The Becker Buzz
August 19, 2007
"Pre Ironman Race Sandwich"
My last race seemed like an eternity ago and since then a lot has happened, so I thought I would update everyone as to what I have been up to as Ironman Wisconsin approaches. I have put all of my 'eggs' in the Ironman basket this year. My training called for me to hold back for a huge portion of the year, this was something that was new to me and was also something that proved to be move difficult than I thought. But my coach, Luis Vargas, assured me that there would be a time to go hard and that it would pay off.
Well that time came and we decided to insert two races into the schedule. The races were treated as HARD training sessions. They would follow a big training block and would be preceded by 3 easy days. Here is a results summary, with details below.
Iron Abe Olympic
July 29, 2007
Swim: 22:27 Bike: 56:58 Run: 36:46 Finish 1:57:22
Pleasant Prairie Olympic
August 19, 2007
Swim: 19:13 Bike: 58:05 Run: 35:11 Finish 1:54:44
I found the Iron Abe Triathlon just a little over a week before I needed race. It was about a 4 hr drive south to Springfield, IL (birthplace of Abraham Lincoln…thus the name "Iron Abe Triathlon") and I seemed like a good race. Oh yeah, it gave an opportunity for a small paycheck as well. Anyway, I stayed with a friend in the area and before I knew it I was getting set up on race morning.
The water was WARM, so there would be no wetsuits. But I had my Blue Seventy Pointzero3 speed suit. Through some testing done in the pool by myself, as well as another teammate, I knew that this suit could save a few seconds per 100m. The gun went off and I found myself gapped by a few meters, at the first buoy. I really try to build my swims to allow for me to have a few options as things sort out. In doing so, I was able to close the gap by the turn and decided to sit comfortably in the group. About ¾ of the way through the swim, I realized that there was another swimmer off the front!!! I had sworn that we were the first group, but there was another swimmer about 75m up. I tried to lift the pace, but it just wasn't worth it.
I hopped on the bike and just tried to get into a good rhythm. The ride was flat, so I could see the lead rider just ahead. I was steadily clawing back time and the gap was down to about 40sec at the turn around. The roads were not all that smooth, but one really nice feature of the TTX is that the carbon really eats up the vibration from the roads. On the way back I got within about 20sec, when a car that was stopped at an intersection, decided to do a Y turn right in front of me. I nearly lost it, but managed to squeeze through. It was a bit frustrating, as the gap was now back to about 40 sec.
After a quick T2 I was out on the run about 30s down. I felt ok, but legs were just not there. I had only been doing speed work for a few weeks and I didn't have the turn-over that I needed. Daniel Bretscher, a very talented short course guy, took the overall win and I cruised in about 2min back. It was a solid day, but I knew that I could do more.
In the 3 weeks after the race I put in my most intense IM specific block of training. I was a little MIA at times, but I got through it. Ironman is so much more than just how many watts you can push and what pace you can run at what HR. There are so many unknowns that need to be addressed. This was where my focus was over these weeks and while I reached new levels of fitness, I also answered all those questions. I was now hoping for a good "fitness pop" before I start to taper.
After 3 lighter training days, I felt ready to give a good effort. I awoke to POURING rain….which was beginning to feel like the norm. We have had almost 10 inches in the last week alone and it wasn't looking like it was going to stop for the race. I drove an hour to the race site from a relative's house and was debating turning around, just about every exit. I arrived, parked and rode my bike from the remote parking to the race site…in the POURING rain. The buzz around the race site was that they would make an announcement soon. Well, somehow the weather let up and they decided to give things a go.
After a quick set-up, I put on my Helix…aka, "Second Skin" and jumped in the water for a good swim warm-up. I jumped out and we all lined up on the beach for the downhill FAST start. The gun went off and we sprinted for the water. I went out strong to find some feet and it worked out well. I was fourth in line and we were alone. Only problem is that the two guys directly in front of me popped, one-by-one. I pulled around and worked it solo for the remainder of the swim. I held the gap of about 15seconds and hopped out in a new PR of 19:13.
I got onto the bike and didn't feel great right away, but tried to stay smooth. My Timex HR Monitor showed that I was where I needed to be, and my Powertap SL showed good power. I knew that it was just a matter of time until I felt better. I never got into a groove, but did hit the wattage that I had hoped for.
I came off the bike with a good lead, but still tried to push the pace as much as possible. I wanted to see if I could make a good improvement in my run split from my previous race. I came through mile 1 in 5:26 and felt good with a HR of 168. I knew that my training was working and pushed, but also enjoyed the rest of the race. I crossed in 1:54:44.
I now have three weeks until Ironman Wisconsin and I feel like I am right where I want to be. I have a great team, coach and support system to hopefully let everything fall into place on Sept. 9. I will check in again as we get close. Thank you to everyone for their support. Please visit my website for more info, www.blakebecker.com
My Coach Luis Vargas: www.luisvargas.com
Saris Cycling Group – www.saris.com
Timex Team Site: http://teamtimex.timexblogs.com/
Madison Trek Bike Store: www.trekstoremadison.com
Fleet Feet Madison: www.fleetfeetmadison.com
Blue Seventy Wetsuits: www.blueseventy.com