IRONMAN 70.3 Barcelona

 - written by Trifharder athlete Rosa Huizinga

Goosebumps and tears of joy

The sun was slowly gaining terrain as we walked past the beach to the transition zone to do the final bike check and fill the water bottles. To our dismay there was no water at the transition zone so we had to beg a beach bar to give us a couple of bottles, which they thankfully did. After having overcome the water related stress we jogged to the swim start. People were jumping, smiling, crying, concentrated, and then this music was turned on and I was all goosebumps and excitement, and to be honest, also a bit of fear. Cesar and I hugged and kissed each other and went to our starting areas. I couldn’t believe it, race day had come!
The sea was quite rough due to the wind, which made it difficult to navigate and stay the course. I tried to stay focussed and just swim one stroke at a time. I had to get out of the water and preferably within the time cap. It took an eternity (58:14) and once out of the water I was gutted. Did I really swim this slow?! I was angry at myself but told myself that there was no point. Up to the next discipline, the bike!
The first part of the bike I was pretty much by myself which I didn’t mind. I did curse the headwind though and the Dutchie inside me prayed for the wind not to turn, at least then we could enjoy the wind in the back on the return. There was a ‘technical’ part in the course with various U-turns, which some took a bit better than others. In one of the turns about six or seven Guardia Civiles were there to make sure that people actually made the turn (which was very closed). I had a large German lady before me and the Guardia Civiles looked slightly concerned when they saw her coming, their face turned even more concerned when they saw her sick out her leg in the turns to make them. It was hilarious to observe from a distance and I silently laughed. Some people fell in those turns, and  I hope no one was hurt and that they were able to continue. The bike course was supposedly flat with a 2km climb at 55km or so. I really enjoyed biking up hill, especially overtaking some men, yes I’m sorry. Downhill was a blast and I tried to go as fast as I dared (58km/h). Back on the straight flat course the tailwind was my friend and when I got back to the transition zone I was very happy with my result: 3:23:25.
It was around 1pm and it was time for the run. It was hot, and from experience I know that I don’t do too well when it’s hot and that I get blisters. I started off regularly well, although below my target pace. I pledged to myself not to walk, however, at km 10 or so I started that my toes started to get blisters. Thankfully I saw Cesar twice during the run and him shouting at me gave me a boost of energy. Eventually I got a bit hungry, I was hot and my blisters were starting to bother me and… I walked. An elderly couple with yellow matching shirts cheered me on and called my name, I started running again and didn’t stop until I crossed the finish line. I didn’t even hear the presenter call my name. I was full of emotions. And Cesar was there, waiting for me. He had finished about an hour earlier. I crossed the line and I started to cry and to laugh, it started to daunt on me that I had actually done it. I had completed my first 70.3 IM. I felt so accomplished and I am so grateful to all who accompanied me in the journey and for all the people that cheered us on, thank you Cesar, thank you Dora and Team Trifharder. I couldn’t have done it without you!