I haven’t had a really good tri since returning from my 3 world titles with Spartan Racing. I came into this race with a do or die attitude. I had spent two, two week camps fully dedicated to this endeavor (and fueled by Aero Press Coffee!) and my training was the best it could have been. (See prior posts for deets).
When the race week came it was awesome. No one puts on an event like Israman. It’s a matter of national pride it seems. They make it the biggest, best, most passionate race you can imagine. The last of the independent big races out there; so you feel their motivation with us the love of sport; not just being their to make money.
By race morning the conditions were near perfect. Warm smooth water and the best swim course I have ever done and that includes kona and St. Croix. Clear water allowed me to see endlessly as cute colorful fish swam with us. I exited the water with a solid time of 25-26 minutes and left T2 in 4th place. Another great swim for my Xterra Wetsuit.
The bike starts with a long climb for 16k and a few people I would not see again came by. One was the super fast race winner that was gliding uphill like a wrath. It was amazing to watch as the rest of us struggled to simply turn the peddles over on the step parts. One thing that was encouraging was that I was keeping my distance from 3 ppl behind me.
Up and over the first climb I found myself in the rolling section and this is where I struggle the most. Cycling was always my weakest leg and this course is mostly about the bike. A few more ppl passed me and I kept my head down and tried to power forward but some damage was being done. The wind was a bit of a challenge for 5k on the way back but nothing I didn’t expect. My Myn Choice kit, cycling jersey and arm warmers is aero and comfortable so I was totally comfortable in the conditions. The course is sublime with mountains of Isreal and Jordan on the side with the rising sun; and a view of Egypt and it’s mountains on the side with the setting moon. The landscape is vast and frankly sublime. After that it was a few climbs and into t2.
I ran out of t2 like I was shot out of a cannon in Brooks racing flats. I took the first downhill 5k in 18 minutes and caught two people. Sadly this was not meant to last as I cracked really hard 5k later. At the 10k mark my legs were trashed and I was struggling to run well. The bike and overly passionate first 5k left me in trouble and I ran poorly until 5k to go when I pulled myself together. The course is amazing, with insane views of the mountain and Red Sea as you head into town then a short trail section to experience a taste of the desert, followed by a run on the boardwalk with countless people cheering from cafes and the beach. I actually ran well the last 5k and finished strong and limited the damage and came in 9th, and was really happy to crack the top 10 against a great international pro field. All things considered I was super pleased and of course and most importantly had an amazing experience out on one the most wonderful courses on earth. The party at the finish is unlike any other and had more energy then I have experienced elsewhere. I was super happy and then super sore! Time for some Lupii bars packed with vegan protein so I can get back to work. I really hope to be back in 2021!