Quassy Half Iron Plan & Goals

This weekend I race my first half-ironman.

It’s a tough 70.3 miles: Quassy.

Here are my goals and my plan. I’ll be back next week to see how well I hit them.


  1. Finish, smiling
  2. Follow plan, avoid blowing up
  3. Sub 6hr
  4. 5:40:09

Goal 4 is for a race promotion: the three racers who guess closest to their times win a Yakama bike rack. A new bike rack is on the short list of things I need, so that’d be pretty sweet. 5:40 is aggressive, but who wants to win a prize for a mediocre performance?



Start easy, focused on form: long strokes with glide, body position, bilateral breathing. Find someone to draft off of. Increase intensity to moderate level toward middle of the swim.

Goal time = 38 minutes


The course

Start easy. Let them pass. 10-15 minutes in easy gear, let heart rate and stomach settle, drink just a little water.

First 18 miles: Let them pass. HR high zone 1 – low zone 2, allowing some zone 3 on the climb from miles 7.5-13.8. Start in on nutrition.

Second 18 miles: This includes the big climb, almost 1,000′ in less than 10 miles. Solid zone 2 riding, trying to stay aerobic (out of zone 4) on the hills.

Third 18 miles: The climbing is almost done. Assess how I’m feeling and decide on zone 2 and/or 3 then.

Goal time: 3:10. Really, I have no idea. I’ve never raced this distance, and I don’t know the course. 3:10 would be an average of 17.68 mph. That’s about what my long training rides have been, which are similarly hilly, but perhaps I can bump the intensity a bit for the race and finish the bike sub-3? We’ll see.


The course

The first miles off the bike always feel funny, but I have felt strong on my long ride bricks for the last few weeks. Hopefully that continues into the race.

First couple miles: smooth and easy, keep pace well above 8min/mile, let HR settle, pay attention to breathing and stride rate.

At mile 3.6, there’s a 160′ climb in 1 mile. Going to try to stay in zone 3 through that climb.

Miles 4.7 – 8.5 are pretty flat. I’ll be aiming for the zone 2/3 boundary here, being sure to take in gels and water.

Then there’s a long descent, followed by a finale of climbing for the last mile and a half. At that point, all I can do is go by feel. I honestly have no idea what it’s going to feel like at that point.

Goal time: 1:45. That would be an 8:00 pace throughout. I think that will be tough, especially given the hills, but I think it’s doable. I feel strong, and I feel prepared for this race. It would be a PR HM for me. I’ve run three, the first was a downhill half, a year ago to the day of this race, on no real training in 1:47, the second, a hilly trail half in 1:57, and the third last winter, during an excruciating stomach flu, in… wait for it…. 1:47, just 12 seconds off my earlier half time.

Give me 4 minutes for T1 and 3 minutes for T2, and that works out to 5:40.


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