmers, or vest and dump it along the way if needed. They will have a “drop zone” for clothes, but there will also be many of us out on the course that you could drop something with. Shari, Jody, myself and many others will be able to grab something if you need to drop it after it warms up. Be sure and mark your clothes with your name and bib number, so we can get your clothes back to you. If you don’t mark them, your chances of getting them back aren’t as good.
APPLY SUNSCREEN BEFORE THE BIKE! YOU WILL GET SUNBURNED IF YOU DON”T!
Wear toe warmers, or even full booties on the bike. This will help with the early morning cold temperatures. If you don’t have a set of toe warmers, you can make your own with an old pair of socks. Just fit them over the front of your bike shoes. It really does help with cold toes!
Pace yourself on the bike! I can’t say this enough. One of the biggest mistakes people make in Ironman events is going too fast, too early in the bike leg. You are all fit and ready to go and you will be excited to get out of the water and get going on the bike. Take the first 30 miles pretty easy. You should feel like you are holding back here. If you go out like gangbusters, you will surely fade toward the later half of the ride. You have 112 miles to go, so pace yourself!
Use caution. There are some very fast downhill sections on the bike course. Be sure and ride at your ability level on the downhill sections. You can get going very fast and will have other competitors around you. Please use caution on the downhill sections and be sure and yell loudly if you are passing slower cyclists. Never pass someone on the right side and never go across the center line.
Stay on top of your nutrition throughout the race. Eat and drink to a set schedule if needed. If the weather is cold, you may not be drinking/eating as much as you should. You need to keep drinking and taking in calories as the day goes on.
You should have to pee by around mile 35-40 on the bike, or you are not drinking enough. You should be drinking a lot of water on the bike. Many people will “pee” while on a downhill section of the bike. This is normal in an Ironman event. You can stop and pee, but you will lose time.
If you start to cramp on the bike, take salt tablets, Sport Legs, or simply drink more! One sure sign of getting dehydrated is muscle cramping. I take Salt Stick and Sport Legs every hour. If you sweat a lot, you need more! I will have Salt Stick and Sport Legs with me on the course.
Ironman events usually have Coke and Chicken Broth on the run course. Chicken Broth will help ease an upset stomach in case that happens to you. Coke works for some people. I will also have Tums with me on the course. Put Tums and/or Immodium in your special needs bag in case experience stomach issues.
Take a little time in T2 to prepare for the marathon. I put vasoline on my feet to prevent blisters. I also put vasoline in other areas that chafe – armpits, etc — so take time to do this in T2. You will run faster and be glad you did as the run goes on. Put on a new pair of socks if you plan on “peeing” on the bike! Reapply SUNSCREEN!
Keep eating and drinking as you run/walk. Take advantage of the aid stations and walk and take time to eat/drink. You need to do this from the start of the run.
If you plan on being out there after dark, have a light in your special needs bag.
Have fun out there! You will never forget your Ironman experience! Enjoy the day! Be sure and smile BIG at the finish line!! You will have a great day, so go out there and enjoy the day!
That’s it for now. Shari and I are heading up to Tahoe on Friday morning. We will plan on being at the swim start on Saturday at 8:30am for anyone wanting some extra swim tips. If we don’t see you there, we’ll see you at our KP Pep Talk on Saturday afternoon at 3:00pm at Squaw Valley. Get psyched and get ready!! Have all you need for YOUR race by Friday night. Saturday you will check in your bike into the transition area. You are ready, go make it happen and be happy that you are healthy and fit enough to do something many people only dream about!
– Friday is a rest day! Take it easy. Maybe a light swim if anything. Don’t stand on your feet too much and stay out of the sun.