Nina: The Season 2018
2018 was probably my best year in triathlon so far. I did 13 triathlons, one duathlon, one marathon and a couple of run races.
I had some great successes, some hard fights and some major blow-ups. And I didnt write about any of it.
Now it would be rather hard, and boring to recapitulate the whole year but here we go with a little recap of some races in case you're interested.
My year started in Australia with the infamous "Hell of the West" tri, this is where in 2016 I decided that I want to race pro.
First race of the year, first flat in a race ever. I fixed it and kept pushing, ending up just 10 seconds behind the podium.
Thinking I would go to Australia for a training camp, I soon ended up doing a race 3 out of 4 weekends in Australia.
Just before heading home I did IM 70.3 Geelong. Up until 17km on the run, I was leading the race, which was awesome, then I really struggled. However, anything is possible and in a dramatic finish I was able to take my first 70.3 victory, which I was very proud of.
Being back home and settling into student life again, we switched focus and prepared for a marathon (Zurich marathon).
I really enjoyed the focused run training, even though there is a lot that can go through your mind on a 3h run. One time I remember I just ran out all along the Sihl-river, when I finally turned around I never felt so far from home.
After about 8 weeks, I felt well prepared for the marathon, but also didn't know what to expect. Like every beginner I went out way too fast, I mean I just felt so great...well for the first 12km. After that it was increasingly a case of "one foot infront of the other".
Getting across the finish line in 3:04 and in the top10, I was still happy with my effort.
But man, it hurt. Apologies to everyone who tried to hug me at the finish line, I was barely able to stand up.
Recovered, I was ready to get into some tri-action.
I am not really keen on reflecting on IM 70.3 Kraichgau and Rapperswil (back-to-back races,
but I do believe it is the races that don't go according to plan that we learn most from.
In Kraichgau I raced like I always do and just went from the gun. I pushed really hard on the bike to stay with two of the best bikers, so that at 70km I popped like popcorn or a like champagne bottle. Not very much in style, I shuffled (which felt like crawling) my way through the 21km, very much hating the nice motivational quotes Ironman put up (example).
With a knocked self-confidence and a knock-off-the-bike three days before race-day, I still wanted to do my homerace IM 70.3 Rappi.
It was not a great idea and it was not a great result, but again I finished.
Time to hit the alps and the trainingscamp in St. Moritz.
I had roughly four weeks of really good training, broken up with a race at the 111 Rohrschach (a really cool new format of 1k swim, 100k bike and 10k run). The hills at Rohrschach really suited me and in a good battle with a teammate I was able to take the win.
Sooner than I expected I was at the startline of IM Zurich for my first ironman and in hindsight probably my favorite race of the year. Saying that it was not easy at all.
Probably a little apprehensive of the task ahead, I missed the front group in the swim and early on had to focus on my own race. On the bike I was feeling pretty good and knew I just really have to focus on staying on my nutrition plan. The first 90km flew past and then I realized sh*** I am doing a full Ironman, not the half, meaning I got another 90km to go and so the second loop of the bike was probably the hardest part of the race and I was glad to get off the bike. Onto the run I went and I was happy to see so many familiar faces. The first lap was actually pretty funny, everyone was cheering GO GO GO, only my coach Susie and Brett were the ones telling me to stay comfortable, to not go too fast, to drink, eat and cool myself. I actually do not remember a lot of those 42km, I just ran (and drank and ate and cooled myself down a lot) without stopping once. Crossing the finish line in 6h in 9:31 and seeing my family and friends there I was really happy and proud of my race. I was hooked for Ironman racing and I actually can’t wait to do it again.
With still being at university we decided to a couple of shorter races for the rest of the year though.
Another favorite race was the Gerardmer Triathlon in France. This year I did the Olympic distance race. A good swim set me up for a great race, but I suffered deeply first time up the 10+% hill. Once I caught my breath and settled my nerves I was not ready to give up in this race and tried to make up as much time as possible. Hitting T2 I was only about a minute behind the leader and I was glad to have some speedy legs on the day to take the win in the end.
My next race was in France too, in Nice this time for the IM 70.3. Shortly, good swim, good bike and a good run got me 2ndplace and leaving me hungry for that win.
After a couple of weeks training in the warm autumn in Zurich I was excited for the ETU Middle Distance Championships in Ibiza. Unfortunately, one race-day rain was pouring down for hours and due to thunderstorms, the race was delayed to 3pm (latest start ever) and the bike was cut in half, with a couple of very strong runners I knew it was going to be tough day. I pushed the bike as much as I could, got a break into T2 and was able to show a consistent run, ending up in 5thplace and so qualifying for the swiss national team for another year.
I learnt so much about how to train and how to race this year, that I am already so excited for next year’s races. For now I should get back to writing my master thesis.
Thanks a lot, to my family, friends and Coach Susie for supporting my journey!
Nina: Datasport Interview
29.08.2018: Nach ihrem erfolgreichen Rennen am TriStar Triathlon in Rorschach hatte Nina die die Möglichkeit ein kurzes Interview mit Datasport zu führen.
Ihr findet das Interview unter dem folgenden Link:
Michelle:Trying times are best faced with a smile
11.7.2018: "Trying times are best faced with a smile."
This was something one of my athlete friends told me shortly after I discovered that I’d be out of action with another stress fracture some two months ago. And it has been ringing in my ears ever since. During this latest and current injury I realised what an important role the mind plays in your injury recovery. With more stress fractures than you can count on one hand, I’ve had quite some opportunities to try and test the DO’s and DONT’s of injury recovery and while I am no doctor or otherwise medically qualified to give you advice, I thought I’d write down some tips on how to mentally deal with an injury... This list will in no way be exhaustive nor am I saying that I’m an expert on the subject; often I need to consciously remind myself of all the things I’m about to write down.
Just keep swimming
Before getting into it, i just want to state one fact: an injury always sucks. No matter how you turn it or how many keep-smiling-insta-filters you add, at the core every injury sucks and is heartbreaking. But fact is also that an injury cannot just be „returned to sender“ and the best strategy is to accept it and put your best foot forward (okay sorry, that’s probably a bad metaphor when it comes to injuries). Because while a positive mindset cannot make your injury go away, it can at least make the comeback process more bearable. Anyways, let’s get into it...
The three of us, we also all like to go to a café shop to brighten the mood (Well actually we always like to go and have coffee, whether we are feeling down or not ;) )
Favorite coffee place aka Babus Bakery
Okay, I reckon by now I have rambled on long enough and will conclude this post. On that note, I hope you all are not injured and only reading this blog out of curiosity. If you are injured, hang in there, it wont be like this forever!
Happy training and think positive,
Julie: Mid Year Update
15.6.18: Finally it was time again to head up the mountains to start our summer camp in St. Moritz. I’ve been up here a few days now and thought I would take the time to give a little update about what’s been going on. I’ll try to keep it short :)
After my early season racing in March it was back to uni and consistent training for my biggest race yet: World Triathlon Series Yokohama (Japan). We spent a week in Japan prior to the race testing a trainings center that could be a possible pre-olympic games camp location. However, we found it was not the ideal location. Also regarding the race in Yokohama.
I was excited to race at the highest level for the first time in my career. So I was beyond disappointed when I did not race to my expectation and abilities. A 35th rank might look okay on paper but the performance was far from satisfying. I went back to training with a fire in my belly to work and do better next time. However I told Brett to only allow me to race a WTS again when I am more ready, so it might be a while before I line up with the worlds best again.
After returing from Japan I had three weeks of uni left and one exam to write, therefore it was back to real life pretty quickly.
Three weeks ago I got the news that I would be part of the Swiss team lining up at the first round of the World Triathlon Mixed Relay Series race in Nottingham on the 8. Of June. I was super excited and very much looking forward to the race.
First up however, was the Swiss National League race in Sion. My first race in Switzerland for a while so it was really nice to see so many familiar faces and hear a lot of cheers along the course. Taking the win was great too. I’d used that race five days out of Nottingham to get a hard hit out and I felt ready to go in the Relays.
Nottingham was a great experience. I hadn’t done a Mixed Relay race in nearly two years so I’d almost forgotten how fast and furious those races are.
Our line up consisted of me, Sylvain Fridelance, Nicola Spirig (the Champ), and Simon Westermann (as a substitute for Adrien Briffod, who crashed at the National League race).
I was pretty nervous to be heading out for our team and it was a tough race, with lots of battling on the swim, nervous riding on the bike and putting out elbows on the run but I fought hard and handed over to Sylvain in the mix of the teams chasing the leading two. He managed to keep the position and with a stellar run by Nicola and a great swim by Simon we were with the four teams fighting it out for 3rd. We ended up in 6th position and were all really pleased by this team effort. This set us up for a good start into the Olympic Qualification Period where the first 7 teams of the Mixed Team Relay Series will qualify for the team event in the Olympic games and save two spots for men and women in the individual race. So I’d say Switzerland is on course!
Now I’m really excited to be back at my second home and get stuck into training and studying (exams are coming up in August!).
Happy summer to all!
(Pictures: Robbie Haywood, ITU Media, Swiss Triathlon)
Julie: Season start
1.4.2018: In February Brett told me to do some early season racing. So I looked up races and when I asked him if I should race the European Cup in Gran Canaria on 18th of March or the one in Quarteira the week after, he answered easily: ‘’do both’’. Well, I was taken aback a little to say the least and I wasn’t sure how I’d go.
Obviously I did go well and the Doc was right again. Read on to see how the races unfolded.
Two weeks ago I travelled to the Canary Islands to race my first triathlon of the year. Having been to two training camps on the island, it felt very familiar arriving there and I felt comfortable.
I’d gained some confidence in my swimming over the past couple of months of training with some great swimmers and knew I could produce a good swim. However when I saw the waves on race day I wasn’t so sure anymore. It was going to be a tough swim. I’m happy that I exited the water with the first group. A quick transition saw me at the front of the group and onto the four lap bike course we went. There was a nice hill on each lap and coupled with the wind it would make for a demanding bike ride. I stayed to the front but tried not to do too much work so I wouldn’t blow my run legs. We worked together nicely and soon our front pack of 8 had established a decent gap.
I was second onto the run and expected the quicker runners to fly past me. But as they moved up I was able to stick with them and felt surprisingly comfortable. I tucked in behind the others in the headwind and let my legs roll when we had a tailwind. After 2.5km it was three of us running for the podium. I still felt good but when one of the british girls started kicking about 800m before the finish I couldn’t get my legs to move quicker and dropped of.
Nevertheless, I am delighted to have won my first medal and to be at the front from the start of the race was great! It was so much fun to be back racing and to be able to keep up for most of the run is a promising sign.
On Monday I flew back home and the next Friday it was already onto the next race: the Quarteira olympic distance european cup.
Coming into the Quarteira race one week later, I'd set myself large goals. After the race in Gran Canaria I knew what I was capable of and I was keen to back up my performance.
I knew I had to have a good swim to be right in the mix. And I was so focused on producing that front pack swim that I did anything but.
After a decent start iIwas soon hit by the first wave and was caught in the washing machine that was the ocean. I lost all focus and got distracted by all the things around me. I lost my swim and was not able to recover on the remaining swim distance. I exited the water a fair way back, rushed through transition and onto the bike.
I saw a big group up the road, so I put my head down and started to chase. After one lap of six I had caught up to the main group and there were only three girls up the road. Despite being a large group we caught the leaders after half of the bike ride. Once we did the pace dropped and no one was willing to ride at the front. It could have been a fun bunch ride were it not for the fact that a 10k foot race was looming.
Coming into transition I made the big mistake of not getting to the front of the group. I was caught in the middle of the transition chaos, nearly stumbling over my own bike and then taking what felt like an eternity to put on my shoes. I was probably last out of transition and was on the chase again.
Ahead of me I could see a string of runners with the leaders up the road. I think I didn’t think anything for the rest of the race. I just ran. I ran as quick as I could and would not slow down one bit. I was able to move through the field and was soon running with the chase group. Two girls were up the road. But I still would not stop and with 2.5k to go I joined the leaders. I was back in the mix. We were running together and I knew it would come down to a sprint finish. The question was just who would kick first. The finish came closer and still we were together. We could already see the finish line and I just thought if I want to win I have to go NOW. So I went. I was scared that they would pass me on the last meters but they didn’t. And I won. It was pretty overwhelming and as it was not easy I am really proud that I never gave in and just kept fighting until the finish.
I am happy to start the season with some of my best results and performances. However I know that there is still a lot of work to do. This is why Michelle and I have come back to Gran Canaria over our Easter Uni break to get some more focused training in.
There are bigger things to come.
But for now happy Easter and happy training.
(Pictures: Viviane Sloniewicz and Antonio Alfageme)
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