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I have questions!!!
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Hokay, ladies, we're officially one month away from my quixotic quest to complete LP 70.3, and I'm starting to have a few questions about the practicalities of navigating the day. If anyone has the time or energy to continue answering my questions, as y'all most graciously have been doing, here are some of the things I'm mulling:

1. Is two hours enough to check in and get my transition bags all sorted? Only last month, an organization for which I'm on the board set its annual board meeting during the two days before my race. We're doing it over video conferencing, so the (somewhat unrealistic, totally not foolproof) plan is to go to LP on Thursday evening after I'm done teaching for the day, spend most of Friday and Saturday on a video conference in Starbucks, and fit in the check in around the meeting. According to the schedule in last year's Athlete Guide (this year's isn't posted yet), I would have three hours on Friday to check in and sort transition bags, which I'll reduce to planning for two hours, because something always happens to screw up my plans. Then on Saturday I could rack my bike on the lunch break from the meeting. Is this at all realistic? I've informed the board president that I'm doing this race, so if worst comes to worst, I can probably take time out of the meeting, but I really shouldn't if I don't need to.

2. LP is usually very cold outside at the swim start, in the 30s (the water is in the upper 60s). Then it gradually warms up during the day. I have a full wetsuit (my second, because the first one really wasn't good for my arms) and I am planning not to warm up ahead of time in the lake, per recommendations. I'll also do what I can to stay warm at the race start with throwaway clothing, maybe some of those camping hand warming thingys, etc. Then I'm wondering what to do for the bike. I have a sleeveless trisuit and arm warmers, also a bike jersey if that feels better. Some people suggest a full-on change at T1 to get all wet clothes off. I could wear a bikini bottom and a sports bra under my wetsuit and change into bib shorts (which would be more comfy for me anyway--I still hate long rides in my Orca trisuit). But. The IM website says it doesn't provide changing tents at 70.3's. Other people on slowtwitch have said that there was a changing tent at LP 70.3 in the past so I'm a little confused on this point. Dudes also report just wrapping a towel around their waist and changing out in the open. Do women do that at all? If so, um, how? I got lady hips, so it'd need to be a big towel. And would I be able to change into running shorts at T2? How much time would that take? If I avoid a DNF at all, it'll be by the skin of my teeth, so I'm a little interested in quick transitions. I'm also interested in comfort, and not fucking myself over by trying to be too quick, so I'm intentionally not going to try to speed around too much in transition...

3. Other questions about gear: I don't have a bike windbreaker. Again out of concern for the temperature, should I think about getting one? Would good padding on my trunk and my suogi arm warmers suffice? And what about knee-high compression socks? Some people suggest them too. Is there something else I could do to keep my feet and lower legs warm if it's hovering around 40 at the start of the bike? Would regular knee-high socks be ok? I'll also pick up some of those super cheap gloves that gas stations sell for a thin extra layer on my hands, on top of my regular bike gloves.

4. I've worked out my own nutrition that includes Hammer perpetuem tabs mostly, with an hourly indulgence on the bike of something else that can include a bar, banana, etc. And strategically planned caffeine to keep me going, along with electrolyte pills. I think I'll mostly avoid on-course nutrition, except for water. I have a hydration vest that I've grown accustomed to on long workouts, but I'm trying to train without it so I don't have to lug it around on race day. I do really like the ready access to water that the pack affords, especially on hot runs, so I might bring it to T2 in the event that it's hot by then, but most likely I'll not use the pack. Is that a weird, unrealistic plan in any way?

I'm also planning to get some Gatorade Endurance to try the on-course nutrition as failsafe, but I'm not really planning to use it. Maybe towards the end on the run, when sweeter makes me happier sometimes.

5. I'm also starting to think about a plan for the race itself, with target heartrates and speeds and such. But I don't know how to do that. Are there any online guides for figuring out target paces or heartrates that you would recommend?

Ok. I think that's it for now. I think y'all can tell that I thrive in the weeds of the details, and the complexity of this sport is one of the things that attracts me to it. I know I have a lot of questions, and y'all aren't my coach officially (unofficially though, this collective has definitely been my coach), so if you don't have time for all this, I'll just bumble through best I can.

Thanks thanks thanks!

Formerly GiantNewb, but not such a newb anymore.
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Re: I have questions!!! [GiantNewb] [ In reply to ]
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1. Yes. But PACK EACH OF YOUR TRANSITION BAGS BEFORE YOU GET TO LP. Here's what I do:
- Buy 5gal ziploc storage bags. Label each one with sharpie: "morning bag", "T1", and "T2"
- Put everything you'll need for each of those situations in the bag. Water bottles, cleats, run shoes, bib belt, etc
- Note: You will have access to your bags on race morning, so remember to take out the water bottles beforehand
- Easy enough to put your ziploc bags right into the bags provided for you. IM bags are huge. You'll be fine.

2. If you wear your tri kit during the swim, you will dry off quickly on the bike. Especially on that descent into Jay. I'd wear your tank top with arm warmers if you feel you'll need to keep warm on the bike for the first part of the ride.

3. I'd only get a jacket if the forecast calls for rain. If you're working on the bike, you will warm up quickly. Just be sure to dry your feet off very well in transition (I have a swim speed towel that I bring with me) before you put socks on, if you choose to wear socks. Also if you are that cold, have a dry pair of socks waiting for you back in T2 to change into to get your feet warm for the run.

4. If you'll feel better bringing it, bring it. I subscribe to the KISS theory of transition, so if I'm not training to use it, I won't bring it. If you want it for the run, which will be warm, be sure to at least chill/partially freeze your hydration vest so it's nice and cold waiting for you.
- Also, have you been practicing handups for the bike to refill your water bottles?

5. I'll tell you what my coach tells me for long course racing, especially since LP is such a difficult course to keep an even power rating for with the hills and temp swings and such: On the bike and run, you can maintain a HR of around 175, MAX, for a few hours at a time. Any more than that and you start burning matches. Any more than that and you won't be able to digest and process your nutrition/hydration.

I'll also add this:

6. Whatever detailed plan you have, you must also plan for things to not go according to plan. Dropped water bottle on the bike. Upset stomach on the run. Misplaced sunglasses in transition. Etc. What you need to start preparing for now is how you will control your mental game and emotions when something will go wrong, instead of dwelling on all the what ifs of something going awry.

L1 USAT Coach | L3 USAC Coach | NASM-CPT
Team Zoot
Tailwind Trailblazer
I can tell you why you're sick, I just can't write you an Rx
2022: Who freaking knows except it's Déjà vu all over again.
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Re: I have questions!!! [Dr_Cupcake] [ In reply to ]
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Ah, Cupcake, you're a mensch! Thanks for answering my questions.

Here are some more responses:

I haven't been practicing handups for water bottles on the bike. I was just envisioning stopping to change my bottles. Is that acceptable? Safe? Will I get mowed over if I try it? Despite the fact that I've fallen 4 times since we electronically met, I'm pretty good with bike-born multitasking, so handups are a skill I could acquire probably.

175 seems like a high heart rate to maintain for 8ish hours. What's your max? Mine is around 190. I was thinking my target heart rate would be around 150 on the bike, and slightly higher for the run. I don't have a power meter (...yet...). It's good to think of a max heart rate for the hills on the bike, and 175 seems like a good one for me.

Also, regarding your final words about things not going to plan, I read that and was like "oh, not my problem. I'm cool as a cucumber." But honestly, I'm not at all and it's good to think through some sort of mental process for when things go awry. Thanks for the reminder.

Formerly GiantNewb, but not such a newb anymore.
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Re: I have questions!!! [GiantNewb] [ In reply to ]
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Quote:
I haven't been practicing handups for water bottles on the bike. I was just envisioning stopping to change my bottles. Is that acceptable? Safe? Will I get mowed over if I try it? Despite the fact that I've fallen 4 times since we electronically met, I'm pretty good with bike-born multitasking, so handups are a skill I could acquire probably.


I tend to stop for refills, usually because my teeny tiny bladder is yelling at me as well. I just make sure I announce I'm stopping so that the aid station volunteers and any riders on my tail are forewarned.
Last edited by: Scheherazade: Aug 8, 19 20:02
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Re: I have questions!!! [Scheherazade] [ In reply to ]
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Ok, great. Thanks Scheherezade. I'll think about that.

Formerly GiantNewb, but not such a newb anymore.
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Re: I have questions!!! [GiantNewb] [ In reply to ]
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You can stop to change your bottles, but be very methodical in the process.

1. Like Sher said, announce to the volunteers that you're pulling over to stop. Don't do it in a highly trafficked spot. Normally there are gaps between aid tables/volunteer groups, and stop there. Be sure to stop in a spot where they have water bottles (and not the on-course beverage)

2. Fill quickly, or grab the bottle to put in a cage for later (or both).

3. This is super important. DO NOT JUST PULL OUT INTO YOUR LANE. Wait for a large enough gap between riders. Look both ways. Just like you'd be pulling out into an intersection to turn.


175 is definitely reserved for race day for me. It's the combo of course conditions, adrenaline, etc. My HRmax is upwards of 190+, so 175 isn't redlining for me. So think your HR max and back it down by like 20-25%. The hills are definitely going to come into play with that though, just so you don't get frustrated.

And yes, planning for the unplanned is another way of thinking about how to control the controllables. You can use some down time in easy runs/swims to think about different scenarios and how you'd handle them (like, what would you do if you ejected a bottle on the bike, or if someone knocked your goggles off on the swim, for example). The more ways you can think of to stay calm in BS situations, the better day you'll have out there. That's definitely not to say that you should race freaking out that someone could go wrong, but it will reduce your emotional reaction time and energy to smoothly deal with something should it happen. Think of a mantra, think of a calming sentence, something to keep you grounded. Mine is "inhale solution, exhale stress".

L1 USAT Coach | L3 USAC Coach | NASM-CPT
Team Zoot
Tailwind Trailblazer
I can tell you why you're sick, I just can't write you an Rx
2022: Who freaking knows except it's Déjà vu all over again.
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