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As always, my post get longer then I plan. If you are not interested in the gory details, just look at the pictures and the links at the end
My first A race in this season. This means that I did a full tapper and serious preparation. This preparation included lots of sleep, material check, mental preparation, course study, inspecting the course and focus on nutrition. All in all I was ready for this event! But the focus of this post will be the race. So I’ll jump right to it.
I got up at 4am to eat my breakfast to eat 2.5 cups of apple sauce, 1 banana, 1 bottle of sports drink and about 10g of protein and then I went to bed for another 45min. The second time, the alarm clock rang I was already awake and ready to go. Getting dressed, set up transition, watching the start of the Pros and then it was time for me.
Swim: I was in the second wave of the 30-34 age group and started 35 minutes behind the professionals (5min between waves). With my improved swimming skills I positioned myself in the second row at the start line. Since there were only around 150 athletes in this second wave, there was plenty of space and it was a relaxed atmosphere. My goal for the swim was to find a strong swimmer and follow him in his slip stream. Unfortunately, I got caught between two open water newbie’s. Both didn’t know how to swim straight and constantly were swimming into me from left and right. In that process a foot also moved my goggles that I had to clear them out. After that I push myself a little to get out of their way. But once I cleared myself from them, I noticed that there was already a gap between the faster swimmers and me. So much for my strategy… On the first 500-600m I was swimming a perfect line next to the buoys and was making good progress. But after the turn, I underestimated the current/waves. I constantly drifted to right, when I noticed this the first time I was already 50m off course. I tried to correct the course, but it took me half of the second stretch to go back on course. This was also partially due to choppy water and bad sighting on my side. Another challenge I faced was the breathing. With the waves, I had to constantly switch my breathing pattern. I normally breathe bilateral but for big part of it I had to breathe on one side to avoid the waves. Then finally the second turn and a couple 100m to the finish of the swim… I swam the 1.9km in 34min 59sec (1min slower as planned)
Transition 1: As always, I’m a little confused when I get out of the water and my heart is working heavily (180bmp). The nice wetsuit stripper helped me out of the gear and made the changing a lot easier. Once at the bike I went through my 6 step process. (I learned from past confusion) Thanks to this I had a relative quick transition ~3min, even thought putting the CEP socks on wasn’t as smooth as in the training and the HR monitor needed some fiddling too.
Biking: I felt really strong from beginning on, the only concern I had, was that my HR was too high even though I maintained the speed as planned. So I tried to relax as much as I could while keeping the pace. It took me almost 10min to bring my pulse down. Once I was on the street along the shore I faced a strong head wind which came from a 30% angle. So I had to permanently correct my direction. I also settled into a slightly slower pace as planned because of the conditions. On the bright side, this wind helped me to cope with the warm/humid 26C at 8am. Even with the slower speed I was flying past other bikers, which is a great feeling. But this also had the disadvantage that I had to be careful not to get a drafting penalty. Every time I entered someone’s drafting zone (7m) I had to overtake him within 20seconds or risk a 4min penalty. This doesn’t sound bad until you accidentally enter someone’s drafting zone of an equally fast rider and are suddenly forced to overtake him. Since dropping back results in a direct penalty. (this obviously assumes a referee would see you). But I really didn’t want risking a 4min penalty, and tried to be very conscious about the drafting rules. Only after 30min my crotch started hurting, most probably since it is a new bike and I only did a few rides with it. Well there was nothing I could do about this so I tried to ignore it as good as possible. “Relieve” came after about an hour, when my bake started hurting. Unbelievable how one pain can overshadow another pain Once more I tried to ignore this pain as well.
The ride was almost straight out and back I was hoping for tail wind on the way back, since so far I only had head wind. What a relief when I turn around, my speed jumped up to 40m/h by maintaining about the same effort. This gave me a great motivation boost. This boost didn’t last long and my back was still hurting so with about 1hour to go, I decided to give my back a 10 sec break of riding none aero after every 5minutes. Even though these 5min became hard after a while too, it gave me something “short” to focus on. There wasn’t that much else, because I had pretty much overtaken all not so fast cycling and was riding long stretches alone. At least I didn’t have to worry about drafting anymore. Before the transition 2 I saw Amy and Family which just made me smile, I couldn’t help myself I was so happy to be back and see them. Even though just for a few seconds. I did the 90km in 2:33:37 which was 30 seconds faster than planned. (Perfect :-D)
Transition 2: Here again I followed my 6 steps and was out of transition after only 1min.
Run: What an amazing feeling to have strong legs after a good bike split. I started off with a 4:15min/km pace and was feeling good. Obviously my Infinit Nutrition was working for me. Another big motivation was seeing my whole fan club 3 times each lap. I forced myself to eat a caffeinated GU, to wake up my brain for the rest of the run. After the first mile I was running past a loud speaker and was wondering why the music was so quiet. Then I noticed that I still had my earplugs in from the swim. I then realized what a peaceful and quite bike ride I had thanks to them. But now I needed all the loud and pumping music I could get. I was doing great until after 2 laps, when I allowed myself to walk a couple of steps on an add station. From then on my body demanded a quick stop at every add station. This was bad; since they had 3 station each lap. This slowed my pace to 4:30min/km. Even though I started strong I was ready to be done. I mobilized all my strength on the last mile to catch the guy who was running in front of me for the last two laps and then I was already at the finish line. I did the 21km in 1:33:48, 2min slower as in my optimistic plan. But I was very happy none the less!
After a couple of minutes of putting ice on my muscles and drinking some water. I enjoyed a quick rub down in the massage tent. Only 30min after the finish of the race I felt okay again. I was hungry, very thirsty and able to walk straight without pain. After a chat with my supportive fan club. THANKS GUYS! I enjoyed 4 slices of awesome pizza (well at this stage all the fast food would have tasted awesome, but don’t tell anybody )
After a shower and some more food, I went to the awards ceremony, where they handed out free beer, which I obviously couldn’t refuse after 6 weeks of abstinence. I knew that there were 4 slots in my age group, I also knew that after the race I was preliminary on the 16 place. I didn’t expect to get a slot for the World Championship. But there out of the blue it happened! The first couple people didn’t want a slot and a few others weren’t present. So the speaker said my name. Wow, I was amazed 1st) I was offered a slot for the World Championship and 2nd) how did he know how to pronounce my name correct. Now I had a dilemma, the World Championship was on the same day as my first Ironman since the changed the date of the World Championship, after I signed up for the Ironman. But who knows if/when I will get my next shot at an Ironman70.3 World Championship and I can always do my first Ironman on another day…. I answered with a loud and excited “YES” and raised my arm. The speaker saw me and asked me again: “Guido: Do you want to go to Las Vegas”. I confirmed again and the crowd was applauding. Las Vegas I’m coming!
Overal Race Results
BTW: I am selling a slot for the FullRev in CedarPoint! Apparently, these slots are transferable till August. So please contact me if you want a slot to a reduced price!