Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Did you know that the word triathlete is not recognized by Microsoft Word?

It's summer break and as many of you know, with being a teacher I get summers off. Woohoo! Well, not so much. I had all these grandeur ideas of getting out and riding 6 hours a day like Lance and putting in 20-30 hour training weeks and then I took a look at my race plan. The first week of summer break was the beginning of tapering. Bummer!

And so, with a race plan being so important to peaking for my A race (www.musselmantri.com). Here come some 7 hour training weeks. Boring! :)

So what am I doing with all this extra time? Learning Spanish (finally) so that I can order whole wheat bread and buy a spare tire when I'm cycling through Spain in August. Quiseria hablar espanol muy perfecto con queso limpio. Okay, so maybe I need to work on it a little more.

I've also spent hours researching different coaching methodology and tips for triathlon-specific training. Every search had thousands of hits, but one in particular really stuck out - nutrition.

I'm a bit nervous for the half iron this weekend, mainly because I haven't quite figured out what nutrition is best for me yet. Every race brought on a new learning experience. Most recently, I felt the runs coming on at mile 4 of the run in an Olympic triathlon in Buffalo. I managed to hold it all in (literally) to make 1st in my age group and 5th overall. Woohoo! For those who really want to know, the bathroom stall was my new best friend for the hour after the race. Woohoo!

If you don't know yet, my training is modeled off of Joe Friel's Triathletes Training Bible. I use his information and guidance being a self-coached athlete. Below I've pasted my pre race report I wrote up this morning. It's something that Friel feels strongly about to help work out nerves and have everything set on race day. It's a bit long and written in Guayspeak so be prepared. The pic is from the Oly race in Buffalo. 1st place felt awesome!

20-30 ounces of water/hour

1 bottle – 22 oz?

Safe bet – 5 bottles throughout half iron (goal time – around 5 hrs)

Nutrition Musselman:

2 Stonyfield yogurts, 2 oatmeal packets , protein shake (3 hrs before ) Maybe banana

Put sunscreen on at the hotel.

GU 15 mins before race


My goal for this race is to pace effectively so that I feel strong at the end. Being my first half iron distance race, I want to make sure that I am not exhausted for the run. This would be detrimental to my motivation in future races and help inspire negative thoughts. My goal is to learn from this race, not to win it. Pacing effectively will help me become a stronger triathlete.

I will start off in the middle front and fight initially (gently fighting) to get on someone’s feet. The swim can feel a little forced because this is my weakest link. Positive thoughts and proper meditation will help me get into a flow. My goal here is to stay on someone’s feet and not to swim diagonally. Less stray means less swimming.

Exiting the swim I will bring my wetsuit down half way and hold my goggles and swim cap.


My nutrition will already be in my pockets and on my bike so no need to grab anything extra here. Take off wetsuit, put on helmet, put on sunglasses and go. Hit Lap button on HR to signal bike for proper timing.


Hit lap button if forgot (make sure HRM is on lap mode) The first 30 mins will be steadily progressing speed, starting off slow (Think Friel’s 15% rule) to save myself on the run.

Take GU w/ water 5 mins into bike GU EVERY 45 MINS

Sip Accelerade every 10 mins (not big gulps)

Take bite of Powerbar after 30 mins w/ water to signal time to increase (slightly pace) Tap lap button

Try to maintain 160 bpM

Take GU every 45 mins and hit lap button

Finish water bottle ASAP

Continue to Sip Accelerade every 15

Try to finish 1 water bottle for every 2 GU

Goal on bike: 2-3 GU, bottle of Accelerade and bite of Powerbar

Powerbar could be eliminated?

My bike focus is on pacing and hydration: Goal is to finish 2 water bottles and Accelerade (already on bike):


No need to refuel on GU. There should be at least 3 left in pockets. Rack bike, take off helmet, Put on running shoes (socks available if feel blisters already) but BodyGlide should still be fine. As I exit T2 I will turn my race belt around and unwrap the number. Hit Lap button on HRM.


Make sure lap button is hit on HRM to help monitor nutrition. The run focus is on effective pacing. Come slow out of T2 and then steady increase (again think Friel’s 15% rule).

Feel the run and maintain 165-170 depending on feel. Slower is better until mile 8. Mile 8 is the only time I will allow myself to dig hard if I feel I can.

Nutrition on Run:

Take water at aid stations unless feel swashy in stomach.

GU or Accelerade Gel w/in first 15 mins

GU or Accelerade w/ water aid station at 8-10 depending on aid station availability.

Could take extra GU before mile 10 or after depending on feel.

Run home to the 13.1. You’ve trained really hard for this ever since December (total 7 months of organized training). You have run, swam, and ridden 1.5 times the distances required in each discipline and even completed a half iron distance w/in 2 intense days of training (twice in fact). These last 2 weeks of rest/ taper have helped catapult me into the strong triathlete I want to be and now am. Remember that even if something goes wrong this race, there is always plan B. This is your first half iron distance and the goal is to learn, not to win. Not to hurt but to feel strong. The last half of the run will be the hardest 45 mins of the entire year. Push yourself hard and you will reap the benefits. Dig deep at this moment. Think of the Smartboard training rides, the cold winter rides/runs, the successful triathlons that have come beforehand at OLY and Sprint distance, and the many, many, many hours put into training. You are not overtrained and have done the best you can do. It’s time to play around with all the hard work you’ve put in. Enjoy it, keep smiling, and thank the volunteers (don’t speak, just look strong, proud, and smile). Hakuna Matata. No Worries. Positivity. Victory.

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