Kelly the Culinarian: Introducing Motivation Monday: Ken's Racine 70.3 Story

Monday, March 18, 2013

Introducing Motivation Monday: Ken's Racine 70.3 Story

Hi readers! Today marked my first day of training for the 70.3 Racine Ironman triathlon. It started out innocuously enough, but the swim felt hard. Some days I feel awesome, some days I feel 30 pounds heavier and like I've never run a step in my life. The joys of running: one day, you feel bad ass; the next day, you feel like ass.

To kick off the beginning of my 18-week journey to half Ironman glory (fake it 'til you make it), I'm introducing a new feature on the blog. Each week, I hope to share articles, photos and insights that are pushing me and lighting my fire that week. I've also collected some insights from Racine veterans, which I'm looking forward to sharing through the next few weeks. First up is Ken Chin, a 33-year-old rad runner dude I met through the glories of the Internet. Here's his Racine story:  
Ken at Ironman Wisconsin!

Athletic background: I didn't do anything until 2007. That year, I started to run and completed my first marathon. Seven marathons later, I signed up for Ironman Wisconsin in September 2011. I could not swim at all when I signed up!

Why did you sign up for Racine?: Last season, I built up to Ironman Wisconsin. I did a sprint (DNF due to panic in the swim), followed by an Olympic about three weeks later, then Racine two weeks after that.

How did you train for Racine?: I was very fortunate to have a solid base of cycling with Vision Quest Coaching (edit: I did baseline testing at VQ Coaching in Highland Park recently). I trained with them beginning around October of 2011. Then, I went to a week long camp with them in Solvang, Calif. There, we rode daily, including a 10-mile, never-ending, uphill trek up Mt. Fig. 

For swimming, I took a few lessons and a couple group swims. But, I just tried to get comfortable and had to figure out how to do that quickly!

For the run, I just did what my coach told me.

Speaking of coach, Mike Thomson of Fast and Fit Coaching here in Chicago trained me. He's a personal trainer, USAT Certified Coach, and also raced at the World Triathlon Championships in New Zealand in the Fall. 
Ken at the beginning of the Racine swim
What was the hardest part of training?: Aside from getting frustrated with not being able to swim, the hardest part was fitting training into a regular work day. And, I definitely realized that I'm a "group training kinda guy." Self-motivation for me is a tad lacking unless I'm REALLY in a crunch and need to get it done quickly! And, we know that we can't cram training in for events, right?

What was the hardest part of the race?: Mentally, getting through the swim was the most difficult thing to think about. But, that day, the run was the hardest for me. It was really hot. I recall being really dizzy, sweating like crazy, and having the chills, yet it was HOT! Those are symptoms of heat sickness. But, I'm one of those stubborn ones and just walked as much as I needed to so I could get to the finish line in one piece. And, yes, I ran when there were the most people watching (the finish line)
Racine victory tastes like FRS
What would you do differently, in training and on race day?: I would have committed to and had a confident nutrition plan. I hate to admit it, but I didn't have a solid plan for nutrition until about three weeks before Ironman Wisconsin. Yes, that was about a month AFTER Racine. Get the point? Dial it in NOW and try to keep it simple. I did a concentrated drink and marked the bottle so I drank a certain amount every 15 minutes. Then, I just used course water to fill my Speedfill or popped one of their bottles into one of my cages. I always grabbed a bottle at each aid station because, inevitably, the Speedfill needed refilling or the cage was empty and it could live there until I needed to refill.

Any words of wisdom to share with an incredibly scared newbie? IF I COULD DO IT, YOU COULD DO IT!!! The course isn't bad at all. The ride is rolling and the run is fairly flat except for a couple "bluffs" around the finish line, which need to be covered twice due to the two-loop run. When training in Chicago, those "bluffs" suck! Oh, and dial in that nutrition because the entire race is setting yourself up for a great run. So, that includes holding back on the effort and fueling and hydrating properly throughout the ride so you're flying on the run.

Thank you, Ken, for your thoughts and well-wishes!

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