Successful premiere at the 6th Falkensteiner Punta Skala Triathlon

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Der waschechte Steira verbindet auf seinem gleichnamigen Blog seine zwei großen Leidenschaften: Sport und die große, weite Welt des Internets. Neben dem Internet bereist Markus auch die Welt, dabei dürfen weder das Rennrad, noch die Laufschuhe fehlen. So lässt er seine Leser an neuen Trendsportarten, Ernährung und auch an seinem Triathlon-Training teilhaben. Ganz getreu seinem Motto: "Mocht's a bissl Sport, dann bleibt's auch g'sund!".

What a killer race and what an awesome competition! Excuse me, but I can not summarize my weekend in Zadar differently!

The omens were good!

For almost five months now, I have been professionally supported in my training by my coach Nathalie Birli from Personal Peak. Training is for the big goal, the Ironman Klagenfurt 2019 in early July.

An extremely important milestone, or rather a test of my current form, was my first race over the half distance. Half distance means in summary: 1.9 km swim, 90 km bike, and 21.1 km run. In advance it was clear to me, if this “test” should turn out to be extremely strenuous or difficult, it will probably not be so easy in Klagenfurt.

That the omens were relatively good and the training is going according to plan, I noticed for the first time at the beginning of April during the Vienna City Marathon, where I was able to improve my performance in the marathon by more than 20 minutes and finish with 3.00.23.

A half-distance triathlon just around the corner

By “just around the corner” I don’t mean Zadar itself in this case, but the Falkensteiner Hotel & Spa Iadera, where we – a friend of mine, who also started in the triathlon and successfully brought it to the finish, and I – stayed. Admittedly, one can definitely speak of luxury here, because the start and finish of the triathlon were virtually right in front of our hotel. The way there, well, five hours of driving. These were however also problem-free and above all accident-free.

Arrived at the hotel, we brought after the check-in first of all our luggage in the beautiful room with a perfect view of the sea. The swim course was also directly in front of our hotel and balcony, so to speak. Since we had not arrived here however five hours, in order to make a vacation, on the same day – Friday – still another “Triathlon Vorbelastung” stood at the program. This preload included 25 minutes of swimming (1200 m), 30 minutes of biking, and 20 minutes of running.

The swim in the sea was particularly exciting because I have never swum in the sea before competitively with triathlon / and wetsuit. Since swimming is not necessarily my favorite discipline, although I’m not even that slow – in the competition it was then about 28 minutes for the 1,900 m – the swim-in was quite good. After the swim, we went out on the bike for the planned 30 minutes – it turned out to be 50 minutes – where we inspected the course for the triathlon. Nine kilometers there, four rounds of 18 km each and nine kilometers back. Should fit. We then ran for 20 minutes around the Falkensteiner Resort directly along the beach, where we then also visited the swim start.

So far so good, after that we just had to get our race numbers, eat plenty of dinners to replenish our energy stores and go to bed early to be as refreshed as possible. We were also well-rested the next day. But the start was also only at 10:00 o’clock. So it can go off!

It’s showtime!

Breakfast, bring the bike to the transition area, put on the triathlon suit, wetsuit, and once again quickly into the water and swim a little. The preparations before the start always look the same. Oh yes, breakfast was of course also on the program. Then it was already off to the beach, wherewith a few minutes delay first the ladies had their swim start and five minutes later we men.

A kick against the chest, about four to five strokes in the face, 28:23 minutes and 1,900 meters later, I got out of the water again! Planned, by my coach, were 32 minutes. My watch showed 27 minutes. Officially, however, just apparently 28.23. No matter, super time. On we went to the transition area, where my bike and 90 long kilometers were waiting for all of us. I like cycling. Swimming on the other hand not really, although I am apparently not so slow.

The bike course consisted of nine kilometers plus four times 18 kilometers and again nine kilometers back. In total, the course had “only” 450 meters of altitude, so I managed to get off the bike after 2:22:50 hours with an average speed of 38 km/h. Pretty fast and also quite a bit slower. Pretty fast and also a lot faster than my trainer had planned – she calculated 2:45 hours. So far it went quite well. Since this was my first start over the half distance, my goal was really just to put in a solid performance and finish well.

After I got off the bike, my legs felt very good. But I still wasn’t sure if the fast bike split wouldn’t get to me. After a 1.9 km swim and a 90 km bike to run a half marathon, you should not underestimate it. The way to the finish and the race day can be quite long. My trainer gave me a target time of 1 hour 40 minutes for the half marathon. With 1 hour 33 minutes and 15 seconds, I was able to undercut this limit and was pretty happy. In the end, as I turned the corner towards the finish, I saw the clock read just under 4 hours 29 minutes and 40 seconds! UNDER FOUR HOURS AND 30 MINUTES??? How cool is that, please? Of course, I didn’t want to miss that and started to sprint to the finish line to make it just under 4 hours 30 minutes. 4 hours 29 minutes and 53 seconds was the final result, which brought me 6th place in the age group and 16th place overall. Mission accomplished I would say!

Stop! There was something else – organization and hotel!

What else was there? Well, the super organization of the entire race and the really very pleasant stay at the Falkensteiner Hotel & Spa Iadera. Do I have to say that now? No, I don’t have to. But I want to!

I have participated in a lot of races in the last few years and have therefore experienced quite a lot. Rarely has another competition been as easy and smooth as the Zadar Half Triathlon was. From the registration to the race briefing, the bike check-in, and the really sufficient and very good catering during the race, everything really fit for me. So good that this race is definitely also an option for me to come back for the next few years. A single point of criticism I find perhaps at the race briefing. There, the staff member obsessively wanted to be funny and entertain us, which didn’t really work. In general, however, the briefing, which we received in advance by e-mail – about 33 pages of PowerPoint slides – was very good.

The hotel was great! Very good I find especially the combination of hotel and application directly in front of the front door. The facility itself is quiet and very nicely maintained. The dinner and breakfast were as usual were very good! Who is still reading this blog post with an empty stomach should stop here now. A few more delicious insights into the past race weekend follow!

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