There was, the most important race of the year for some of us again, the Abu Dhabi International Triathlon 2014. As all my “A” events, I prepare carefully and tried to time the peak of my fitness level for this day (short distance is a 1500m swim, 100km bike and 10km run). And this was my experience.
Gorgeous day in a wonderful city and venue to start a swimming that I prepared good for, always trying to keep good form, tempo high and straight line between buoys. It wasn’t easy but that is something we all knew. Clear waters for an amazing event.
But everything went down from there. And this is the story of the rest of my day.
I don’t really know what happened but I have two theories that might caused the horrible GI stress I experienced that day.
First theory is the sea water; some coaches recommend to swim in the venue to get to know your surroundings, basically to pick your natural landmarks, where to run in and out of the water, where the sun is going to be and basically to calm those nerves showing up the day before a big race. Other coaches are the opposite, they suggest to find a nice pool and train the last session there. This time as a coach and mentor of the ONEndurance Triathlon Team I suggested to jump in the water and have a swim with some race simulation intervals for all the members attending that swimming session, the day before the race. Whatever went into my system during the swimming it was going to show up symptoms twenty four hours later (that means race day).
And the second theory is that something went wrong with my nutrition, meaning that or my fluids went bad in transition or I made a mistake during the preparation the day before. I remember I took a big drink a couple minutes after I left the mounting zone as I always do.
I was finishing the Corniche Avenue when I started feeling weird, my stomach was about to reject everything there was inside. I was by kilometer 10 or so when I had to determine what what to do because there was about 90km in front of me with headwinds after Saadiyat Island. Throw up or slow down and try to keep everything inside some seconds after I took the decision to keep everything inside to avoid dehydration and/or other unknown problems that might showed up.
I started using mental strength, digging up all my training stats and started to rely in what I knew about my body, what I tested in training, head position, the speed, the cadence, the heart rate, power and the intensity I knew I was able to ride without fluids and without burning all my matches on the bike leg in order to keep my self moving forward. I was in surviving mode.
I knew by the time I was going to star coming back from Yas Island and Yas Marina Circuit, that the winds were going to shift on us and I wasn’t wrong so I started to empty all my containers that were still full after 60 kilometers and all the extra weight I was carrying knowing I was not going to consume them .
I picked up a water bottle from one of the stations and filled up my front bottle so I tried to take a gel to test my stomach and it went down with the water all this happened when I was reaching the Saint Regis Resort on my way back to T1, the symptoms came back after a few minutes. In a few words the bike leg was a big question mark, hot, windy with a gorgeous landscape around all of us.
I stole all the energy I could from the people cheering along the Corniche Avenue and embraced for impact, I didn’t know the magnitude of the damage. It was 100km in 180 calories and a few zips of water.
I had a quick transition and try some fluids again, it didn’t work. I knew I was still in trouble. First sign of damage was my right tight who started talking to me but I managed to silent it changing my landing, then was my stomach one more time. Once again I relied on positive thinking and being focus on what I was doing.
I finally reached the final straight to the finish line, the light was there, the end of my journey was close, the goose bumps showed up and the tears too. My eyes watered after a million thoughts came into my brain in a fraction of a second, wishing my dad was there and my friend Mehdi too. The red carpet made me forget the pain, the stomach, the cramps and that I was literally dry.
The damage was that I had stomach problems for another 10 days, a deep pain in my right tight that lasted for a whole month and the lost of weight that not til now July I was able to recover.
This is the video from the triathlon shared in YouTube by the organizer, you can find me at 1:42 celebrating this gigantic victory:
And the photo shown on the top was generated from this video.
In case you are asking your self if I did well time wise the answer is yes, regardless of the problems I PR’d. And this is a huge indicator of the training and preparation I had, preparation and knowledge I share with ONEndurance Triathlon Team weekly.
Will I ever know what really happen? probably no, but I have one new season, one more opportunity to test everything one more time and try it on race day.
I wanted to say thank you to all the members of the ONEndurance Triathlon Team and our sponsors BeSports at Mushrif Mall, Fun Ride Sports, Saracens Cycle, Yas Links Golf Club and Champion Systems triathlon apparel.
Here are some photos of that day.
I hope you enjoyed it and til my next adventure.