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Race season 2016 finally started

Photo: May Elin Aunli / Hove Tri, Facebook

Triathlon season began finally two weeks ago. Long and hard I had also trained for it. Two weeks ago on Thursday evening I competed in Bogstad “treningstriatlon”, in a training triathlon race, which is always a super sprint (760-16-4.7). Last Sunday, it was time for a slightly bigger race, an olympic distance race (1700-39-10,7) in sold-out Hove Tri, in Arendal.

Bogstad’s super sprint offered a good, short tough training, like sprints always do. I wasn’t very fond of the swim mass start – I never am – but I knew I needed it. I lined up behind some slow Norwegian swimmers, which was a mistake. Already after 25 meters many were tired and I had to swim around quite a few people to I find more space. I realized then that in Norway I really have to start in front of the pack to be able to find enough space in water and swim on my own rhythm. In Finland the situation is a little different. As the race continued, I was able to find a pretty good rhythm, which happened also in Hove Tri. However, although the rhythm was good and I could keep my elbows high, I couldn’t push hard enough. My swimming was still too much comfort zone swimming, just like in any easy Sunday training. In compared to last year’s races, 1:40/100m feels now easy, which is nice. However, it’s a pity that I’m not yet able to push harder and challenge myself in open water. Last week I found a good “bad feeling” and a faster pace in pool, but the same hasn’t yet happened in open water.

Photo: May Elin Aunli / Hove Tri, Facebook

On Thursday’s sprint race my bike legs showed their best by far, and I was rather happy with my speed. I was passing guys with average speed of 39 km/h, while still smiling and wondering why Norwegian guys slow down in up-hills and rest in down-hills. For me sprint race means giving 100% all the time. ;) Down-hills are not for resting. I had hoped to make a bike split with avg 40 km/h for the first time, but unfortunately some cars and even one bus on the road made us to slow down in some parts of the bike leg. Running went quite well too, although the course was tough and hilly. Pain in the ass = perfect for me. Legs felt good already after some meters and I even enjoyed the painful running.  Around 1 km before the finish line, I saw that my friend Asier is approaching me and I decided that I don’t let him pass me. I pushed and pushed, but he caught me. 50 meters before the finish, I gave all, passed him and won him with 2 seconds! Or possibly being a gentleman he let me win, but could’t admit it. After the finish, I felt a little sick and had to hide behind an electricity closet for some seconds to breath and look at the ground… That’s the spirit of sprint triathlons, I guess. It was a very good training! I was happy to run again faster, since I had kept a small break from interval and tempo runs.

Photo: May Elin Aunli / Hove Tri, Facebook

In Hove Tri my bike legs weren’t as good as I had hoped for. On Saturday, the legs had been super good and 1h bike course check with average speed of 32 km/h had felt extremely good and easy. On Sunday’s race average speed was 36 km/h, which was honestly a disappointment. I had hoped it to be at least 37. Well, on Sunday, it was quite windy and it started to rain 10 km before T2. My cycling speed was second best of all women. One Norwegian girl, as small as me, had biked faster, which was a surprise to me. I’ve been recently very happy with my cycling, so I was too confident to catch all better swimmers during the bike leg. Well, that was a mistake! Never be too confident and proud. Fortunately, my running felt quite okay also in Hove and I could see the leading girl’s back at around 4 kilometer’s sign. I passed her and decided that this race I am not losing. I will keep her behind me, even though it would require again hiding behind an electricity closet after the finish line. By the end of the race, my pace slowed down a little, not that I felt very tired, but I didn’t enjoy very much running on slow trails and soft terrain. The course was just… challenging but contained also very nice sea views. In addition to trails, we had to climb over a self-made bridge, which brought lots of lactic acid on the legs and slowed down speed a lot. Accelerating the speed again was tough and a killer for the legs. Luckily that was same for all. I would however enjoy smooth, more “runnable” running courses more. I could keep the Arendal girl behind me and finished first. I was surprised how short the entire race had felt. My heart rate was quite low, so it left me thinking and hoping that in Haugesund in 2,5 weeks I could probably swim, bike and run with the same speed. I also hope that in Haugesund I can keep transitions as fast as they were in Arendal. For the first time ever, I was on top in transition times.

Results are here.

On Sunday after the race, I thought it was a piece of cake and I will recover only in some hours. I was again wrong. I was tired on Monday, on Tuesday and even a little on Wednesday. I trained very little, which helped. Now racing and training spirit seems to be back. That is good, since on Saturday I have to cycle 191 km fast from Lillehammer to Oslo!

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