Last night was the 4th out of 5 aquathons, and I had a pretty good night. I haven't done a whole lot this week, so I didn't really know what to expect.
I positioned myself in a spot where I thought I might get beat up a bit on the swim figuring that's what Ironman is going to be like and I want to get used to it. The first few minutes were a little rough as we all fought for position and I got kicked and ran into a lot, but nothing too bad. It doesn't scare me anymore when that happens, but I do find it very frustrating and I need to remember to stay calm and not waste energy because it doesn't take that long for the field to thin out.
At the last aquathon I didn't wear my wetsuit and my swim was quite a bit longer than usual (the course was a tad long, I heard). Apparently, wetsuits make a huge difference. This time I wore my wetsuit and set my fastest swim time by 1 second.
The run went well, although it's always a struggle the first mile and a half as I try to settle down and get into a rhythm. My heart rate is so high after the swim that it's really hard to run right after coming out of the water.
I was nervous about the run because I've had some knee pain and IT band tightness this week so I was afraid of an injury, but I felt really good during and after the run. The reason: I wore my Zoots instead of my new Sauconys. I never have problems with shoes that don't have any support (the Zoots offer about as much support as a pair of socks - yet I ran 18 miles in them and felt fine), but I tend to have problems with shoes that add support and try to limit pronation and my Sauconys have a minimal amount of support, but apparently enough to give me issues. So I ordered a pair of Saucony Rides, the same shoe I have now without support. I can still use the Sauconys I just bought, but I'll save them for short runs this winter. They shouldn't give me problems then, and even if they do I can afford a little time off in the winter.
I believe your feet need to pronate a little because it's natural and it frustrates me to no end that running stores do everything they can to get you in a pair of shoes that stabilize your feet and eliminate over pronation. If you're an excessive over pronator (sounds like a character flaw, doesn't it?) then you probably need some stability shoes, but if you're a mild over pronator then I think you should stick with neutral shoes....my opinion.
Anyway, I came close to my best time overall and finished with my best finish ever - 8th place - so I'm really happy with how the aquathon went. Mainly I'm really happy and relieved to finish the run with no injuries or pain. That's very encouraging and gives me a lot of confidence for the Ironman.
The last aquathon is 4 days after the Ironman (rescheduled from a cancellation). I wanted to take that whole week off, but if I can put in a good finish I might take a top 3 spot in the M30-39 division for the series and score some bling. I'm a sucker for awards, so I have to go and give it my all. It's gonna hurt, but at least I won't need to worry about injuries. I think the swim will be fine, but the run might be a death march.