Last Friday I opened this year’s triathlon season with Ironman 70.3 Dubai. The form was coming along nicely, so I wanted to test myself against some of the world’s best triathletes and try to earn something along the way.
I spend last two months training in Makarska on Croatian coast. Everything was going great until 20 days before the race. What initially felt like minor injury turned into a more serious problem that forced me to take a break from running 10 days before the race. I had 4-5 physio treatments and felt much better, but still when I tested my leg with short 20 minute run the day before the race, the leg was still painful. It looked like I won’t be able to finish the race, but still I wanted to see how my swim and bike were progressing.
Due to strong winds, the swim was shortened to 1,2 km and moved to marina. I swam at my last-year’s level with the guys I usually swim with. The swim venue was moved so we had 1 km beach run to first transition. The leg was good enough not to lose time here and I started the bike in a good position.
First half of the ride was with a strong tailwind. Average speed was close to 50 km/h on that section. I felt quite good and set the pace from 10th to 70th kilometer. By the turnaround point I was in fifth spot. Frodeno and Amberger were leading, behind them were Kovacic and Kung and then there was our group. After 70 km I had a minor crisis, so Bozzone, Aernouts and Williams got away. I kept them in sight and entered transition some 30 seconds after them.
The leg was painful from the start of the run so it was decision time. To run and risk worsening of the injury or to quit. I decided to run for a while and see how things progress. At that point I was in 8th spot with 6th and 7th guy less than 30 seconds ahead. The situation with the leg wasn’t getting any worse (or any better) so I decided to run until I’m in the money (top 10). Turns out I managed to stay in top 10. In the final few kilometers Blanchart passed me and I finished in 9th spot.
Given the conditions I’m happy with the race. I was in a good position in T2. My run was progressing nicely before the injury and I’m sure I would have been much better placed if I was healthy. Next race is quite far away, so I have plenty of time to heal the injury and prepare for Ironman South Africa in April.