After my Ironman I got a little bit of the post-race blues. Everything I had worked for for months was over and it took a while to get back into training. Three weeks ago, I was at the Ironman 70.3 Dun Laoghaire to watch and cheer. This was the little boost I needed to get back into training properly. There is nothing like the buzz around a big race, everyone is happy and cheers for the athletes – from the first pro over the finish line to the last age grouper.
To close my triathlon season, I picked Dublin City Triathlon (DCT). It was my big A race three years ago when I raced my first Olympic distance. I also wanted a race with a swim after Hamburg and no potential jellyfish. Training for DCT race got me into triathlon a couple of years ago, so it was nice to go back – even if the distance was shorter than the last time.
When I woke up, the sound of the rain reminded me of the bad weather we had in 2015. It rained all night and all morning and only stopped when I started the run. When I arrived this year, I stayed in the car for a while reading before facing the weather which luckily was not as bad as it sounded or looked from the inside of the car. When setting up transition, the rain stopped and it turned into perfect race conditions – dry, overcast and 15°-16°C.
My wetsuit was still packed the same way, I had packed it for Hamburg – nicely folded that it would not take too much space in the suitcase. I had taken it to Dun Laoghaire three weeks ago for a sea swim after the 70.3 there but bailed on it after being told that the sea was full of jellyfish. So, it was the first open water swim for me in over 1.5 months, if you do not count the bath in a 27°C lake in Lübeck two days after my Ironman.
The swim was an up and down course in the Liffey with a rolling start. Initially, I wanted to be honest and get into the startzone for the time I would swim but then went into the end of the previous one only to overtake a number of swimmers in the water. Mostly, I would pass two or three swimmers and then there were a few metres to the next group which meant that I could never really draft and on the way back caught myself not going as fast as I could or should. It was more like cruising down the river. Oops.
Transition was straight forward, luckily nothing changed there because I had not checked swim in and bike out when setting up transition earlier.
The bike course was two laps in Phoenix Park with a climb of the Kyber Pass to start. After that it was flat before descending, up the S-bends and the same loop again. On the second lap, instead of cycling up the S-bends it was straight back to transition.
Usually it takes about 5k for my legs to properly function, I’m well used to the feeling which I dislike about triathlon. This time my legs were fine but my stomach did not really feel great. I was worried that I would not be able to take in the nutrition on the bike but after a couple of kilometres everything was fine and I could focus on the course instead of on my stomach. After the rain in the morning most of the course was dry again and only a few corners were still wet. On the second lap however, the course was quite full and meant a lot of overtaking.
The second transition was okay but I wasted some time there.
The run was a loop in Phoenix Park – from the Garda Boat Club up the Kyber Pass, down Chesterfield Avenue and back to finish line at the Boat Club.
All running races I have done in Phoenix Park always went down the Kyber Pass, now it meant running it up. Having done it twice on a bike before, it did not seem to be that scary anymore as I knew what would await me. I had a steeper and tougher course in my mind before the race. The run up went very well and I felt good when I reached the top. The Chesterfield Avenue seemed so easy to me and I slowly realised that there must be some descent as I always find it tougher running the other direction. And you would think after running in Phoenix Park for years, you know the rods there. The last bit was down to the gatek and back along the road to the Boat Club which felt longer than it was and did not seem to end so I needed to talk to myself to keep up the good work I had put into.
I am very happy with the last race of the season. It is great to end with such a good race. Now that the season is over, I have two running races in the calendar. I am not the best runner but focusing a little bit more on running will eventually bring me back to better times on the run. At least that is what I am hoping.
Ideas for the next season are already flying around, everything that could be interesting is somewhere on a note. I am signed up for a half marathon in May which will probably turn into a practice run before a bigger race. I still have some time to play around with the different ideas and races before making a decision later this year. All I know is that the distance for my main race next season will be long again…