Well another hard training week is coming to an end and after my run this afternoon my training hours will have topped fourteen and my weekly milage will look like this:
Running - 32 miles
Cycling - 155 miles
Swimming - 4.2 miles
So with nine days to go until Eagleman 70.3, training will compose of short intense workouts designed to allow the body to recover but also to keep it sharp. The taper is an important and often over-looked part of the training regime. Many times athletes believe that you can still get fitter right up until race day and continue to work hard, not giving themselves the best opportunity to perform well come race day. For example, at Ironman Florida last year I tapered for a full three weeks prior to race day and cut back my training progressively to 75%, 50% and 25% of my weekly hours throughout those three weeks. With Eagleman being my "A" race of the year, a full eight day taper will enable my body to (hopefully!!) be at its best for five hours come 7.37AM on Sunday June 10th.
So why is Eagleman my main race of the year? Well it is a qualifer for not only the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii (October), but also the 70.3 World Championships in Clearwater, Fl (November).
How do you qualify? A certain number of qualifying spots are given to each 70.3 race and Eagleman has 28 Hawaii spots and 75 Clearwater spots. These are divided up amongst all the different age groups (my age group is 25-29) according to the amount of competitors in each division.
How many spots are in the 25-29 age group? The preliminary spots as of today are only one for Hawaii and four for Clearwater. These may change on race day depending on the final number of racers that actually turn-up (you do get a few no-shows).
Where do I need to place to get these spots? The spots are awarded in the order that the racers finish in. So to be guaranteed a Hawaii spot I will need to win my age group and for Clearwater to be in the top four. But here is the kicker and extra incentive to push hard all race. If for whatever reason the people awarded the spot do not want to take it, it then rolls down the placings until someone does take it. Last year for example, the 2nd Hawaii spot (we had two last year) rolled down to 9th place before being taken.
What chance do I have of getting a spot? Well last year I came 16th in my age group. This year training and early season races have boded well and my PR 1/2 Ironman time has come down 14 mins since Eagleman last year. My PR puts me in with a chance of a top five position if the sun and moon align and everything goes well. Wish me luck.......and lets hope for a roll-down and an ALOHA come October!!!!