So here goes my first ever race report!
(Apparently the biggest transition in the world, 3800+ competitors, what a sight!)
After getting the first race of the season under the belt at Chirk, I felt ready and raring to go for this that’s for sure!!
So I have done one 70.3 prior to Majorca but this was certainly under different circumstances, firstly I wasn’t doing triathlon to the same standard as I am now and secondly the objection for entering Staffordshire 70.3 was to raise money for charity as I lost a friend to a brain tumour. In all honesty Staffordshire was just about getting around in one piece I had a time of around 6 1/2 hours in mind and to enjoy the race. I had no awareness of nutrition or hydration, no race plan or training plan leading into it but did what I thought I was meant to do and having read things online put my own plan together that way. Anyway the point being It was a very emotional day and 32° heat didn’t help!
So back to Majorca I classed this as my first competitive 70.3 and now with a coach on board and a structured training plan and input into the hydration and nutrition while on the course I definitely felt better prepared and up for this race. I naïvely said to my coach that I wanted to achieve a time of 5-5.15 hours but in all honesty and deep down I never in my wildest dreams thought I would ever achieve this but it gave me something to aim for. I also had the huge advantage of being able to do it with my like minded, amazing boyfriend Ian. Ian has done many Ironman events previously so was really looking forward to competing in this one as well. Being able to train, support, advise, help and watch out for each other while preparing for this event has been incredible. We really push each other along, especially on the days when we aren’t quite feeling it, it’s great to share the highs and the lows with him.
The lead up to Majorca went really well I was pleased with my training unfortunately have a shoulder injury which kept me from swimming for about three weeks prior to heading out but we thought and hoped that the rest would help and make good just in time for the race and this seemed to be the case.
For anyone that hasn’t done a 70.3 Ironman event before but would like to, I could highly recommend Majorca. The buzz and atmosphere around the athletes village and town in the days prior and post race was just incredible and for me summed up everything about the triathlon community. Friendly, similar minded, inclusive, helpful, fun and generally amazing bunch of people all in one place.
So anyway let’s cut to pre race day, we had managed to put the bikes together and take them out for a spin prior to racking just to make sure that we put them together properly and so that they wouldn’t fall apart while out on the bike course. This went really well the roads in Majorca are so smooth and absolutely fantastic in comparison to the UK, it was hard not to get carried away so this set me up with a great mindset going into race day. Going in to rack my bike the day before the race was also an experience I will never forget. This race saw over 3800 age-group competitors start, That makes for one huge transition area and it really was something to say. You definitely had to take pictures and visualise and remember where your bike was let’s put it that way.
So race morning there was the usual butterflies in the stomach and lots of toilet runs ha ha. I like to try and stay away from the hustle and bustle of the other competitors but still be close enough to take in the atmosphere and the energy of it all this is because I tend to get myself psyched out by other competitors so by staying away from them I find this helps just to keep me focused. I made a big decision at registration to go with the under five hour completion swim wave. This may have been a bit silly at the time but now on reflection I completely did the right thing and wish I’d started closer to the beginning of the race rather than hold back and go with the slower of the wave. The swim felt fantastic the water was warm and lovely and clear and I felt strong and thrived on the fact that I was passing quite a lot of people. It was very easy to sight for this race as there was a lot of buoys and I just stayed by the side of the other competitors which made it very easy. When we hit the beach I lapped my watch and By my surprise I clocked a 29 minute swim which was fantastic considering I haven’t swam for around three weeks prior to heading out to Majorca due to a shoulder injury. So out of the water I ran whooping as I crossed the beach, soaked up the atmosphere and support from the crowd and headed to the humongous transition area. I managed to calmly put on my bike kit and pack my wetsuit and ran to find my bike. Now as previously mentioned this was one of the biggest transitions in the world and even with my photo preparation and walk through I still managed to lose my bike typical ha ha. Once I found my bike I was off to cross the mount line and head off on the bike course. I very quickly found my rhythm and found I was overtaking a lot of competitors which pushed me on even more. The one thing I did find hard was having to hold back to make sure I had enough left in the tank for the rest of the race which is the complete opposite to what I’m used to doing in the Sprint distance triathlons I’m used to doing! The smooth Majorcan roads made the bike leg an absolute pleasure to cycle on and even the lump that is Lluc was a pleasure to ride over. I even managed to take in the incredible views, It was absolutely stunning. One of the things that I’d wanted to do during the race was make sure I enjoyed it and not be purely focused on racing, with this in mind I was chatting and having a laugh with people while on the bike not really thinking how it would or could influence The overall results and outcome of the race. While we were pushing hard up the hill I got called back by a competitor who ended up being my coach we had a good chat and then he told me to push on and not wanting to be a rebel I followed his orders and off I went. One thing I would say about the bike leg was it was meant to be draft illegal but this would have been incredibly hard to achieve due to the pure volume of people on the course and at times I found there was big groups of cyclists together and I had to work really hard to try and pull away from these groups. I had planned to take on gels which were provided on the course but unfortunately by the time I had taken a bottle of fluids and secured it in my bottle holder I had passed the gel stations so completed the bike with just fluid and one energy bar. I felt strong coming off the bike and had the bonus of being able to feel my feet which makes a change as normally I suffer with numb feet which I can’t feel again until at least 2 miles into the run. I was a good girl and made sure I applied my suncream in T2 and emptied my rubbish into the bin as I didn’t want to be littering the course and that was it, I was off on the run section. I knew with the run that I need to pace it correctly As I have a habit of going off to quick, so I kept an eye on my watch at every kilometre. The first 3 km ended up being far too quick so try my best to slow the pace down but I still wanted to go with my legs, unfortunately the next couple of kilometres were slower but still not slow enough. The support on the course was phenomenal and definitely pushed to one in the heat. Two laps completed one more to go in and this is where I started to struggle those quicker kilometres and the heat started to catch up with me but I knew I had to push on and the realisation of a five hour 70.3 iroman was becoming more and more a reality and that definitely pushed me on. We were extremely lucky that we had our parents out in Majorca with us and also the fact that our villa was on the run course which made great viewing for them at several points which was greatly appreciated from our point of view, we needed all the support and encouragement we could get! I kept on breaking the last lap down into segments to try and divert from the pain and it seemed to work. I knew once I was on the beach I was into the final stretch and tried to push on but by this point I’d emptied the tank and just wanted to enjoy the race and not suffer. I saw the red carpet and felt quite emotional I wanted to soak up the last few seconds of this race so was giving high-fives to the crowd as I ran on that red carpet and under that finishing arch. I had done it, I had completed it, i raced it but also enjoyed it, I was given my medal and started to cry, unfortunately I get quite emotional at the end of my races ha ha. I had my photo taken and headed into the athletes tent. I’m never hungry after events but still filled up my tray with fruit, doughnuts, water and more importantly a free pint of beer. I wandered around and found somewhere to sit and soak in the atmosphere of the finishing athletes, what an incredible experience. Once I had settled and the enormity of what had happened had sunk in I became energised again and felt fantastic! I’m not quite sure this went down well with Ian when I saw him after he finished as he just wanted to be left to gather himself together, he had a fantastic race but unfortunately found the run hard with the heat and it had completely wiped him out. We stayed in the athletes village for a good hour or so to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the free drinks. We had just been alcohol free for the last few months so we needed to enjoy this. At no point did I even think about what time I completed it in although I did know from my watch it was around five hours five minutes which I was completely gobsmacked about it was only when I went to find my parents that I found the live results being posted so I thought I would have a look to see how we had got on it was at this point I realised I had incredibly come fourth in my age group but frustratingly and annoyingly I missed out on 3rd by five seconds, five whole seconds! This is where I started to get frustrated with myself and started to beat myself up about areas in the race where if I just got on with it I could’ve very very easily made those five seconds up. I just couldn’t shake it, the competitive side of me just wouldn’t let it go and unfortunately this seemed to overshadow the initial excitement of having completed it in such a fantastic time. On reflection now I’ve dropped it but its still at the back of my mind that if I’m there to race I need to race, if I’m there to enjoy it enjoy it as races could be won or lost by potentially chatting to people or carefully disposing of rubbish rather than keep hold of it or loosing the place of your bike in transition. This has definitely lit a fire in my belly in terms of returning to Majorca to firstly beat that five hour mark and secondly to try and qualify in my age group for the Ironman 70.3 world Championships.
Anyway overall Majorca 70.3, my first competitive middle distance triathlon was absolutely fantastic I completely smashed my expectations of the race and what I could do and now I want to do better and improve so I will definitely be wanting to return next year and also complete more 70.3 distance events in the near future. Again for anyone that is thinking of entering one I highly recommend doing Majorca the weather was incredible, the roads were superb, the support and atmosphere on the course was electric, What’s not to like hopefully see you there next year!