I should have posted this earlier but better now than never.
My initial goal for the past season was based on olympic distance triathlon. I wanted to race a few European cup races, gain some experience and hopefully some results as well. In order for latter to happen I had to improve my swimming a lot. I had to bring my 1500m time (which was around 20 minutes) in the 18-19 minute range which is probably just enough to exit the water in some kind of a group. Most of my training time over fall and winter months was spent in the pool. The emphasis was on volume as we (me & coach) were hoping the speed will come with volume overload. Cycling was reduced to two sessions per week and I managed to squeeze in fair amount of running kilometers. I swam more than 50k per week in late winter (maximum was 56,5 km in 8 sessions). Basic speed improved quite a bit and I hoped race-pace speed will also go up once I include more intensity. Season was approaching so I started to include more cycling into the mix. Once I did that my swimming went south. It’s not the first time this happened to me. Swimming and cycling just don’t mix well in my world (part of the reason why I’m optimistic about next year lies in the fact that I’m swimming well while also doing fair share of work on the trainer). Once I realized I wont be good enough for international draft legal races I shifted my focus to draft illegal events. I’m aware how bad it is to change the plans this late in the preparation period, but I wanted something more than just our local races in Croatia.
First major race of the season was Ironman 70.3 Austria. I was optimistic but also didn’t know what to expect with limited cycling training during the preparation phase. The race was a reality check. I’m not sure if I was disappointed with my performance or surprised with the speed of other guys.
The next long race was highlight of the season and probably the only race I was completely satisfied with, ITU long distance world series Braschaat, Belgium. The goal was to get some points for ITU long distance rankings (points are given to top15 contenders). I gave everything I had that day and crossed the line in 14th place, only 3 minutes away from 6th place guy.
I was back in Belgium in August for Ironman 70.3 Antwerpen. At the time, I had a business trip to Aachen, Germany which is not far away from Antwerpen so the plane ticket was on the company. This trip to Belgium wasn’t as satisfying as the previous one. Overall time was ok, but I felt I had more than that in me.
In early September I went to Austria for Tri Motion race in Saalfelden and had an OK race in beautiful Austrian nature.
The next one was one of the major season goals, Croatian LD championship. I got a stomach bug 3 days before the event and I wasn’t sure if I’ll be able to compete. Things got better on race day but I was a bit exhausted and 3 days without much food left me with empty tank. Race course was the toughest I’ve ever competed on with around 2000m of ascent on 80km bike leg. I failed to carry out my goal to win the event, but still I was first Croat across the line which made me national champion.
Another business trip to Aachen followed and I used the trip for half marathon race in nearby Eindhoven. The goal was sub 1.14 and I crossed the line with a new PB time of 1.13.50. Overall time could have been better if it weren’t for heavy downpour with strong winds in the last 3 km.
Overall it was solid season. There were probably more races that I wasn’t satisfied with but still I got a couple of PBs and learned some things about training and racing.