I can't believe race day is so soon! I have been getting more and more nervous with each day that passes. I am really excited but the anxiety is starting to build. I have spent the past 14 weeks training for this day and now all I have to do are finishing touches. I have been spending a lot of time lately reading articles online and glancing through The Triathlete's Training Bible. When I ran my first half marathon I didn't really have a plan other then don't go out too fast. I think being naive and just letting my body do what it wanted to really helped me enjoy the day and be stress free. However, a triathlon is not as simple as running. There are a lot of things that need to be taken care of and so in order to minimize race-day stress I decided to write a race plan.
I will not be staying at a hotel the night before the race so my dad and I will be getting up really early to make the drive down to Marbury from Baltimore. This means I will need to pick up my packet on race morning in addition to setting up my transition area and getting body marked. I am not sure when we plan to wake up/leave my apartment but I am going to eat a breakfast of a bagel with cream cheese and nutella, a banana, and a bottle of nuun about 2.5 hours before the start of the race. I will then sip water until 45 minutes before the start of the race. I will first check in and pick up my registration and then proceed to body marking. After I will set up my transition area. I am hoping to get there early and get everything set up with plenty of time to spare in order to calm my nerves some. I am not sure if it is allowed or not but I am also hoping to be able to get in the water for a short warm up.
For many reasons I will not be wearing a wetsuit for the swim. Even though I have very limited experience with open water swimming, the swim leg will still probably be my strongest. I am going to position myself towards the front of the pack in hopes of finding some fast feet to draft off of. I am going to focus on keeping my pace consistent and not going out too fast. I also want to keep my anxiety levels as low as possible so I don't want to go all out during the swim. With that being said, I do want to push the pace and see what I can do on the swim. It is my strongest leg so I don't want to be finishing with the back of the pack.
On my way to T1 I am going to take off my cap and goggles. Once I am at T1 I am going to dry anything off that needs to be dried. I am going to put on my bike shoes, sunglasses, and helmet in that order. Then I will spray on sunscreen, grab my bike and exit T1.
I will have my bike in a lower gear for the start of the race and keep it low for the first 10-15 minutes until I get settled. About 15-20 in I will eat a honey stinger waffle chased with water. After eating I will work on increasing my pace. I am not a strong cyclist and have little experience riding on the road so I want to play it safe. I will have a bottle filled with nuun and one filled with water that I will drink along the way. With about 5 miles left of the ride I will eat 3 Clif Shot Bloks chased with water. I will focus on finishing the ride strong and fast but not too hard so I still have energy for the run.
After racking my bike, I am going to take off my helmet, take off my cycling shoes, and put on my socks and running shoes. I will then put on more sunscreen, my race belt, grab a bottle of nuun and exit T2.
Since it is predicted to be in the 90's on race day I will be bringing a bottle of nuun with me on the run. I will take a sip every few minutes to ensure I am not dehydrated. I am going to focus on keeping my cadence high and maintaining an easy pace for the beginning of the run when my legs feel like jello. I will take the other half of Clif Shot Bloks about 15 minutes into the run followed by some nuun. After I will pick up the pace for the rest of the run. Based off of how much energy I have during the run I will continue to drop the pace for the rest of the run. I will walk at aid stations to give my legs a break and I will finish the run with a sprint to the finish line.
After the race my main goal is to refuel. I will be eating and drinking before anything else. Then I will stretch out my legs for a few minutes before changing and heading home. I will wear my compression sleeves for the day to help with recovery and take an ice bath later. I will also spend some time foam rolling to help my muscles recover properly.