Here are two interesting articles I stumbled across. The first contains some pro racers’ tips for nutrition during races. The second is an interesting article from Joe Friel about fatigue and the relationship to CTL/ATL.

Hope you find them interesting and/or useful.

Well Challenge Barcelona half-iron distance race has come and gone. I can’t believe it is over a week ago already. Life has just been so hectic… Anyway here is a brief race report. I will try and gather some stats and put them in another post.

In short – I a had a great day.

Swim went well in the choppy sea. Battled to navigate as I could not see the buoys for the turns so I suspect I zig-zagged quite a bit. I was sighting against a building in the distance. On the return journey I must have picked a bad building since I ended up some 50/75m off course once I could actually see the last turn buoy so had to swim further out to make the turn. Oh well.. such is life. Apart from that I felt OK in the swim even though the wetsuit didn’t feel 100% on the shoulders when we set off. I just couldn’t get it comfortable before the swim. Was in the last swim wave with the slow swimmers (I think there was a mistake with many of the swimmers and their waves) which meant I was soon overtaking people from the previous waves.

T1 wasn’t too bad – apart from some idiot “borrowing” my T bag so I spent 30-60 panicky seconds looking for my bag. Eventually he returned with it and I set off.

Bike went well. So much drafting on the go. I suspect I ended up doing a bit of drafting at times in the narrow bits of course while trying to find a gap to overtake. (starting in the last “slow” wave meant I was picking off people along the way). Made an effort to try keep a constant power on the bike but ended up doing a few big spurt efforts to overtake or get away from drafting groups. Not a totally consistent power but not bad. The hill up to Dosrius was less steep than I was expecting. The last 15-30km of the return leg of the bike was a bit tough going as I had a head wind. Spent most of the day on the aero bars so ended up with a bit of a stiff neck.  Was glad to be at the end of the bike leg though as I think I paced the bike almost spot on for the 91km.

T2 – not to bad. Met up with one of the girls in the group and said I’d run with her as she was also going for a sub-2h run. Set off not to bad at around 5:30/km which slowed to 5:45 and then stayed around 6min/km. She was having a shocker of a day with a sore tummy so couldn’t keep up a quicker pace. Since I was feeling OK and we were on for around 2hrs I stayed with her to keep her going.  I felt good and think I could have done just under 2hours had I maintained a 5:40 pace. My stomach was as good as can be expected so was happy with the run. Slightly disappointed I didn’t actually do under 2hr but had a super run with her so it’s swings and round abouts – it’s not always all about the time after all – gotta have fun days too.  The run was stinking hot and I probably didn’t take in enough fluids.

Bike nutrition may have been slightly low. I probably only had 3 bottles (2.5 energy drink and .5 water) (around 1.8l) rather than closer to 3l (3 energy drink and 1.5 water). I had 2.75 (yeah I didn’t finish one) gels too. So call it 3 bottles of nutrition and some additional water. So roughly 2.5*250Cal + 2.75*110Cal = 995Cal on the bike rather than a planned 1100Cal. On the run I had water, poweraide (or whatever it was) and then coke at the last two aid stations. I didn’t pee once during the race so should probably up the fluid a bit on the bike to my planned levels.

My plan for IM will be to have more fluids on the bike (600ml bottle energy drink and 150-300ml water an hour ) and 2gel/hr for the first 3hr and then 1gel/hr for the 2nd 3hr.

All in all I felt good about the race!

Well I figured I’d put some statistics from the Monaco 70.3 race up…


Distance 85.1km
Time: 3h41:46
Avg speed: 23km/h
Max speed: 57.8km/h
Avg heart rate: 161bpm
Max heart rate: 194bpm
Avg cadence: 81rpm
Total ascent: 1560m




Distance: 20.28km
Total time: 2h20:30
Avg Pace: 6.55min/km
Avg heart rate: 155bpm
Max heart rate: 188bpm

  Turnaround Split   Casino Split
Lap1 00:00 0:24:05   00:17:19 00:27:32
Lap2 0:24:05 0:27:59   00:44:51 00:30:19
Lap3 0:52:04 0:32:19   01:15:10 00:36:43
Lap4 01:24:23 0:35:58   01:51:53 00:28:14
Lap5 02:00:21     02:20:07  

As can be seen, the first loop back to the start/turnaround was not too shabby at slightly over 24 mins. Had I maintained this pace for the full 4 and a bit laps, my time would have been 1h53:39. Had I maintained my last loop (casino to casino) pace of 28:14, my total time would have been 2h10:15 which is about the same as Austria 70.3. The slowing times for each loop back to the turnaround are reflective of my stomach getting progressively unhappy. It started to feel better for the last loop as evidenced by the last loop time of 28:14.


Well the bike and run average heart rates were slightly lower than I had aimed for. I had hoped for the bike and run averages to be around 166bpm. The bike is not too far off, but the run is significantly lower due to me walking much more than expected.

Note: these figures were as my Garmin recorded them. Slightly short distances which I attribute to recording intervals and tunnels.

Well Sunday saw me compete in the 2008 Monaco 70.3 event. We arrived in Monte Carlo on the Friday and I immediately noticed the heat. Saturday was hot too. I was sweating in the shade thinking “wow, this will be a hot race”.


Saturday saw all the bags and bikes getting put into transition. We also completed brief swim, bike and run efforts to get the body moving correctly.

I woke up at 4h45 on Sunday morning and noticed that it had been raining. We ate and then got down to the start area. Got the wetsuit on and handed in the street wear bag.


I placed myself midway forward and on the left. The signal to start went and I headed into the water. I started well and ran out of space so ended up being squeeze further to the left in the water. Unfortunately this meant navigating around the pier / water break along with many other athletes. In the mass start I ended up not being able to swim and got my toe dragged on a rock ending up with a cut toe. After the race I noticed rip in my wetsuit that looks like it came from an encounter with the rocks too. Doh! I’m not sure how easy it will be to get repaired but I am going to contact Sailfish Wetsuits to see what they can do for me. I am really not lucky with my wetsuit in the swim starts!

During the swim I ended up feeling like I was far out to sea with other swimmers drifting towards the beach. I’m convinced I was swimming relatively straight towards the next buoys with everyone else doing an odd route… could everyone else really not have been going straight? I got to the second turn buoy and headed in to the beach. The swim back to shore felt good. I got into more of a racing rhythm than my slower catchup like stroke. I felt fast. I got out the water in 41 minutes.


Slow and leisurely is th way to describe T1. I put on loads of sunscreen and generally dawdled. Out the tent I started the long run through the bike park. By the time I got to my bike I noticed one of my socks didn’t feel right so I adjusted it – more time lost!


The bike had three major climbs to cover. I felt good on the bike and felt reasonable strong on the climbs. I was keeping my eye on the distance covered and eased off slightly just before the climbs to ensure my legs were not “maxed out” starting the climbs. Of course, the 34/50 and 12-25 gearing on my bike probably helped, but my legs had to keep the pedals going.

I descent after the first climb was a little hair-raising. Lots of switch backs and blind turns with some rough bits of road. My hands got a good workout with all the breaking involved. The roads were meant to be closed but there was traffic to contend with on a few short sections of the race, including part of the descent back to Monte Carlo.

I kept to my plan of a bottle of RIDE and three gels each hour – much like for the Austria 70.3 race. I must admit that I had a couple of sips of coke on the bike ride too which was a welcome change.

All in all, the bike was not as tough as I originally expected. In hindsight I could perhaps have pushed a bit harder on the bike. A time of 3h41:54 on the bike.


The long run through the bike racking area seemed to take ages to complete. Into the tent and off with the bike shoes and socks and on with the cycling footwear.


As soon as I set out on the run I knew it was going to be a long run. My tummy felt full and bloated – similar to the Austria 70.3 race. Perhaps I am consuming too many calories on the bike resulting in my sore stomach? This is something I need to try and get right.

The run consisted of 4.5 laps. The run course is fairly flat apart from the long climb up to the Monte Carlo casino and then the descent back down to the beachfront road. I managed to run up the climb on the first lap but not the second, third or fourth. I did not feel comfortable for the first 3.5 laps. After picking up my fourth wrist band my tummy started feeling better and I managed to run virtually the whole of the last lap back to the finish. I felt relatively good on the last lap and I hope to get some timing figures for the 4.5 laps. I think the splits will be quite interesting.

I ran up the hill to the casino and over the finishing line completing the 21.1km in a time of 2h20:01. Not a great half marathon time at all. Roughly 10 minutes slower than my Austria 70.3 run time – although the Austria 70.3 run is much flatter.


Swim: 0h41:01

T1: 0h08:28

Bike: 3h41:54

T2: 0h05:48

Run: 2h20:01

Total: 6h57:12

Well a tough race, particularly the run. The bike is not that tough but is certainly slow going. The swim start is tricky due to the narrow exit from the swim area out to the sea. I think that I would start on the right of the start area if I was to start this race again. The toughest part of the race for me was the run. All in all a enjoyable and pretty well organised race.

Now to plan for the next one…

As promised, here is a race report. I may add to it in coming days or weeks as I remember extra things to add.


The day we arrived (Thursday) we ended up having dinner and putting the bikes together. I got mine assembled and ready. I then assisted the others… notably with a missing magnet for a Polar speed sensor (luckily I had not removed mine after switching to Garmin) and a Profile Design aero bottle (managed to get the extension lugs to fit Claire’s aero bars…). 

The day before the race was somewhat disorganised. We seemed to do far more walking than I had intended or my coaches had suggested. We eventually had gone for a test ride, checked in the bikes, checked in T1 and T2 bags and attended the race briefing. The race briefing was meant to be at 17:00 in English according to the race literature and website. The event office advised that it was definitely at 17:30 in English. Anyway we arrived at 17:25 to hear the last few things about the race in English. Clearly there was confusion. In the end we managed to get a brief race briefing in English – good thing to as the run course and the 6 passes through the stadium was a bit confusing.

Race morning

Up and at breakfast at 06:00. Had some chocolate covered cornflake type things, a couple of bread-rolls with honey, some orange juice and a cup of not-so-great coffee. We headed over to T1 to check the bikes and put the nutrition on the bike. Then to the toilets (again). Oh to be a woman at a triathlon… no queues for the toilets, unlike the men’s…

The Swim

On with the wetsuit. Not so difficult as have had a few practise runs. Bodyglide on the underarms, neck, ankles and wrists and suncream on the back, shoulders and arms. Got it on and comfortable and got the goggles and swim-cap in place.  Oh the crisis – Chris had lost his goggles (later to be found in a compartment in his bag…) and was in a spin. Luckily I had a spare pair of goggles with me just in case… He was ever so happy as they were the same make and model that he uses.

We wandered into the water and I got the water into my wetsuit and got ready. I positioned myself near the back to avoid the scrum at the start. The gun went off and we started. My “near the back” plan was working as I had somewhat free water in front of me and no one swimming over me… until some idiot came flying over me and I felt something on my backside. Closer inspection revealed that the idiot who came flying over me actually put a nick in my wetsuit 🙁  It’s almost through the neoprene so I am going to have to try get it repaired.

Anyway apart from that the swim went well. The swim out to the first buoy was a bit cramped and I kept catching up with some people and swimming past. I took the buoy wide and found some clear water. I found my rhythm and then just enjoyed myself to the end of the first lake. We had about a 200m run/jog to the second lake for the next 1000m swimming.

Found my rhythm quite quickly in the second lake and just kept going. I managed to pass one or two yellow hats (swimmers from the wave before us!!). At the turn around buoy I took it wide again and then had the exit in my sights. I got out the water after 40mins. Excellent swim as far as I’m concerned given my swimming skill level in March… Who would have thought that I actually enjoyed the 1900m swim and could have actually gone further 🙂


What can I say.. went smoothly although I could do with a bit of fine tuning on the transition.


Headed off on the bike with the first 18km on the S33 highway. Bliss riding surface. My nutrition plan called for a gel every 20 minutes (so roughly 330kcal per hour), a bottle of sports drink every 45mins-60mins with a target of 1l fluids per hour and a salt tablet every 40 mins. My bike started off loaded with 12 gels, a bottle of slightly strong Isostar and a bottle of Nuun electrolyte drink. My thinking was to use the Nuun to make up the fluid intake while avoiding too much carbs.

The plan was working well and I reached the first aid station (25km in) with the Isostar gone which was the plan.  I picked up a bottle of Powerbar drink and a bottle of water. Powerbar drink into aero bottle and dump the bottle I picked up. Very smooth indeed.

The next few kms were downhill and fast.. a couple of corners came up sharper than expected so had to hit the breaks… Then headed out along the river/lake for a gently rolling section. The nutrition and fluid intake was going well, my legs felt strong albeit aware they had done around 45km. Around this stage there were a number of groups of cyclists flying past in blatant abuse of the no drafting rule. It was somewhat satisfying to see one of the cyclists pulled over and getting a penalty!

Just before the second big climb, roughly 60km-65km, I had a toilet stop and then dumped the remaining water I was carrying. I was pretty much out of fluids at this point to minimise the weight to lug up the hill. Not a bad plan since I dumped nearly a pound (500ml) of fluid. The hill was tougher than I figured and managed to pass a few people while being passed myself. My training in Spain definitely helped out here and I kept remembering the words “stop bobbing”, “watch the cadence”, “power over the top”. The hill ended and we hit the aid station. Again I picked up water and Powerbar bottles. Then onto the next smaller hill which I had know about. After this hill my plan was to treat myself with my usual chocolate-almond bar which I’ve always enjoyed on the bike… not today however – it just wouldn’t go down and I didn’t enjoy it so I ended up having a gel instead.

And then downhill all the way home. Had a couple of good downhill stints only to be hit with another climb which I wasn’t expecting. It really was depressing to see a third, albeit lesser, hill to climb. Manged to grind up and then back to the flats and downhills. Figured it was time for another salt tablet… alas none left. “Huh?” I thought.. then I realised I had not filled it up after my sprint race the week before… “DOH!!”. I wasn’t too concerned as I knew I had some extra tablets on my run belt.

We went though a number of towns and villages along the way and the support was amazing. It’s difficult not to push things with “oompa”, “supa”, “go go go” and “up up up” being shouted at you. It felt wonderful to have the support, especially when travelling at 40-45km/h through the towns on the downhills.  So a BIG thanks to all the supporters!

Watching the distance count down I knew I was on for close to 3h on the bike, in the last couple of km I worked out that I would have to average close to 45km/h to get sub 3h so eased off… If only I had not eased off I would have shaved off those 2 seconds…. anyway I am ecstatic with 3h00:02 for the bike leg! On the final few hundred meters into T2 I decided to have some big gulps of drink to avoid having to drink right away on the run…


Uneventful really. Off with the helmet, gloves, cycle-shoes and socks and on with the running socks and shoes and grabbed my run belt which had a couple of gels and salt tablets.


I couldn’t get my Garmin 405 to start on the run. It took nearly 800m for me to get the thing working. It got into some mode that it decided is where it wanted to be. Sigh. That silly front panel is just to fiddly when running after the swim and bike legs.

Very quickly I did start to feel off. My legs and body felt strong and up for the 21.1km run but my tummy had other ideas. The tummy pains started fairly soon and stayed there. I had thoughts of going to the loo, stopping, walking but managed to get into a rhythm of running and walking at the aid stations. The first lap (10km-ish) was painful but the second started off worse. 4km out along the river on a dirt path with almost no support and the second rate drinks station which only had water.  I then noticed my time and figured I was on for a sub-6 hour if I kept my pace up.

Once I got to the next aid station around 13km I knew I was on the home straight.. managed to get some coke into me (sloshed it around my mouth to make it flat before swallowing) which helped.

I kept the walks through the aid stations and managed to feel stronger on the run. My tummy was feeling better. When I got to the 17km-ish aid station I knew I was almost home and it was going to take me falling over to not finish. I powered on and kept going. The last 4 kms were relatively easy. I knew I was going to finish sub-6hr so long as I kept going.

The last run through the stadium and around the race track and back into the stadium was amazing. What an amazing feeling to be finishing with strong legs! I went through the finisher lane while watching some other competitors heading out on their second lap of the run. I put my arms up and ran through the finish. 5h56:46. AWESOME. Far better than I had ever imagined for this race.


Went to the loos and immediately noticed my sunburn. I had wondered why my arms and back felt so hot on the run. My shoulders were red.. bright red. I was later to peel and loose the brief brown tan I had… anyway, in the loos, I figured out why I had such a sore tummy – just full of wind and nothing really wrong. Man, if only i had let rip on the run I would have probably felt much better much quicker!

Lessons learned

  • plan for the day before and get the transition bags all ready and check everything in in one go and then take things easy 
  • practise T1 a bit more and get the order of things to do sorted
  • double check *all* nutrition items (including salt-stick)
  • take Nuun tablets on the bike to make some more electrolyte drink on the way
  • possibly take Isostar tablets on the bike to make energy drink if the race provided one doesn’t taste good – although I have been training with the Powerbar drinks on the bike and don’t mind them too much
  • Don’t gulp fluid just before T2.
  • Practise fiddling with the Garmin 405 when running
  • Maybe do a VO2max test to work out my correct HR zones as I raced above my planned race HR
  • Practise consuming gels on climbs


This has to be one of, if not, the most difficult things I have ever done. An Ironman 70.3 isn’t easy but is doable with a reasonable amount of training. Did I feel knackered after the race? Yes, but not as bad as I had expected. Will I do another one? Yes… sooner the better 🙂  Will I do a full Ironman… well I do have a place in Ironman Austria 2009 if I want by virtue of doing Ironman 70.3 Austria this year. Have I entered yet? No, but the voucher expires in mid-July…

I have completed the Austria Ironman 70.3 in 5h56:46!! Woohoo!

 Am so pleased with the performance.  My swim time was 40:12, bike time was 3h00:02 and run time was 2h10:34. You can look up full stats on

 I will post a more comprehensive race report soon.  Right now, off to continue celebrating!