Ironman 70.3 Marbella race report - Gavin Burrough

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I've always wanted to do a triathlon abroad, scrolling down the list of races on the Ironman website I was like a kid in a candy store! Mountainous Marbella located on the Costa del Sol seemed to be the right destination to mix some pain with some pleasure! 

It was the very first Ironman 70.3 thats been held in Marbella and when I arrived there was a real buzz about the town! Lots of nervous anticipation! 

The sea was lovely and flat and had a nice little recce swim to check my wetsuit over as I hadn't used it since doing the double Brutal last year. That lake still haunts me to this day! Come race day though there was a bit of wind kicking up and conditions had changed dramatically! It was pretty rough, but oh well get on with it! Lining up for the swim I went into the 32:30 pen, it helps a lot with the flow instead of just a mass start less chance of people running over you and vice versa as your swimming with people of similar ability. So off I went doing my best David Hasslehoff impression! I quickly realised that all the training in the pool wasn't really going to help me much now! My stroke rhythm and rate went out the window as I just had to time getting over the waves so as not to swallow a load of sea water. Sighting the bouys was nearly impossible so I settled for just alternating my breathing and checking there were people either side of me, I figured that way I'd generally be in the middle. The swim went pretty fast, I looked at my watch, 26mins!!! I was well chuffed! I later found out they cut about 300m off the swim though because of the dangerous conditions. It gave me a boost going into the bike transition thinking I'd magically become Michael Phelps! 

Transition went pretty smoothly, quick dry off then put my clobber on to head to my bike. One thing to note here is the bike rack in transition is pretty big, you have to run for a good 200m with your bike which is a bit of a ball ache with bike shoes but I managed not to fall on my arse so was happy! 

The bike course was pretty hilly I clocked just under 5000ft of elevation on strava but the roads are banging, hardly any potholes and a really smooth surface. Also the gradients are not too mental 4-8% at most so you can just keep the legs ticking over. What goes up must come down and the descents were pretty hairy in places due to the wind but the roads are mostly very wide so not too technical. I did wonder if my road bike would of been better suited to the course because of the long climbs and those fast descents as they are my strengths. Maybe I'll find out next year! Finished the bike in 3hr20min, a good solid effort for me and still felt I had a lot in the tank. 

Another quick transition and I was out on the run, the wind was still kicking up and it was kind of a blessing really. Running out of transition it was on my face cooling me down then at the turnaround point it was on my back giving me a gentle push along. The course is 2 loops running alongside the beach, it's dead flat apart from 1 bridge you cross over. The plan was to try and keep under 8min/miles and for the first half I felt great and in control averaging about 7.45 there was loads of support and that lifted me, especially when I spotted my partner heading out for my final lap. But as I got into the latter half of the run I could slowly feel my legs getting heavier and my breathing more laboured. Quickly sub 8min/miles went out the window as I had to battle with myself to keep moving, at the time it was horrible but it's probably one of the things I enjoy most about triathlon is that mind over matter thought process when you're right on the edge! Although my pace dropped off I kept plodding on for a run of 1hr47 which I was well happy with as I know I couldn't have given any more. 

Finishing time 5 hours and 43 minutes. Lovely stuff! Awesome event in a beautiful location!