It’s been a busy start of the summer in all aspects – work, training and race wise. Not a lot of time to reflect or write. But here is the bare minimum – a quick race summary from the half Ironman that I did about 10 days ago in our neighboring country down south.
PRE RACE: I signed up for the race a few months back feeling that it clearly was a bit cramped in between Ironman Lanzarote 21st of May and Challenge Roth 9th of July and after the limited running that I could do, due to the hip flexor injury, I thought I rather get a few long runs in than go to Denmark and spend time and money on a race that was not that important.
After talking it through with my coach Teresa at Uperform I decided to do the race after all, it would be a good hard training session on the swim and bike. All the way up to race I trained as normal and didn’t taper for this race – I even managed to miss read the training program for Tuesday the same week as the race and instead of doing a 10x2” MAX AQUAJOG in the pool I did 10x2” MAX at the track…. Good news is that it gave me a clear OK that my hip seems ready for training again.
Many Uperform athletes participated in the race, all with different ambitions – to win, to finish and to improve PB. (Note: Matteo didn’t race this year but said to me that he will race in a few years and challenge his dad Patrik Nilsson)
I drove down to Denmark a few days before the race and registered and for the first time in a long time I went to the pre-race meeting. As I didn’t have time to ride the bike course I wanted to hear the walkthrough. It turned out to be a waste of time as the announcer Paul Keys basically said – “well, it’s kind of twisty and turny – but there will be volunteers giving you direction. It’s beautiful – enjoy”.
The weather was cold the days before the race and so was the water 15,5°C. As I have real problems with cold racing in all forms I was quite concerned if I was going to survive close to 30minutes in that water temperature – let alone get out and move after it. Even if I undoubtedly have the best wet suite on the market ORCA Predator there is no wetsuit made for such cold temperatures (at least when you are poikilothermic as I am). Not much to do but take the bull by the horns and try it out, said and done – on the evening before the race I jumped in the icebox together with Patrik Nilsson and I think we did one of the shortest swim I have ever done.
RACE: It was a beautiful sunny morning on race day I seeded myself to the middle of the swim-start as it was a rolling start and I had no intention of trying to lead the swim. The navigation was challenging to say the least as there were 15 turns in 1,900m. Whenever I looked up I just saw a sea of blue swim caps everywhere. Did a pretty lousy swim where I stopped and clean out my googles twice to try to get some visibility, swam alone most of the time as usual and got pulled out of the water like a giant seal by the helpful volunteers on the swim finish jetty – a much appreciated service when you are frozen like a popsicle.
”I can’t feel my – ANYTHING !”
Ran to the bikes and got on my way without any drama. Enjoyed an almost completely solo ride. After 30km I passed poor Patrik that was standing on the side struggling with a flat and realized that he had lost too much to continue in the race – technical failures are the worst as there in most cases is nothing you can or could have done to prevent it. At around 60km a group passed me and I realized that the roads where to narrow for Marshalls and that’s why there were not around. As the group was basically riding at my speed (and working together) I had no chance of passing and dropping them so I just dropped back 20 meters and watched them continue cheating and last guy in the group looking back to spot Marshalls. I am proud of myself that I didn’t get upset and hit someone in the group but rather ignored it and rode alone 20-30meters behind.
Started the run and was surprised to see that I was running the first km at 4:15-4:20 and slowed down but maintain efficiency and cadence. I passed one of the draft jockeys that was now walking – I recognized him as he had a bright yellow, black and white race outfit and asked him if the drafting didn’t help save his legs enough for the run. No response.
MY FIRST WARNING BY A MARSHALL: As the day progressed towards mid-day it finally got warmer and as the run progressed I zipped down my race outfit to cool down. At one point, I meet a Marshall on bike that told me “Zip it up”. This is the first time in any race for any reason that a Marshall have spoken to me and it’s kind of funny to get a warning for showing to much skin in a race. I wonder what she would have said if I raced in Speedos as we did back in the 90’ties 😀
”ZIP IT – ZIP IT REAL GOOD!”
First two laps felt easy so at the third I started to push the pace up to half Ironman level. By now the course started to become busy and I had to run sick-sack between people in the quite narrow paths around the beautiful Kronenbourg Castle. At an aid-station some disillusioned walker stepped on my heal as I was running past and tripped me so I crashed on my hand and knee. I got up right away and probably gained more time then I lost as I got a real adrenaline kick from the fall.
”Adrian!” Injured and bleeding heavily from the knee and hand – I battled my way to the finish line where a medical team was standing by… Not really – but it’s still kind of ironic to get knocked down in a non-contact sport 🙂
POST RACE: After the race, I hung out with Teresa, Matteo and Patrik and the other Uperform Athletes that had competed, then packed up my gear, checked out my bike and went to the hotel. Later, I came back to see the ”roll down” of slots for Ironman 70.3 World Championships. I had no interest in a slot for myself but wanted to see if people were eager to go. The room was almost empty and Paul Keyes asked how many actually wanted a slot out of the 50 and there were maybe 15 people who raised their hands. I stayed for a little while but it was such an embarrassing situation that I decided to go and have dinner instead.
Can’t help to ask myself why there was so little interest – is it because there is inflation of “Championships” as everyone and their mother arranges them ITU, Challenge, Ironman all have their own? Is it because they charge 450USD for the entry fee? Or is it that 2017 they have the Ironman 70.3 World Championships it in Chattanooga Tennessee – which at least to me is as exciting as traveling to the recycling station with your old bottles and newspapers – only difference is that you feel good after visiting the recycling station.
MY RACE RESULTS: I am happy to have raced and specifically with a very steady run that felt relaxed and good. To be 6th in my age group is not to bad I guess.
I would highly recommend the race as it was really well organized at a great venue. The swim and bike twists and turns are not that bad given the fact that there are volunteers giving directions and roads / harbor is closed off.
Now it’s time to do the final workouts before Challenge Roth which is just 10days away – the worlds biggest Ironman distance triathlon race with over 200.000 spectators, 4,000 participants and the race where I have set my personal best of 09:12 in 1996. A time that I will try to break next Sunday.
Safe training and enjoy the races!