Reached a few days before the race. 3 to be exact. Race week can be quite hectic. There are briefings ,expo, athlete dinners, transition bag drop offs , practice swims, and ideally you want to do a bike route recce and maybe throw in a small run too. It’s better to get there a good week before the event. #lesson
The atmosphere is electric. The water is inviting. The athletes are rearing to go. Everyone ready to step out of their comfort zone.
The swim went reasonably well. This being an open water swim navigation is important. Swimming well but in the wrong direction can cost precious time. Keeping that in mind I didn’t mind slowing down a bit to correct my direction from time to time. Got caught sometimes between swimmers and had to slow down, stop, lookup, re calibrate. Bring my first ironman it’s a bit intimidating to be with so many swimmers and sometimes getting kicked and pushed around. Didn’t go off track too much.
Actual - 1:37. Target - 1:25
Bike - 180km
A lot of climbing! It is considered one of the tougher bike courses in the ironman circuit with an elevation gain of 1600m! We underestimated the non hilly parts of the course. On the two wheeler it looked flat but on the cycle we realized it had a lot of false flats(appears to be a flat but is a gradual climb) . An actual bike ride would have helped here. #lesson
Still haven’t zeroed in on a stable aero position that the aero jersey demands. Too much of sitting up on it causes breathing issues.
Or for such a hilly course should have stuck to the more breathable jersey. But aero gains are just too tempting.
Actual - 7:07 target : 6:30
Run - 42km
Started conservatively.wanted to remain fresh till the end. Wanted to do negative splits. Things were kind of going to plan till the end of first loop of 18k. There was a 1km segment on the beach and I didn't realize that I let sand and other debry get in the shoe( realized this later post race).
It's hot and you keep pouring water all of yourself and that made it worse. By 20k I was really hurting. I thought it was the socks, I had carried an extra pair just incase. I changed. Still didn't help. I couldn't put it together at that time that it was the sand that had gone in on the run. Picked up some more on lap 2 as it felt softer to run on it vs the road. I got massive blisters.
Thankfully they have Vaseline at every nutrition stop 2km apart. I took a big swipe twice and tried to create a layer of it between my feet and socks. Still thinking it's in the socks! Things just got worse with each kilometer from there. Kept slowing down but kept running in intervals. Met my friend giovanni who I noticed was walking effortlessly at my current running pace. I figured it would be more economical at this point to follow this strategy and plus the added company. We chatted about ironmans, and a lot of other random things. All thoughts of pushing for time were long gone now. Just wanted to finish and prevent injury. So I walked with him the last 14k!! Took a few pee breaks so I lost him towards the end.
Each step would send so many signals to my brain. It was like countless small pricks. It was quite painful but I just tried to walk as fast as I could.. I mustered what I had left and ran the last 300m to the finish line coz ... <whatever floats your boat>
And "From India, Rohit Khanna you're an ironman!!" We're the words on the loudspeaker.. And the host who I had bumped into the transition tours and everywhere else said, "I know you, your an ironman!" Was such a great feeling. An amazing experience.
Actual - 6:20 target sub 5
I took a total of 15:39 which is a few hours off my target but I'm satisfied.
Like they say you learn a lot more from your failures than you successes. I'm very determined to better at local triathlons in India, improve in all 3 forms and be back stronger to improve my time at the ironman! #todo
Till then Hasta la vista, baby! I'll be back!