350 Nirmeen BAH
Placed 6 | AG F45-49 | Overall time 5:58:16
Swim 0:39:07 | T1 4:55 | Bike 3:06:54 | T2 2:12 | Run 2:05:08
Coach’s remarks: Some of you have met Nirmeen, we go back 6 years when we ran the London marathon off 12 weeks training. Well, here we are again off 12 weeks training and only having competed in Mamzar 2 weeks prior and literally ridden a bike 7-8 times on the road, we raced the 1/2 Ironman in Bahrain. This is one of the best performances I have seen as a coach and at 47 and 4 kids, it has to go down as race of 2014 candidate 🙂 Anyway, enjoy her first experience here and suffice to say, she is addicted to our great sport of triathlon!!
So you want a pre-race and race report. That requires a certain amount of dwelling, which I don’t tend to do but I will give it a shot. The twelve weeks of preparing obviously required a huge time commitment but it is was it is. If there was three hours of training that day then it was just a matter of finding the time to do it. It might mean waking up a little earlier, going to a dinner party with wet hair or not watching my daughter play tennis (skipping out on her activities was by far the most painful to do and what I found to be the greatest sacrifice). But ultimately the hours are there we just have to allocate them resourcefully. As for hating you, that was never an issue… this was clearly something I was doing to myself so no one but me was allocated any blame or ill wishes.
I felt like I was starting at zero after the 6 weeks of no activity following my bike accident and operation. Did I have moments of doubt (less doubt and more an appreciation of the potential challenge), definitely…the first came when I tried to do my first run off a long bike. I was only planning a 2 km run, I barely managed a 1km walk/wobble. I don’t like the word doubt, because I am a huge believer in human potential, how could you not be if you believe that we were created by The Omnipotent…we are only limited by our perceptions. Obviously training in Jeddah presents some unique challenges ranging from too much indoor training to being stopped by cops for daring to ride your bike outdoors fully clad from head to toe. But then again, it is what it is!!
Race day…started with two bowls of porridge and a coffee. We planned on being at the start before 7 to make sure we could get our bags into the transition area where they needed to be dropped off. We left the house at 6:15 hoping to get there by 6:30 only to discover that all the roads were closed. Needless to say the stress level in our vehicle that was transporting three racers, my son, my brother, and me was slightly above recommended levels. 7am came and went and it was not looking like we were going to make it through the road blocks. Finally after negotiating with one of the police at a block and flashing our race badges and a few VVP cards we happen to come into possession of the day before we were allowed through and managed to make it there by 7:20 am. The race organizer manning the transition area gave us 2minutes to drop off our bags because the pros were starting at 7:30. I quickly put my water bottles on the bike and dropped off my bike bag, only to remember later that I had forgotten to stick my GU on to the bike. I managed to get one of the guys inside the transition area to drop my GU in my bike bag so I could stuff it in my race belt.
Luckily the rest of the race went smoother then our rocky start, with the exception of a bike fall at the first station as I was trying to grab a bottle of water going a little too fast…God only knows why given I had two full bottles on my bike!! As for fueling I went on 3 GU’s during the bike and 1 bottle of electrolyte GU drink and half a bottle of water. I know it’s less than recommended but I am not terribly smooth about accessing those bottles. I almost fell once trying to put the bottle in from the left side and it pulled on the brake line…live and learn. Looking back, I felt pretty good through out the bike but there were definitely more people passing me than I cared for…it was especially painful when, as Anastasia pointed out, they were quite generously put together. A perfect example of not judging a book by its cover!!
Transitioning from the bike to the run was smooth as was my first transition. Unlike Anastasia’s experience, I found everyone very efficient and helpful at transitions. I felt rather spoiled having someone around to help me in and out of my gear. I saw the person in front of me take off the bike shoes as soon as they dismounted which seemed like a great idea. One guy handed me my bag even took my shoes from me at that stage. I started to run towards the tent then turned back wondering where the shoes would end up, he reassured me they would get into my bag and I ran off into the tent where someone else was there ready to give me what I needed from my run bag.
The run…by far the most difficult part but oddly enough it is probably the most part that I managed to overtake people, largely towards the end. You told me not to take any GU but to stick to the Coke and drinks but given that I took half the recommended amount on the bike, I did take two halves on the run…although it was always accompanied by a fear of a forced toilet break. Luckily nothing required an emergency evacuation! I slowed down in the middle, dropping to about 9 km/hr but I made a quick mental calculation (my Garmin was acting up after T1 and had to be rebooted) and figured if I picked up my pace I might be able to get under 6 hrs. The run was the only part where I just didn’t know how my body would keep up. At one stage I thought I might cramp, then my legs felt like they might give out if I went faster. I kept on repeating your wise words…”slow and steady” but I really wanted it to be “fast and furious”…maybe next time!!
It was a great day, lots of atmosphere, lots of family around, my 13 year old daughter told me she was soooo proud of me which was so sweet and my son beat us all with a time of 5:13 so I was a proud mom!!
Thanks for everything Coach!!