07 August 2013

Facing a Fear - the HEAT

It's no secret that I've never been terribly good at racing in the heat. Most of my best race results come from those that take place in cooler weather. Give me a course with hills, no problem, I like hills. Give me a swim with rough water, I'm OK with that, it's kind of like a roller coaster ride without the heights. Oh gosh, but give me a run course with hot, hot, hot weather and I implode. Vegas 70.3 last year, perfect example. The near 90 temps at IMLP in 2012 would probably be another stellar illustration.

I need to fix this. I signed up for Ironman Texas 2014, taking place in May and apparently it is very hot in Texas in mid-May. I chose it, not really thinking about the heat, but more because it will be convenient to fly to, it's close to golf courses for Mr. Sweetie to enjoy, it's a different race venue than Lake Placid (and after three years, it was time for a change), it is flat (as much as I do enjoy hills, I'm rather excited to give a flatter course a go and see if a sub-6 bike split can be mine), and it sounds like it is in a fun area. I've visited Texas once, in March, when it wasn't that hot, so the heat never really crossed my mind.

I guess I should've read some race reports. Le sigh.

I've always wanted to do Coeur d'Alene, cooler temps, rolling hills, but it sounds like it's a bit of a pain in the neck to get to, so Texas it was. Sillyish reason, I know. But maybe this decision will be a good one. I'm obviously not gunning for a Kona slot or anything. And getting a PR would be nice, with this being a flatter course than Lake Placid. But learning how to properly race in the heat and not implode - now THAT would be priceless. Next month's attempt at Vegas will be a good test to some of the things I am thinking I should do (drink ALL THE TIME, load up my water bottles with Skratch Labs, pop a salt tab every 20 minutes). I like to think that last year's Vegas debacle was mostly a nutrition and hydration fail and if I pay close attention to my food, water, and salt intake, I'll be able to do well there this year in the heat (well for me, not gunning for any speed records or AG placements). It will be a good test and, if things go well, I'll feel a little less wary about Texas. Some people (I'm looking at you, KGo) are well-disposed to racing in the heat; in fact, they thrive in it. Is it their body composition? Are they simply smarter when it comes to nutrition/hydration? Are they actually camels in disguise with secret stashes of magic hydration mix? Tell me your secrets, I want to become a Jedi Master when it comes to racing in hot weather! Mother Nature is completely out of my control and the only thing I can do is simply prepare my body and mind for the worst. If anyone has any helpful tips or thoughts, I am all ears!


Katie said...

This race scares me because it's typically not that warm yet, so we're not heat accimilated. I am contemplating it for next year though.

I tend to perform well in the heat, and I think it comes down to being able to ignore that it's hot out, and sticking to your plan. I honestly didn't even notice the heat at Placid in 2012.

bradleyd3 said...

Read my IMTX race report from this year.

It's not as flat as one thinks (maybe to you Yankees it is though - lol) and the heat was horrible this year....it went from the 70/80's to the 100's in a few days. The humidity is what the real killer is.

Texas isn't for the faint of heart, but to an experienced Ironman, it's not as bad as your thinking it will be.