Recent Posts

Race Results

4th place, age group M30-34, Kona qualification

3rd place, age group M30-34

3rd place, Finnish Championship

Winner, age group M30-34

2013 IRONMAN Kalmar
2nd place, age group M30-34, Kona qualification

Finisher in 9 hours 30 minutes

5th place, Finnish Championship

Winner, age group M30-34

More results here.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Need For Speed. A Series Of C-Races

After IM 70.3 Mallorca in May I steered my training towards more speed and intensity, which would serve the up-coming sprint and olympic-distance races in late May and June. This meant stepping out of the long-distance triathlete's relative comfort zone of 4-5h bike rides and two hour runs that were replaced by some lung-bursting action on the track, pool and the bike trainer.

It took a while before my body showed any signs of willingness to co-operate with this new training regimen and the result of a Cooper's test two weeks after Mallorca was a bit discouraging. I ran the same 3650m as in the beginning of the season. Running felt horrible and forced and I caught myself looking for excuses to quit the test. I'm glad I didn't because the test was just the physical and mental shock that my system seemed to need. Four days after I was like a different runner in the Yritysmaratonviesti, a relay competition for companies, where Finnair, the airline I'm working for, had the win to defend from last year. Despite our stellar team, this time we were left second loosing by some 40 seconds. It was an incredibly good and hard training nevertheless.

Next up, again after four days, was our club's, Helsinki Triathlon, sprint distance duathlon race at Kuusijärvi, Vantaa. I was only just about recovered from the previous race but apparently some adaptation had happened since I (almost accidentally) took the lead from the start and managed to start the bike with a little gap to my competition. While a locomotive called Teemu Lemmettylä was able to catch me by the end of the bike, his lead was short-lived since the poor guy still struggles with tying his shoelaces at the age of 31. I cruised the second run to victory.

I had planned to do an FTP test on the bike six days after the duathlon, but for some reason felt sluggish the whole morning. Omegawave too indicated only fair readiness. I postponed the test hour after hour, but finally decided to give it a go in the afternoon. I was a mental wreck, however, and halfway to the 20-minute max effort test period (the whole test described here) my mind gave up and I stopped pedaling. I was really upset at myself at the time especially as I was on a record pace having already covered the 5-minute test period with a power of 435W.

The next day, it was again time for some club racing in the form of a sprint triathlon. Despite having won the duathlon against the best guys in our club, I was fully aware that it was going to be a totally different story this time around. Swimming is my weakness but for Kim Harju it's a major strength. The guy's got gills as far as I'm concerned. I was left with a deficit of almost 90 seconds after the swim and I couldn't find my legs on the bike either, this further opening the gap with another 20 seconds or so. Finally, we ran equal splits, which left me behind with a total of nearly 2 minutes. In hindsight, had I completed the test the day before, I would have dropped back probably even more with my muscles drained to the last drop out of energy. Then again, even on a good day, I would have struggled to make up the deficit after the swim. Sprint is just too short a distance for my abilities.

Powerfile from the sprint race. Some 10-15W below target.

With two, a bit subpar, performances on consecutive days I decided to punish myself (like a certain former Finnish cross-country skier) on the third day. I went out for a somewhat hard 4-hour bike ride followed by a one hour run at a normalized pace of 4:08/km. Smart training, huh? While the workout itself went well, it left me totally drained for the next couple of days. Omegawave went all red. This combined with two wake-ups at four in the morning due to work and only about six hours of sleep a night made me feeling feverish. I was hanging right at the edge. I had to have two days of almost complete rest in order to bounce back before Saturday's olympic-distance race.

Waking up on the morning of Vantaa Triathlon, the third biggest triathlon event in Finland, I was still feeling a bit tired. But I was determined to try and defend my win from last year's race. I was a bit nervous though, as the start list had some really good athletes both from our own club and also from another club from the city of Turku. One of them was a Finnish triathlon legend called Mika Luoto, who even has a top ten result from Hawaii in the pro ranks. He has been cooling down his racing career for a few years now, but is still a force to be reckoned.

The race, by my part, would probably follow a familiar pattern. I expected to be some 2-3 minutes back after the swim and then I'd ride my legs off trying to narrow down the lead of the guys up front. Running would be dealt with what was left in the tank, hoping for the best. 

The reality, however, was much better. I was only about 80 seconds behind the lead after the swim and on the bike managed to catch pretty quickly everyone else apart from two guys. I continued to reel them in but there was somebody doing the same thing to me at the same time. Once again Lemmettylä had caught me and was part of the battle despite his abnormally weak swim. I was sure he'd sport some speed-laces too this time. I joined the freight train, behind the legal distance, and with less than 5km to go on the bike, we took the lead.

After a speedy transition, I ran first out of the transition. The guys were following me but I saw the gap was slowly widening. Without any bigger problems, I knew I had a good chance at the win at this point. I kept my pace and surely enough, 50 meters turned into 100 and then 200 and so on. Finally, I reached the finish-line with a lead of 74 seconds before Lemmettylä who managed to seal the double for Helsinki Triathlon before Turku's Tatu Kasurinen. My faithful support crew, Pinja and Ville roared as I bowed and received the medal for the win. Maybe not an A-race for anyone, but precious scalps gained nevertheless.

No comments:

Post a Comment