Saturday, July 25, 2015

Pre-Race Check In: Ironman Lake Placid

Our team is excited to virtually cheer on Chad Zeman (formerly RI now North Carolina) as he tows the line at Ironman Lake Placid this weekend. I gave him a call to check in with him and actually caught him en route to the race venue... he had hopped a flight that morning, driven for a while, and was literally crossing a lake on a ferry somewhere in Vermont as we spoke. Hopefully the race itself will be far less chaotic!

So how are you feeling?

I'm ready to go! I'm feeling much more prepared than I did for my previous two Ironmans (Wisconsin). I've been resting up this week, and the legs are like "what the hell is going on?? Why aren't we working, moving, pushing??" I'm excited and feeling really optimistic.

How has training gone since Challenge Knoxville?

That was my last big race, really my only race outside of a local sprint here and there.
Since Knoxville I've ramped up my training with a little anger because I personally didn't feel that I did very well. Following a little lull, I've consistently put in 12-14 hr / week. Last week was ~10 hrs. My power numbers on the bike, heart rate, and pace have been looking good. I've also worked on my nutrition plan, my transitions, and other finer details.

Working on your transitions for Ironman? 

Yeah, I need to save any second I can!! I'm shooting for Kona, and my spot would most likely be a roll down. If there is a roll down up for grabs and there's 10 seconds between me and another guy, then I see transitions as free time that anyone can have.

What are your goals for the race?

Swim: 1:10
Bike: 5:20 - 5:25
Run: 3:30 - 3:40
Crossing the finish line at 10:00 - 10:30

The ultimate goal is Kona. I know the top 2 (in the M2529 AG) are typically under 10:00, but 3rd is usually around 10:10. You can look at results all you want, but you can only do what you can do and hope it's good enough on that day.

With your strong running background is there any chance you could you obliterate that 3:30, or is that a best case scenario after swimming and biking?

If I'm feeling really good 3:20 might be in play, but I think 3:30 is pretty much the magic number for me after hopefully biking ~5:20. Plus it is a very hilly course. Any upside would come from closing hard in final 10k... I'm not going to risk blowing up by going for it earlier than that.

Do you feel pressure or are you pretty loose?

I put a lot of pressure on myself because this is something that I've wanted for a while. I told my wife that this is the year I'm gonna go for it. If I don't make it I'll probably wait until my son is in college or something. My parents and my wife are trying to keep me calm, saying listen to the numbers, you've put in the work, now is time to have fun with it, etc. That helps to keep me grounded. I will have one more shot this year, at Ironman Chattanooga, in a friendly showdown with my teammate David Fernandez (Florida)... but I still want to make this one count.

Lake Placid is a legendary course... what do you know about it?

From what I understand it is the Kona of the continental US in terms of history. It's a very popular venue, triathletes everywhere know about it and want to race it.  

It's basically a 2-loop everything which makes it very spectator friendly. I'm not the straightest swimmer, so I'm excited about the cable (under water) that you can follow to keep you on course. In terms of the bike course, I'm a hill guy so Placid suits me. This will be my first Ironman with a power meter, so I'm excited to use that. The famous climbs known as Baby Bear, Mama Bear, and Papa Bear need to be respected. I'm a little worried about the hills on the run and how those will feel after 7-8 hrs. I'm not a patient person, so that's gonna be tough for me. If i'm not patient it's gonna bite me on the run even though that's my strongest discipline.

What’s your race strategy? For example, how hard will you push on the swim & bike?

Even though my goal is Kona, I would be happier going 10:35 and barely missing Kona instead of having the race done for me by mile 90 on the bike because I'm pushing too hard.  I'll get into a comfortable groove on the swim, a 6-7 on a scale from 1-10. 
I know i'm a weaker swimmer and if push harder than that my bike and run will be affected.

The "risk" will start for me on the bike, pushing around an 8 on a scale from 1-10. I'll stay around 205-210 watts, trying for consistency as opposed to big spikes. That should set me up perfectly for the run, starting around an 8 and targeting an average heart rate around 160. 

That's interesting, I know for myself I'd bonk bad trying to hold a heart rate that high for that long. Everyone's a little different with their HR zones though, right?

Yeah at Boston (marathon) I had a 175 avg hr for the whole race, and racing in college I was in the 200's... I guess i'm just used to it.

Thanks Chad, and good luck tomorrow!!

Chad raised $$ for MMRF in association with Lake Placid

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