Last year I got bitten by the triathlon bug during Copenhagen 4:18:4. Since then I started learning the front-crawl, more biking and consistent running. This spring I even joined KVIK Tri Team here at Amager and that really took my swimming up to a new level.
Come april I bought a road bike: Giant Defy 1. Luckily I at the same time got a coworker bitten by the cycling bug so I had a friend to punish the roads with.
At the same time my wife and I got the news that she is pregnant and we will get a little girl this december. I hear that this entails a complete shift of focus and a change of priorities. This led me to the conclusion: If I want to do a “real” triathlon, this summer is the time in any foreseeable future. I went to the danish triathlon overview page and looked for half ironman races as late in the season as possible: I was seriously considering Silkeborg August 28, but the travel and the clash with Christiansborg Rundt 2k swim race made Hillerød triathlon the obvious choice. 1k swim, 75k bike and 20k run. I had hoped for an openwater swim (and a bit longer) but 50m lanes was a decent compromise. I had hoped for a longer bike as well, but 75k is very decent! 20k run was going to be the hardest part; since last fall my running was lacking due to yet another knee problem.
I signed up, and tried to structurize my training the best as I could after the basic premise: 3 workouts in each diciplin each week.
Today (2011-08-21) was the day of Hillerød tri. Since april 2. I have accumulated 2222km’s on the bike, 430km running, 86km swimming (were the last two months have been open water swimming).
The day started early, 5.10(Am) the alarm went off and I went straight for breakfeast. My usual breakfeast with a banana added and two cups of coffee as well as 750ml of sis energy-drink. I had packed my bags the night before and planned my energy intake: Basic premise: gel every 20minutes from bike start to run end. During the bike I would also take in two energybars (a 30minutes and 1h30minutes – Powerbar Cookies and cream and a Sqeezy Cola Caffeein bar) as well as two times 750ml energy drink.
In the weeks leading up to the race I had been swaying between using the wetsuit or not. (Allthough legal – I feel somewhat cramped around the shoulders and very hot in the pool – but the buoyancy and speed effect is hard to neglect). In the end I packed the wetsuit. I also brought two CO2 cannisters, 3 extra-tubes (only took two on the bike), my new fusion compression top and bottom, cep compresison tubes and extra unattached sleeves for a cold bike ride.
I boarded the s-train at 6:45 and arrived at the bike-checkin at 7:45ish. Got my number and tried to remember all things I was told at the KVIK tri training seminars about T1/T2 setup and what i’ve learned at 4:18:4.
After that I had to hurry with a shower and change into the wetsuit. Everybody was started with 30seconds intervals in between and my start time was 8:12:00.
At 8:12:01 I jumped into the water and the swimming started. I was number 24 to start so not that many in the pool at that time, and lots of room to overtake and be overtaken in. The layout was to zig-zag the pool for 500meters (in 50m lanes) and then do it once more. Pretty uneventful apart from a single guy that kept tickling me until I stopped at one of the turns to explicitly let him pass. Annoying.
18minutes and 30seconds later(1m51s/100m) I left the pool and ran for T1. In my dreams I had hoped for a 20minute swim but feared a 22 minute swim. Very nice to surpass my own expectations!
The bikecourse was a 2×37,5km loop. As there at most was 20-30people in front of me after the swim not many people to see out on the first loop. Due to road-work they had to direct us through 100m patch of gravel-road. Not fun. And many of the road-side biking-paths were in pretty bad shape. But apart from that it was a beautiful ride (with some wind!). The second loop contained far more people. Both people doing two loops but also the 400persons that was competing in race of half the distance. In the weeks leading into the race I have been struggeling with some pain in my left gluteus maximus(butt cheek) and I was quite annoing today as well. Not debilitating just annoying and taking away my power at that side.
My goal for the bike was to steady my heartrate around 150-155(70-75% HRR) and be
smart about the nutrition – in best case that would result in a bike-split around 2h20minutes. I had hoped for an aid station with actual bottles instead of just a place to refill my own bottle but what the heck – that minute didn’t hurt me.
When I parked my bike I was happy to see that bike-ride ended at 2h 15m! (33,74 km/t)
Entering T2 I saw my wife with the camera and it always lightens my mood seeing her
In T2 I filled my pockets with gels and wielded my running shoes (with elastic shoelaces – fantastic invention). Feeling excellent (I knew that the butt cheek didnt affect my running) I headed for the 2x10km run loops. The route was quite scenic through the woods and along tiny lakes. Lots of people in the woods to run along side. 10k and 5k runners from other racedistances and other 20k runners as well.
The strategy was to settle the heartrate under 160(80%) for the first 10k to ensure that I would survive the last 10k – and no HR caps for the final 10k. Due to my running injuries I havent had a run longer that 10-14k since 2007 – but today was the day! In my last weeks of training 12k was my base run distance so I knew that distance was possible for me to run. So after 8k I told my self: Now you just need to run the 12k you have done so many times during training.
This summer I entered a 10k race and finished in about 46minutes – based on that I dreamt about a 1h40minute 20k at Hillerød. The first 10k took just about 54 minutes and it felt OK tough my right knee was starting to act up. The second loop was quite tolling and the knee got worse and worse. But somehow I managed to almost keep the pace even finishing with a the last two k a bit faster that the rest. At the finish line I was completely spent. I sat down on the grass an my wife brought me some water. 1h47minutes, and the bike+t2+run was done within 4hours. Inside the exhausted exterior I was ecstatic!
My dream-race was 20minute swim, 2h20m bike, 1h40m run + t1+t2 == 4h26minutes. I finished in all in all 4h21minutes. Way better than I had dared to dream about. Phenomenal!
Now Im sitting in the couch. I ordered both pizza and burger and coke for dinner and my knee is very very sore and I can seem to fight the hunger that keeps on popping up eventhough I eat and eat – and I feel exhausted, spent, hungover and ecstatic all at once. What a day and worth every hour of training!