The Marbella 70.3 was the first of four half iron distances I have planned for 2019. After a solid winter’s training and a few early season races, I was looking forward to testing myself over a race distance that I feel suits my strengths.
The weather on race morning was bright and although chilly at 6am, it was forecast to rise to around 23 or 24 degrees by lunchtime, so perfect for racing. The race started with a single 1.9km lap in the sea. I have never done a triathlon with a sea swim before, so I was a bit apprehensive, but I was determined to remain focused and get through the swim with a positive attitude. The start was a rolling self-seeded start from the beach, so I placed myself in the approx. 45min swim time pen and waited to go. As I entered the water the main thing that struck me was how crowded it was, but I stuck to my resolve, and did not allow myself to be intimidated – I still have the big bruise on my arm to prove it.
I picked off the swim buoys one by one, and finally exited the swim in 46mins – which was around where I had hoped to be.
The run up to and through transition was very long, and was quite congested, particularly where the bags were stored. I got through as best I could, and got off onto the bike course without incident.
After a short section along Marbella’s famous Golden Mile and onto a motorway slip road, the bike course started to climb, and this climb was relentless for the next 12 or so kilometres. It was just a case of pacing your effort and riding steady to the top. There was some respite from the climbing with some flat and downhill where I was able to get on my aerobars and build up some good speed before we were climbing again! The profile of the out and back course was definitely lumpy, and although I am a strong cyclist, the amount of climbing did not particularly suit me, and I was happy to reach T2 after a tough 90km ride, lasting 3hrs 35minutes.
The run course was two laps along the sea front in Puerto Banus. As I set off I really started to feel the fatigue in my legs, and I felt a bit daunted at the prospect of running over 21km. But I tried to put negative thoughts to the back off my mind, and focused on putting one foot in front of the other until I got into my stride. I took a banana from the first feed station, doused myself over the head with water, and drank some flat coke. After this first station I realised that I definitely did not want to eat anything, so I adopted a strategy of grabbing one coke – to drink, and one water – to pour on my head, from each feed station, for the rest of the run.
I finished the run in 2hrs 08 minutes, which was slower than I would have hoped for, but I absolutely gave it everything I had.
My overall finish time was 6hrs and 39minutes, which put me in 9th position in my Age Group. My reflections on finishing the race, were that it was a tough swim, followed by a tough bike, and this made the run much more uncomfortable than I was maybe expecting – but ultimately I was pleased with how I executed the race, and I am looking forward to racing Outlaw Half on 19th May. Let’s hope the weather’s as good!