Wednesday, June 8, 2011

2011 Ironman 70.3 Switzerland Rapperswil-Jona Race Report


First up, just to say, I am planning a “review” IRONMAN 70.3 RAPPERSWIL-JONAof the event as a whole later in the week when I have more time. Rapperswil-Jona is a great event, pretty spectacular in my view, so if you’re thinking of signing up for it don't think twice, it’s worth it!

Secondly, as I have been “complaining” about all last week, due to the fact I managed to ”crash” on a training ride I was unable to do any tapering, tapering was mainly sitting on my ass hoping the wounds on my right leg and butt cheek would heal in time for the race.

Unfortunately I still had the wet sticky leg wounds come race morning, luckily I managed to get some nice waterproof plasters which covered the largest gash in my leg, and although it was uncomfortable there wasn’t any real pain, so, no excuses then ;-)

The swim start

I got down to the swim start about 30 Mins earlier than my age group (35-40 years) started and had a bit of a splash around, getting used to the water conditions, getting my breathing in sync and all of that, it was perfect conditions for swimming, as everyone started to move into position with around 5 minutes to go I made some decisions...

1. I was going to stick to a path right next to the orange buoys lining the route (approx. 1KM into the centre of obersee and 1KM back)


2. I was going to get right in amongst the pack and have a battle with anyone who was up for it.

Looking out towards the swim course, start at the first orange buoy
I’m not sure where decision 2 came from, I am by all accounts a terrible swimmer and getting into any “rumbles” in the middle of the lake used to scare the crap out of me, but all of a sudden I was up for it, maybe due to my experience at Frauenfeld a few weeks previously.

The swim was in honesty pretty uneventful, a few kicks, punches, and as expected I had to give a few kicks back, I was happy to stick to my planned swim path and by the time I was at the turn was pleasantly surprised to still be surrounded by a big pack of swimmers, in fact when returning to shore I even spotted a few 30-35 age groupers (who started 30 minutes before us old men in the 35-40’s) and went right past them…take that young guns!! :-p

I was still feeling a bit sucky to be honest, and tired near the finish, I was desperate to get a look at my Garmin and compare to my time of 45 mins last year…so I was amazed when I got out of the water, looked down at my wrist, one finger poised to press the lap button and realised that my Garmin 310XT….was not there…all that was there was an empty quick release wrist strap…..obviously my quick release had been too quick to release and my Garmin was sitting at the bottom of Lake Obersee screaming for me “I’ve lost satellite signal”…I have to be honest, I looked back towards the swim exit and for a second I though “I wonder if I can find it if I go back in”…it took me a few seconds to come to my senses, and off I went, running blind, no checking heart rate beats per minute, pace, distance, damn…..I was going in solo…

The transition area early on Saturday evening


I’d set up my transition area a lot better then last year, so I was on my bike pretty quickly (for me anyway, no running with my bike shoes on anymore..nope) and from the off I didn’t have any issues with my wound inflicted right leg, obviously I had no idea what my swim time was, and now no idea of my cadence, speed or total time, I just switched off and went for it knowing that it was all about the run if I was going to PB (PR for you American folk, Personal Best for the rest).

The Bike was split into two parts for me, one part where I felt good, and part two where my right left and lower back started to complain, then bitch, and then scream, “please stop”, now Rapperswil has some nasty climbs, it starts with the “Witches Hill” and then continues with “the Beast”, I don’t like these climbs at all, in fact last year I got off for a bit on the second loop going up “the beast” and had a little walk about..ahem.
Ironically, the only reason I finished this year was because of the climbs, on the second loop I was able to get out of the saddle and stretch both my leg and lower back, completely taking the pain away…..unfortunately it didn't stop my bike time sucking (more on that later)…I was just glad to finish…and if you’re wondering what the 90KM is like…here it is in it's entirety (yes, that’s my scabby hand) condensed into 8 minutes 35 seconds…


So, on the run, again, I had no idea what times I was putting in, after moving into transition 2 I looked around for a timing display, a clock, but there was nothing, so it was just a case of putting my shoes on and going for it as best I could. One of the goals I set myself leading into the race was to actually “run the run” no matter how crappy I was feeling, to just keep going, no stopping, no giving in.

Triathlon runs are normally pretty straight forward affairs, fairly flat, a loop or two, Rapperswil isn’t an exception, apart from the lovely “Stairway to heaven” (this picture was taken in 2010 after the event)….yes you do have to "run" up this twice...

photo (2)
The "Stairway to heaven" ...or to Hell, depending on how you're feeling...
..just a few KM before hitting the stairway to heaven I managed to sight a clock near the train station, for the first time I had an idea of my timings and I realised if I around 1 hour 45 minutes to cover the last 16KM of so (easy peasy I thought ;)), a personal best time was on and all I need to do was keep running, no stopping, no messing around at aid stations, and that is what I drama, no races against time at full pace, it really was uneventful....sorry ;)

The finish line... unfortunately that isn't me there with the expertly tanned body..
..oddly enough, as I came to the finish I noticed that the timer above the finish line was not working, so although I had a rough idea what my final time was I still had to wait until picking up my diploma in the athletes arena before getting final confirmation..

At the finish..looking like that a smile of a grimace?

When I finally got my sweaty paws on my times I was happy to see…

Swim             00:40:10       (2010’s time:   00:45.01)
Bike                3:03:24        (2010’s time:   3:06.17)
Run                 1:56:03        (2010’s time:   2:15.25)
Overall Time   5:48:34        (2010’s time:   6:16.37)
Overall Rank      1064        (2010 Rank 1262)
Age Group Rank  191        (2010 Rank 308)

A PB by 28 minutes and 3 seconds, ranked nearly 200 places higher overall and over a 100 places higher in my age group (35-40) than last year, other goals set, staying on my bike ;), and keeping my legs actually running during the run. Happy me, no complaints at all, the bike split needs improving, in fact, it needs a massive improvement, I’m already thinking about next year! Next stop Ironman Switzerland, Zürich on the 10th of July, I’m buzzing already!!!

Thanks for reading!