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Race Report: Ironman Cozumel/Sanna

posted in: Tritraining blog

Amazing race from the little one! Huge congrats to Sanna, as of writing she is flying somewhere above the Atlantic, trying to get home to cold Finland.



Time: 11 h 9 min

Overall: 183/1400

Age Group: 5/43

Background and goals for the race

This was Sanna’s third iron distance race and her goal was to better her 11 h 47 min personal best, despite that this race is considerably slower than Barcelona. Her training had been solid from end of August until the trip. Race results and training had quite a bit of variation during Summer but she made it happen for the big day.

Sanna has been doing triathlons since 2012 and she has gotten a little bit better every year on at least 2 of the 3 disciplines. Triathlon can be an all consuming sport but we have managed to keep Sanna on a good track even though the available time for training and recovery is limited for her. Next time somebody brags you about their training hours it might be good to remember that Sanna has done 3 solid iron distance performances and she has never averaged over 8 hours of training per week (from January to race day).

Now, let us hear from herself.


Time: 1h 12 min

Overall: 397/1400

Age Group: 12/43

At the start line I felt confident and the swim got of to a good start. I found my rhythm and felt the top current aiding the swim at the start. After 30 minutes it felt that the aid of the current wasn’t so strong and the waves started to get bigger. I had the same feelings as Ville, that this is not going anywhere and it felt like T1 was not coming any closer. Finally I got to the transition and my time was inside my own target 1.07-1.15. Basically the same time as Lake Tahoe last year (Tahoe was wetsuit legal and at altitude).




My goal was to get through transition quickly and on to the bike. This went according to plan and the rather slow transition times come from the very long transition area. I got on to the bike and focused on drinking and keeping myself cool. In the mean time our support group was focusing on the important tasks at hand.



Time: 5h 40 min

Overall: 230/1400

Age Group: 5/40

Nutrition: 1500 kcal from gels on bottle and approx. 1000 kcal from Gatorade.

Liquids: 5-6 litres of liquid from Gatorade and water.

On the bike my target power was 150 watts but in reality it settled around 130 watts. (Ville’s comment: As it is highly unlikely that both of our power meters were showing low numbers we have to believe that the heat and humidity dropped the power considerably). I focused on keeping the pace steady and went mostly on feel (RPE).


The bike started really well and I was passing people like crazy. The first lap out of three went pass really fast. Unfortunately the winds reminded me why this race is so challenging and the second lap was a lot more challenging. The headwind was strong on the Eastern side of the island and this dropped the speed and made the heat started to really burn. On this section I notice that my heart rate suddenly jumps 20 beats higher – this is something that has happened before and I know not to get worried, just let the heart beat and keep on going. After an hour the situation got back to normal.

screen-shot-2016-12-07-at-19-17-37The second lap was the hardest on the bike. My neck was getting tired and it caused some headache. A short break to the bathroom and some quick stretches, problem solved! The third lap was surprusingly easy, probably because I knew what to expect on the head wind section. I was waiting that Ville would catch me, but he didn’t appear. I was hoping that he did not have any major issues…


The rest of the bike went well and at the T2 I saw our amazing support group shouting very loudly. It was a bit embarrassing to walk to the tent but I had to because the legs were so numb.



A quick transition with the wonderful volunteers and on to the run course. Legs feel fine but my stomach is not so happy. (Ville’s comment: Sanna took a lot of energy on the bike – more than planned – and this might have caused the GI issue, fortunately it did not effect to end result significantly)



Time: 4 h 5 min

Overall: 183/1400

Age Group: 5/43

Nutrition and liquid: Pepsi and water on every aid station.

The first kilometres go by quite easily but the fun is short lived. At 3 km mark it starts to feel bad and I remember thinking that I will never do this again if I make it to the finish this time. The thoughts of quitting start to appear and I know that I have to do something to make this work.


I drop the pace a little bit, start drinking Pepsi and show ice to my race suit. With this the stomach starts to feel better and I can keep on going. I try motivate myself telling that Hawaii is even hotter and I do not have to compete there. This is easier. After the fist lap (14 km) I see Daniela & Tiina supporting me and that gives a lot of energy to continue! I keep the same pace, walk every aid station and drink some Pepsi and put ice in my suit. Lap 2 (28 km) done and I see the support crew at the turnaround to last lap. They inform me that I am 5th. I don’t know if I should laugh or cry. It starts to feel worse again and I just try to keep on going. The finish is getting closer but I have to stop to a porta potty on the last 7 km stretch – I just hope that this does not cost me my 5th place.


I see Ville for the last time when I have 4 km to go, I am so tired that I cannot even wave to him. I just want it to end. At the final stretch I see some guy in from of me and I have to sprint to beat him and then I can fall to the ground and call it a day. I was 5th, so I achieved my goal and I am very happy about the PB and the performance overall. The 4 faster ladies were really far ahead, so no bad feelings with that. This was mentally the hardest race I have ever done.


Special thanks for Daniela and Tiina for excellent support! Thanks Ville for the coaching, without you I would still probably be on the race course…and of course thanks to my great teammates at SKB Racing Triathlon Team! You always push me to be better every time.

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