#Race – May the Force be with you.

I’ve just closed May and that makes it 34 weeks of training, may the force be with me, oh yes it has to be as I get in the last four weeks of training. It’s been quite a journey since April but things are going the right direction or let’s say that it’s what I want to believe with Frankfurt around the corner.

It started out good, back from Mallorca and the training camp it has been on schedule ever since the start of May and continuing on the pace started about fifteen days beforehand. Perfect, I wouldn’t say so as I struggled a little with my running, not in terms of overall pace but more with sticking to the coach’s plan and this can be a little frustrating. Being able to run fast is one thing but sticking to the plan is part of the game as you train but don’t want to get too tired doing that. Triathlon is all about that, getting all the hours done at a quality pace so you can do all.

As I got into May, the Semi-Marathon de Genève was coming together shortly and I felt quite out of range, as per the above and struggling on the specific speed work while the test was coming along. Getting into the second week of that month I didn’t feel too comfy on what I would do there and I could feel it mentally when I went to pick-up my bib on Friday 10th of May.

With a friend and good runner being in town and training towards Frankfurt as well, I thought I could try and run it with her as we talked about it so it came together that same week when we started talking about pacing and so on. What was a good point is that she didn’t sound too comfy either so I felt in a happy place taking the start with her. The week got lighter in terms of training load and we appeared on the start line with the gang, coach and Imogen to stick behind my shoes.

As we started, it went very well and we went down the course with a strong average pace of 3:49/km which turned out to be well above what I thought I would be able to achieve on that day. Funny enough is that I received the coach’s instruction when waking up at 5AM and I didn’t feel anything like it but in the end, I went 1:57min faster than my Paris time in early March and 1:16min faster than the set goal of 1h21:56min for 1h20:40 at the finish.

Great stuff was that Imogen took the win for women and it was fun but also a very good training to run as two. It gets much easier to pace yourself and keep a rythm when doing so. And fantastic is to achieve another personal best when you don’t even think about doing so!

But then training resumed straight after as with a little more than three weeks on the calendar I was to take Ironman70.3 Switzerland in Rapperswil-Jona for the second time since 2017. Back where it all started and where I started my triathlon journey, it looked good in terms of training and load even if I would have to cope with a weekend away in the UK for work a little more than a week before the race.

All looked good, brick sessions were feeling good and swim, bike or run, I was on the pace to achieve great but the work thing happened and unfortunately and due to travelling hours most certainly, I had quite a moment after my spell in the UK… I had two epileptic seizure while on my tapering week or just 3 days before the start. It would have been okay if I didn’t hit my head hard with 12 stitches done at the back and an optic nerve a bit wobbly but I was given the green light to race.

I won’t complain more as I took the decision to race and achieve my best, it’s part of my life and has been for a number of years. It’s just unfortunate that I couldn’t keep it together this year either but that’s life and racing is also life..!

So on Ironman70.3 Switzerland, I had a good tapering week, got onto race day in a good shape I would think and considering the past few days. I took the decision to start with the fast pack when I entered and set my goal on keeping-up with the swimmers or at least hang to their feet and I tried my best there I can tell you but still it was a hard one. With a split of 32:52min it was almost two minutes faster than my last one on such distance but a hard fought one. Sensations were strange with a pretty cold lake but I finished with the end of the pack which was what I had been aiming for.

Swim Strava Overview

Transition 1 went okay with a time of 3:25min. Hoping for no longer than that is the aim in Frankfurt and with the longer distance.

On the bike, I got out okay and jumped on the bike with pretty good sensations, the average speed was up to 34.1km/h with an elevation of a little short of 1000m which I consider a good point. The total time was of 2h29:49min which is a personal best on the course and overall on the distance so not bad either. I remembered what the coach said which was that a strong bike may cause heavy legs and I kept that in my head all along the course which proved a good thing. Temperatures were rising and I knew I would get on the run in the heat and in a place with not much shadow either so it was looking good.

Bike Strava Overview

Transition 2 went a bit longer than I thought with a time of 3:55min. I would have liked to keep it shorter than the first one but I guess I shouldn’t have stopped for what proved an unnecessary wee stop, but better that than having to stop later I guess.

Out on the run, the first six-seven kilometers felt awful… My wobbly optical nerve played a little unfair there and I had a hard time keeping my line while going out and it took a little time to get it together. I guess Daniela Ryf played a part in getting me started properly as she lapped me going into her second loop and so I followed for about a kilometer and that got me into a sort of pace (which I didn’t stick to except for the lines around the corners I guess…) but thank you for that. Reflecting on the run, I can see I wasn’t doing any good as I struggled hard in terms of overall pace, ups and downs all around which shows I wasn’t in full control as per the previous weeks and brick sessions done in training.

Run Strava Overview

I went across the line and still finished with a 7′ personal best over the distance and if compared to last year in Staffordshire, UK but also considering Rapperswil and 2017 where I started. I felt I could have gone for more as I was no faster on the run than two years ago or last year in the UK but the head wasn’t with me on that day I would conclude and that’s when you need it. I won’t complain as I could have not started due to the previous week events’ and altogether, with 4 weeks to go until Frankfurt, it’s just a little more motivation to get me started there.

Total Time – 4hr45:38min

I’ve learnt to appreciate where I stand and what I can do taking outside factors such as my epilepsie thing into account and still, it was a good race, a personal best and that’s what you’ve got to take, the rest is out of my control so take it or leave it.

See you in four weeks when we’ll talk about the big day.

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