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Thursday night: carb loading dinner and pack.

Friday: Leave work at noon, load up van, and head out to Kalamazoo to meet up at my sister's house. Allison, Doug, and their neighbor Carol will be doing a relay together. A group of us will drive out to Benton Harbor for packet pickup and bike setup, then drive back to Kalamazoo for dinner and be in bed by 8:00pm (more likely 9:00).

Saturday - pre-race: Wake up at 3:00am. Eat breakfast. Leave Kalamazoo at 4:30, setup the rest of my stuff in transition, and then head down to the beach for the 7:00 start. I'll have to wait about an hour until my wave (#11) and Allison's (#16) starts.

The Swim (1.2 miles): In the past this race started from the pier. This year it will be a beach start. The cool factor is diminished slightly, but I feel much safer with this approach. We will be positioned to swim with the current, regardless of its direction. If the lake conditions are good, I should be able to complete the swim in 27 minutes. I'm not concerned about the swim since it's my strength. I just need to keep an even, sustainable pace throughout and I'll be fine.

The Bike (56 miles): This is where I'm going to get destroyed. The times I'm seeing from last year's results are pretty intimidating. My fastest pace from the sprints I've done don't match some of the speeds I'm seeing. The longest I've gone on the bike during a race has been 25 miles during olympic length races. During those races I've only been able to average as high as 21.8 mph. If I could sustain that pace at Steelhead, which is a stretch, I could finish the bike in 2:35. I'll make that a "nice to have" goal, but more realistically I can expect something closer to 2:45. I plan on building my effort throughout the ride, and I'm going to make nutrition and hydration a priority. I plan on consuming 300 - 400 calories per hour on the bike, primarily from gatorade endurance and gu. I also plan to drink about 50/50 water and gatorade for hydration, drinking at least 36oz an hour. It's going to be hot and I need to stay hydrated.

The Run (13.1 miles): Hopefully at the start of the run my nutrition will be solid and I'll be feeling good. At least as good as one can feel during a Half Ironman. How I'm feeling once I'm off the bike will have a large impact on my run time. So again, my bike effort needs to be measured so I'll be set up well for the run. Also, I will need to be prepared to handle running in the heat. I'm used to running in the morning when it's still below 70 and the sun is low. If I'm feeling good, I think I can sustain 7:30 - 8:00 minute miles. That would put my run time between 1:38 and 1:45. If I'm not in an optimal position to run well, I will be closer to 1:55. If my run goes over 2:00, then I most likely screwed something up.

Throw in ~3 minutes for transitions and I'm looking at an ideal finish time of 4:45 (yeah right), a realistic goal of 5:00 (that would be nice), and an "I'd be happy with" goal of 5:15. To maximize my potential, I'll need to nail my nutrition, set a reasonable yet competitive pace on the bike, and leave enough in the tank to push the run.


I hope you have a great race! Maybe I'll see you out there. I'm lucky because my wave is off at 7:04, so I won't have to wait around. You're right about the heat. Hopefully it won't be too bad, but I'm preparing for the worst I guess.

I'll be rooting for you! It's good to see that you are making hydration and nutrition a top priority. Have a great race. I look forward to seeing the results.

I will be sending positive thoughts your way all day Saturday. Not sure if "have fun" is the right thing to say, in light of your post... but I'll say it anyway. "Have fun" and of course have a safe race.

I imagine most people would consider a test of endurance such as a half ironman to be about as fun as eating a plate full of extremely hot peppers. For me, pushing myself to the limits of my abilities is fun.

Then fun you will have!



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