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I entered Ironman Italy as a backup option in case something happens in Wales and I don’t finish. Even in case Wales goes well I was thinking about doing the double as I had nothing to loose. At the end none of those two options materialized. I came back from the island with heavy legs and with a result I was not too happy with. There was not many races in Europe left, so I decided to give Italy a go.
With Ironman Wales only 13 days before, I came to Italy without expectations. Even though I felt very good in training I knew the tiredness might show up at any point in the race.
The day started well. I felt much better in the water compared to Wales. This side of Adriatic is very different to Croatian side so we had to run through shallow water for at least 100m. That always puts my heart rate in red. Once I settled into my rhythm the swim was quite enjoyable. I had no trouble holding feet and tried to save as much energy as possible. After just over 50 minutes I got out of the water, 3 minutes behind the group with most of the pre-race favorites.
We had 2 loop bike course. It was almost completely flat with a small climb at the far side of the loop. I probably started a bit too conservative and increased the pace after 20 kilometers. There was an out and back section half way through the loop so I could calculate the gaps. At that point Dreitz already had 9 minute advantage and big group was 4 minutes in front of me.
On a flat course like this I would usually average around 260W. After 130 kilometers I still held the average above 280W and felt pretty good. By that time Dreitz was too far to even think about him and the group was now only 2 minutes in front of me. My average dropped to 274W (281W normalized) by the end of the ride and the group in front kept the 2 minute gap.
Starting the run I knew I was in the game for 2nd place or maybe even a win if Dreitz cracks. This was his first full distance so that was possible. I went for it, but this time I felt far worse than in Wales. Usually, at least first 10 kilometers feel easy, but this time I felt like running through the mud from the start. I feared that tiredness from Wales started to surface and that I’m in for a long day.
I didn’t feel great but at least I was not slowing down. By the half way point I got from 9th place to 6th with 2 guys just in front of me. In the next few kilometers I passed Bracht who was doing his last race before retirement and Jukiewicz. It was not too long until I passed Koutny and got myself into a podium place. There was still 15 kilometers to run, so there was no time to relax. I was still hoping that I might catch the guys in front of me and I knew guys behind me were not too far either. However, we all held our positions until the end.
I’m very pleased with 3rd place. I finally had a complete race. There’s still a lot of work to be done on the swim and bike, but after 2 years of stagnation, I can finally see some improvements. I’m very happy with my running at the moment. On a day when I didn’t feel good I still managed to run 2:49h. At the moment I have 2240 KPR points for 2018, so things are looking good for another visit to the Big Island next year :).