I AM AN IRONMAN!
At least that it was it says on my certificate from the race 🙂
To be honest, I do not think I’m an Ironman until I’ve done the full Ironman in Kalmar later this year.
Make no mistake, you still have to be somewhat fit to race a 70.3, but I feel if you are fit, you can do it pretty easily within the time frames given.
But a full Ironman, this is what separates mind over body, a true endurance race!
So I arrived to Mallorca feeling quite relaxed having a goal to complete the race under 6 hours. Take it easy and not pressure myself.
Set goal times was:
Swim: 1 hour
Bike: 3 hours
Run: 1:35-1;40 hours
I felt so relaxed that I had not gotten any racing instincts or butterflies in my stomach. This made me wonder what was happening to me. I’m a person with a very high race- and winning-instinct personality. I actually laid in my bed the morning before the race trying to summon one ounce of race feel. But it did not come to me.
Oh well, I thought. I’ll just stick to my plan and get through this race.
Woke up early and fueled up with pancakes, nutella, yoghurt and müsli. Went down to the bike transition area to fix the last bit with my bike, check tire pressure etc. Added some gels and 2 bottles, one with water and another with energydrink.
Went down to the sea and just enjoyed being at the start. Fixed my wetsuit and took some swimming strokes in the sea. Cursed myself for not buying anti-fog for my glasses as they fogged up immediately. Saw the PROs and the women start their race and I lined up to start as well.
Race start Swim:
We were over 500 people in my age group. Since I did not feel like battling it out with all of them I went to the left side in the start and let everyone run in the water before I walked out.
Since I’ve had problems with my shoulder I knew I would not be fast in the water and as such, that is why I chose to take it easy in the start.
But let me tell you, even if I were in the back, it still was a fight. Really slow people had started up front and fast people in the back. It was somewhat chaos. I got run over several times but did not panic. I took it easy and steered out from the buoys as most people wanted to take the short route. Now I could concentrate on my self. Got a good rhythm and started to feel comfortable so i headed back closer to the buoys to find some legs I could swim behind. Easier said than done. Every time I found some legs that felt OK in speed, they started to breastswim, backswim, or octopusswim (breastswim laying on your back). Basically I swam the 1.9km by my self.
I came out of the ocean feeling pretty dizzy. I think it is due to all the rolling back and forth plus me only breathing on one side.
Jogged slowly to my bikebag and sat down drying my self. Since I had no pressure of doing a great time I took my time in transition. Ate a Gel, dried my feet, walked the 500m the biketransition was. No mistakes were made here.
I jumped on my bike and headed out of town. Suddenly I was passing a lot of people but I did not feel tired at all. Now.. my racing instinct kicked in. To hell with taking it easy!
Looking at my Garmin watch I was going almost 40km/h. I thought, this will never be good, I will burn myself in the beginning of the race.
So I took it down a notch and kept just below my legs feeling pressured. I still was flying and passing people. Then I reached the dreaded mountain (Coll De Femenia). Took one gel, put my bike drive train in the easiest gear and started climbing. It felt so easy and I started wondering what was wrong with me. I could not find anything wrong as my legs did not feel fatigued at all and my breathing was not fast. I passed a group of cyclist which all looked very serious so I started singing Monty Pythons “always look on the bright side of life”, everyone laughed and I continued going up hill.
At the top I took another gel and then swished down hill. The roads were mainly perfect, but sometimes it was very bad. I was going down hill fast when the surface changed into very bumpy and since I had a deadmans grip on my steering wheel I managed to bend the whole cockpit. My aerobars were pointing downwards. Luckily I managed to fix this when I got out on the flats. I sat on the bike pulling the bars towards me and it worked.
Since I was going faster than most people I had to shout “KEEP RIGHT” all the time. There was little respect for the Ironman rules of keeping right and/or drafting which made me a bit angry.
I could have pushed much harder as I did not feel tired at all in my legs. I passed some small cities and enjoyed the scenery which was beautiful.
I walked towards my bike holder and took my running bag. Did a swift change and headed out. I realized I still had a replacement tire tube in my racesuit and had forgotten to take off my bike gloves. I threw the tube and put my gloves in my race suit pocket.
I took it easy in the first 200m to get a feel for my legs. They felt alright and I started running. Then it hit me, I got a bad case of side stitch (“håll” in Swedish).
Immediately I was forced to slow down. I jogged 1km or so and stopped to stretch. It felt good but as soon as I ran a bit faster the side stitch came back. I was sad as I was not tired at all and thought I would push myself on the running section. At every aid station I stopped for cooling down myself with water sponges and also having a bit of coca cola. The side stitch went away, but when I increased the speed again, It came directly back.
Jona (also from HTT) came up behind me and we had a bit of a chat. I tried keeping her pace but it was a no go. I had to settle with my running pace. Since I couldn’t do anything about my pace I enjoyed the run. It was a hot run, but bearable. And it was fun hearing people shout “Come on Nicklas” or “Go Sweden” 🙂
I had gotten around the track 3 times and received 3 ribbons on my arm so I was pointed to the finish line. The finish line was not a long one but there was a big crowd cheering and I enjoyed it very much. I jogged passing the finish line and received a medal.
I am happy with the swimming. I had barely practiced any swimming at all due to shoulder problem but luckily my wetsuit fixed my lack of technique.
I really feel I should have pressed on the bike course. Even if I’m satisfied with the time, It could easily be 5-10 minutes better on this distance.
The running is a disappointment as I thought I would do under 1:40 quite easily. But today was not my day. I think I did pretty good as it was 27C and sunny.
My first transition was horrible in retrospect, 12 minutes! I have to work on my attitude that a race is a race even if there is no pressure.
Final time 5:36:02
The time is under 6 hours and I’m very happy with this since it is my first race. I felt good the whole race (except just after the swim for a minute).
Could the race had been done better? Yes, there is no question in my mind that I could have done the race minimum 20 minutes better.
I did not even have muscle soreness after the race which shows that I did not go hard at all.
I want to step up my training and do more hours on the bike. I think there is a lot of improvement that could be done there. Perhaps I will enter some small bike races to get more race training and have fun.
The Ironman in Kalmar is only 3 months away now, better get ready!
For full race info, click HERE