Rhein-Ahr Triathlon 2018

The last league race of the season is usually in Remagen. Last season they cancelled it, but it was back on this year. We could swim even though the Rhein is really shallow at the moment.  TCEC decided to meet at 6:30am on Sunday, which meant that I was up at 5:15 (before my alarm) and out of the house and cycling in the dark by 6:05.

I had ridden my new road bike on Saturday and was pretty fast for little effort. Later in the day though I had some pretty dreadful diahorrea. No worries though, it should sort itself out.  On race morning I had slpet really badly then ate my bog standard breakfast of cornflakes and an omelette. I really didn’t feel great and couldn’t stomach the whole omelette, so I threw it away.

After losing a few more fluids, I was on my way to Mombach. We set off and were there in good time. I messed up a few things, such as forgetting a new pair of shorts for after the race, forgetting my towel and not putting my wetsuit bag in T1, meaning I couldn’t store it away as you are supposed to.

Anyway, we got the bus to the swim start this year and then got on the ferry to the middle of the Rhein. I remembered that last time I swam near the coast and took ages, this time pretty much my only goal was to swim in the middle and pick up the stream of the river as much as is possible.  We started and I worked my way to the middle. I breathe to the right and could see the kayak on my right the whole time. I didn’t swim well, I felt pretty weak, but I got out of the water after about 22:40 which was minutes faster than last time, I even saw Basti in T1, meaning I had done well.

After putting on socks, and hiding my wetsuit out of the way, I got onto the bike. I wasn’t gaining on anyone and a quick look at my power showed about 230w, pathetic.  I really just couldn’t get going, it was a fight from the start and people passed me a lot, which isn’t usually what happens. Near the end of the first loop Robert passed me and was out of sight pretty quickly!

I couldn’t hold aero position for more than a few minutes as my shoulders were aching, after finally getting to the top of the climb for a 2nd time, I was happy to be able to roll back down to T2. My average speed was 32km/h, really bad.  Not only that though, I felt like death, I really didn’t know how I would run 10k after that ride.

But 10k is what I had to run, so after a decent T2 I set off. I saw Michael coming to lap me almost immediately, I worked out that he was about 13 minutes ahead of me. Running is usually my strength, but this time I had nothing. I was being overtaken all the time and was just hoping to make it to the end.

Slowly, and I mean slowly, I ticked off the loops. I was so happy to be finished, but so disappointed with my day. It was without doubt my worst triathlon ever.  I kind of finished in a daze, light headed and feeling weak.

The others were chatting so after I had a bit to drink, I went over to them. They looked at me and I felt like it was pure pity, I had to go to the side to have a few minutes by myself to get myself together, rather than cry in the group!

I felt like shit for at least the next 45 minutes, then after having a coffee and a shower I started to feel better.  The day after as I write, I still have diahorrea and feel weak, so it seems that I was ill going into the race.

So that is the end of my 2018 triathlon season. There was the Hachenberg team sprint where I struggled on the bike and ran badly, there was Mußbach where I cycled badly, then Worms were I cycled dreadfully. There was Neuwied where I was a drop out due to health stuff and now my worst triathlon ever in Remagen. It’s been a helluva season!

Over Winter and Spring I plan to keep traithlon training, rather than just running. Actually I’d rather cycle more and run less, whilst ticking over on the swimming. I just need toget myself right though, I guess they will be planning me for the 2nd team next year, I need to get myself back fit, healthy and on form to get some points for the 1st team.

Vereinsmeisterschaft 2018

I just read my post from last year about the Vereinsmeisterschaft. I ended it by saying that it had been my best season ever and that I’d be kicking on this season. Well this season has probably been my worst since getting into endurance sports properly – how the world turns!

Some background – about a month ago I’d been getting a good few weeks of training in and went for a pre-work run. I ran at 4:37/km with a low 135bpm heart rate. I was back! I hadn’t been running that much, but I was swimming a bit and cycling lots.  A few days later I felt ill. I was weak and nausious, then came the black stool, I’ve seen this story before.

I was hopeful that it was just stomach ache or so, but a couple of days later when I felt a little better, I did a test run. 4:55/km with 151bpm – bugger. I went to the doctor and had a blood test, my haemoglobin was down from 15.8 to 13.2, so I had had a bleed again.

I’ve been trying to recover, but that is easier said than done! My ferritin was already low, now I needed to recover about a litre of blood and get my ferritin up – good luck.  This all happened 3.5 weeks before Neuwied, so I decided to drop out of the race, I wouldn’t be able to compete at a decent level.  1 week after Neuwied is the Vereinsmeisterschaft, that seems like a check to see where I am in my recovery 2 weeks before Remagen.

So I was up and ready on Sunday at 7am. I hadn’t ridden my Tribike in ages, but I got ready and set off to Nieder-Olm. After about 6km I stopped and realised  -I had my bibshorts on, not my trisuit! I had to go back and get it and set off again. Time was now a little tight, but I was still there 40 minutes before the start at 9:50.

I managed a 100m warm up swim, then it was go time. My lane worked out pretty well for me in my current condition. I swam in the pace line quite easily and had a decent swim considering (no clock – don’t know the time).

In the spirit of the day, I decided to put on my socks for the bike, I need to train so don’t want blisters.  The bike started slowly but I got caught in a group of Stephan, Heiko B, Heiko M and Pascal. We got stopped by traffic a couple of times making it tough to separate out, Pascal cheats massively too, so that didn’t help break up the group!

I decided to push on the uphill towards Setzen, it’s a bit longer and steeper there, so I could give it a kick and split the group. That worked well and I was away from the group, though Stephan caught my up and passed my on the more technical part that followed.

I got off the bike having failed with my flying dismount (it’s downhill to T2, so tough to get ready to dismount). I struggled to find my shoes but then was away. Stephan was ahead of my, Heiko maybe 50m behind.

I don’t like this run route of our Vereinsmeisterschaft, it is tough and hard to find a rhythm as it is often fairly steeply uphill or downhill. It’s also a nightmare when you have blood issues, as I have no top end speed at the moment.  Stephan ran away from me and on the out and back I could see all the people ahead of me – where I should be! Heiko was holding firm behind me, maybe edging nearer to me.  With only about 500m to go, he caught me but kindly offered to run in with me rather than run away from me.

A girl was getting encouraged to pass us by the crowd, so we sped up to make sure that didn’t happen. We faked a sprint finish and crossed the line next to each other, but they read my chip first so I was ahead of him, pretty unfair!

My time was 51:26 compared to 48:59 last year (I was off form last year too, but more due to my season being over). My run time was 90 seconds slower this year over 3.8km! I’d like to have a good race at the VM some time, I just need to stay fit through the summer some time, and not get ill. I’ve not managed that so far – maybe in 2019!