Ironman Arizona Race Preview
IT’S HAPPENING! The journey started 36 weeks ago when I completed my first workout of my Ironman training plan. Since then I’ve done (approximately) 368 workouts. 104 dips in the pool, 130 rides on the bike, 134 times lacing up my shoes. 418 hours worth of pushing myself forward. And now, when it felt like it would never get here, it’s time for Ironman Arizona!
On Sunday, all of the work done to this point will be put to the test. Mentally, I’m ready. I was ready months ago, mainly wishing to be done with training. Physically, I don’t think I’ll ever say “I’m ready”, but I’m ready enough.
Getting to the Start
Before I can even think about putting on my wetsuit, there’s about 16 hours of open road between Austin and Tempe. We’ll be driving with friends from Austin on Thursday, stopping in El Paso, and going straight to the race expo to check in on Friday. Saturday will be uneventful, doing a practice swim in the lake, dropping my bike off at transition, and taking a drive along the bike course.
The race starts on Sunday 11/17 at 7am Mountain Time, and thankfully the weather forecast appears to be pretty mild (Sunny, High 70, Low 50, light winds).
The Swim – 2.4 Miles
The swim takes place in 64 degree Tempe Town Lake in downtown Tempe. Everyone hops in and gets lined up together before the cannon sends all 2000+ competitors off at once. I’ve heard you hit more neoprene wetsuits than water in the first 400 meters or so. My plan for the swim is to take it one stroke at a time, get kicked in the face as little as possible, and just try to get through it.
My goal for the swim is
don’t drown to finish in about 1:25:00.
The Bike – 112 Miles
For the second act, I’ll be on my bike for a LONG time. The course is broken into 3 loops, which means… carry the 1… each lap is about 37 miles. For
better or worse, those laps are out-and-back, meaning I’ll be retracing the same… carry the seven… 19-ish mile stretch of road six times. Since we’re out in the dessert, it’s pretty exposed to windy conditions, but thankfully for now the forecast says the wind should be light. The plan for the bike is to get through it without screwing up the upcoming run — take in plenty of calories, save the legs for the run, and don’t do anything stupid.
My goal for the bike is 6:20:00. Based on my training that’s probably a little aggressive, but something to shoot for.
The Run – 26.2 Miles
Ah, the run. After hopefully about 8 hours, I’ll really get to push things. The course this year was (mercifully) changed from three loops down to two, snaking around the same lake we swim in. It should be pretty flat except for one noteworthy hill per lap. It’s hard to say how the run will go knowing that my body will probably be screaming at this point. With that said, I want to crush it. My plan is to stay somewhat conservative on the first lap and reassess going into the second half.
The run goal is meant to lay it all out there. I want to do it in 3:30:00 (8:00 min/mi). However, I’m fully aware of the potential crash-and-burn, which could derail this into a 5 hour marathon.
All told, my overall goal, including transition times, is to finish the entire race under 12 hours.
There are two ways you can follow along! First is to use the online athlete tracking on ironman.com. They should have a big link to follow athletes at Ironman Arizona. You can find me by name or bib # 1369. You can also keep tabs on me (probably more accurately) by following the #IMAZmike hashtag on Twitter. While you’re at it, cheer me on using that same #IMAZmike hashtag and mention me (@mikegalante) too!
Thank you so much for all your support during my training (and putting up with all those Daily Mile Facebook updates). Your support pushed me more than I could have imagined.
You can see a live feed of #IMAZmike tweets here: