Monday, October 1, 2012

Personal Best on Ironman - finally nailed nutrition!

So here´s the race report from yesterday´s Ironman race in Calella. All in all, I am very happy and proud about my finish and personal best in 9h23m!

The weather looked horrible on Saturday as it was raining cats and dogs the full day, and OOB Coach and pro athlete, Jens PB and myself got wet feet while picking up race bags. Spent the Saturday meeting a bunch of good Danish people, helping them getting race ready, a good chat and had an early and good sleep.

Sunday morning was dry, as I picked up Blanca and we set forth through Barcelona´s Sunday-morning-streets full of drunk people. Its always an interesting contrast, when you consider what you COULD be doing on a Sunday morning - and though Ironman is a hard start on a Sunday, I have no doubt what I prefer at this moment in my life :)

My mood was good and I was relaxed - the pressure was somewhat off for this Ironman, but I was indeed motivated. The preparations had been sub-par with a bit of stomach flu in Cairo, loads of travels and no race bike for approx 3-4 weeks, due to a warranty change of the E-118.

The sewers in Calella had been flooding due to the heavy rain, which brought back memories of Challenge Copenhagen 2010. But appears the Mediterrean is so polluted anyway that nobody took notice. Came well of the beach and was between the first 10 to round the first buoy - no fights and had a good pace and good found feet to draft on most of the way, so finished in 1h02m in a swim which is known to be 2-3 minutes slower.

Good transition and tucked well into aero-position, only to feel the consequences of not having my TT bike for the last few weeks - pains in shoulders and neck. My aim was 215 watts, which felt easy now and pushed by a few hundred bikes, happy about my new Zipp disc and wide front - no wind and around 90 km into the bike leg I averaged 38.7 km/h - fairly more than expected. The wind picked up, which sent me back to around 37.7 km/h. The Calella Challenge is known for intense drafting and this edition was no exception. Bikes like pearls on a string with 2-3 meters apart, makes it hard to pace well. Anywho, finished in Personal Best bike split at 4h48m - stomach and nutrition had been well, so felt good when running out to the marathon.

A new (to me) strategy was to bring all my own nutrition for the 42.2 km run - which meant 8 GU gels or 200 grams of carbohydrates, a gel every 20 minutes or so. For the first time ever I had no GI problems so finally nailed this issue, that has been haunting and stopping me in every of the 7 other Ironman races before this one! I kept a steady pace of 4:40 until around 25km, which felt bearable. Around 30-32 km I started feeling somewhat tired but kept up as well as possible. I dropped my last to salt tablets just as I started feeling small cramps, but Jens was on the spot with a bucket of fast Saltstick tabs - all good. My homie Marc Lopez gave me splits and told me I was 3rd in the Age Group with 2 minutes up to number 2, which at that time felt impossble to push through. Pace fell to 4:45 and then at 36km I started getting in some more trouble, dizzy and hurting legs - but stayed around 5:00 for the last 5km and finished the marathon in 3:28 - probably loosing 10-12 minutes on the last 7-8km. But the closest I have ever come to a perfect execution on the mother of triathlon distances and as always, a bunch of new things learned.

Cheers and thanks for checking in!  Thomas