Now is the time in the game where I try to figure out what I should reach for. It's a whole different story from the last full triathlon. Last time I hadn't even done a full 100 mile bike ride. This time, I'm in primo shape and also pretty light on the race weight, so my run's become faster. What does it mean? What can I hope for? If I won my AG ten pounds heavier-- albeit a sprint-- does that mean I could dare to dream of a top finish in AZ?

This, of course, would be stupendous. But it's very hard to say. 

Let's consider the data. I did another bike test with Gareth before Everest (which might have made me even faster with all the conditioning or whatever.) So we've got my zones:

Loving that data.

Loving that data.

Okay. Sooooo... now what? Good freaking question.

The plan for the bike is to remain at lactate threshold. This is where you can cruise along and continue to burn fat as well as sugar and you won't overload your muscles with lactate. It ensures the legs will be left with enough gas for the marathon, so overdoing it on the bike (namely pushing past this threshold) will make you suffer in the last leg. Push it and gain 30 minutes on the bike and you lose an hour on the run. Or so I've been told. So I need to keep my heart rate under 164bpm. Depending on whether we have a head or tailwind, I'm not sure how fast that will make me. Though with the bike all fitted like a glove and me now able to get comfortably aero, it's anyone's guess. I'd like to think: fast. I guess the plan is to go steady for the first two bike loops and pick it up a little for the last one? I need to reconsult my Joe Friel... the book Going Long saved my butt last time around, I think. (Those without coaches must read.)

Now for the run:

Mmm numbers.

Mmm numbers.

So for the run my LT ends at 173. So first two loops, don't go over that. And third loop: own it. The good news is, I've been finding myself naturally running an 8-minute mile with my heartrate still down in the 160s, so that bodes very well for the marathon. Hey hey weight loss, you really do help! So I'm not sure timewise what to aim for here, but I think it will be better than expected.

 If I did the LA Marathon with all its hills in 3:56 at around 152lbs, surely at 142lbs, even after 112 miles of biking, I could match that on a flat course. Right? Right. I think I could even best that. By a bit. This is what I shall choose to believe.

Some of my very generous triathlete friends believe I can qualify for Kona. That would require being first or second. My initial thought of timing for this race was that it'd be cool to do it around 12 hours, 12:30 perhaps, besting last year's time by at least an hour. (I do think I can do that for sure, what with all the fitness and the fact that there are NO HILLS at all, and I'm on the spicy bike and all that.) But let's consider, what would I have to do to qualify? Be first or second in my age group. Alluring goal, yes? Of course. But let's look at last year: first place finished in 10:29. (!!!) Second place in 10:47. Still yikestown. Is that even possible for me? Let's consider the splits. Number one did her swim in 1:12. I'm thinking 1:15 for me, at least I hope, so that's not so bad. Number two did her swim in under an hour. Yeah, no. Now, bike: number one took 5:37, number two 5:47. I've been thinking around 6 hours for this, but maaaaybe I could shave another fifteen??? Spicy bike be my guide? Once again, I have to follow my heart.... rate. So we'll find out. If we math it out, that's a bit over 19 mph to do 112 miles nonstop in five hours, 45 minutes. I am secretly hoping with everything aero and the flat course that I could maybe show up in a major way. And by show up in a major way, I mean definitely pee on my bike. Because if I'm trying for serious time action, I shall not be breaking for commercials.

Finally there's the run. The swim and bike are definite maybes... maybe. But then we have the run, which number one finished in an astonishing 3:31. Yes, yes y'all, that's a minute away from a QUALIFYING BOSTON MARATHON TIME in AG 25-29. After doing a 5:37 on the bike. Holy crow. Do I foresee this for myself? Nah. Would I like to? Hells yeah! Wouldn't it be sweet if out of nowhere I am just baller as fuck? But like I said, you never know, maybe the ghost of Sojourner Truth will guide me on a wave of feminist glory. I do have the power of purpose. The other gal did her run in 3:54, which is totally in the cards for me. Says I. Feminism deserves a sub 4 marathon finish.

So when do I expect to finish, ultimately? If we have another miraculous race day from heaven and I show up in a major way and all goes according to the gods and whatever, sub 11. (Dare I say it? Yes I dare. It's a prayer.) What do I really expect? 12ish? Really I will only know once I've been on the bike and am feeling my heart rate out and the course. 

I do worry about the hubris of aiming high, because I fell short of my hope during Vineman. Then I remember, oh yeah, you didn't train enough, and remember how you got your goal time at Malibu within a minute and OWNED that shit? That was good times. So maybe it's a good thing. It is. It is a good thing. And good things will happen.

I have a comedy show tomorrow night, then have to make sure all my shit's in order so I can schlep over to my friend Rhonda's for the long drive to AZ with her and Mike (we're having a slumber party before I check into my room on Friday.) It will be good to have a few days on location to quiet the mind, collect thoughts, and make sure I have everything (which I can always replace at the expo.) Today I bought a load of Bonk Breakers while getting my bar end shifters assessed (one randomly crapped out on me at the start of our last big ride, freaked me out) and that made it all super real. Of course I'm also going to be trying to play documentarian in the name of THE CAUSE, but when it comes right down to it, race day is gonna be race day, and I'm gonna leave the footage up to the sherpas in the crowd. It's my job to do this right, and the best as I can. Because what would make my case better than knowing my body well enough to show up and perform awesomely? And that doesn't have to mean qualifying, because we all know that would be unreal and awesome but is very up there. But I don't want to half ass this in any way. This has to be done and done correctly. And I shall bring honor to womankind in my suffering.

So to review: under 164 on the bike, under 173 on the run. Eat on the bike. Pee on the bike. Stay aero.  Smile for the cameras. This is my plan.

In the meantime... lots of sleeping. Which I shall commence.... NOW.

AuthorNikki Muller