I haven’t posted in over two years for a reason. The pandemic hit me hard in a way that I could have never imagined. I will never forget the day I was cycling through the airport and as soon as I reached home I heard that the airport was completely shut down and people were being sent to the dead sea in those military buses that I had just passed by.
Two years have passed since then while the pandemic just continued to affect us all both mentally and physically.
That was the day when my fitness took a turn to the downside. That was also the period when the whole world stopped and life as we know it changed for a while. After recovering from COVID once, It was very hard to finally get back on track posting a pretty good IM70.3 time in Egypt given the extreme wind conditions and a PB at the Ayla half marathon at an average pace of 4:35 which was something that I was really excited about.
I realized that now is the time to beat my previous IM70.3 PB in Bahrain and the big goal was to finish in ≤4:30. Unfortunately, COVID struck again just after Christmas and my motivation plummeted yet again. It was really difficult to accept the fact that I have gotten this silly virus twice and I couldn’t stop thinking how unfair it was towards me. I kept reminding myself how lucky I was given all the circumstances and even though I knew I was not prepared at all I decided that it would be fun to just see how it goes given the circumstances.
Goals for the race:-
- Finish no matter what happens
- Endure the swim given I haven’t been in the water in three months
- Try to catch up during the bike split and arrive before the sun kicks in
- Negative split run no matter how slow the pace is
I started my swim very late as I had to go to the loo multiple times before the event even started. I am somewhat used to it and Im pretty good at dealing with this but nature really called last min and I wasn’t even stressed about it. The only thing I did wrong was to take my time before going into the water as I should have went in earlier. My reasoning is due to two main reasons.
- The bike course was so crowded and it was quite hard to overtake so that definitely affected the speed.
- I got in the water about an hour after the official race start and the sun got really strong at the end of the bike stretch.
The swim was terrible. It was my first swim in three months and I definitely felt how unfit I was. Also nerves affected the situation about 300m into the swim (even though I was doing well at the time) and I don’t know how I just stopped and started having a completely chilled out relaxed swim until I decided to go on again. At the last green buoy turning home some random Lebanese guy knocked my head out and my goggles and swim cap fell off. I ignored the swim cap (bad idea), put the goggles on and started swimming yet again. My hair was really annoying. Lesson learnt here was that I should have took the time to wear the cap and I shouldn’t have rushed to wear the goggles again as they kept leaking water.
My transitions have become superb. They are flawless and I am extremely happy about them. I really think its time to start practicing how to implement a flying mount on T1 even though I do realize its not worth the risk.
I have no idea what happened here but my bike pocket fell off my bike even though its held by two screws into the top tube and I had no gels or salt the whole way. It was not stolen as I saw my picture in T1 running alongside my bike with the pocket on the top tube. I made sure to make it up with carbs from the sports drink (assumed there is about 35g carb in every 700ml water bottle) and I had massive gulps at every aid station even though I usually do not stop at any aid station on the bike.
For the first time in a very long time I did not follow power numbers as my FTP is probably very inaccurate and I implemented it all by feel.
T2 is my favorite part of the race as I literally have nothing to do other than wear my shoes. My T2 took a detour as someone has parked his bike onto my rack and I had no idea what to do. At the beginning I thought that maybe that person hung his bike on 617 instead of 671 but then I decided its not worth to check and just stuck my bike very close to his. It was really annoying and took some time. Reiterating on my point at T1, I think its time to also learn how to do a flying dismount in T2 too.
It was really hot and humid. I actually felt the power of the sun at the last 10kms of the bike. I was running alongside Odai for the first 10kms and made it a point to keep moving slowly in order to implement a second half that was faster than the first. This was where experience played a big role. I could have pushed way harder but I enjoyed the conversation and realized that I wont be able to continue given the humidity levels and I reminded myself that the only goal is to implement a perfect negative split no matter at what pace which was achieved.
You can celebrate or be upset after any event in your life; but when you wake up the next morning. It’s time to move on. Basking in the glory or wallowing in the pain for too long will eventually lead to downfalls.