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Sebastian Laine joined the Endurance State Team in Early November 2013 to get some assistance in his preparions for his first ever Full Distance Iron Triathlon. Set along the hilly, bendy border of Egypt and Israel, Israman is thought to be among the toughest Full Distance Iron Triathlons in the world and was only ten weeks away. Read Sebastian's story below.
Israman, mission completed
Yesterday (17th Jan 2014) I crossed the finish line of the Israman race, which was my primary goal. Nearly reached my secondary goal too, which was completing the race in less than 13h, but the total time was 13h17min. All in all very happy with the outcome and experience.
Background & Preparation
After doing my 7th olympic distance triathlon this summer I started to think about doing a half ironman next summer (2014). Ireland provided so great cycling conditions that I kept cycling all autumn long. For some reason the motivation was super high and I got the idea to go directly for full distance. I wanted to do it as soon as possible and I found the Israman race taking place in January. After few weeks thinking process I registered for the race (without no clue that it was rated as one of toughest Ironman races in the world). I got really important help and inspiration from few people who had an Ironman before. Thanks!
Then started 3 months devoted training period which ended with an intensive preparation week in Eilat. Huge thanks for Cillian for the training program for these months - it worked like magic!
When the swimming started it was still almost dark and it was impossible to see the buoys almost 1km away out in the sea. I was expecting that the beginning of the swim would be a big fight and everybody trying to find their own space but luckily it turned out to be a "clean" start without any fights. I started really slow but people around me started even slower, so just after a few minutes I went in for a bit faster pace, and then the first lap (1900m) went surprisingly smoothly and fast (31min). Then during the second lap I had less people around me, did few minor navigational errors and slightly decreased the pace to make sure to save energy as much as possible. The total time for swim was 67min which was a bit faster than I expected. A massive thanks to my colleague for the countless swimming sessions at the office.
The first 15k of the bike leg was very steep uphill and I took it very easy (as strongly recommended by Cillian). The first 90k I paid close attention to my heart rate levels and felt really comfortable on the bike. For the second round, however, I stopped paying too much attention to my heart rates and trusted more the "feeling" of spinning my legs. This made me go much faster and I felt that I was in the zone for the last 90km. The total time for cycling was 7h34min
The weather was perfect for this year's race and the views in the mountains were breathtaking. I deeply enjoyed cycling every single minute. Huge thanks for my best friend for taking these professional pictures before and throughout the race! (https://plus.google.com/photos/106569836351318172665/albums/5970355801967351697?authkey=COKY64yco5axRQ)
First 10k was again steep downhill from the mountains to the city of Eilat. I was running as much as possible next to the road in the sand to make the impact as soft as possible. Due to that some small stones kept flying into my shoes but luckily managed to get them out easily. After 8km two of my friends was there to cheer me up which was great. At that point running was going easy. After the first loop (there were three loops around the city after the downhill part) it was mentally important to know the length of the loops and it didn't feel too bad. At 21km point I had run precisely 2h and knew that for keeping the total time under 13h I should keep the same pace, or even slightly increase it. (By the way passing the start point of swimming after 11h and knowing that 21km more to run felt a bit funny). After 12h of total racing time I had 11km to go, and running the last 11km in one hour felt like a challenge. At that point legs started to feel really heavy and pace slowed down a lot. However, when I had 3km to the finish line I took all the energy (that I didn't have) and put all in - that 3km went like flying, in pain however. My friends were there 100m before the finish line and after 4h 22 min we crossed it running together.
I want to thank everyone who helped and inspired me doing this race - it was invaluable!
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