Saturday, October 10, 2015

Pre-Race Check In: Ironman Louisville

The Ironman World Championships in Hawaii are going on as we speak, and we encourage you to check out the live coverage. That said, it's not the only game in town this weekend... we're excited to cheer on Gina Shand (Virginia) as she tackles Ironman Louisville. Best of luck to both Shands and their IM friends tomorrow!

So, is the Shand swim split title in jeopardy tomorrow??

I lost it.

You what??

I lost it at the Patriots Half by 30 seconds.

That counts?

(sighing) Yes, it counts, I admit it. But I still hold the full Ironman swim record. I told my husband we’ll jump in together tomorrow, hand in hand, but then I gotta go! I
f the officials see two people wrestling up the swim exit they need to just let us go. He’s easier to spot with his fancy AWA (All World Athlete) cap. If I see him I'll trip him at the swim exit if it comes to that.

What's the deal with the water situation?

The swim is on. In the beginning of September the water purity people did a test and shut down all recreational activity in the river due to a toxic algae bloom. Since then there have been two clean tests, so it is on!

Do you like the time trial, one at a time style start? Is this your first Ironman with this format?

IM Chattanooga (last year) is also a river swim with a TT start. I like the format, the only thing is the anticipation of where/when to get in line. This race used to be held in August, but due to intense heat & humidity for several years it was moved to October. With a later sunrise, the race starts at 7:30 but you still have to finish by midnight. Everyone has 2:20 for the swim, but you lose time on the back end. So if you start at 8:15 in the TT format, for example, you lose an additional 45 min. This makes a lot of people nervous, so there will be weaker swimmers towards the front of the line, too. I just want to find clear water and be relaxed. At Chattanooga I actually didn’t touch a soul until the swim exit.

How’s the vibe compared to others you've done?

Right now it’s pretty chill, but I’m sure it will pick up. There's a lot of excitement about the swim being back on. It’s raining now, but the forecast calls for a perfect race day: high ~70, sunny, and low winds. It was always so hot at this race before (when held in August) and this year people were worried it would be too cold. But it looks like it will be a perfect October day.

What do you know about the course? Have you had a chance to drive it?

I drove it back in June when I was in the area for work. It’s basically rolling hills, up or down the whole way, similar to the rollers we have in Virginia. I’m honestly a little nervous about the constant rollers.

You’re a cagey Ironman veteran… do you have a different strategy for this one or is it more “replicate what I did at Ironman X?”

This will be my first Ironman with a power meter. My husband and I both got the Garmin Vector pedal system. We used to have Speedplay pedals, so it took a little getting used to, but besides that we’ve really liked it. My plan is to not worry about time or speed, but just to focus on my target watts. Riding with power has basically confirmed what I already knew… I push too hard on the uphills and not hard enough on the flats. I’ll just be trusting the power numbers for this one. For the run my goal is to be ok with being uncomfortable. In the past I’ve had a tendency to slip into the “this is just for fun” mindset on the run, but I really want to push myself against me, not my husband, not my friends. It’s less about any time goal and more about how I execute and hold myself accountable, and I’ll see where that lands me!

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