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Race Report: Finntriathlon Joroinen by Thunder Thighs (Relay)

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Our “fun” race for the Summer is done. Thankfully this is a hobby and we can categorize everything under “fun” with this stuff.

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Background

Me and Sanna thought that this year would be suitable for skipping the Finntriathlon race in Joroinen. We both had done it numerous times and our main races were coming relatively shortly after this 70.3 race in Eastern Finland. Then, after my significant other Daniela was searching some bike races to do, we realised that this could be a nice way to do a relay. Sanna would swim, Daniela would naturally do the bike and I could run. So, registration done and fast forward to 18th of July.

Race day morning

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Me and Daniela got to the race site Saturday morning from my parents place at Varkaus and the rest of our gang came from Sanna’s hometown Mikkeli, all under an hours drive from the race site. Me and Daniela had listened the race briefing the day before but we all decided to do the bike check only on race morning.

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Because I was doing the relay and running, Sami could use my bike for his solo race – a race which went very well. Although the best performer of our group was Tiina who won the AG 30-34 with a time of 4.49.49. Not bad for your first 70.3 race!

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I helped everybody with their gear and then Daniela, Sami and Tiina left to ride their bikes to bike check which was naturally at T1, some 4 km away. Sanna as the swimmer grabbed her wetsuit and went to find the bus transport to the lake and I focused on the important stuff.

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It was quite funny to see everybody check their equipment and have the usual race day jitters. I just checked that I had my running shoes with me, my Garmin on my wrist and I was basically wearing my race day clothes on me from the start. I did not fall asleep but got some good relaxin’ on the back of the car.

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There were the usual nervousness before the swim start.

Swim

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Time: 35.34

As mentioned previously, Sanna was our starter and was getting ready for the swim portion of our relay. The race started at 11AM but the relays were the last wave to go at 11.38. There were 60 teams and this meant that there was a lot of space for a good start. Sanna’s swim was good, right at her current level. She said that she had some navigational issues along the way because she could not see all the buoys but all in all she was satisfied with her performance.

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The funny thing is with swimming for triathletes that even if this was a solo race for Sanna, the time would have been same or almost the same. When you are middle of the pack swimmer without the background in competitive swimming, it is very challenging to swim any faster than the normal race pace. T1 was simple for relay teams. Daniela was waiting near the bikes and Sanna just gave her the timing chip and then it was time for some bike riding.

Bike

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Time: 2.48.16

Average speed: 32,4 km/h

Average Power: 169 W

Normalized Power: 183 W

Daniela’s own target was to break three hours on the bike leg. This was her second time ever riding against the clock and the first time was the bike portion of sprint triathlon at Kisko. The big difference here was that there were some 1500 athletes at the bike leg at the same time and when you have not done that previously it can get quite intimidating. She handled the new situation very well and rode a good race.

Daniela’s Bike Data

Our power target was 190-200 W and she was a little bit under that. The difference is mainly due to the congestion on the bike course, you have to coast and pedal easier at times when there is a lot of people around you. This is amplified with the relay, because our starting wave was the last one.

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She did a great job with her performance and most importantly she was happy after the race and satisfied with her performance. There is a lot to improve on and she will get a lot faster just by doing same races and getting used to the hassle. I believe that her targets for next races will be lot higher. T2 followed the same idea as T1. Find the runner (me) standing at the T2 area, give the chip and race number and you’re done!

Run

DSC05108Time: 1.32.15

I was feeling good about the run, this would be my first half marathon ever it would be nice to get some kind of time for this distance. I have done an Ironman but never felt the urge to time myself on a half marathon. This relay turned out to be a good way to do it.

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My goal was to get under 1.30. I knew that this would be very challenging but I wanted to try. I was well recovered for this one, mainly because my legs cannot withstand a lot of running (at this moment atlas). I knew that If I wanted to go under 1.30 I needed to run 4.15 min/km. As my data will tell us, I did a quite good job at that for the first 7km lap.

The first couple of km’s were little bit faster than target pace and I was feeling relatively good about my running. Because of our late starting wave I was amidst of people going for 5-6 hour performances in their own right and I have to say it felt a little bit bad to be running with them. My pace was naturally faster than theirs and it felt a little bit unfair to be passing people from left to right. Basically I was in another race than them. They had swam and biked I was just doing the run. There were a lot of people running way faster than me on both the relays and solo races but I was just in that section where my pace was faster than the people around me.

After the first lap I was just under my goal pace, I went under the banner with a couple of seconds left to the 30 minute mark. I was feeling OK but knew that it would be hard to keep this pace up. After the first uphill my pace had dropped but the funny was that I did not feel the pace difference in my running. My Garming told me that my pace’s were from 4.20 to 4.40 per km but it felt that I was running as fast as before. Well, I maintained my effort and actually felt a little bit better during the second lap.

After the second lap I was roughly 20 seconds behind my schedule and I think that I somewhat gave up on my goal at that point. I continued to run at the same “comfortably uncomfortable” pace and got through the run quite well. I might have been able to run a tiny bit faster and this is just the thing when you need to embrace the suck (or insert any other ” beast mode” quotation) a lot more and grit your teeth. Today, I was not willing to do that. Also it has to be noted that the course might have been a tiny bit short, so the actual breaking of 1.30 was not really close that day (although the course was relatively slow).

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As a conclusion we have to say that doing triathlon in a relay is very fun and I would recommend it for everyone wanting to try the atmosphere at the races! Me and Sanna did good performances and Daniela got some great experience and her performance was excellent for a first timer here!