Another climbed peak – Zurich IRONMAN!

July 21, 2019, at 7 am in Zurich, I started in my second IRONMAN.
I was pleasantly surprised that there was no rush in the starting corridor. All athletes carefully and without crush and emotions dispersed into groups of their expected swim time. Unlike my first start in the USA, it was also pleasant to have soft music and a calm voice of the MC. With a Swiss precision at 6:40 pro athletes started, and at 6:45 a rolling start began – 8 people every 5 seconds. And for the promised 20 minutes, all 2100 participants were already in the water!

Swimming took place in the rain, quite normally – it was one lap of 3.8 km on Lake Zurich, near the downtown. I swam evenly – my Garmin showed 4102 m instead of 3800 and time of 1:21:15 (1: 59/100 m pace).

In the pouring rain, we started the bicycle stage, so I did not apply any sunscreen …
On the first flat stretch of 20 kilometers, I kept a speed of about 34.5 km / h – once again I was happy for the rented wheels. This time – Vittoria brand. In general,  Race Day Wheels service is very common in the USA, but in Europe, I almost gave up founding it. A week before the start, I accidentally found contacts of the Kyiv company that offered to transport bicycles to start in Poland. It turned out that they rent the wheels as well.

We drove two laps of 90 km. To be honest, I expected more from the asphalt pavement of the Swiss highway … After a flat stretch near Zurich, real alpine ascents and descents began! Moreover, the slopes also often turned, and we were constantly slowed down by volunteers – either a narrow place or a sharp turn. I managed to accelerate to the maximum 57.7 km / h versus 74.4 in Louisville. And of course – the protracted serpentine rises – the total altitude gain was 1600 m!! If on the first lap I still overtook someone on the climbs, as I included special training in the hills during preparation, then in the future many people caught up with me on the even areas. On the second lap the sun came out and my shoulders were well roasted – I would say almost to the embers! The color was exactly black)

And here on the dead legs after the bicycle stage, which took 6 hours and 41 minutes to complete (175 km according to Garmin), I run out to the marathon distance. In transit – a small climb to the bridge. And I understand that there are no legs) They just refuse to gain altitude.

But after running half the marathon I came to life a bit. 37 years of running didn’t pass in vain …

The running track passed through the central part of the city – mostly asphalt, sometimes paving stones, sometimes pebbles (on the embankment in the park). I was also slightly surprised by the 4-laps track laid on different surfaces. In the central streets, we ran past restaurants and cafes, where the inhabitants were relaxing with meals and drinks, occasionally cheering us. Like, come on.

This time everything was ok with nutrition – all my sports mix, shot blocks and gels worked perfectly. Just because of the difficult bicycle phase, everything turned out slower than I wanted. I sped up on the last lap and flew into the finish gate with a total time of 12:49:02.

At the briefing the day before, when the rules were explained to us, blue and yellow penalty cards for drafting and incorrect overtaking (then you stopped 5 minutes or 1 minute in special tents – I was lucky), the facilitator made a great emphasis on our finish. “Do not ruin your finish! Do not try to press the button on the clock in time! Smile! ”. And I even rehearsed before the mirror as I would cross the finish line) At the very finish, everything really flew out of my head. But then traditionally they made a photo with a medal on the background of the branded wall. It seemed to me that I was just shining in a wide smile! What happened in reality – see below) 

In general, a difficult start, a big challenge – almost 13 hours of intense work on an average heart rate of 140 (on the hills I reached 175 bpm). But this Swiss peak is taken! I got to the last start of Zurich Ironman – from next year, after 23 starts, they move to a different place.

Garmin data
Race website

Oleg Lebedev’s second place at the Slavic Wave half-IRONMAN

Half-Ironman triathlon Slavic Wave took place on June 1, 2019 in Pereyaslav-Khmelnitsky. Distances: swim 1.9 km – bike 90 km – run 21 km.

We went with the whole family – even with our two-month Luna – an Australian shepherd. About 100 people gathered for the solo race and the relay.

The first time I participated in this start in 2013. And then I received a certain shock from the level of the organization. Not to face the organizers, I note that almost nothing has changed for the better. I am writing this not even for the sake of criticism, but as advice to novice triathletes – if you are planning your first half, check out the foreign launches of the official IRONMAN brand. In addition to competitive drive, you will get aesthetic pleasure from the level of organization and service. I intentionally included this start as an extreme milestone in preparation for the complete IRONMAN start. It’s hard to learn – easy in battle)

This time I was swimming without a wetsuit, but only in neoprene shorts. I felt like swam smoothly, watching the full-length stroke. But afterward the clock showed that the pace decreased on every lap. On average, it turned out 2:00 minutes per km.

The bike passed without any special adventures, except for a few unnoticed holes in the asphalt, on which I thoroughly shooked – I was even pleasantly surprised that I didn’t get a flat tire or bent anything. I tried to follow the even circular pedaling when you apply force on the entire pedal cycle. The average speed was 32 km / h. More or less OK. At the end of the cycle stage – and this is already more than 3:30 of the intensive work – I ate a few children’s fruit purees, Cliff Shot Blocks and drank a special mixture with carbohydrates and rehydron. I considered that such salts should be enough for the half marathon and at the distance itself I drank only water. Turned out that it was not enough.

I ran at a good pace of 5 min/km and watched the heart rate did not jump above 160. The sun was already warming up to + 28 + 30 degrees. And Kanevskoe reservoir gave noticeable humidity. Running is my strong point, and at this stage I felt very confident, overtaking many participants. The fact that I watched the heart rate gave me the opportunity not to burn at the very start, but to keep a good pace confidently. And then my flight to goosebumps on the spine was interrupted by a cramp on the calf muscle 3 km before the finish. It was painful. I even stopped, tried to massage and some time just walked, very lame. Then in small rushes, I was still able to jog and get to the finish line. Still finished happy! 5 hours 30 minutes. And even took second place in my category 45-49!

When this trouble happened on the race, it was quite painful, and I even thought, how can I recover 50 days before the complete Ironman? But that it was not just an ordinary injury says the fact that after two days I run normally 10 km, returned to the training schedule with the bike, and after a week I did speed-ups at full power, completely forgetting about the leg. Once again, something karmically was worked out )