Race report: Ironman Mallorca 24.9.2016 (Blaž Brečko)

My third and the hardest Ironman is finally behind me. I've had bigger expectations, but sometimes higher forces win over the power of your mind. My slowest finish time to date but also the finish that I'm most proud of, because I really went through the pain during the race I've never experienced before in my short career as an "endurance athlete". It was my second Ironman in Mallorca, Spain; and the second time that I blew out:D
The race itself was held in the beautiful tourist city called Alcudia on Saturday, 24th of September. My mom and my gf Ula went with me to give me support I needed during the last days prior the race. We flew to Palma de Mallorca on Wednesday afternoon from Vienna airport and everything went smooth. At the airport in Palma, we rented a car and I drove to the other side of the island to Alcudia, where slovenian PRO triathlete Matic Modic joined us in our appartment. On Thursday we went to discover the island a little bit and you can believe me, there is a lot to see! We kept joking, that the nature is just like in the south of Croatia:D (we, the slovenians) love to spend our summer vacation in Croatia... it really has an amazing seaside;)). My mom was already doing some plans, how she would like to go around Balearic islands (Mallorca, Ibiza, Menorca) with a sailing boat=).
Well, I had a rest day on Thursday and I just went with a flow, driving, eating and enjoying the nature. On the afternoon, me and Matic went down to the event site to pick our race numbers and I was once again amazed by the tip top organization by Ironman.

On the Friday morning, me and Matic did a final swim session at the pool, followed with breakfast and 1h bike activation. After that, legs up, eat and rest till 6pm when we drove our bikes to the big transition zone. I felt good and ready to smash a new Ironman PB on the next day.

I woke up at 4.30 am, 3h before the start. As usually, I ate a bowl of cereals, drank one big cup of coffee, took vitamins and drank a bottle of water. After that, I went back to bed to lay down and think about the course and so on, before I went with Matic to the transition zone few minutes before 6am. When we walked there, we saw many athletes running back to their hotels, because the organizers announced that wetsuits are allowed for AG ahtletes. The day before at the race brifing we were told, that water is to warm for wetsuits. Anyway, this didn't bother me, because Ula and mom were still at the appartment and I called Ula to bring me down my wetsuit. At the transition zone I put two bottles on my bike and few gels. In one bottle I had water and in the other one I had 300ml of EFS liquid  shot mixed with water. I clipped  my bike shoes on pedals and moved on to "refill" run&bike transition bags. After that I walked to the beach to wait for Ula with a wetsuit. Around 7.10am, 27min before the start I was ready and I went to the "under 1h" AG swim box, where I patiently waited for my start. The gun went off for PRO men at 7.30; 2 minutes after for PRO women, and at 7.37 we, age group athletes started with a rolling start.

SWIM (3,8km) - 1:00:04 (1:34min/100m average)
My plan before the race was to get out of the water around 56-58min. I knew that I would have to work very hard for that, because I didn't swim much in the last 3 months. But I swam a lot during the winter and spring so I thought that it should be enough. I felt great in the first 2,4km loop. Water was awesome and I settled nice in a group. After that, we did an so called "Australian exit" where we ran out of the water, did a turn and then ran back to do the second shorter loop. As soon as I got back into the water I felt terrible and I needed around 5 minutes to get back in to the rhythm again. I exited the water in 1h. I ran toward transition zone, picked my bike bag, got off my Zone3 wetsuit and here we are, lets have fun on the bike for the next 5h or so :D

BIKE (180km) - 5:23:16 (33,11km/h average)
As soon as I got on the bike I felt strong and relaxed. I gave special attention to hydrate my body well and to eat enough, to prevent cramps and that "empty" feeling. Out from the transition zone I rode together with two guys from Switzerland, who both owned a "space bike" haha and we were pushing hard, overtaking everyone in front of us. Average speed was all the time around 37km/h. But around 100km I couldn't hold their pace anymore and I lost them. I started to feel empty and I was riding really slow at that time. And then, at km 110, I was at the beginning of a big climb! F*ck, I'm a dead man I thought:D I was riding up very slowly, I simply couldn't spin the legs around. And I also started to feel cold a little bit and I couldn't wait to start a long and very technical descent. Well, descent went good and in the next 20-30km I started to feel great again. But then again the tiredness cought me around 155km when also started to rain. I rode like a pensioner till the transition zone and I couldn't wait to start running.

RUN (42,2km) - 4:27:20 (6:20min/km average)
I did the biggest mistake in my life in T2. Rain was pouring, I had wet feet and probably some sand on it. Because I didn't have a towel in my run bag, I put fresh socks straight on my wet feet. After putting on my running shoes I went to the toilet to pee and then, let the running show begin. There were already many puddles on the running course and there was no sign that the raining will stop:D
I felt like never before on the run, probably because I didn't push hard in the last 20km on the bike. I though to myself, maybe 3:15 marathon is possible today. But then, already at around km 5, I started to feel that something is not good with my feet. The pain was growing stronger every minute, every step. At km 10 I had a feeling like I'm running on pushpins. I was thinking to myself "why toooday?????". When I came to the point at km 13 when I couldn't stand on my feet anymore, I went to the medical tent, where doctors wrapped my feet. It was a little bit better, but not good enough so I could run properly. The next 29km were the hardest in my life. I ran from refreshment point to another one. At km 24 I was almost crying when I saw my mom and Ula along the course. But DNF is not in my DNA, therefore I fought like never before. I said to myself, hey, you're a one tough guy:D I know, that I can overcome almost every type of pain with the power of my mind. Last 10km went by quite fast and the rain stopped. I didn't care about the result and the finish time, I just wanted to get that finisher medal hahaha and drink a well deserved beer with Ula, Matic (who dnf on the run due to leg injury) and mom. I crossed the finish line after battling on the course for 10h59h33s, already with new ultra races in my mind (TransGranCanaria 87km trail run; Ironman Lanzarote).

What to say for the end? I know, that one day I'll come back to Ironman Mallorca and smash that course which was cursed for me this year and 2years ago:D. I love the island, nature, atmosphere...If you have a chance to visit it, you should do it.
Once again over here, I would like to thank to  4endurance Camelbak Vittoriatires Zone3 Natekmi.si and RoalBiro for helping me this season. As this is (probaly) the last race this year/season, I know, that next year I'll come back to race scene stronger, wiser and ready to achieve some of my personal goals. And of course, thank you all for supporting me via my social media accounts and for reading my blog. I'm really amazed by the traffic on my blog in this year, thank you all! I promise you, that I'll keep posting and keep inspiring everyone who will be in need for that small extra push to achieve their goal:)) Well, now, I'm going out to enjoy the last 3 weeks of autumn left for me this year.....;) Thanks for reading, hear you soon!

Follow Blaž Brečko on Instagram @blazbrecko
 or Twitter @blaz_brecko :)

You can read more about him HERE

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