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Ironman 70.3 Dubai, 2022 RACE REPORT

The Ironman 70.3 Dubai, 2023 race was the fittest I had ever been going into the race.

I moved to Abu Dhabi to train for the race(in March) in October 2021.

My training in Abu Dhabi leading up to the race payed off massively. Regular open water swims, outdoor rides on the TT bike (which I never used to ll do living in blore) in the Hudayriat cycle track and Runs in a running specific track was a regular training mode for me.

I was very happy with the improvements I made.

I finished 3rd in the Gulf Multisport Hudariyat Olympic tri with a 2:13 finish. Had a great swim bike and run with a 27 min swim for 1500m, 1hour for the 40k bike bike and a 39 min 10k run. The transitions were long in the course as the beach and bike track were quite away from eachother.


I ran a 1:25 tempo HM well under my threshold. My ftp on the bike was 302 watts (4.8 w/kg) and my swim was better than ever avg about 1:50 for a 2k swim at race effort.


I was looking at a finish around 4:30 comfortably according to my numbers.


Some challenges in the lead up were -


With a couple of weeks to go during my taper, I had unusual symptoms of fatigue, tiredness, bloating and sickness even though my training wasn't hard. When I got my blood work done, I had a alarming levels of potassium in my blood. I got to know it was because of months of drinking a lot of coconut water which led me to this point. This required me to stop training for 5 days or so which was not ideal. But once I got better, I started feeling back to my best and really looking forward to the race.


The night before race morning, I had severe diarrhoea. Still think it was lactose intolerance as I had bloating issues even before. I used to have a few bowls of granola everyday with milk. And I had a bowl of granola as my final meal before bed. The diarrhoea was quite bad and I had to go into the race dehydrated! Considering your electrolyte and fluid levels should be topped up the day before, this was a a major setback. But I had gone through enough obstacles on the way to let this affect me.


Swim-

Before the swim start, I did a short warm up and felt great. I did not have any pre race jitters or nervousness at all. Not one bit. It really felt like a long training session ahead of me.

Once the swim started, I felt in great rhythm throughout and felt amazing.Finished my 1.9m swim at 35 odd min which was perfectly according to plan.



Bike-

The T1 was smooth and once I got on to the bike I felt great rhythm again. The 90km out and back flat course in Dubai has a harder first 45 km and a easier return. The day before the race, my Garmin power pedal battery was dead. So I did not have any power data for the race pacing, I had my RPE and HR to go with. Target was to to stay under 160 bpm which is a comfortable tempo for me and avg around 235- 240 w. I couldn't take in any nutrition or hydration easily, without me having a sensation of having diarrhoea again. I felt bloated too. So I just sipped lightly on water. Although it's a disastrous scenario in a 70.3 race, I expected it so it didn't affect me much mentally because I felt great in the bike. It really felt like a regular Sunday long ride to me effort wise. I was surprised as to why I was feeling this good without proper hydration or nutrition.

Finished my bike in 2 hours and 21 min which was not bad. Had a smooth T2 and started my run.


Run-

Again once I started the run I felt in great rhythm and my leg turnover felt smooth. And I checked my watch after a couple of minutes into the run and my pace was around 4 min/km. But it very easy and comfortable. I had to slow down to stick to my race pace target which was 4:20 to 4:30 min/km. The Dubai course was a 2 loop course with one loop of 15km and the another one of 6.1 km.

I was really enjoying my run but at the back of my mind I was wondering how it was possible for me to feel this great without taking in any considerable amount of carbs or electrolytes! I think the work I put in leading into the race was the reason.

But I knew this was too good to be true and I'll feel the effects of lack of nutrition surely. And yes it did happen at around 11km. I went from averaging 4:30 min per km to immediately struggling to run at 5:30 min per km ! It was a sudden switch off. I was severely dehydrated and I have enough experience training and racing to know that this was irreversible. My stomach still couldn't handle anything other than water. So I had to gut it though the next 10k. Even though my Target finish of around 1:33 for the run was slipping away, I just had to finish this race to prove to myself that without an issue like I had in this race, I can hit my target easily given how good I felt throughout except the last 10km of the run.


Somehow reached the finish line with a run time of 1:51 min (which is at the pace I run my z2 runs in) and a total finish time of 4:51.


I was elated after the race actually in such good spirits to how my training translated to the race! The adversity with covid after this and the forced 11 month break is for another blog.




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