Half IronMan Aix en Provence 2017 race report

 

On Sunday I raced the Half of IronMan Aix en Provence 2017 and finished with an honorable place of just under 6h.

I am not so sure why I end up being here again a year and two weeks after the last edition which ended windy and cold and a canceled swim. Even though there wasn’t any swim which is traditionally my weakest discipline I had such a bad race that day I didn’t think I would be back here.

Since Aix is actually perfect timing for my July full IronMan training and that I have a couple of friends living in the area and a revenge to take I duly racked my 250€ (!!!) to have the honor to race an IronMan© branded race.

The train ride and the bib pickup was mostly uneventful hanging out most of the day on the cafe terasse of the “Cours Mirabeauhanging out with friends and doing all the usual (at least for IM branded) pre race duties like packing the different colored bags with the different clothes making sure I am not missing anything. Dropping the bike bag to the Lake start with the organised shuttle, dropping the shoes bag near the start of the running portion etc...


Tried to sleep early this time going to bed by 22:00 and getting awake by 4:00. For this race I decided to not do a big breakfast like I usually do, I just had a cup of tea and a very light porridge. By experience if I eat too much the morning or the day before I get pretty bloated. I just made sure I had my carb loads done by Thursday/Friday and packed plenty of gels.

By 07:00 I am watching the pros and other good swimmers starting their swim in the Lac Peyrolles. 1h15 later I was myself getting wet with the other people of my rolling start group. As I was mentioning before, swimming is really not my speciality. I just do my thing swimming until I arrive to T1. Unfortunately, I did a couple of zigzaging around and finished with a distance of 2300m instead of the usual 1900m. I had a time for the swim of just under 45mn. I probably could do better and I definitely should go for at least under 40mn next time!


T1 went pretty fast, just 6mn10 which include the sprint from the lake to the changing area and straight on the bike.

Now cycling I did a lot this year (over 3000km since Jan), I was confident that it would get well. And I did pretty well, I spent my time passing people and enjoyed every moment of it, I tried to chat to most people passing by and encouraging some friends along the way. With over a thousand meters of elevation gained the course is quite hilly but the only real difficulty is the Col du Cengle which is a climb of 3.6km with an average of 6% and some steep part.

I was pretty happy finishing the bike part in 2h57mn. For nutrition I never stopped for food refill, I had attached gels on my bike and kept eating them every 30mn or so (thanks Garmin timer alarm) and had two large bidons on my bike.

I was feeling fresh I was feeling good, and I was expecting to hit a PB (my target just under 5h30). My T2 went pretty quick, just under 3mn to rack my bike and get my running shoes on,

Running now is something I would say I am more natural with and usually would finish in the top tiers. But today wasn’t the day, as soon I started running, my custom soles made by my podologist starting to hurt me. I am not sure why it did just now, I made them just two weeks before and I have tested on a couple of long runs, I thought it was going to be only a temporary niggle that would go away. After the first lap of 7.5km it was obvious that it wasn’t going to go away, my feet were filled with blisters and I could hardly walk. The cheering of some of my friends kept me going and after trashing away my soles (70€ custom sole rage quit!) I could finally walk to the finish line in a very horrible time of 2h06mn.

My total finish time was 5h58. I was sure disappointed by the time but the real win here is that I didn’t have any knee pains, sure some blisters due of some stupid soles but no real jury and I could not be less happy with this.

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