Sunday morning (20th May) I got up with my first alarm, which is by itself quite unusual for me. I got up, showered, brushed my teeth, braided my hair and slipped into my race suit and pre-race clothes. Without any particular motivation I made myself breakfast and started packing everything I would need. Having so much experience competing in Triathlon Races I myself was a little surprised about myself when I needed less than 10 Minutes to get my bike ready and collect everything from the various places I store them. It was a routine like any other and I don’t know why but I never really got into race mode up until I was in the race.
A little late for my liking but still in time we (my training partner who couldn’t compete cos he’s sick) got to check in and everything was so much routine that I was making stupid mistakes like not putting the stickers on beforehand – I felt like a bloody beginner in that moment. Anyway, I checked my bike in, prepared my transition areas (one for bike, helmet shoes that are clicked onto the bike and glasses, the other with a box for everything else) and left to go to the indoor pool. Having trained outside in a 50-meter pool it was a little bit weird being indoors in a 25-meter one, more so than it was being indoors and running outside for the rest of the race.
Not really warming up (I know – no go but there wasn’t really enough time) I jumped into the water once, before going to the race officials to get my swimming cap assigned. 10 minutes later and there was still no sign of nervousness or the general feeling of adrenaline slowly making it’s way through your system as it usually is the case. It felt like I was showing up for a swimming exercise and even after the start a good 5 minutes into the race I still wasn’t in race mode. The swim was not bad but not really good either. I was on a lane with a girl that was what feels like twice as fast, one that was the opposite and one that was just a tad slower than me. The later passed me after the second and I just decided to stay behind her. I am never one that starts sprinting at the word go; I’d rather set a pace and keep it up until the end. In this case I choose to stay behind which maybe was a mistake because I think I could have been at least 30-45 seconds faster. After climbing out of the water, having to hand the cap back and running to the entrance I had a 500 meter time of 9:51.09.
The way to the transition area was quite long and it had steps, ramps and ground which wasn’t the most pleasant to walk on. After getting directed the wrong way to the bike I had to go back about 50 meters to take the right one. Nonetheless I had quite a fast bike transition and managed to get into my shoes very quickly. Riding on a (very windy) 2-rounds turning point course with an average of almost 29km/h (Strava Ride here) it took me 38:50.08 to get back into the transition area for an average change into my running shoes.
Taking the first step after biking was when the drama finally started to unfold. Meanwhile I managed to fumble my way into race-mode on the bike but as soon as I started running my legs completely closed up. It never happened to me before and I certainly trained it enough, but I had the cramps of death. I tried to fight the first 500 meters but it was just too much and I had to walk. Shame on me for walking but on the other hand I kept on going and tried to run every time I thought it would be better. And my femoral muscles did get better, so did my calves but then my fibula completely shut down and every step felt like someone threw their axe into my shin. That was the point when I briefly thought about going to the medical people on the route and giving up.
But I never before gave up (well once, but I was forced to because I had a flat tire and had to walk most of the way in my bike shoes because there was nobody on the course and when I finally arrived at the transition area the race was mostly over and they wouldn’t let me run). Just giving up has never before been an option to me so I walked as best as I could and after Kilometer 3 tried to run until I had tears in my eyes. I got to the finish line with a total of 1:33:23.61 and a burning desire to cut my legs off. (My Strava Run here)
This day was completely messed up from start to finish; Maybe because I went into it thinking it is a Training Competition anyway, maybe because I relied too much on my routine. Fact is – I really need to change it up if I want to successfully complete this season.