The KMD Ironman Kronborg 70.3 was my first ever triathlon and I was pretty nervous in the days leading up to the race. I had been training for around four months, so probably shouldn´t have been too worried about my level of fitness, but the inevitable pre-race doubts were there.
It was that, combined with the fact that I felt like I didn´t really know what I was doing in regard to pre-race preparation, the race unknowns, and what I call “triathlon administration”. Ironman actually send you a PDF guide to read before the race, and it´s 50 pages long. Yep seriously 50 pages, an intimidating amount of information for a triathlon newbie.
I left Stockholm before 6 am Friday morning to drive to Helsingborg (a 6 hour drive), before I took the ferry across to Helsingor. On the way across I met a nice Swedish guy who had a bike that looked like it was worth about 6 times as much as mine, and weighed 1/6, which just made me more nervous. But I arrived safely in the beautiful little town of Kronborg, famous for its castle, then went to the race briefing, and managed to pack everything I needed into the right coloured bag. All done, I got on the train to Copenhagen where I would eat and sleep.
Sunday morning I was up at 4:45 am and on the train back to Helsingor for the race. I had packed with me:
Zone 3 Aquafly tri top
Zone 3 tri shorts
Seal Swimrun wetsuit
Swim cap and Huub goggles
SIS Blackcurrent gels
GU Salted Caramel gels
Yoghurt, muesli, banana, a jam donut, almonds, wate
I got there and went over to have a look at my bike (a Scott Speedster I bought second hand from a friend). It´s a decent road bike, but sitting there without aero bars and looking a bit worn down, I felt like I had the ford focus in a car park full of Lamborghinis. Oh well, I thought, never mind, I´m just here to finish not to win.
I went and got changed, and then noticed I was the only one wearing a short wetsuit, cut-off above the knees and 3/4 arms. At this point I really felt like the new kid at school. It was my Swimrun wetsuit rather than a swimming specific suit, but I hadn´t thought about it too much, could they disqualify me for this? Was it in the 50-page guide? Surely not, but I didn’t want to risk it, so I went into penguin disguise mode, and huddled into the middle of a pack of athletes.
The gun fires and no one stops me for having a short wetsuit or hairy un-triathlon ready legs. We plunge 2 x 2 into 15 point something degree water. The cold sends my body into shock, but the adrenaline kicks in and I am off swimming. The swim was in the marina, and it turns out this marina contains a lot of jellyfish. Luckily not the type that sting, as every other stroke was met with a handful of jellyfish tentacles. Aside from a few cursory elbows to the head from other competitors I emerged largely unscathed, having swum a 37 odd minute 1.9 km.
I was happy to get the wetsuit off, and after messing about in transition for too long I went and picked up my bike to start the 90 km cycle. The course was two 45 km loops starting in Kronborg, heading up the coast then looping back around. It was a beautiful bike course, well marked, and I really enjoyed the views of the ocean (perhaps a bit too much when you see my bike time). I spent most of the ride getting overtaken, and really struggled to keep my target pace of 30 km/hour, especially when riding against the gusty wind. But I managed to eat and drink plenty, my tri suit remained comfortable, and 3 hours and 5 minutes later I was finally off the bike.
Now time for my favourite part, the run! I´m going to catch all those guys who passed me on their super awesome tri bikes, I thought, I´ll have my sweet revenge. But wait, I just have to pin a race bib to my tri top in transition first because I don´t have a tri belt like everyone else. Doh.
I had been telling myself everything up to this point was just an extended warm-up for the half marathon. The plan was to start easy, 5 minutes per km, then ease down a bit, if I felt ok. But I felt great, the sun was shining, the music was pumping out of the speakers, and my mood was boosted by the fact that I would soon see my girlfriend in the crowd. Watch beep. Check Garmin. Km 1, 4 minutes per km, oops, too fast.
I slowed down and ran within myself for the rest, wanting to enjoy the run course and the great atmosphere in town, rather than running myself into the ground. It was four 5.25 km laps around the Kronborg castle, where there were plenty of places for friends and family to stand and cheer. I felt comfortable in my tri top and shorts with no chafe (I´d gladly recommend the two-piece Zone 3 suit I used), and experienced no cramps. Good result!
I finished the run with a big smile on my face, in 1 hour and 34 minutes, which gave me a 5 hour 29 minute finishing time overall. The Kronborg 70.3 was a great race, very well organized, and comes highly recommended. As for now, I´ll think about what should be next on the race schedule and like many who have triathloned before me I sit and ponder, how much faster could I go on a better bike?