First triathlon this year – and a big one: The Championship, a world middle distance championship of the Challenge series in Šamorin, Slovakia. I surprisingly qualified for this race with my 5th place at Challenge Herning in Denmark – the first time in my life that I qualified for something in sports at all 😀
We decided to combine it with a short vacation, stopping to visit beautiful cities on the way there and back. The first thing I did waking up every day was checking the weather forecast for the race day – and it was getting hotter and hotter.
We arrived the day before the race – registration was organized in a very efficient way, not so the bike check-in… But the worst information came during the race briefing: water is expected to be about 14 degrees Celsius so it’s not clear which distance are we going to swim. What was clear, was that it definitely will be a wetsuit-legal or even wetsuit-obligatory swim.
On the race day, the official water temperature was announced: 14,4 degrees in the Danube river, we’re swimming the full 1900m distance. Given the 25 degrees air temperature at 9:30 in the morning getting into the water felt like the ice bucket challenge… I start to swim, or at least I’m trying to, but I’m not really moving forward. The current is so strong, that I have the impression to invest all the energy into not being drifted away. The water is so cold and there marking buoys don’t seem to come any closer, I’m having a brief thought about giving up. Instead I focus on stabilising my breath and my stroke and start to slowly move forward. 1900 meters have never been so long. I don’t even dare to look at my watch. When I finally manage to get out of the water I see the degree of the disaster: 45 minutes (I swam both 70,3 distances last year in 38 minutes, was expecting 36-37 this year). But given that I was by far not the last one to get out of the water, it was pretty clear, it’s not me it’s the current. Still, just look at the mix of disbelief and disgust on my face :joy:
T1 went well, without loosing any time, this time I grabbed the right bag (last year I had the wrong one and had to go back) and ran towards the bike. Still, I needed 5 minutes for the transition, as the ways were quite long there and included tricky stairs.
It was pretty clear that it will rather be a fast course – almost no elevation and not very windy conditions. The surface was mostly good as well. I reduced the nutrition frequency in comparison to the last year and it was a good decision – no digestive problems this time and a very consistent ride with constant 32km/h and a 2:47 bike split time (almost 10 minutes faster than last year). The course was not exactly spectacular, but yeah, the most spectacular bike courses are usually very hilly, and I’m unfortunately terrible when it comes to hills…
I managed to jump off the shoes at the dismount line very easily for the first time (last year at the IronMan Hamburg I just managed one, the other clicked out, so I had to keep it on my foot and run with one cycling shoe through the transition…) and ran – barefoot on a very hot asphalt, as the carpet didn’t start immediately. Again – a long way to run, more than 500 meters. I had the impression of being quite fast, but the watch was showing more than 4 minutes for the whole transition
There is only one word that comes to my mind when I think of the run – hot! The air temperature reaching about 30 degrees and almost no wind and no shade. Pretty exposed to the sun for the whole course. We were running 3 rounds on quite a strange course: while a short part of the course went along the river, the major part was happening in a horse race course, on grass and sand surface. The heat and humidity made it difficult at the beginning, I needed few minutes to stabilize my breath. I had just two gels and decided to fuel on coke during the majority of the run – which was a blessing to my stomach – no issues at all and also no feeling of being hungry. I finished the run in 1:59, finally under 2 hours
My total time 5:43:03 – not quite the time I expected, as I was aiming in about 5:30, but with the swim disaster – no wonder 😉 Now the most important thing is to keep training for the Ironman Frankfurt in 3 weeks