Daniela’s triathlon journey continues with the next step in distance. The half ironman or as the total distance of the race is (in miles) 70.3. She did her first triathlons last Summer and got hooked with this great sport. Although she has been a very physically active person all through her life, endurance sports do not come that easily for her. As most triathletes, she is an adult onset swimmer, meaning she started to learn to swim on the Fall of 2015. Her swimming is improving step by step and her fear of open water swimming is mostly vanished. Her cycling hobby started in 2014 and running has been with her for many years. Even so, running was the disciple of these three that worried her the most for this race. Her old ankle problems don’t bother her anymore, but running is still the sport which needs the most work.
With that background in mind the goal for this race was relatively simple. Complete the race safely and within her own limits. People’s goals vary wildly, depending on their background, current fitness and experience in the sport. Usually if you are doing this for the first time and you do not have any high level sports background the best way to approach these longer events is to focus on a solid performance and getting through the race without any mishaps. In practice this means finding your own pace, sticking to it and making sure that you get enough water, energy and electrolytes during the race.
The 1900 m swim is done in the beautiful bay of Alcudia and for this year the loop was to be done anti-clockwise. This meant that there was quite a long shallow portion before you could actually start swimming. Some of our SKB Racing teammates used this to their advantage and made their way faster with dolphin dives.
Let’s give Daniela a chance to tell the story in her own words:
I was feeling good on the start line and decided to go to a faster swim group than expected. Additional reason for this was the heat which started to feel rather uncomfortable standing on the beach in the wetsuit. This was a good choice. The water felt great and I was swimming at the same pace as the other people in the group. Navigation was easy and I felt that this would be a good race. After the swim I got up and saw a new record for me at this distance. It felt awesome and I continued with great feeling toward the transition!
We were expecting the swim to be 45-50 minutes for her and 42 minutes were a great result! Solid transition and of to the bike.
Our power target for the race was 160-180 watts. The upper limits for the uphill section and 160 watts for a mental low limit. Naturally these are only guidelines and especially because this was her first race in this distance it was important to keep the effort level reasonably comfortable throughout the day. Daniela executed a solid bike and here are her own thoughts:
Bike started really well and I my legs felt very good. I was passing people and I was following my power and heart rate targets. The uphill went really well and I enjoyed it a lot! After the downhill I hit a pothole and managed to lose my bottle on the front of the bike. No worries I just grabbed a new bottle from the next aid station and continued the ride. I saw quite a lot of drafting but fortunately I saw at least 3 people who got a penalty. At least there was some officiating going on.
The only challenge during the bike was that the water bottles were not full from the aid stations. This meant that after losing the second bottle from the front I was out of water for a moment and did not get enough replacements from the aid stations. This was not a good performance from the organisers.
The bike was a good performance from Daniela. If you look at the file closer you see that the power drops during the latter part of the ride. This was probably due to the issue without getting enough water and some strong tailwind. It is better to take it a little bit easier than to mess up your water and energy at this point of the race.
Before the race Daniela was worried that the run could become very hard for her. 6 min/km pace is quite fast for her and because of this it was important to get to T2 feeling good so that the run would be a run and not a jog/walk. Daniela’s turn:
Although I did not get enough water during the bike (I got all the energy and electrolytes as planned) I was feeling good on T2. Legs felt fresh and relaxed after the bike. When I got in to my running shoes the smile came to my face because it felt surprisingly good.
I was mostly worried about the run and especially could I keep a even pace through the run? Thankfully the run went really well! I kept the same pace during the whole run and focused on drinking the sports drink and pouring water on me on every aid station. There was enough aid stations on the run and my legs were good until the 16 km mark. At that point my poor legs started to cramp but I just kept on going and managed to keep running through the whole course. It felt so good to get the last band on my wrist and sprint to the finish line!
Awesome performance from Daniela! She executed the plan pretty much spot on and got a great performance from it! It is a real confidence booster to succeed in what you have been practising for the last Winter. We will end with Daniela’s words
This was a really great race and I could not have hoped for a better half distance race for my first one! The fans were great and special thanks to all my teammates at SKB for their never ending encouragement. This left a very nice feeling for me and it’s really a good place to improve on.