Race season continued last Sunday when I competed for the first time in an Ironman branded race, IRONMAN 70.3 Haugesund. It was a “flott” race trip, full of action and excitement. It is very probably one of those trips that I won’t ever forget – neither does my dad nor Isabel!
My biggest target for this season is definitely IRONMAN Mallorca on 24th of September. It will be my first full distance triathlon. Last Sunday’s IRONMAN 70.3 Haugesund, a half distance triathlon race, was good practice on the way to the Ironman. At the same it was Norwegian championship race, which made sure that I get the best competitors in this country. However, I wasn’t yet allowed to participate in Norwegian Championships. I need to live here still 1,5 months more to be allowed to do that. So, I had to start in the amateur start, at least 5 minutes behind pro athletes and 15 Norwegian girls competing for the Norwegian half distance titles.
Race week preparations didn’t go as easy as I had hoped for. Some “shit” happened during the week. For example these things:
- My mobile phone died. I had to learn how to live without it. It’s difficult when your father is arriving from a foreign country and needs driving instructions etc.
- I slept too little. Too much stress and personal happiness reasons.
- Too much work before summer holidays. No time to breath and relax. Full speed the whole week.
- I ate too much compared to training hours and energy consumption. My body felt heavy already on Tuesday. Actually I ate normally, but if I normally train around 3hrs a day and on race week it is 30-60 minutes, I don’t become hungry. I need to come up with better eating habits for race weeks.
- I did my last race preparation training on Thursday evening. Legs felt far too good and 10km race pace jogging, so I probably run 3x3min reps a bit too fast. Calves felt a little sore on Saturday.
- Frognerbadet had problems to warm water on Friday morning, so I couldn’t do my race preparation swim. I was freezing after 1500m, so I had to quit the training. I felt unsure, but after some while could relax. One unfinished workout doesn’t ruin anything.
- I forgot my wallet and passport home when leaving for Haugesund! :( I noticed that in Drammen. We had to drive back to fetch it, since Haugesund race office had told me in phone that I HAVE TO HAVE AN ID. On Saturday I heard that only a few triathletes were asked for their ID, I luckily was. Driving back to Oslo and again back to Drammen in the worst traffic jam I’ve ever seen took 3 VERY LONG HOURS! We arrived in Haugesund in the middle of the night. That wasn’t a huge problem, but my stress levels had risen far too high. One should relax before a race, not have the most stressful week ever.
Luckily on Saturday almost everything went like in a dream. One stupid thing was to hear that amateurs are not allowed to warm-up in water before the race. WHAT?! I do understand that the chip timing system hinders that, but people need to warm-up in water before jumping to race hard in +15°C water. Or at least I need to do it in order not to get a panic when speeding up crazily in cold water. I had to make a plan B, which sounded bad: I start very easily not to get a panic. Succeeded. However, I never found a better swim pace and ended up swimming in comfort zone (1:44min/100m) the entire swim. I wasn’t happy at all. However, I felt super strong after the swim. The race was on! I had saved all my energy.
T1 went quite smoothly. I got out of the wetsuit fast, but had some problems putting an extra long sleeves shirt on. I was very happy that I didn’t give up with the shirt. It probably saved my ride! I didn’t freeze while cycling. I heard after the race that many others had felt too cold while cycling and were forced to cycle slowlier. It rained the first 65 kilometers. Some very heavy rain came around 40 kilometres.
I started the bike part fast – according to my plan. 90 km is not meant for keeping the breaks on. Legs felt good and I could keep 36,5 km/h avg speed on the first half. The second half went slowlier, which was due to hills, stronger headwind and slower course. I didn’t feel getting more tired. On the second half we passed Haugesund and cycled also in the city. It was interesting for the audience and athletes too, but it was quite difficult to ride with a tempo bike on wet city roads with a lot of turns. I succeeded not to fall down and still keep some speed on the turns. I started to feel a little bored at 81 km. I was definitely ready for T2.
One thing I wasn’t happy with not racing in female elite group was male companion that can’t cycle hills fast but pass me on flat parts. I used quite a lot of energy on the first half to pass men on hills and keep control of not drafting at all. On downhills these men then passed me and I had to speed up again to pass them on the next hill. The second part went better and less passing effort and I could cycle all alone my own pace, without fear of getting too close others. Legs felt good until T2. I think big help here was that I cycled all hills with a small gear, unlike I have done earlier. A lot spinning, not heavy pulling.
T2 went again easily and fast. Already after a few hundred meters of running I could feel good running legs but also very bad stomach. Not a very nice combination! I had to slow down, give stomach some time to recover, and start possible pushing only after some kilometres. IT HELPED! After 3 “careful” kilometres (4:14, 4:15, 4:16) stomach started to feel good and I started to enjoy running. Well, it should be my best discipline in the end. And last Sunday it sure was! Between 4-11 km I felt like flying, only passing girls and boys. The results showed that I passed 64 people during the run! Last kilometres were of course difficult and I could feel the cramping calves and hard stomach, but to be honest, I was still enjoying the painful running. There were times I was thinking why do I do this, but also times when I thought all this pain if always worth it.
I finished 5th of all women and won my age group, F30-34, with over 10 minutes margin to the second girl. Despite the comfort zone swim, it was for sure my best triathlon race. I cycled hard enough but managed to save some legs for a sub-1:30h half marathon.
Kondis’s race report and list of top 20 athletes is here.
You don’t always need sponsors or a coach to place in top 5 in an international big race. ;) However, I would prefer at least finding the first one(s).
Finnish triathlete living in Norway