I guess it’s time for a little update from Sweden and World Triathlon Long Distance Championships.
The time leading in to this years world champs definitely wasn’t easy. First of I had my stress fracture from Dubai happening 4 months out from worlds. That kept me completely away from training for almost 4 weeks and out of running for 7 weeks, and leaving me with only ~10 weeks of running before worlds.
In that time I actually gained fitness faster than I ever have done before, and I was very confident when I raced in Challenge Denmark 2 weeks before worlds as a test of form and race skills.
During the bike ride in ch. Denmark I experienced troubles with my lower back that really caused me to pull out of the run very frustrated.
2 weeks to go to worlds and we didn’t know why this all of a sudden happened. In training my back problem was still giving me nerve-pain all the way down my left leg, and I only tried to run once during this 2 weeks block of training. Received massive amounts of treatments, but as I left for Sweden 3 days before the race I was still not able to run pain free. Continued my treatments with Patrizia from ProBodyCare in Sweden both Thursday and Friday before the race and hoping for miracles and the effect of pain killers. I tried a little jog Friday night, and was heart broken due to the amount of pain I was feeling.
Saturday on race morning the miracle had happened, and out of the blue I was not feeling any more pain coming from the back going down my legs. Maybe it was the effect of all the treatments that finally kicked in – anyways I was happy, and just hoping for it to last.
The race itself wasn’t too interesting. Swim was shortened to 1500m instead of 4000m. I exit’ed the water in 5th position but still in contact with the front. Kept the tactics on the bike, staying away from the front in the beginning just sitting in the pack behind Gambles, Amberger and Niedrig (that guy is 47 years old!!!). By the 30k mark we hit a small stretch of head wind and I went to the front, put the hammer down and took of. Increased the gap all the way to T2, reaching it with a 3.40 gap to Cyrill Viennot (who lost 1.53 to the front in the swim) and ~5 minutes to Joe Gambles (after 116.2km and not the advertised 120km). My bikesplit was 2.38.
Out onto the run I was obviously concerned about my legs and back, and also thinking about the experience from Challenge Denmark 2 weeks before. I was paying a lot of attention to my pace in the beginning, just making sure to clock those k’s in the 3.40’s and not going out too fast.
Feeling pretty good on the first 10k, but still lost more than 1.30 to Cyrril. By the end of 2nd lap I was feeling pretty tired and Cyrril was only 40 sec back. He overtook me aroung 23-24km, and I was in a very dark place – the pain was massive!
As I came out of the woods for the last time I met Coach Krüger who was telling me to really push with everything left because there was a bunch of fast runners coming from behind. I fueled up with coke at the aid stations and just went all out from there. My last km split on my GPS watch was 3.34. I hit the tape 13 sec back of Cyrill Viennot, and less than 30sec ahead of a fast closing Joe Skipper. My run was 1.55, just about 30 sec of my best ever 30k run split.
It is fair to say that I am disappointed we weren’t able to do the full distance swim. Both Joe and Cyrill would have had a much more difficult race if it had been a 4k swim instead of 1.5k, and the dynamics would have been completely different.
The thing that I am mostly happy about is that I made a plan with Krüger Coaching before the race and I executed that plan very well. Under different circumstances that would have been enough for the world title. I know that. Coach knows that. Next year we will have another go…