Preview: HITS Naples 140.6

by rchackman

I am heading to Naples on Saturday with my girlfriend and staying at a hotel nearby Vanderbilt Beach, the race site. I am eating plenty of carbs in the three days leading up to the race. I have also cut back considerably on my training this last week so I am fresh for the big day. I had the bike tuned up and the tubes changed for peace of mind and I feel ready to go! I am really excited for the inaugural HITS in Naples, FL.

In planning, I want to know as much as possible about the course and potential weather conditions on race day. The following are my expectations and goals for my first 140.6 race:


  1. Finish the race!
  2. Hydrate properly and get the proper nutrition so I can…
  3. Comfortably race (i.e. no stomach issues)
  4. Run the entire marathon
  5. Finish in 12.5 hours

SWIM: The swim will be an out and back double-loop in the Gulf of Mexico. From what I remember of my weekend family getaways to Naples, the Gulf is pretty calm at all times of day. I do not expect any strong current but, I am not all that familiar with the Gulf currents. Expectations – very calm ocean, mild current of unknown direction. I also hope to do the swim portion in 1:25:00 based on the conditions, practice and previous 70.3s

BIKE: The bike course has an excellent set-up from the view on MapMyTri. It takes us westward for the most part and North twice before we head south 10 miles and east 5 miles for the 55 mile turn-around point. We take the same course back to the transition area. The course is really flat as well.

I have been checking the wind about once a week for the past month or so on Windfinder. It seems it will either be helping us on the way out or the way back in because the wind is usually easterly (heading east to west) or northwesterly (heading from northwest to southeast). The forecast claims the winds will be easterly at anywhere from 8 to 14 mph. I am praying this is the case because the wind will give me a boost on the way back in to T2. Of course, I would not have any problem if there were to be no wind at all. I hope to do the bike in about 6:35:00.

I also plan to fuel for the marathon during the bike portion. I will be relying on clif bars, hammer gel and watermelon GU chomps for my nutritional needs. I expect to eat about 3 or 4 clif bars (half a bar at a time). I also expect to eat about 1 or 2 gel packets an hour. The aid stations will be handing out bananas, which I will gladly take. For hydration, I will be relying on water and Nuun tabs. I plan on drinking about 20 fl oz per hour. I set my Polar watch to beep every 15 mins reminding me to take a sip of water or Nuun.

RUN: The run, like the swim, is an out-and-back double loop. We will be on the same road the entire time… For whatever reason, I am not such a fan of double loops even though it helps me with pacing on the run. It always feels like the run hurts a little more on the double-loops. The main reason is that on double-loop runs you know exactly how much running you have left in store and you’ve already taken in the views. It pains me to see the mile 10 sign when I am only on mile 2. I always think to myself it will be very nice when I see that sign for the second time and I am actually on that mileage. In this race, I am gonna make sure to zone this out as much as possible and just focus on keeping my legs moving. This is my biggest unknown as I have never run a marathon before, much less a 140.6 marathon. I just intend to keep moving forward, hopefully running. I want to do the marathon in 4:30:00

In preparation for the race I have decided to go caffeine-free for the week. I plan on taking caffeinated gels with me on the run to eat halfway through the marathon. I have no idea how much of a boost the caffeine will be after not drinking coffee for a week. Here I am in this picture enjoying my last coffee, one week prior to the race.

I am also debating what to wear for the race. The debate is between wearing my tri singlet the entire day or bike jersey for the bike, shirtless swim and tank for the run. I kinda want to wear my bike jersey so I can carry all my food and Nuun comfortably. I will most likely be taping some of my gels to the bike and I have a small pouch in the front to carry some food as well.

As this is my first iron-distance race, I plan on pacing myself and trying to enjoy all aspects of the race. However, I also want to perform to the best of my abilities so I am happy with the end result. At this point in time, I have been training 24 weeks. I guess I will just have to see how it goes when I am in the action on Sunday. Wish me luck.