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Personal best at Ironman 70.3 Zell am See

Race report - The Swim

My aim was to translate my strong training performances in the pool into a successful race. The top athletes always surge through the initial 400 meters to create a gap and deter weaker swimmers from drafting behind them. So, my strategy was to push myself hard right from the start in order to catch up with the fast swimmers.

After approximately 500-meter, the athlete in front of me began to slow down, creating an opening. For the first time in four races, I seized the opportunity and swiftly overtook them, closing the gap to remain with the leading group. I felt a surge of satisfaction, thinking, "Finally, I'm part of the fast first swim group." However, my enthusiasm was short-lived when I realized that my group was still far behind the front pack that I had missed once again.

By the time we reached 1 kilometer, the pace of our group had started to decline. To maintain our speed, I took the initiative and moved to the front. After 1.9 km, our group had fallen behind by 1.5 minutes compared to the main pack…

With a dedicated new swim coach I keep on working hard, so that next time I‘ll hopefully manage to swim up front.

The bike

During the first couple of kilometers of the bike leg, I always struggle as the blood remains in my arms from the swim, and it takes time for my legs to warm up. I rode with a group of six and had to fight hard to maintain contact due to the high pace. We maintained an average speed of 46 km/h for the first 25 km. Then, we reached the one and only long climb. The first 2 km of climbing felt good, but soon I experienced an emptiness in my legs and had to let go of the group. In an attempt to regain my biking power, I picked up a Maurton-gel at the aid station. It worked! However, it turns out that my stomach didn't quite like it.

As we tackled the last steep part of the climb, I managed to push good power, and with a fast downhill, I caught up to a fellow athlete (check out the maximum speed in picture two). Together, we completed the remainder of the course. It felt like a roller coaster ride; I alternated between feeling incredibly strong and then quite weak.

Overall, I am satisfied with my bike performance, and I take pride in pushing through the tough moments on the bike. I now also know that I can maintain good power during the bike leg without risking to blow up on the run. This gives me a lot of confidence for the last race of the season.

The Run

During the first 7km, I felt great and was able to maintain a solid pace of 3:40 per kilometer. I even managed to overtake some athletes ahead of me, which greatly motivated me.

However, halfway through the run, I began to feel discomfort in my hamstrings, and I worried that it might worsen as the race continued, possibly forcing me to stop. This concern was amplified by my history of hamstring muscle fiber tear in May. Despite this, I still had plenty of energy and tried to stay relaxed. Nevertheless, my pace slowed down a bit, and I couldn't push as hard as earlier. Nonetheless, I achieved a personal best in the run and finished in 18th place.

Overall, I'm very pleased with my performance, especially considering that the gap between me and the fastest athletes is decreasing with each race.

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