22 July 2013

20.7.2013 - Finntriathlon Joroinen (70.3, half distance)

This was our main target for this year. We decided about 18 months before that during the summer of 2013 we would complete a half triathlon. A lot of our friends were here the year before and were going again. So it was an easy pick to go here for us.
The evening before the race we went to check-in the bikes. We also had a possibility to check the T1 area.

Jyrki's race:

I was quite afraid of the swimming part. Swimming is clearly my weakest dicipline. The swim course was like a diamond shape rectangle.
We started in age groups 3 minutes apart. I started the quite in the back since I knew I would not be among the fastest ;-) The first leg was easy and swimming started to feel not-so-bad. I even caught up on some of the earlier starters. At the same time some competitor from the later group started overtaking me. Anyway, the first turn was ok. My swimming was pulling to the left (as it had all summer) so I was never in the middle of the crew. Made it actually a bit easier.
The second leg was still quite easy but there was some wind that made some waves. Still no big problem. The third leg was horrible. The waves were "really big" - at least to my standards - and swimming the front crawl was not going very well for me. A couple of times I swallowed a lot of water. I had to swim the breast stroke for a couple of hundred meters. The last leg again the wind came more from behind and it was a lot easier. Coming to shore I was thinking about what I need to do and in what order.
  1. Press the lap on the training computer to get my T1 time
  2. Find my bag
  3. Take a gel
  4. Remember the number
  5. ...
It should have been easy since T1 and T2 were in different places and the bags were separate for both transitions. But as I got to shore I was caught by a familiar reporter who started to take pictures of me really close. Of course I forgot to press the lap... Everything else was easy. I needed everything in the T1 bag.
Swim time was 46 minutes, really slow. But it was expected.

Biking was my strongest dicipline, so I was feeling quite good. I started off quite hard (a bit too hard) with my heart rate going up to 170. I turned it down a notch and started enjoying. We made two laps on the course. I was overtaking quite a lot of people which of course felt good. I was not in a bad form. Saying hi and cheering our team mates every time we saw each other.  In the end my bike time was 2:28. A little over 36 km/h on average. It was actually surprisingly fast since I had not done many bike rides during the last year.

The second transition was quite a long run from the bike depot to the T2 bags. I found the bag easily and started to change shoes. No surprises here, but it was rather slow.  Then off to the run course.

The running was four laps around the woods and roads close to the finish area. The first lap was not as bad as I had anticipated. Counting out the steep hill in the beginning... Second lap was going quite good as well. The third lap started to feel in the legs. The fourth lap was quite painful. It was a weird feeling, my legs were numb but hurting...? I overtook Niina on my second or third lap. She was one lap behind. Changing some words with the love of my life, made it easier...;-)
Again a lot of cheering on with our team mates.
I tried to make a sprint in the end, but it might not have looked that way. The running time was 1:48 and I am very happy with the result.

When I finished I was really surprised when they called out my name and time. I  was thinking that a perfect time for me would have been around 5:30:00. It was 5:11:53! A good 18 minutes faster than I would ever have though possible.
The feeling was absolutely amazing. I did it!

Immediately after finishing I ran to where I saw some of our friends who were not competing. My first question was: Is Niina still running or did she quit? Niinas knees were so bad in the weeks before the race that she was sure that she couldn't finish the running part. The friend told me that she is still soon starting on the last lap. She is doing great!

Swim: 45:57
T1: 4:17
Bike: 2:28:36
T2: 5:02
Run: 1:48:03
Total time: 5:11:53
Average Heart rate: 158
kCal: 5445


Niina's race:

To be updated soon...

Niinas Joroinen 70.3/ 2013

So, what are my memories about my first experience with half-triathlon in Joroinen 2013?
I had a full travel arrangement, bicycle service and luggage delivery service taken care of by my beloved husband. I just had to arrange Friday free from work (that I forgot to do, and discovered it just a week earlier. It caused me some unpleasant moments while waiting for my superior to decide if they will manage one day without me. They did :-).  And I had to pack my bag.
It was very useful to have the last years experience from Kuopio Olympic distance and to watch the video from the internet about last years competition.
We started our travel early and arrived in time to register peacefully, and place everything on T1 and T2 areas. We were at the T1 area with bikes before they even opened it! Every now and then we were bumping into our friends getting ready too. When everything was done, we went to the stadium area just in time to see some part of the sprint distance competition, while eating some potatos with sausages (pyttipannu). I kept thinking that now I am dry, warm, eating and relaxing, while others run wet and sweaty. And that tomorrow it will be pretty much the other way around.
Our hotel was far away, from social point of view, but it was good to relax there, get everything ready and go to sleep in time. The T1, T2 and extra bag – system made packing for the race clear and simple.
In the evening I wanted to speak but Jyrki was serious and concentrated, so I had to keep silent. In the morning I wanted to be silent and peacefully concentrate on my preparations, and Jyrki wanted to ask some questions, so I had to try to keep calm and concentrated in spite of necessity to interrupt my preparations to concentrate on what he was saying (I don’t like to do two things at a time. My husband claims that I can’t either.).
Due to my knee problem I took one Ibuprofen and taped my knees with nice red kinesthesia tape, that was of so week quality, that I could not stretch my femoral muscles after that without tearing it in pieces. Luckily it worked well until the end of competition, no need to stretch during the race.
I felt nervous but not too much. We came to the race area in time. Parked the car, took one of the early busses to the T1/start area and were there very early.
So there was a lot of time to stretch a little. I did no real warm up. That I should do next time may be it will really improve my performance. I wandered around, had nice chats with friends  and went to the toilet about 4 times in 1 hour (that reveals that I must have been a bit nervous).
 When we were entering the water, my heart rate was around 125. I tried to relax and swim peacefully. There was not so much of a crowd. I passed some pink hats (older gentlemen that started before us) and some white hats passed us (relay). It was relaxed to swim. A bit of a fun when the waves came, but it never interfered with my swimming or breathing. I remember that on the last straight before the end I thought that it’s boring, I don’t want to swim anymore. Then I gathered myself, concentrated and run fast out of the water and to changing area. I remember that Ilkka was there shouting to me that Jyrki is fine and is already out of water.
I grabbed my bag and sat down to change. Next moment Siru was there, sitting in front of me. She said that we both are very muddy, and that was true. So I picked two napkins that I had hidden in the T1 bag due to my tradition to always have napkin at my reach and we cleaned our faces. Than I run away.  The run to the end of T1 went well, but in the end, trying to get on bike and change lap in my Polar I hit a stone of the fence with my front wheel almost falling. In my imagination I saw hope in the eyes of the first aid team that was standing near. “We get a first client!” But I disappointed them end kept my balance thus they didn’t yet get work to do.
I mounted my bike and of I went. I was so happy and excited! The road was disappearing under my wheels, my muscles were full of power, body full of energy, sun was shining and I felt flying. Luckily I had my Polar, telling me that my heart rate is too high for the beginning of a 90 km ride. So I calmed down and got a nice cycling rhythm. I was mumbling a song while riding, which is not usual for me, but it felt so good! I flied and passed one after another a lot of bikers. Up hill and down hill! It was such a fun! Some professional looking guys passed me, and I didn’t mind.
I didn’t mind uphill’s because it always meant downhill after, didn’t mind head wind, because it always meant tail wind later.
I remember shouting to a guy I passed during last 2 km-s: “Keep going fast! Its time to push the maximum during last kilometers!” And the guy answering: “But we have to run also!”.
Well, I have to admit that my plan was that my knee will probably get painful and I will have to interrupt running. But it didn’t get painful and I managed to run to the end.

It was painful, sweaty and hard physically and mentally to fulfill the distance but in the end the experience was incredible! It felt so great that as soon as we got home, I registered to the Mallorca 70.3 race.