I decided to write down some expectations for my race next week. I have yet to have the detailed debrief with my coach but I feel that this accurately reflects reality.
My PR for an official HIM swim is 43:01. Most of my swim times are a few minutes within that by I find that I'm typically overly cautious in pushing the swim pace. I'm not going to hammer the swim in the Ironman and will probably try to let the animals duke it out ahead of me. So, somewhere between 1:30 and 1:45 should be rational. If I'm better than 1:30, great. If I'm slower than 1:45 I won't be happy but it would have to be related to the conditions (waves, current,etc) so it it would be nothing to be concerned with. Spend a little fluff transitioning and I'm shooting to be rolling on the bike before 9:00AM.
My coach already told me his plan calls for a 7:30 bike split. I rode a taper ride of 70 miles last weekend at the high end of my iron wattage range. That ride was very windy but during the ride I glanced down at the bike computer at 56 miles and saw 3:40. So 7:30 is rational. Sure it can it be better or worse but again extenuating circumstances (mechanical, wind, conditions, etc). The bike cutoff is at 5:30 (sometimes IMFL makes it 5:15 since it gets dark early) so that means if I am on the bike at 9:00 I have 8:30 as a worse case. One could look at it as I have an hour to play with.
That hour may be important. I expect to be be walking a lot with the ambiguous state of my right calf and left ankle. After T2, I'll be shooting for a 2 minute jog/3 minute walk for as long as I can (hoping for greater than the first 13.1 lap). If I can do that for the whole length I've figured out that is a 6:33 marathon. If I start the marathon at 5:30, I'll be 3 minutes over. If I'm limping the ironman shuffle, it could become an issue.
This is where the hour comes in. If I swim, bike, and run on plan, I'm right around 16:00. If I do better than plan, that is time in the bank. If I do worse, I'm dancing with the cutoff demon and I don't dance that dance well.
It is going to be a long day but I'll be successful if I follow my plan. I have to remember to try to turn off my brain or it will warp reality and have me believing something different. Something will go wrong, I know it. I'll do something stupid, I know that too.
But I also know I'm going to give it my best and I will be proud of that.