I just got the “heeeey, don’t forget you’re signed up for a race this weekend” e-mail from the Utah Toughman that my dad, Rob and I are doing as a relay. I was skimming through when this gem caught my eye: “Wetsuits Legal for age groupers.”
In case you guys don’t know, wetsuits help with your buoyancy in the water. Without any extra work, you float better and your body position is better in the water. In other words, they make you faster. I’m not sure if this next part is true, but sometimes I think this is particularly advantageous for people like me with a low body fat percentage.
This helps me with my goal time for the race. I’ve never done a timed open water swim without a wetsuit, so I was kind of struggling to set a goal time. I feel stronger in the water than I did last year, but would the extra strength make up for the time I’d lose because I wasn’t wearing a wetsuit? Now, I’ve got a solid swim time to start from when making a goal. So, I’ve got two goals:
- PR in the 1.2 mile distance. This is my if-I-don’t-manage-this-I-will-be-disappointed goal. Last year, I biked 56 miles and ran 13.1 miles after finishing my 38:54 swim leg. If I can’t manage that time in isolation, I will be pretty frustrated with myself. But then, things happen on the swim that affect your time that are completely outside your control—buoys drift, the run to T1 is long, goggles get kicked off your face, etc. This goal leaves room for some of that to happen.
- Break 35:00. Guys, I really don’t think this will happen. This is as more of a stretch goal than the previous goal is a safe one. I would have to PR by almost four minutes to hit this time. I’m not fluent in swim times, but it would require me swimming faster by almost 10 seconds per 100m. A much more reasonable goal would be 37:00 (which would also please me to no end!), but 35:00 just keeps sticking in my head, so I’m going to hope for it.
When I thought that I wouldn’t be wearing a wetsuit, my plan was to go out like I would go out for a full half-Ironman and then pick up the pace on the way back in. Now that I know I’ll be wearing a wetsuit, I might change that approach slightly. I still want to swim harder on the way in, but I think I’ll focus a bit on swimming harder on the way out. Specifically, I want to focus on actively kicking the entire way through. When I’m doing a triathlon, I save my legs by doing a pretty weak kick so I can save my legs for the bike and the run. This time, I’m going to try to maintain a strong kick from the get-go. I want my legs to be tired as I run to transition.
Just a few more days! Because this is a low-pressure event for me, I’m really excited. I get to spend some time with my parents, race with two of my favorite people, and—most importantly—get an unreasonably large milkshake afterwards. And I will take a picture of it, even if it does make me look like a self-obsessed millennial.