Friday, October 16, 2015

Pre-Race Check In: Ironman Maryland

Mark Watson (South Carolina) will take on his first Ironman at IM Maryland tomorrow. Despite having the strongest Southern accent on the team, I was able to understand a few words* for this pre-race check in. Good luck, Mark!! 

How's it goin, man??

It's cold! It's gonna be 30-40's tomorrow morning, and a high of 58. I just went to Wal-Mart to buy a $10 sweat shirt. They'll have heaters set up in the changing tent in T1, and will allow us to abandon warm clothes on the course.

Has the roller coaster of events been tough to handle?

My wife and I were about to pull out of the driveway when I got the email that the race had been postponed (originally scheduled for Oct 3) due to Hurricane Joaquin. We re-scheduled our hotel and ended up closer to the race venue, so that was good. In some ways I'm glad it was postponed... I was fighting a cold a couple weeks ago.

Flooding in South Carolina due to Joaquin definitely derailed outdoor training. Roads were closed, and I've hardly biked at all since. I rode a few miles today to make sure everything was working ok.

Joaquin wreaked havoc on Mark's home state of South Carolina AND his IM plans

Living in South Carolina, what led you to pick IM Maryland?

It's a 9 hour drive, which is the same as IM Florida for me. Florida sells out quickly, so Maryland it was. Chattanooga is a little closer, but to be honest for my first Ironman I was looking for a flat course!

So how are you feeling... nervous, excited, terrified?

Yes, all of the above. What got me most nervous was doing a practice swim today. That's the coldest water I've ever swam in, and I'm not used to it. I was breathing harder and quicker than usual, and it just made me think "am I ready for this??"

This being your Ironman debut, do you have any specific goals or is it more about getting it done?

I just want to enjoy the day, finish, and take it all in. With our 2nd baby recently being born, I probably didn't put in the training that I should have... so this is the first, the "bucket list" Ironman for me.

What's your nutrition plan?

Inspired by the interview with Hammer CEO Brian Frank, I'm going with a multi-hour Perpetuem bottle, highly concentrated, along with Hammer Endurolytes, Gels, and water. For the run I'll go with Hammer Gels as my main source of calories.

Even though it won't be hot, I'll still need to stick to a smart nutrition plan.

What do you know about the course?

It's a 2-loop swim and 2-loop bike, both of which mimic the Eagleman 70.3 course. The run is 2.5 loops, and both the bike and run are flat.

Are your kids there with you?

No just me and my wife, and my neighbor who's also racing and his wife. Watching the kids is a joint effort between my parents and my mother-in-law.

I'm sure they've played my daughter's new Frozen Candyland game at least 25 times.

*Ok, I admit, Southern accents are awesome. I'm jealous.

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