For more than 10 years, the Lone Star State has been calling on those who are eager to test their mettle with athletes from around the world. Tomek Szala is one of the leading Polish triathletes who has joined this competition. Here are his thoughts before and during this Ironman and a bunch of pro tips after the race.
I knew that I did my homework so I was confident before the race. I felt calm and prepared. What’s important: on the race day, you need to be fresh and filled with glycogen. I was carbo-loading for 48 hours before the race. Rice, pasta, sweet potatoes…
I got up at 3:20 on Saturday, the big day.
First I ate breakfast and did some pre-race stretching routine.
Swim & T1
I got in a bad position at the start so I needed to overtake some slower swimmers. Finally I made it to the green and violet cup group (Hoffman, Beals, Ditlev, Butterfield, Wilkowiecki, strong guys). I stayed in the group till the end of the swim.
T1 for me was slow because I had to wear the top of my suit and my volume increased significantly during carb-loading so it was not so easy.
Bike & T2
On the bike I tried not to push too hard at the beginning, I was leading my pack for 10min between the 30th and 40th minute of the bike race. While we were catching faster bikers the referee gave me a blue card – I had to stop in the penalty tent for 5min.
Longest 5min in my life.
After this forced rest I came back focused and motivated. It was much more comfortable for me to go at my own pace.
At T2 I was in about 13th position. I wore my socks, shoes, sunglasses, cap, and bib number.
I started the marathon run carefully, at 4min/km pace, I felt good, focusing on my stride. I was catching 3 cups on every aid station, water, isotonic, ice, and a gel every even aid station. First two laps I avoided caffeine and on the last, I also took caffeinated gels cola. I was not sure which place I am racing for. But I was aware that I am racing and needed to do my best. I had no bad moments on the run. I had good ones especially in zones with spectators which were really cheering and encouraging me to do this big effort.
- Fight for a good starting position at the beginning of the race. It will save you a lot of troubles after the start.
- My bike could use a bigger front sprocket but it doesn’t change the fact that I have a world class bike and that gives me a lot of confidence.
- What I don’t have on a world class level is running. The main area to focus on.
- Carbo-loading is good but I have to consider a looser outfit #prinzwear instead.