Only 4 weeks after Almere I choose to put Ironman Barcelona on the program. A little risk with the recovery after Almere I wanted to take since my season was a success anyways and this could be a good test that might turn out in a ‘finishing touch’. However, the recovery didn’t go as fast as I hoped. A test the weekend before Barcelona confirmed my feeling, my body was still tired and not in its best shape.
I knew a lot could happen in a week still and I started to feel better towards race weekend. The preparations were very relaxed and that helped to enter the race in a comfortable way.
Big waves on the swim made it quite tough. Usually I wear to swimming caps, but the extra one broke just before the start. So that meant I was left with 1. I swam with the big group, had a bit trouble orientating, but all I had to do was focus on the people in front of me. That was fine until my cap started to glide off. With only around 800 meters to go I lost it completely. My hair (maybe I should cut it) was in my eyes with every breath and I started to swallow some water along. After the first buoy I had to let go of the group and lost a little bit of time on them.
I gave extra gass in transition to close the cap. Barcelona has a flat and fast course, so being with a group is really important. Fortunately, I could make the connection again quickly. On the bike not much happened. The first part I just followed until 130k. I had quite some power left and started to feel stronger, exactly what I was hoping for. From then on I did some work in the front together with 3 others. On some point a gap appeared and we were able to take of with the 4 of us. That’s how we got back into Parc Ferme in position 2 until 5.
Unfortunately, on the run the energy level became critically low too fast. It became my hardest marathon ever. After a long struggle I made it to the finish line in 7th place and 08:19:58, in desperate need for a vacation! Some time without any training and a beautiful trip to Nepal and India are now on the planning. After that we fly “home” to Stellenbosch to make sure 2018 will be even better than 2018 was!
Photos: Andre Kwakernaat & Romy Louise van Schooneveld