When writing my race preview blog, I was feeling confident about my shape and being sure that taper week would do what it always does: recovery of my legs and awakening of that feeling of excitement to race. But on Tuesday evening, I already felt that this taper was different. On Wednesday evening, the headache, obstructed nose and swollen glands under my chin learnt me that I was fighting some virus or bacteria. I was not feeling really sick, but I was not 100% healthy either. By Friday, I should have had energy, but after the short workouts and bike check-in, I fell asleep at 7 p.m. Saturday morning didn’t bring any relief, but I decided to give it a try: maybe I would feel better in the race.
The non-wetsuit swim at Ironman Texas is in a shallow, turbid lake. You can’t even see your own hands when you’re swimming, so I was expecting a rough start. Fortunately, the swim line is long, so the fight was relatively short and not so bad. I felt immediately that I could maintain a comfortable pace, but I couldn’t swim hard. There was no power in my arms or legs. So, I decided to enjoy the swim, do my best, but not expect too much. I swam a very bad 1h02’…
Out of the water and after a long transition, I was happy to jump on my bike and start with my strongest discipline. One mile later, I knew that it would be a tough day out there in the Texan fields: my legs were sore from the first minute, I didn’t have any power and a terrible headache made all that worse. The first 60 miles of the course was all tail wind, nevertheless, I was struggling badly. After mile 60, it was head wind till T2. Three beaufort normally doesn’t stop me to cycle at a good pace, but this time, I was not even cycling 30k/h. I slowed down in the aid stations to get enough cold water on my legs, my back and head, but I felt overheated the whole time. I thought about calling it a day, but maybe, if I would get into T2, I would feel better during the marathon. Around km 170 however, I started to feel nauseous and a little later, black spots were dancing in front of my eyes. The decision to quit was not to be made, cycling further in that condition was impossible. A little later I was in the medical tent with an IV.
Of course, I am disappointed now. This is the second year in a row that I can’t do well in my spring ironman. It’s time now to find solutions for these health problems in spring. A normal winter and a normal onset of spring would help! But I think everybody knows why I have bad springs and good summers…
After a couple of hours I returned to the competition site to cheer for triathletes finishing their ironman: happy, in pain, emotional, surrounded by family and friends,… and I realized again what a fantastic sports triathlon is. It are the things we love the most that can make us very sad, but it are also those things that make us happy! Soon, I will be enjoying my workouts again and I will be able to focus on my main goal of this season: ironman Hawaii.