I have been asked many times how I got on in Ironman Portugal, so here is my race report!
It was my first race in 3 years so I was very excited to race.
It was a really great event in the stunning location of Cascais, Portugal. The organisation and venue were incredible, one of the best sea swims in a natural harbour, a bike course along the coastline of the Atlantic Ocean through Sintra Natural Park around an F1 racetrack track that gave it lots of variety with 1800m elevation gain and the run from Cascais to Coba Rosa lighthouse which was a loop repeated 3 times.
I got up at 5am on race day to get my 1000cal breakfast at the hotel. I took my wetsuit bag and went to transition to check my bike and to put my nutrition onto the bike. I met Derek and Damian over there. Both looked calm and ready to rock, so I put my wetsuit on and walked to the start line. I really like that feeling when there are hundreds of people walking the same direction in the morning and the sun is just begun to rise. I met my family and got into the Sub 60min swim zone around 20min before start to do my warm up routine. The support and messages before the race were amazing. I knew that there would be a good few people tracking me on the App all day, so that gave me extra motivation. I knew that I was not in the best shape, but I was going to give it my best.
Swim –It was a rolling start, so I went to the front as I always do
Then the bell went and we ran into the water. At the beginning I couldn’t find my rhythm but after 10-15min I got good legs and just kept with them to the turnaround point, the second half I was pretty comfortable and kept my effort under control.
Swim time 57:40s which is not bad for an average swimmer.
Run into T1 was long, but enjoyable all on the red carpet with supporters on each side of the road shouting us on. I went into T1 got my helmet, bib number, bike and was really looking forward to the bike at that stage.
Bike started not the best, as on the first cobble section just at the beginning I lost my bottle with nutrition. I remember just saying to myself “Let the fun begin!” First 15km were comfortable, down along the coastline, then a slight climb with around 3-4% gradient for another 10-15km until Sintra Natural Park, when the gradient went up the final 1km of the climb was over 10% but that was it for the day. At the top I got a bottle of water, Gatorade and a green banana, that I couldn’t eat. Then descent on the narrow roads. We did a recce of that section in the car the day before, so I knew there were 5 dangerous bends with 2 switchbacks at the end. I was going to take my time but in the end some Belgian guy (I think) overtook me with some speed, so I decide to keep his line. A few seconds after we arrived at the switchbacks the next thing he was doing tumble turns with his bike! I had too much speed and went off the road too, but managed to stay on the bike then hopped on the road and went of the road again on the other side as the second bend was just there, thanks to the No1 tabata and core work I was able to get back on the road in one piece!! At the end of that descent was an ambulance, so I just called “Hi There is a bad crash up there” After that there were no more big difficulties. (The guy was fine and managed to finish with a black eye and bust elbow)
At around 50km we went to an F1 track in Estoril, where Ayrton Senna won his first Grand Prix, it was an amazing feeling to be on the bike out there. Next back to the town and a flat, fast section down to Lisbon and back to Cascais with some friendly wind on the way
So that was lap 1 done. Second lap was the same just without the Sintra Hill. I just kept my nutrition right to be ready for the marathon run.
Bike time 5:03:16s with avr speed of 35.8kmph by my watch.
T2 was smooth and I like to keep it simple, socks, gels, salt tablets, hat and runners.
Run: I felt really good at the beginning, but I knew that I wouldn’t feel as good after 3h so I tried to hold myself back. First lap I was running well on the rolling hills down the Atlantic coast. It was warm but not nearly as warm as Energy Lab in Kona. There were aid stations nearly every 1km so at each station I was taking small bottle of water, cola from time to time plus my gels. There was always a green banana, but I couldn’t open them. I hope those bananas will be ready for next edition in 2022!! On the second lap I just got a message from family that I was getting closer to 3rd spot. So, I managed to close that gap. After 21km my legs started to get heavier and with each hill I was running slower, but still was able to keep some decent pace. It was great to see Derek and Damian on the run course and we shouted out our names to motivate each other.
At the beginning of lap 3 heard there was somebody running faster behind me, so I decided to build the pace until the turn around point and be ready to respond if anyone tried to pass me. That never happened so I thought I would hold my podium in AG category. I enjoyed running the last 500m to the finish line “High 5ing” with the crowd and family. It was great to hear those words again “Mariusz you are an Ironman” J When I crossed the line a few lads sprinted into the finish after me. When I checked the result later, I lost my podium spot buy 1 second, but that is the beauty of sport.
I was happy to finish and put in a good performance.
Marathon time 3:04:20s with avr pace 4:23/km giving a total Ironman time of 9:14:14h
When I stopped my legs were like two blocks, I sat down, and talked to some Swiss man sitting just beside me. He was wrecked as much as me, so we had a good laugh.
I would like to say thank you to my family, friends , everyone who messaged before and after the race, as it makes a big difference.
to Derek and Damian on an outstanding performance on the day and The Rommel on Ironman 70.3 the day after he showed his character even when fitting with cramps
And if anyone is wondering will I be going to Kona in October 2022?
I got an email saying Aloha Mariusz and
! You got your Slot for 2022 IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, USA.
I was there twice but for the 3rd one I will have to wait because for 2022 I’m going to share my knowledge, experience and passion with my athletes to make them the best that they can be!!
Thank you for reading