Aug 12

Steelhead Pre-Race Goals

After receiving some crap about a lack of pre-race report for Steelhead, I decided I better whip together a quick post. I’ve been playing catch-up at work after the week off last week (broken servers don’t just fix themselves you know) and haven’t had a ton of time.  Couple that with the fact that I lost essentially 4+ hours today to do packet pickup.  There is no race day packet pickup (pretty typical of big races) so I had to drive 2 hours to Benton Harbor today to take care of it. Benton Harbor is at the edge of whether it makes sense to get a hotel or to make the long drive race morning.  We’ve done the drive the last two years and it has worked fine.  It is just the packet pickup that is a pain in the arse.

Packet pickup went very smoothly (better than the last two years) and I had two great blogger meetups.  The first was with Matt @ Go Smitty Go.  I knew he was going to be there and planned to meet up with him at the expo.  He and his wife Jennifer (all these Jennifers are getting confusing) are awesome.  I’ll be seeing a lot of them Sunday as Matt and I’s race numbers are only 7 apart which means we’ll be racked right by each other.  We are also in the same swim wave (dead last).  The second meetup was a surprise.  Sean @ LearnFitness found me and introduced himself.  Sean has commented on my blog in the past but somehow his blog escaped my Google Reader (which has now been fixed).  Go give Matt and Sean some love on their blogs as it is their first half Ironman race.

If you want to track me and some of the other fabulous Steelhead racers, here are the details:

  • Me – Bib 1804
  • Matt Smith @ Go Smitty Go – Bib 1811
  • Sean @ Learn Fitness – Bib 1634
  • The Captain Bryan Payne – Bib 845

If I missed you, just let me know and I’ll get you added to the list.

I believe that IronmanLive should have tracking available on race day but we all know how well that works.  Otherwise, the always wonderful Jennifer will be doing Facebook/Twitter updates.  Friend me on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/kevinmichaelneumann) or follow me on Twitter (https://twitter.com/#!/ironmanbythirty) if you want.

Anyways, onto the pre-race goals.

The Swim

First off, fingers crossed that there is a swim.  I’m not sure about the Benton Harbor area, but the Holland, Grand Haven, Saugatuck areas (which are north of Benton Harbor) have had really bad rip currents lately and several people have drown after ignoring the red flag warnings on the beaches.  Thankfully, my latest check of the weather showed this (Benton Harbor is just south of South Haven):


Any ways, I don’t really have any concrete goal for the swim other than the to relax and take it easy.  This swim is always with the current so it is generally a fast swim.

Time Estimate: 32:00

The Bike

The main goal on the bike is to take it easy.  I went crazy hard at the Grand Rapids Triathlon earlier this year and ended up with a 2:32 bike split (2:30 moving if you subtract being stopped by the train).  I do NOT want that to happen again.  That was a 22mph average and faster than I should have gone out. My goal for IMWI is 18-19mph so I am going to shoot to stay in the 20-21mph range here.  I know I can’t maintain 20-21mph at IMWI but I figure by pushing a little bit harder over the shorter distance, I can better simulate tired legs for the run portion.

The other goal of the bike (and the race in general) is to treat it as a dress rehearsal for IMWI where the keyword is nutrition, nutrition, nutrition.  I’ve got the practice down pat when it comes to training.  Now I just have to execute on race day.  This is a bit more of a challenge for me because I tend to get caught up in the race and lose track of time.  So, what I am going to try is setting my stopwatch timer to beep every 15 minutes.  Drink 1/4 water bottle every 15 minutes.  Eat 3 Gu Chomps every 30 minutes.  That gets me roughly 300 calories per hour.  I may even supplement this with half a PB&J halfway through on the bike.  I don’t really need the PB&J during a HIM, but I plan on eating a full one at IMWI so I figure I better practice it.

Time Estimate: 2:40 – 2:45

The Run

I want revenge! I have blown up on the run the past two years.  Last year wasn’t as bad as the first, but I need to do better.  I had a 2:13 split in 2009 and a 2:07 split on 2010.  What killed me was the amount of walking I did.  And the walking is all mental to me.  Because of the double loop nature of this course, you end up running with all different waves and age groups.  As soon as I see a group of people walking I begin to think, “That looks pretty nice. They are all walking.  Why can’t I walk too?” And then it just snow balls.  I need to block out those thoughts, HTFU, and just keep running.  I improved my run split to a 1:48 at the Grand Rapids Triathlon earlier this year by forcing myself to keep running even if I slowed my pace down.

This course is a little more challenging than Grand Rapids with a couple of hills that go straight up.  But at the same time I am much further along in my training. As Jon put it, I am a different animal – “You’re no longer a pony, you’re a bear.” haha.  That said, I really, really, really, want to get into 1:40-1:45 range for the run split.  It is going to be tough, but I know it can be done.

Time Estimate: 1:40 – 1:45

If you are coming out to cheer, I’ll be sporting a new race kit for the first time.  Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of me in it yet (but I have trained in it to make sure it works).

image image

image image
The top, bottom, and new aero helmet.  Of course this all matches…

The Black Rock

2011-04-07 14.08.54

Awwwww Yay!

“You know the difference between you and me? I make this look GOOD.” haha 
(Name that movie)

Permanent link to this article: http://www.ironmanbythirty.com/2011/08/12/steelhead-pre-race-goals


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  1. Matt Smith

    Dude, it was awesome meeting you, and it’s funny that you were just what I expected. I told Jennifer that I didn’t really feel awkward at all…it was a lot of fun. I checked out the transition zone, and we are literally 6 feet from each other, at least our bikes are. That new kit of yours is amazing and totally look great with the Black Rock. Nice work. I hope you get some rest tonight and tomorrow so you can get up super early to get down here in time. Have a great Saturday!
    Matt Smith recently posted..Predictions, Predictions, Predictions

  2. Sean @ Learn Fitness

    I wasn’t expecting to run into anyone there but I did a double take in the IM store when I saw you. At first I said “no it’s not him” but then I thought back to your posts and figured what could it hurt if it wasn’t you 🙂 I’m glad I said hi.

    Your bike and matching kit are awesome, can’t wait to see it in full force on race day … hopefully not flying past me, but if you are I’ll cheer you on! Best of luck man, let’s hope the weather holds up.
    Sean @ Learn Fitness recently posted..Tapering My Work, Workouts, And Self Doubt

  3. Mark

    Nice coordination on the clothes. Is Jennie helping you pick them out?

    1. Ironman By Thirty (Kevin)

      I’m fully capable of dressing myself. That is difference between you and me. Are you and Nancy coming again this year? My swim wave doesn’t start until 8:49 even though the race starts at 7:00.

  4. Jason @ Cook Train Eat Race

    Dude, you look like you walked out of the CTER closet with all that matching red, black and white gear….HA HA HA!!!!

    Seriously though you can do 1:40-1:45 easily b/c at California I ran a 1:48 and your training is further along than mine at that time and you are faster than me.

    Kill it and enjoy the race.
    Jason @ Cook Train Eat Race recently posted..Race Day Nutrition

  5. Jon

    I gotta give you more crap about more things! True story, but I accidentally send the same message to The Redhead. Boy was she confused!

    The matching kit is +10 mph, so if u don’t hold
    30+ mph on the bike, ur fired! LOL!

    Hope the swim happens and I have no doubt you will strike revenge on that run. Go get em! (Tried to think of Dwight Schrute bear quote but came up empty)
    Jon recently posted..Holy Semimembranosus Sartorius Gracilis!!!!

    1. Ironman By Thirty (Kevin)

      Wow. +10mph. Why even get wheels at that point. This will be my first race with the aero helmet though and I’ve heard that a helmet reduces drag more than wheels so we shall see.

      As for quotes. I got two of them. The first (and best) is actually Jim dressed up as Dwight.

      Jim: Question. What kind of bear is best?
      Dwight: That’s a ridiculous question.
      Jim: False. Black bear.
      Dwight: That’s debatable. There are basically two schools of thought–
      Jim: Fact. Bears eat beets. Bears. Beets. Battlestar Galactica.
      Dwight: Bears do not… What is going on?! What are you doing?!

      Dwight: I saw Wedding Crashers, accidentally. I bought a ticket for Grizzly Man and went into the wrong theatre. After an hour I figured I was in the wrong theatre but I kept waiting. That’s the thing about bear attacks, they come when you least expect it.

  6. Christina

    Men in Black – best of luck on your race.

  7. Lisa

    Have a great race! Catch you on the flip side…
    Lisa recently posted..Tale of Two Rides

  8. Colleen

    Sounds like a solid race plan. I think you will surprise yourself! As always, have fun and kick butt.

    Love all the new gear… Looking fast helps make you fast!

  9. Jeff Irvin

    Good plan Kevin! Don’t crush yourself too much on the run – this is a dress rehearsal and the goal is IMWI. However, with taper coming up you are going to be recovering anyway soooo….

    Sharp looking kit dude! Have you trained with the aero helmet yet? They get HOT! Send Jon an email and ask him about our ride before the Galveston HIM and how the aero helmet worked out of me! Same helmet too!

    Good luck (not that you need it) and have a blast!
    Jeff Irvin recently posted..Things that Bother Me: The Gym Edition

  10. Aimee (I Tri To Be Me)

    Good luck!!! You’re going to do great! AND, I love how your bike and kit all match! 🙂
    Aimee (I Tri To Be Me) recently posted..Camping Fun!

  11. Matt Oravec

    Dang man, I hope H doesn’t read this post, those are all her same colors… matching tri stuff = $$$ which I am not allowing her to have.

    Seriously, like you said, the double loop run and the fact that you are last wave in the water… total mental fail on the walking.
    Matt Oravec recently posted..MS150 Pedal to the Point – Ride Report

    1. Heather

      Matching tri gear that I will “not allow her to have,” he says. Let’s see how long he can go without clean underwear! I have ways of getting what I want 😉

  12. Elizabeth

    Men in Black of course. Good luck!!!
    Elizabeth recently posted..Track this, baby

  13. Derek

    you drove 2hrs each way for packet pickup for a HIM?!?!?

    you are already an Ironman:)

    cant wait to hear how it went


  14. Heather

    Looking forward to reading the race report!

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