Ironman 70.3 Dubai
Finally, I had the chance to race again, a race that really continued, Ironman 70.3 Dubai. When I heard that Ironman 70.3 Dubai was planned, I immediately started to beam. I did not hesitate for a moment and immediately registered myself for Ironman 70.3 Dubai. In the run-up to the match, it was very unclear whether the match would actually take place. Two weeks in advance of the race, Ironman decided that the race in Dubai would take place.
Last winter, I joined a new running group (Team Distance Runners) to get my running to a higher level. After five months, I can say that my running has improved a lot. I am also lucky that I had the opportunity to swim during the corona pandemic. However, my bicycle shape was very insecure, because recent months I have cycled inside using Zwift. I found it difficult to gauge how my bicycle shape was doing. In general, I was in good shape. I was very curious what my level would be compared to the world top, as the world top competed in this competition.
Tuesday the 9th of March, I flew to Dubai with another Dutch triathlete. Once we arrived in Dubai, we had to get used to the temperature difference, as it was 4°C in the Netherlands and 32°C in Dubai. On Wednesday, we explored the course. It was a fast course with few vertical meters. The cycling course was 45 kilometers into the desert and 45 kilometers back. The running course was 21 kilometers long and consisted of two laps on the boulevard. On Thursday, the day before the game, I usually do as little as possible. Moreover, in the early morning, we did explore the swimming course, but after that we did nothing for the rest of the day.
On the day of the race, the alarm was set on four o’clock in the morning. The swim start was thirty minutes early due to the announced heat of the day. Before the race, it is important for me to eat something that is easy to digest. Therefore, I ate three slices of white bread with honey two hours before the start of the competition.
The starting gun sounded at half past six. Although, I had specially purchased swimming goggles with sun glasses for this competition, this was not a smart move of me, because at half past six it just started to light up and I could only see the buoys. The first four hundred meters of the swim I felt weak and a I had no “water feeling”. I knew that in the end this always gets better. Luckily, as the swimming part was progressing, the “water feeling” came. After 25 minutes, I got out of the water with a large group of athletes. Moreover, after a good T1, I started cycling. On the bike, I immediately felt strong and powerfull. The first ten kilometers, I tried to drive to the leading group, but unfortunately I did not manage to get there and I got stuck in the second group. The second group was a smaller group and consisted of four athletes. On the bike it went very fast and I eventually reached an average of almost 47 km/h. During the cycling part we were not allowed to draft and we had to drive at least twelve meters apart. When I got off the bike, the gap to the leading group of fourteen athletes was only two minutes. Therefore, I was very satisfied with the bike part, as I had lost little time in comparison to the leading group.
Furthermore, when I arrived in the second transition zone, I noticed that it was already getting very hot. The temperature had already risen to 32°C. I do not tolerate heat well. That is why, I decided to take good care of myself while running. This meant that I was drinking very much water and I was paying close attention to my nutrition. After two kilometers, I already felt slight cramps in my right thigh, but luckily this disappeared quickly. Moreover, I got a very steady pace, but I felt like I was continuously running with the brakes on. This was caused by the fear of getting the cramps back and that I would get overheated. Eventually, I managed to maintain the steady pace for seventeen kilometers, after those kilometers the pace dropped slightly and I noticed that I was struggling to get to the finish. To conclude, I ran the half marathon in 1:15 and this certainly not bad in such high temperatures. Overall, I finished on the 18th place with a time of 3:42.
In general, I am quite satisfied with how the race went and of course also with the start of my season. I know in which areas I need to improve and I cannot wait for my next race, but first I will have a long training block in Gerona.