About 14 months ago I decided to sign up to do an Ironman. In August last year registered for Kalmar Ironman and my main goal since then has been to cross the finishing line and hear the words “You are an Ironman!”.
And so, last saturday the day I’d been preparing for was finally there. The week before I was so nervous I almost felt sick, but I knew that feeling. I also knew that this feeling would disappear as soon as the race would start. The weather conditions were perfect, almost no wind and just above 18 degrees celsius in the water. It was really foggy in the morning, but later on the day, the fog and the clouds would disappear and the sun would warm us as we ran along the streets of Kalmar on the final marathon.
The start field was split in different groups depending on how fast we were to swim the 3.8 km. I placed myself in the group labeled 1h10min, the second fastest group. I had decided to take it really easy on the swim, and it went just as planned. The swim was rather easy without big waves. Some parts of the swim were quite crowded and the fog made it impossible to see any landmarks so we had to depend on the nearest boys which made it a bit harder to swim in a straight line.
The only discomfort I felt was on the last 700 meter of the swim were I became really nausea and almost threw up, but as soon as I came up from the water I was fine again.
T1 (the transition between swimming and cycling) took about 12 minutes, which is a lot. The reason it took so long time is because I messed up a bit with the clothes for the ride. Usually during a triathlon you wear the tri-suit directly under the swimsuit so the only thing do in T1 in to jump out of the swimsuit, put the helmet and glasses on the head and put the shoes on the feet.
But since the weather was rather cold I had decided that I wanted to start the cycling in dry cloths. I also wanted long sleeves and an extra cycling shirt on top of the tri-suit. So in T1 I jumped out of the wetsuit, used my towel to dry up a bit, put the tri-suit and the long sleeves on and then my cycling shirt. At this point I noticed that I had forgotten to put the chest strap for my heart rate monitor on. I could of course had skipped it, but I wanted to pace my race depending on my heart rate so I had no other option than to take of the shirt, pull down the tri-suit and put the strap on…
Then I jogged away to pick up my bike.
Well on the bike I started to shiver like madness, so I was very glad I decided to put the extra cloths on. The first part of the ride was over the long bridge out the island Öland. It was a really nice ride! After 10-12 km when I reached Öland I felt warm again. The first 70 km of the ride whet very smoothly. I kept sipping on my energy drink every 5-10 minutes and I ate a half energy bar end half a banana after 30 minutes. I had a dip around 90 km when my back started to hurt but after a quick stop with some stretching i felt ok again. Here I also took of my cycling shirt, but I kept the sleeves on. After 120 km I was back on the mainland again and headed out for the last 60 km around Kalmar. My average speed was 30 km/h and it felt really comfortable to keep it up. I could probably have kept a bit higher speed but since I wanted to save as much of my legs as possible for the running.
The last part of the cycling towards T2 was very emotional. I was well within my time plan, and I knew I would have enough time to finish the Ironman even I would have to walk large parts of the marathon.
Leaving the bike in T2 (the transition between cycling and running) felt very good, I was so thankful that I had managed without any flat tires or other mechanical issues along the ride. And on top of that my body felt great!
The legs felt much better than I had expected and it felt really good to start the running. My game plan was to keep my heart rate under 150 bpm to ensure not hitting the wall. I knew this would mean running in a slow pace of about 5:45 min/km. My plan was to walk along every energy station to be sure to get the energy I needed and to let my legs recover a bit. The marathon was split in 3 laps, each lap being 14 km. I usually don’t like running laps but here I felt great since I didn’t knew what it looked like along the running course. I split each lap in half to make it mentally easier. Each lap started and ended in the city center were a lot of people was cheering which gave so much energy. I was also surprised how much people it was along the streets and in the gardens out on the course. I was like a big party was going on.
When I had done the two first laps (28 km) and checked my watch I realized that if I would keep the same speed for the last lap I would make i under 12 hours, which had been my goal since start. That gave me so much energy! Even if my legs were stiff and I had blisters on my toes the last lap was the easiest 14 km of the day. I got tears in my eyes multiple times along the last lap and it felt so good to know that I would meet the goal I’d put up over a year ago.
To finally cross the finishing line was such a relief!
The time, 11h 44 minutes and 45 seconds.