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Wednesday
Aug092017

70.3 Gdynia (09.08.17)

Another month, another race, another 2nd place and another blog. While I say 'another 2nd place' it is in fact my first ever 70.3 podium - how about that! Five weeks on from IM Austria and I'm happy that I'm finally seeing some progress in fitness. A smooth recovery from racing in Klagenfurt, the accumulation of races, a few higher intensity sessions in the interim and my body seems to be responding in the appropriate fashion by getting stronger and faster - Hurrah! 

Of course you can't necessarily see this from the finishing position, however from a performance perspective it was a significant improvement on previous races. The swim was a sea swim and I had a good start. We were wind assisted on the ~1km outward leg, then hung a left to swim across the chop and left again to swim against the wind, chop and movement of the top water. Unfortunately I dropped off some feet at about 800m when the swimmer in front did a dog-leg and I missed it. From there on I was leading the next group (well, I think there were three of us) through the rest of the course to the finish. Pretty uneventful. With my ability for speedy transitions I galloped through T1 with the 2nd fastest time - get those seconds where you can I say! 

On to the bike and I immediately felt stronger and more powerful than other races this year. Also, not insignificantly I was less 'wheezy' and my breathing was less laboured. Perhaps this is due to my swim fitness improving so I'm getting out of the water less trashed... now just to get faster! The course was definitely not flat, but you could keep it in the aerobars and I'm not sure that I changed out of the big chainring at all. Throwing caution to the wind (of which there was plenty), I came out of the gate and put the hammer down for as long and as hard I could.  My splits are nothing special compared to the rest of the field however for me, they were a significant improvement in power output across the whole of the 90km. I then managed the fastest T2 time ;)

The run was three laps with a 1k drag of ~1-2%, then a steeper down, 2x out-and-back dog legs which were steeper slopes, then a flat 3k along the waterfront. A nice mix I thought, with the chance to spot your competitors, some slopes for attacking (should you have the legs to do so!) and a flat section for rhythm. Not to mention the wind, which seemed to be a headwind up the drag as well as the 3k back along the waterfront  in the opposite direction. I'm not sure how that came about. My first lap I felt distinctly average and like I was running at marathon pace with half marathon effort - not a particularly nice place to be and the thought "oh, it's going to be like this again is it" (the same slog as previous half marathons) may have crossed my mind. However, come the drag on the second lap (which also coincided with some Led Zeppelin blasting out at a feed station) I seemed to find a new rhythm and got my HR up and out of 'marathon zone' and then that was it, I was moving with a new pace. I maintained and built on this for the rest of the run and by the final 5k I was averaging 3.43/k which is much more where I like to be!

All in all, good progress was made with this race. I had enjoyable time in Gdynia with Raf and Alicj, fellow trisutto athletes, and when race organisers arrange other races on the same weekend, I think that it makes great atmosphere around the race venue. 

In other news, I received a roll down slot for Hawaii which I accepted, so it is nice to have that confirmed. Now I can start thinking ahead and planning the next few weeks. Yes, it is a matter of weeks away! But first I will race again in August. I've entered 70.3 Vichy and IM Copenhagen for options and currently I'm leaning towards doing the full distance in Denmark. All being well I'll decide and book flights in the next few days when I know that the recovery from the last race is on track. Onwards! 

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