Manon’s 1st Ironman 70.3

Ironman 70.3 Luxenburg  – 18th June 2018 (L)

Race Reporter: Manon

The Ironman 70.3 Luxemburg took place last weekend, Sunday the 18th of June. From the club Khalid, Alexandra and I accepted the challenge months ago and were ready to rock! For myself it was my first long distance triathlon and I can say it was a very special experience.

We arrived on the Friday afternoon directly at the event village in Remich to pick up our race pack. In the end it was only the stickers really and there was not that much animation at the village so we quickly moved on to our hotel. Friday was all about relaxing and we enjoyed a nice pizza in the heart of the old town of Luxemburg city, felt like holidays!

The Saturday was all about organisation. We went back to the race village first of all to do a little muscle wake up: 45 minutes on the bike and 30 minutes jog. Then there was a race briefing where they explained to us all the details of the course which was really useful. After our lunch we then dropped our bikes and bags at the transition area. Quite a long and exhausting day after all, so time to relax at night with a big plate of pasta before the big day.

On Sunday morning I was surprisingly relaxed. The race only started at 9am (9:20 with the delays) so the alarm went off not too early at 5:45. Good night of rest, quick breakfast and now it was our time too shine! The swim section was not well indicated with target times so Khalid and I just ended up somewhere we thought was reasonable. There was a rolling start which is really great. My real objective was not to panic as that often happens when I swim in open water. The rolling start really helped to have more distance between the swimmers and I started off easy not to get overwhelmed. I was extremely happy to be able to maintain a good pace in crawl only and finish in 36 minutes.

After the first transition, it was time to get on the bikes. Clearly I was scared as my bike level is not the best and when I checked out the bikes clearly mine was the most basic of all. On top of that with 84% male participants you know that it will be hard to keep up. But nevertheless I was there to race at my own pace so I stayed focus and did not overreach. Hence I was really satisfied with my 28km/h on average for this part, even though there is a lot of progress to be done. The course is really beautiful with great landscapes, so that is a big plus.

Then the half marathon, clearly, it felt like I forgot my legs in the second transition! The first 10km I was flying and easy, but then the fatigue kicked in. There were 4 loops of 5km, so I expected there to be loads of supporters all the way to motivate. However I was quite disappointed that there were only supporters for about 200m near the finish and nothing more. Also there was no entertainment or music, so the triathletes were all super focussed. Honestly I was so impressed by the mental strength of all participants. No matter what pace they were at, it is just an extreme effort for your body and everyone deserves the biggest respect!

Clearly I can say it was an amazing experience which only makes me eager to continue. Some tears at the finish line showed how special and overwhelming it was. 5H56 for a first L distance triathlon, never could I have imagined this. So now the question for me is: What is up next..? But for you, if you are thinking about a 70.3 next year, this is definitely one you can put on the list!