Ironman Brazil: Coming Down to the Wire

As I come down to the wire for Ironman Brazil, I once again reflect on my training and what I’ve learned over these last few months preparing for the event. Some notables:
1. I noted a definite need for strength building in my training, so I dramatically raised the number of hilly courses that I would run and bike on. I would do hill repeats and try to accelerate on them towards the end. I am hoping that this will make a difference in my ability to maintain speed on hills. I did these hill repeats to the exclusion of doing more tempo rides to cement high intensity for long periods of time. I feel that preventing strength loss, which ultimately leads to cramping towards the end of the race, is more important than tempo training at this point.
2. My recovery period following long, intense sessions has lengthened. I have trained myself to listen to my body and not fight the longer recovery period, or feel anxiety because of it. As a result, I believe that I have made improvements despite not needing to train hard every day. It’s just a realization that as I grow older, my body responds differently to stress and its recovery needs are much different than either younger athletes or those that are more highly trained.
3. I discovered SportLegs pills as a supplement. Not believing they would work, I now take them regularly and they seem to definitely help in mitigating the burning sensation in my legs during hard training sessions. I believe that the lack of burning, and hence the production of anaerobic by-products is also helping with my cramping problems.
4. I bought a Louis Garneau aero helmet, and am slowly accounting for those things on my bike which reduce aerodynamics. It was a pleasant surprise to feel a definite lowering of effort in windy conditions.
5. I will be racing on Roval aero wheels, whose unique spoke assembly creates a narrower spoke profile without the need for carbon fiber wheels. Originally I bought them for simply their narrow spoke profile, which I hope will pack nicer in my Ritchey Breakaway suitcase. Previously, I have bent the spokes on my Zipp 404s because their spoke profile was so much wider than the normal wheels that Ritchey designed their suitcase for. Now I hope that the Roval narrow spoke profile will allow for lower stacking, which should reduce the chance of damage to the wheels. But I also hope that their claims of aerodynamics are true, and that they are really as aero as Hed carbon 3 spoke wheels.
I am optimistic for a great race on May 27. More later, as I enter the taper period.