|The Queen Mary is a central landmark for the Long Beach course.|
I'm still not quite used to this concept, but I'm considering Long Beach a "B" race, as the Orange County Olympic Distance Triathlon is 3 weeks later on October 10th. All this means is that I'm not really reducing my normal training load until the end of the week.
Despite my less than awesome finishing time last year, Long Beach is a fast course. The swim is behind a breakwater and calm. With the exception of deceptively steep bridge (which you cross both ways twice), the bike course is wide, well paved and mostly flat. The run course is a flat out and back route along the beach and then out onto a jetty.
Here's a breakdown of how I think the race will go down:
I have a plan, and hopefully it will work. Recently, I've been working on two things during swim training - short, all out efforts and active recovery. The good news is that on my all out efforts I've managed to work up to swimming 45 second 50's. The bad news is that all I can do is 50's at that pace. Here's my plan:
50 Yards all out
50 yards recovery
50 yards all out
250 yards recovery
= 8:30/400 yards;
Repeat above for second 400 yards;
= 17:00/800 yards;
And then I hope to swim the last 80 yards in 1:30 for a total swim time of 18:30.
Projected Swim Time: 18:30; 2:06/per 100 yards (Last Year: 20:25; 2:20/per 100 yards)
I have a plan for the bike too - to go as fast as I possibly can. And as I mentioned above, this is a good course for this plan with wide roads and just a little climbing.
I've never come into a race with this much bike volume (almost 1000 miles in the last 2 months), so I'll be betting that my legs can handle 11 miles of all out cycling and still have enough left for a good run. I'm pretty confident that this is a fair bet.
Last year, the bike course never got congested. I'm hoping that holds true for this year as well and I'll be able to pick a line and go. And when I have to climb that bridge, I'll avoid the "staying in aero heroics" that have got me in trouble in the past by sitting up, grabbing the pursuit bars and hammering.
Projected Bike Time: 30:00; 22 MPH (Last Year: 37:31; 17.59 MPH)
Though it would not be right to call anything in a race "routine", starting the run always marks the point where I know I am going to finish the race without any issues. I usually rank higher in the run than I do in the other disciplines. And I will be holding nothing back on Sunday. I know this run course well, so I'll easily be able to track where I am relative to the finish. I'm going for a 3 mile PR - This is the perfect place to do it and I am already psyching myself up. I'm going to negative split this run. I'm not sure I can get to a sub 7 minute 3rd mile, but who knows? There's Belgian Waffles waiting for me at Sonny's Restaurant after the race.
Projected Run Time: 21:45; 7:15/per mile (Last Year: 25:14; 8:24/per mile)
There is a pretty long run from the swim exit to transition, so if I add 6 minutes to cover both T1 and T2, then I am projecting to finish the race in 1:16:15. That would be about a 15 minute improvement over last year. I had a 13 minute improvement from 2009 to 2010 at the Solana Beach Triathlon, which is slightly shorter. So the math for this race seems to add up, at least in my mind.
We'll see what happens on Sunday...