Ironman 70.3 Dubai 2019

Short race report from IM 70.3 Dubai!

Af Henrik Stik Eskildsen

Pre-race thoughts:
The aim of the race was actually just to get me motivated to get back into training during November/December last year. So no goal of a certain time or a new PB. But people knowing me know that I find it quite hard just to participate in races without going for a new record of some sort. So as I approached the race and training was going pretty good I realized it was not totally impossible to aim for a new PB. So that was the overall goal. And to be totally honest I had a goal of doing a sub 4.20.

I placed myself in the first third of the 25-30 minutes group which I thought was perfect to reach my goal of a 28 minute swim. But I was so wrong. Even entering the water I passed 3 athletes. In the first 300-400m approaching the first buoy I had to overtake at least 5 more athletes who were never even close to swimming a sub 30 minute. I know it helps your own performance to get paced by faster swimmers but I think people really need to be a little more honest when self-seeding at he swim start. Otherwise those self-seeding swim starts do not make sense at all. In the last 400m of the swim it was quite difficult to navigate since we were swimming directly towards the sun but since I wasn’t overtaken once I actually thought I was on track for the sub 28 minutes. Again I was wrong. I managed a 29,5 minutes swim. Considering it was my first real OW swim in 5 months I however think it was reasonable.

As is the case most of the times when I lose time during the swim I start the bike by pushing pretty hard. Too hard. Meaning head down and full throttle. That lasts for around 10 minutes until I realize I am pushing short tri distance watt numbers and won’t be able to hold these for over 2 hours without completely destroying my run. So instead of pushing 4,4 watts/Kg I settled for around 3,8 watts/Kg. And this is pretty much where the overtaking begins. And I am not the one overtaking. Being of the size I am my absolute watt numbers are just not even close to the numbers of the big guys. I know that. But it’s hard to accept once you are actually in the middle of the race. The first 45k we had a head wind and were going slightly upwards. I was passed by several groups who were not quite living up to it being a non-draft race, but I am also used to this since many athletes just don’t race fair. I have learned to limit my anger when this happens even though it sometimes feels like I am the only one playing by the rules. During the last 45k we had a nice tailwind and were going slightly downwards again so it took me more or less an hour to get back to T2 after it took me around 1 hours 20 minutes to reach the turnaround. I managed a 2.20 bikesplit which I am pretty ok with.

The run is my strongest discipline and also my favorite. In 70.3 races I normally aim to run around 3.55-4.00/km. This I was able to hold for around 5k and after that the heat started affecting me. My pace fell to around 4.10/km and I felt it was close to impossible for me to push harder than that. So I accepted the new pace. I was really focused on the nutrition and on drinking enough so I wouldn’t start slowing even more. And it somehow actually helped me a little since I actually managed to run the last 5k as the fastest on the day. I ended up with a 1.26 run split and a total of 4.22.40. That gave me a 19th spot in my AG and a new PB on the distance.

All in all a great race to start the season. Since I am still a little away for being in perfect shape (i.e. 100% race ready) and considering it wasn’t really my A-race I am quite glad that I managed to take home a new PB even though I did not manage a sub 4.20. I must be honest to say that the race has made it to the top of my favorite races. The surroundings and the race setup up as well as the organization of the race is just great. Can highly recommend the race.