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Strömman triathlon and better training sessions

I’d like to write about my big desire to race in an ironman distance this year and my miserable feeling last week when I realized it is not going to happen. In April I was very sure that there won’t be any big races this year. In May-June I became more positive that maybe I can anyways race in autumn, as almost all races were postponed to autumn and spread of corona seemed to slow down. How stupid I was only one month ago! The situation looks now again worse and I can’t really understand how ironman could arrange big races safely for keeping the social distance, not to mention the drinking stations where thousands of people share drink classes and bottles etc. It doesn’t feel safe to me. I am 100% sure that I don’t want to get corona and could not take such risks.

After a few days of feeling miserable, I accepted it and had to come up with some new targets, more related to running, building better shape and doing some crazy things in training. I have even thought of running a marathon in Finland this autumn, but next weeks will show what happens.

I haven’t race much in triathlon in Finland, I’ve done only a bunch of races before this summer, so I thought now is the situation to do some local races. So, I raced non-draft Strömman triathlon last Sunday and will continue to do some other short course races in August. :> They’re not exactly my distances, but still very fun.

Strömman triathlon – some amateur mistakes but still winning

Honestly said, it was the most fun race days for ages! Nice weather, very nice race location in Strömforsin Ruukki, Ruotsinpyhtää, and very many friends racing or cheering. Some friends of mine drove from Helsinki to watch the race, so nice!

The course was challenging but in the end quite nice. Swim course was out and back 1500m (+ maybe 100m extra) and nice still water. Bike course was challenging. It was rolling both left and right and up and down. 50% of the bike leg had quite tough head wind. Distance was a bit more than 41km. Run course was two 5km loops, 80% hilly gravel, 20% asphalt. I liked the course, although it is not exactly the course to do PRs. (never our target anyways ;)) Transitions were short and fast. I just wasn’t in them.

I am racing in triathlon for 5th year and still too shy in the swim, also this time. Come on Heini. I got an okay start behind Julia and Maisa, but let them swam away, as I thought the pace is too high for me. Stupid. The pace wasn’t that high, I could have stayed with them. I was just stuck in my own comfort zone, being slower than in my solo training swims. Luckily I caught Maisa at the end of the swim leg and we came out of the water together. Julia was 1:20min ahead of us. Swim with ironman effort :<

Then off to the bike leg. Julia had road bike ( = good choise when she actually races in short courses in elite level), so I was quite sure that we see her back sooner or later. This is the point where I need still training: big deficit after swimming and then being too eager to get in to the lead riding too fast early in the big leg. I rode quite hard the first 10 minutes or so to get a reasonable lead and then start my own race effort. It is far from clever racing. I never really found the perfect rhythm or good cadence. Bike split 1:04:00 (41,2km), 38,6 km/h. Average power was just a bit less than in Voimarinne three weeks ago, where I rode with even power and well. So, it wasn’t very bad, but I knew I can ride better (especially wiser) and my new good aero position allows me to ride faster.

Slow transition as I again had troubles to get my running shoes on. I need new shoes or more transition training.

I am very used to start running in half and full distances with very smashed legs, so after 40km TT effort my legs have felt surprisingly fresh, also this time. Breathing system however wasn’t that fresh. I found quite okay rhythm, but was too shy to hit the high heart rates, which I easily reach in the training. Heart rate wise it was a half distance effort. Time 39:11.

End time 2:10:11, so a clear win and happy mind, another good learning point what not to do next time ;)

Women’s start. 50 ladies. Photo: Sirpa Uuspelto
Photo: Sirpa Uuspelto
Photo: Piret Puusep-Väliaho
Photo: Sirpa Uuspelto

Good training sessions

Some good training sessions during last two weeks to mention are a hard bike-run session done last Tuesday, in the race week, as well as yesterday’s 4x15min progressive bike intervals.

Last Tuesday I did 2h bike with 2x20min olympic distance effort, 221w on that day, and right after running 3x10min with race pace on track, and with possible small drop of pace after the first repetition. I rode in Helsingintie towards Porvoo and back. I’ve trained quite a lot during the last 3 weeks on my summer holidays, so I needed a long warm-up for the legs to feel good in the intervals. Then directly to Hakunila track where running shoes were waiting. First 10min with 3:38/km feeling still quite relaxed. Second and third repetition a little slower with a little easier feeling too. I was happy with these paces after hard riding. Usually sub-3:40 pace after cycling feels mainly awful.

When I yesterday looked at my bike session details, I thought my coach Tero has gone nuts. Hard riding only two days after the race :o Well, it was progressive and maybe that is why it worked out fine yesterday. I rode again in Helsingintie. This time 4 x 15min with 10w increase in each repetition. First one being 203w and last one 231w. The first two efforts should feel easy and so did they. I was surprised how smooth and not needing to push the last two ones also felt. Concentration to keep the optimal cadence and not overdo seemed to work. Average speed for the intervals was just around 40 km/h. I rode home with a happy face and left for an easy 30min transition run.

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race report

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