The Mental Perspective:-
It was finally the day that Ive been waiting for. So much could go wrong, something as simple as a flat tire can ruin your years worth of training. I changed a flat in the hotel six times as quick as possible as practice but yet again I could possibly disappoint so many wonderful people who supported me to get all the way here. I trusted my training plan and It felt like just another day of riding. I tried to wake up as late as possible and enjoy every sip of my morning coffee which lead me all the way to reading my first good luck message saying “don’t be stupid”. It’s the truth that I needed to hear at that point.
The theme of seeking discomfort has been something that I have been abiding with for a while. Challenging my physical capabilities only to rediscover that they are endless. After consistent repetitions you realize that pushing through fear is less frightening than living with the underlying fear that comes from a feeling of helplessness. In fact just before I jumped into the water to start the race I realized that I was well prepared for this. I thought about that bloody arabic bathroom next to the Arab Potash where I kept starting my long rides on Friday mornings. All the people that supported me along the way. Even though I was about to start a new challenge Ive been constantly working on every aspect of this day that I was actually beginning to feel comfortable being put into this situation. Unlike my past 70.3’s I was ready to just jump into the water and kick some ass. I just knew there is never a perfect time to start something but all I wanted to do is to cross this out of my bucket list. Whenever one of those aggressive swimmers tried to punch me in the face, I punched him back this time because I had one goal and only one on my mind and that was to kick some ass.
Honestly I don’t know what crossed my mind in those eleven hours but I do remember that when I was swimming in the sea all I could think about was that whatever it is you want to do in life you can do it as long as you put in the effort to do it. You start from scratch and gradually build up. You remind yourself that whatever is it is thats making you feel uncomfortable is being experienced by everybody. I tried to work with two swimming coaches but their lack of interest/attentiveness did not stop me from reaching what I wanted. Implement, stop complaining and don’t find excuses. I was looking back at all the paddle work I have done solo in the pool, all the times swimming in between those bloody annoying kids at the business park, the amount of awkward moments I had meeting my friends waiting for their kids swimming class to end while watching me finish one lap after the other. It was only then when I realized why it is that I am swimming so comfortably and confidently.
When I was being told you are an “IronMan”!
The feeling when the finish line comes up is just so surreal. You run with all your heart and you realize that its all about the journey, the training, the people you meet along the way and in fact the destination is just an illusion. You cross the line and the medical team is waiting to wrap you in the aluminum heat sheath… What a feeling… You’r a little dozed off and you’r not as sensitive as you thought you’d be. You’r too occupied doing what you’r supposed to be doing and all you need is some heat, rest and feeling of comfort after all of this effort.
It’s crazy to think back about how that day just passed so quickly. Main lesson learnt throughout this journey is to focus. Focus on yourself, you live one single life and its worth pursuing what’s in your heart rather than others. Keep doing what you love, love those who care about you, give back and know that you are on the right path. There’s a new path waiting for you and all you have to do is to look for it. If you show up and stay present, that step will become a gigantic leap forward and then you’ll show us who you really are.
Finish line vibes
Unlike most races I’ve done I usually end up waking up super earlier than I’m supposed to (4am ish) and end up wasting too much time getting cold and over thinking in transition. This time out I woke up a bit later, avoided getting grumpy, had a shower at 5am, enjoyed a warm coffee with oats and took a cab straight to the start line. I had a post it of the things that I should do one by one at transition so I don’t forget anything.
It was raining hard all night and I’m so glad that I covered my bikes front & back derailer and the SRAM controller/cockpit area with a nylon bag (I acted as if my T1/T2 bags got ripped and got extra ones to do so at bike check in). The weather has been a little tricky, it can get super cold, windy and rainy and then suddenly turn into a fantastic calm summer day. For this reason my transition bags were not as minimal as I usually like them to be. I had options which I knew was not great.
I warmed up, did a wee little child’s pose/downward dog, jogged to warm up the core, wore my gear and jumped into the sea for a pre swim warm up to get my wetsuit fitted properly around my shoulders. I felt the neck muscles getting tight from last nights sleep which worried me a little. The swim was fantastic, I just jumped in and implemented. I kept breathing regularly and focused on not to destroy my rhythm and proper arm technique. I felt like my experience from the previous 70.3’s kept me super calm and focused. It was the first time that I don’t get super stressed and anxious from the rough IM swimmers. I kept one rhythm going and did not stop once. Whenever I was kicked and kicked I learnt how to respond in an aggressive way because these guys are just pure assholes and If you don’t fight back they will just take advantage of you.
Swim goal pace was 2:05 – 2:10/100m vs 1:57/100m actual pace.
Pre-swim nutrition:- None other than a big breakfast earlier.
Rash on the left getting out of the water and into T1
Transition 1 did not go as smooth as I’d liked it to go. I wore a jersey on top of my tri suit and a light sleeveless windbreaker (perfect). I put my shoes on, shoe covers and then decided to take them off which was obviously a waste of time (the covers sometimes interfere with the clips which annoys me). My jersey already had stuff in the pockets but my extra tube fell off instantly in transition and I had not realized.I also had hand warmers on the aero bars Incase I needed to get warm later.
Bike ride went amazing. I was focused on my average power. No drinking on the first ten mins as I didn’t want to drop my water bottle like I usually do (finally learnt my lesson). The first bit was frustrating as there was a lot of turning around before getting to the highway. I kept a strong power and performance was pretty consistent throughout. I was super impressed. At the aid stations my technique was fantastic. Approached the trash zone, threw a water bottle, grabbed a water bottle and up my cage holder, then grabbed a sports drink bottle and held it with my mouth, the grabbed to as many solid foods as possible, put them in my back pocket, then refilled my torpedo bottle with liquid all without stopping. At the half way point it was raining lightly on and off and I kept up with a couple of people who kept me feeling motivated and happy.
Bike power goal 180-190Watts vs 185Watts average power + 88 average cadence.
Bike Nutrition:- Picture perfect, paced every 20 mins switching between gel/water and sports drink with some salts. Also solid food whenever I had the chance to.
Going into T2 after the 180km ride leg.
Transition 2 was also not good. Someone stepped on my toe with her cleats and it was painful as hell (some blood also). I was really worried that she might have ruined the race for me. In T2 I had a jersey on top of my suit, I wore running gloves and put a light hoodie around my waist. I complicated things so much and I should have just put my shoes on and left (weather was really tricky).
The first 5k of the run was painful. My toe was killing me but I ignored it and kept going straight. I eventually started hating the heat coming out of my body and instantly threw my gloves, jersey and hoody around my waist. I should have also kept my sunglasses In transition as I hate running with them and I don’t know why I follow peoples tradition of running with glasses only on races (also run cap… absolutely no need). Run was actually very well paced and I did amazing If I had not stopped twice for poops. I took my time as my stomach at that point was struggling in terms of gastric emptying. There were obviously times were I was feeling like crap but I fought through it very well and decided to walk up the uphills because I noticed my Achilles aching going uphill and it was the last thing I wanted (an injury). The last ten km I picked up my pace and on the last lap all I wanted to do was to reach the finish line.
running at about 2km out from the finish line
Run goal 4 hours vs 4h20 (given the two stops).
Run Nutrition:- No gels. Lots of water, coke, sports drink, biscuits, bananas, endurance bars and a snickers at 30km that gave me a massive second wind.