3440 Anders Strandburg SWE

Coach’s remarks: A great read below here from Anders team with his 70.3 Mallorca race report! Very honest and accurate here and a great race. I know exactly how sick Anders was 3 weeks out as we were crying to one another and arguing who was sicker! I can vouch that Anders was quite sick, so again this race was a standout as far as Anders and I are concerned. None of us like excuses yet we all have been guilty of looking for that external factor BUT NOT in this case. I knew you would be happy the next day Anders! CP
Wrote this on the way back:
“Mallorca 2014 – or same, same but different.

It was a different feeling this time, being back in Mallorca for the 70.3. No training camp on the island, but one more year of training under my belt. The lead up to the race wasn’t what I had hoped for with three weeks of chest infection and hardly any training. Something that was really frustrating since I felt I was in the best shape of my life a month back. I wanted to do well here and didn’t know how this was going to affect things. I felt I had lost a lot of confidence as well.
But it was great to be back on the island and was grateful for the bonus day I got before the race so I could acclimatise a bit and test the waters, literally. The conditions on Mallorca are perfect this time of the year for both training and racing. A nice blue sky with 20-25 degrees, with chilly mornings and evenings.
The day before the race I wasn’t sure how I actually felt. Well, I still felt a bit out of it but wasn’t sure if it was because of the recent lack of training, the stupid chest infection or that the race nerves started to kick in. At the same time I felt like the infection was gone and I had no other issues. The next day would tell me the rest.
Mallorca 70.3 is the biggest IronMan 70.3 in the world with 3500 athletes. The biggest age groups have 400+ people in them, so I am glad there are wave starts. Even though it made for a bit of a wait for me, starting dead last.
Race day morning I was appropriately nervous, both wanting the race to start and dreading the swim. I know I can swim 1900 meters, so it wasn’t that. But like I said, the confidence wasn’t there.
That feeling of wanting to go back to bed and forget about the whole thing was there as well. Same as last year. But I wanted to get the race going more than anything.
The conditions were perfect with a water temperature of 18 degrees and flat water. Navigating is a non-issue in Mallorca since the course is marked by big orange markers every so often, so you can just swim from one to the other.
Since I prefer to get swum over rather than having to pass people I stayed at the front part of the pack when the gun went off.
I was expecting to swim 33-34 minutes. I swam 31:04. An improvement by about a minute from last year. I don’t know if it was a coincidence or if that minute meant I ended up swimming with another part of the pack. Because this year I had a lot more people around me the whole way around. It made it a lot easier to find feet and hips to stay on and I was grateful.
I know that a few of you remember how frustrated I got at Hafeet when we did the transitions at one of the camps. I thought the exercise was pointless since I had no idea what I was doing. I have tried to learn from that and now I have an exact plan for what I want and need to do.
The day before the race I walked through both transitions a couple times, memorising every tree, rack and turn. I visualised them a few more times in my head. That way I know exactly where to go and what to do, in which order. I repeat this  a couple of more times on race morning.
Getting out of the water I am already thinking about where my bike bag is hanging.
Having a clear plan and visualising it has helped me a lot. As with the other things I can get better and faster, but it takes the mystery and confusion out of transitions.
The game plan for the bike was pretty much the same as last year, i.e. stay on heart rate. So like last year the only thing my Garmin display was showing was that; heart rate.
And I felt good on the bike. I made sure I shoved down a few GUs on a regular basis. The climb didn’t seem that bad either.
But what I am most happy with on the bike was the descent. Going back to Hafeet again I am a scared and slow descender. But today I felt calm and confident, even through all the hairpin turns. I felt as if I was flying down the mountain (maybe more like a Cessna than an F16, but still). I even overtook a few people which made me happy. I was disappointed when we came back down on the flat parts, because I had enjoyed both the climb and the descent.
The rest of the course I watched my heart rate and kept telling myself “you have a half marathon to run, you have a half marathon to run”. I ended up biking 2:46 which was an improvement by 7 minutes from last year.
The goal for the run was to try to run 4:30s, giving me a time of 1:35. A bold plan I know. But I ran 1:37 last year, and am generally speaking in better shape this year so it was worth a go.
I was happy when I looked at the watch when I started running. It showed a total time of 3:23, which meant that if I could run a 1:37 again I would finish on 5 hours. At least  I saw that a pb was definitely within reach. And initially it was fine. I was running 4:30s. But pretty soon I stopped looking at the Garmin. Instead I had to focus on just finding a pace that I could sustain.  I was getting tired. And from there on I went through all kinds of emotions ranging from feeling sick to feeling good. I was jealous of the people walking the aid stations. I tried to down another GU but almost threw up. My legs wanted to stop. I was even more jealous of the people turning left for the finish line when I had another lap to go.
I heard Coach’s voice in my head “dig deep the last 10km”. Well I figured I would give it a try. At least the last lap of the three. But I really just had to find a pace that made it possible to keep running.  With two kilometers to go I tried to pick up the pace again. But it only resulted in a last kilometer where I could barely run straight. And all of a sudden it seemed like everyone was passing me.
Crossing the finish line last year I felt euphoric. This year I felt nauseas. A quick glance at my watch told me I had also missed the pb by three minutes. Finish time 5:11. I had lost more time and speed than I thought. Run time ended up being 1:48.
So it was with mixed emotions I went and sat down in the water to cool down. I was very happy with most parts of the race, but couldn’t help being disappointed with not being able to keep it together the whole way. And maybe that is the beauty and the frustration of this sport; trying to do that perfect race.
Why did I run out of steam? The two most common responses I guess would be nutrition, and/or that I over-did it on the bike. But I don’t think it was either. I ate a lot more, and more regularly, on the bike than last year.
I also stayed on the same heart rate as last year, when I was having fun on the run while running faster.
The Swedes racing were struggling a bit with the temperature, but for someone living in Dubai that was not an issue either, even though it was warming up in the end.
The most plausible explanation is the stupid chest infection and the lack of training the three weeks leading up to the race. Well, that’s my excuse and I am sticking to it;-)
Coach said before the race that it would cost me ten minutes. Right as he normally is in his predictions it appears that he was right again. I honestly feel like the race went like clockwork until the run. And then the wheels didn’t come off, but they certainly weren’t very round any more.
A couple of days, and a good piss-up, later I am sitting jammed in between two people on an EasyJet 319 going through the race in my head. And I must say I am happy. Most things were a lot better than last year.  Yes, I was disappointed about the time. But I still think it was a step forward.
Thanks to Coach for showing the way. And thanks to the Team for never ending support. I really appreciate both.”
/Anders