Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Race Report: Ironman Kalmar 2014

This was my priority-A-race for 2014 where I had one goal:
  • to qualify for Ironman World Championship at Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.

The expectations

The training leading up to the race had gone well - no big injuries or setbacks. I was ready to make my first serious attempt to qualify. I raced in the age group M30-34 which typically is quite competitive.  Based on training results I had confidence in the following race plan:
  Swim: 1:00
  T1: 0:03
  Bike: 230 Watts, or about 4:50, under good conditions.
  T2: 0:04
  Run: 3:10
  Total: 9:10

The race

The swim start suited me very well - rolling start based on self-seeding. I placed myself in the group for swimmers with expected swim times around an hour which turned out to work out well. I swam at a steady and comfortable pace.

After a quick transition, I got on the bike, where I started pedaling at my planned wattage. For the first two hours on the bike everything went according to plan. Cycling was easy and I felt great. Then, something happened. I started having problems swallowing the gel, it was just coming back up. I knew this could be synonymous with a gastric shutdown, and that I soon could run into trouble. Despite my efforts at recovering my stomach operation - including holding back on nutrition and taking salt - my energy level quickly decreased. I struggled to keep at 200 Watts. At this point I realized that the Kona qualification was at jeopardy. Even so, I managed to get through the bike leg, with an average wattage of 215 Watts.

Running out of energy makes you question your motivation to continue the race. I have to admit I had some hard moments on the bike. However, I was able to tackle it, and kept moving.

Eventually, after another quick transition, I headed out for the marathon. I wasn't really sure how this was gonna play out, but it turned out to be OK. I sticked to the nutrition plan, which was to drink two cups of energy drink at every aid station and take in 1-1,5 grams of salt per hour. This worked quite alright, and I posted the marathon in an, not impressive, but acceptable 3:26, crossing the finish line at a total time of 9:41.

  Swim: 1:01
  T1: 0:02
  Bike: 215 Watts for 5:09, under windy conditions.
  T2: 0:03
  Run: 3:26
  Total: 9:41

The evaluation

All-in-all, I am very pleased with this performance. If I crossed the finish line at 9:26, I would have qualified for the World Championship at Hawaii. To me, this is great news, especially since I wasn't able to take out my full potential during this race. I realize that I need to further refine my nutrition plan to avoid gastric problems in my next race.

This race represented one big step toward my ultimate goal of racing at Ironman Hawaii.

No comments :

Post a Comment