To calm the newbies, Coach Katie gives her athletes last minute advice on what to expect from their first half ironman triathlon in Chattanooga TN on Sunday, May 22, 2016.
Head up to Chattanooga and RELAX!
Get as much sleep as you can, given your nerves will be shot. This night is key for sleep!!
SaturdayRest and hydrate today mostly. Drink water and Coconut water today and eat a bigger breakfast, medium lunch and smaller dinner (like a grilled chicken salad-NOTHING SPICY!). Eat easy to digest foods and ones that you are familiar with eating. When you get to Athlete Check-In, check in ASAP to avoid the long lines. Leave your bikes and gear in the car, no need to carry all that around! Once that is knocked out, if they are doing a practice swim session, go do it! I’d suggest you swim between 500-1000 yards if they allow it…and NOT in what you will be wearing for your race (i.e. tri kit). It is okay to use the wetsuit, but make sure you are hanging that sucker up when you get to the hotel, that way it dries and you are not stuck putting a chilly wetsuit on in the chilly weather in the morning. The swim will get you ready for the feeling of the water, and get your comfortable to start tomorrow. After that, relax, get some food and HYDRATE! Then check into the hotel. I suggest taking this time to rest, get your head wrapped around all the damn bags they give you for the race, and what goes in what bags and what not. After that, I do suggest getting on the bike, maybe ride one mile, just to work out any kinks from your drive up there or sleeping in a different bed. You can ride it from the hotel to transition. You just want to make sure that your bike is in 100% in working order. If not, there is a bike mechanic at the village who can fix something. The bike ride is not a workout. Check your bike in and leave your gear at transition. If for some reason the temperature drops, make sure you let out some of the air in your tires, that way the tubes do not bust overnight. Dinner…Make sure you select foods that digest well and also don’t pig out!! No reason to have a gut busting bowl of pasta if you aren’t used to doing that regularly. Put your race Tats on before bed (if you bought some at the expo), so it’s one less thing to worry about in the morning. Again, eat pretty normal today. Go to sleep early and set 15 different alarms!!!!
RACE DAY BABY!!! GET STOKED!!!!
Okay, I digress! Moving on…
Wake up early and prioritize! Eat and drink first so you can poop! That should be your number 1 priority! Get dressed and make sure you have your cap, googles, HR monitor, headlamp so you can see at transition, watch and other things you need to race. Then, get your bike nutrition and things to put on my bike to go. Take your stuff to Transition and there, you will get your bike tires blown up by the volunteers. After you get everything ready, load up on the school buses to head over to the swim start. Bring your wetsuit in the morning in case it’s legal. If you bring it and it ends up not being legal, then you can give it to me. Once there, rest and try to stay calm. You will get nervous, scared, excited, anxious, etc. Emotions will run high, but when the race starts, you have to let them go and focus. When it’s time to get into the water, just know that you have done this swim before, you know you can do it and you WILL do it. Just put your head down and easily start your way down river. You want to have a good solid swim time, but don’t push too hard. It’s better to be consistent and not have to tread water. Also, getting into the water, one of the things I did to help ease me into the shock of the temperature that may or may not be cold, is to sing a song in your head…even if you have to sing it all the way down that 1.2 miles, DO IT! It calms me every single time! My song is always “Shake it off” by Taylor Swift…yes, I know I am a female and why the hell would you sing that shit? Well what works for me may not work for you, but trust me, having a song you are singing in your head WILL help!
When you get out of the water, laugh, smile and play to the crowd, it will be huge! Get your bag, dry off well and get everything you need, but don’t dilly dally too long because every minute counts. Just don’t forget anything you need on the bike. The first 3 minutes of the ride is up hill out of transition. Just work yourself into it. Once its flat and you start heading out of town, get into a groove. You need to work on the bike and keep it consistent. When someone passes you, try to match their speed for a bit and help drive you forward. Remember, when you stop, the clock still ticks, so try not to stop the first 25 miles if possible. If you have to pee real bad, stop quick and let a volunteer hold you bike and make it quick. At mile 25 you will have a good climb, stay in the saddle as much as you can. If you have to pop out, do it, push that bike up that bitch, get back on the bike, and go, baby go. After that bitch of a hill, it is all downhill from there, so use that as motivation.
When you get back to T2, you will have to look at the clock and evaluate how you feel. Depending on what your pace is normally on training runs, you will have to decide if you will have to kick it up a notch, or not. You WILL walk and you will not be able to run like you do in your long training runs. And the clock ticks every time you stop. When you walk, WALK FAST. Walk through every aid station if you can and take in what you need. Pace yourself and know that if you run for 4-5 minutes, then walk for 1, you are doing good. Try to limit walks to 1 minute or less because your legs will get stiff with longer. On THE big hill, walk fast uphill and run easily down it. Do not walk slowly or stroll and try to NOT stop because legs get stiff quick.
Remember, this will be a fight ALL day. IRONMAN isn’t easy and you will get out of it what you put into it. Never stop moving forward and know that if you fight and you make it to that finish line, it will be one of the most amazing feelings of your life.
JUST GET THERE!!!
I know you have it in you to do this. I have faith in you!
When you’re done, use the medical tent if needed, but enjoy the feeling… You are an IRONMAN!
Half Ironman Packing / Racing Checklist:
- 2 bottles of nutrition
- aero bottle with water
- Powerbars/Slim Jims/etc
- GU / Gels
- Body Glide / Vaseline
- Tri Shorts / Top
- Flip Flops (disposable)
- Nutrition (muffin) - the starting line may take an hour before you get in the water
- Morning Clothes Bag
- Warm Clothes (disposable, if you can't find your clothes bag after the race)
- Bottle of Water
- Road ID
- HR Monitor
- Swim cap
- Timing Chip
- Wetsuit / Swim skin
T1 Bag (Swim to Bike Transition)
- Bike Shoes
- Headband / cat-ears
- Face towel / ground towel
- Bike Gloves
- Body Glide / Vaseline
- Sunscreen (spray on)
- Uncrustable (eat before ride)
- Extra Bottle of Water to drink in Transition (you should have 2 full bottles of water/nutrition on the bike before you leave T1 - one gatorade and one water - drink every 20 minutes on the bike at the rate of 1-2 bottles per hour)... don't get thirsty or you will cramp)
T2 Bag (Bike to Run Transition)
- Towel (small)
- Body Glide / Vaseline
- Baby Powder / Chafing cream
- Tri Kit
- Running Shoes
- Visor (Keep the sunglasses from the bike)
- Race Belt (gels inside - see below)
- Run Water Bottle
- Bottle of Water to drink in transition
IN RACE BELT