IM 70.3 Dubai

Finally finished my first IM70.3 and my second half iron distance.
This was really special, since after my first half iron way back in 2014 I had serious doubts if I ever wanted to do this distance again. Being a self coached amateur athlete I seem to always get the training for my first race wrong. Also my strategy was so wrong that I finished my first race in a time of 7:33:08 hrs (he he,  had to go back and check the actual time).  Of which my run was 3:10hrs.

I went into this race with not much expectations. Had done my homework well, read books from Joe Friel, Matt Dixon, Matt Fitzgerald. Understood stuff like FTP, Threshold, RPE etc. Had figured out Base, Build, Peak. Read and experimented with nutrition (Low carb, high carb, racing weight blah blah).  I also made a conscious effort of not thinking too much about the race. I knew that if I stuck to my plan I would finish it between 6-6:15hrs. Also told myself that I would modify this plan based on how the race went.

SWIM: 46:46 mins.

My swimming isn't really good. Based on my training times I was scheduled to finish this leg in around 1-1:05 hrs. However when the race started I went in with a higher effort than my training. Also the wetsuit did help though I think that help got offset with the time taken to get through T1.
Though I must say for a change its really wonderful swimming in clean water. The sea was probably cleaner than my local pool let alone the Mumbai swims done at Khar Danda. Not only could I see my hands when swimming, I could also see the sea bed and more importantly the time lapsed on my watch :). 
Nutrition: 1 banana and 3 dates 2 hrs before race, one Gu gel 15mins before swim start and approx 200-250ml of sea water (also a good nasal decongestant) 😂

BIKE: 2:47:50 hrs.

Carrying a heel injury which has haunted me for over a year now. I had put in most of my training on the bike. I had literally worked my 'ass' off on the saddle during training. After a faster than expected swim, for a moment I thought that I could possibly finish between 5:45-6hrs. My training had seen me do a 90km ride in 2:33hrs so I had assumed a 2:40hrs kind of finish. Got onto my bike and realized I was just averaging around 32kph. This got me really worried, I thought I probably overcooked my swim and now would have a bad bike split. At around 20kms into the bike leg I felt miserable! Now my finish time looked like a 6:45-7hrs (Deja vous moment).
It then hit me that I was cycling with a lot of wind blowing, I kept praying that this was more of a headwind as compared to crosswinds. I took a gamble and slowed down a bit more hoping that if I saved my legs the return would be good. Thankfully that worked. After the turn around and an initial bad 5 kms (crosswinds) that headwind ended up becoming a good tailwind. The next 15kms, I managed to hammer out at 42, 46 and 44kmph average (5k splits). Kept pushing as hard as I could till I reached the end of the ride. On a side note it was really fun passing people with Cervelo P5s, Canyons and high end TT bikes on my Alloy Reacto 500. Not to mention people with carbon discs. The bikes on display were amazing!

Nutrition: 1 Gu gel in T1, One bottle of Accelerade (700ml), Bottle of Enerzal(700ml) and 400ml of water from an Aid station.

RUN: 2:18:44hrs

Hadn't really expected anything in this leg. Knew that I had put in more effort on the bike ride and so the run was going to be tough. While chatting with Akshay I decided to target a 2:10-2:20hrs kind of run. Did a quick change of Tee in T2 since my excessive sweat in the past has resulted in a lot of bruises due to the salt build up. My first 2km went exceptionally well (again I thought sub 6!!). However by the 4km I felt signs of cramping  setting in. At around the 7th Km got my first cramp, slowed down and started walking while crossing the aid stations. At around 13kms the cramping got severe, it was a run walk situation now. The sub 6 thought went out of the window and now all I could think of was finishing.
Nutrition: 1 Gu Gel in T2, after 5kms everything went for a toss. Had Coke and Red Bull at all stations, chips, fried prawns, chicken momos, a couple Coronas etc etc...

All in all a great experience. There is one thing I must say, doing an Ironman is out of this world. The arrangements, the planning, the route etc is impeccable. There is a lot that the local triathlon organizers can learn.