Triathlon is an individual sport. A sport that has taught me so much about health, appreciation and life. It has really stood out to me on many personal levels especially when you see people hit rock bottom in their training/health and then stand up to it to take action and battle it back. This was going to be my second half iron distance and I woke up in the morning feeling good and not so stressed out. I had a deep breath in bed and thought to myself “I feel like i’m getting more comfortable with being uncomfortable”.
Early morning I had to walk through the beautiful sandy beaches towards the start line/transition areas. The sound of the early waves lapping at shore were so relaxing especially when you felt the water touch your feet just before they wash over the beach. Transition setup was totally different this time out, I had blue and red bags that needed to be racked back and two different transition areas.
Going into this race I knew that things were going to be very different as I had to rely more on experience this time out as my ankle injury was going to hold me back at some point or another. Indeed, this time I didn’t rush to the start as I took my time looking at athletes racing into the water. Surprisingly, the swim went great. I felt much more comfortable swimming in-between the masses and whenever things got really crowded I managed to sort myself out and stay calm. The swim course was new to me as we had to do an Australian exit swim where athletes had to get out of the water about half way through and jump back in. I finished in 42:30 in comparison to my estimated goal of 42:43. Very happy with my general feel in the water this time out. I swam an extra 100 meters due to my lack of of sighting skills which is actually not bad at all.
Funny to see myself repeating the same mistake that I did in Lake Placid exactly when hopping onto the bike. My rush to start drinking fluids as soon as I get on the bike always makes me drop my water bottle as soon as I start as usually starting the bike courses involves a lot of turns before you start cruising on autopilot. I had a great solid flat ride. I was always flowing and moving fast. No problems whatsoever and It just felt like a pure fun ride. I raced a 2:48 as opposed to the goal of 3 hours on the bike.
The run was the real mental part of the race. As soon as I hit the second kilometer my ankle started screaming and I started thinking how the hell am I going to manage to run a half marathon. I sucked it up very quickly, I knew that this was going to happen anyway and I slowed my pace in order to avoid any major injury screw ups. Even though on paper Lake Placid was so much harder, Antalya felt much more difficult. The heat during the run was not easy to endure on top of the ankle pain. I was out of my comfort zone during the run and this is usually my favorite part of racing. There was definitely not enough aid stations and I tried to chug as many cokes, fruits, iso drinks and anything in my way as I knew It will be a while till I find another chance of hydration. It was the first time I ever experience the water sponges. I’ve seen it many times on TV but it really made a difference in cooling your body down. Damn it felt so good. Check them out on top of my shoulders.
Having all my friends around me during the race was great. Our TriAmman community is a gem and I felt the power of the second wind every time I passed by any one of them. I scored a total time of 5:40 meaning that without my ankle injury It would have been around the 5:20 mark. Very happy and proud of such a wonderful achievement. Most important of all is that I crossed the finish line with a massive smile on my face.