Simone’s race report
Ironman 70.3 Aix En Provence (held on 14 May 2017) was a huge changing point for me. It has clarified what my coach and others around me told me what I could do in regards to my running. After joining the WADAC run club and training with athletes pushing themselves to becoming better every day, I started to adapt the same attitude. Session by session I slowly started gaining my belief back piece by piece.
I had a race plan to go easy in the swim, after a good preparation up to the race I was sick of waiting and just wanted to get out there. All my training had gone to plan but the night before the race I did not sleep at all, I just couldn’t switch the brain off. I’m normally an OK sleeper but I’m not sure what got into me and in the water I felt flat as a pancake with no power in the arms. So when I got out at the end of the swim I felt very annoyed – I’m normally two minutes quicker but I just didn’t have it on the day. T1 was slow too – probably having a chat with the volunteers!
Once on the bike again the plan was to take it easy and stick to my wattage to keep the legs feeling fresher and heart rate lower ready for the run. It took a lot to hold back on the bike knowing I could make up the time from my swim but I was super-disciplined. The bike is my strength and I normally go out hard and hold it but then on the run previously I always paid the price. So, this race was a test, I felt smooth throughout, with my heart rate low and cadence/power spot on, even for a hilly course. Now onto the run…
So, this was the real test. After all the winter training. CX, road races, Relays, Southern and National champs surely I was more ready to run than ever before!?? After getting off the bike the legs always feel a bit stiff or wobbly, but the more I began to move the better they felt. A toilet stop at T2 cost just under 2 minutes or so and not knowing where I was in terms of position I honestly didn’t care, I just knew the legs were feeling better than they had ever felt getting off the bike, the head was in work mode, the brain was switched on and by the time I finished one lap of three of the 7km loop I was like ‘Wow! Okay only two more loops.” I focused on keeping my rhythm and stayed tuned into my pace, I didn’t push the hills and turned the legs over quickly on the downhills, taking on fluid at every aid station. I finished the run in 1:23 on a tough course, which is a 16 min PB on the run off the bike! It wasn’t the perfect race but executed perfectly in terms of discipline and I finished feeling strong.
Going into the race I finally believed I could run and the result just proved that to me. I couldn’t be happier with my attitude throughout and took the win in my age group and 9th overall which is always a bonus. There’s lots more to work on but now I have what I was craving for and worked so hard to gain back: my self-belief. Now I believe I can achieve anything I set my mind to again. It’s been a bit of a process but one step at a time. The one thing I learned and I will take away from Aix is to never let the race control you, if you have to back off to gain it back then do so, the more you practice the execution of racing then that’s when the magic happens!