Triathlon Race report

We’re back home! The transition from the Portuguese post summer sun to our Dutch fall was a pretty big one, but the post-triathlon adrenaline keeps us warm :) What a weekend and what a race. These are our  ‘Race to the end of the world’ adventures: The Martinhal Triathlon.

DSC_8724Fiek’s race report
This is the point of no return. That thought keeps running around in my head Friday while I travel from Newcastle to Faro. Arriving at our beautiful resort doesn’t improve my mental situation. The sea -on the pictures beautifully clear and perfectly flat- now has huge waves that collapse on the beach. I notice that I hold my breath out of fear,  and I am not the only one. Also my fellow travel girls and our ‘Viking’ Erik look a bit worried. The night before the race I lie with my eyes open, staring at the ceiling. Eventually I fall asleep much too late, but thanks to the change in time (from summer to winter) I have a wonderful hour extra and feel reasonably well when I wake up. Ready to rumble !! Sort of …

DSC_8905The race
The tension of the last few days, is now replaced with pure adrenaline. As fast as I can, I run into the water and start swimming like crazy. Within the first 200m I drink about half of the sea and then I finally find a decent rhythm. Behind me I hear Manon struggle. Vi and I yell at her to not give up, and I decide to move forward. It is incredibly heavy and the current seems to go in the opposite direction. Finally I reach the beach. While getting out of the water, I discover that my crazy swimming moves have given me a huge abdominal cramp. I make it to my bike in quasimodo-style . A big setback which gives Vi the possibility to pass me.

On the bike I hope my stomach gets some rest. As a rookie on a race bike this isn’t the most easy trail. It is beautiful though!  Unfortunately in meanwhile I get further behind. Luckily running is my favorite part … The first 500m my legs go in all directions, then it goes better. Until my belly starts to cramp again and I realize that calmly finishing this race is the only solution. One minute behind Vi and 2 minutes behind Manon I’ll eventually cross the finish line. I LOVED IT! When can I again !!?

DSC_8842 copy 2Manon’s race report
After the excitement of the previous triathlon, I could not wait to go to Portugal and do it all over again. My only point of concern: swimming in the sea. Poor swimming skills plus some fear of high waves is a pretty complete recipe for disaster :) And the non-alcohol agreement I had made with myself turned out a little different than expected. Surrounded by fun people, great food and Portuguese wines (they screamed for attention) it simply was to tempting to say no. But the night before D-day, I only drank one glass of red before jumping in my bed early. It turned out to be a night with nightmares about monster waves and stuff …

DSC_8960The race
At the starting signal everyone around me dive in the sea as bunch of wild animals. Within a few seconds I already swallowed my first of many portions seawater. Long before the first buoy negative thoughts are spinning around in my head. “OMG…I’m not gonna make it…” Fiek and Vi are swimming a few meters in front of me and totally caught up in my panic modus I scream for help. From somewhere far away in the waves I hear their moral support. It’s not calming me down and I’m battling the worst fight ever against myself. I switch from breaststroke to backstroke. It’s a nightmare! My technique is nowhere to be found and I’m only a few steps away from a panic attack. At the moment I honestly think this will never end and I’m ready to give up I feel solid ground underneath my feet! I’m completely B.R.O.K.E.N.

I stumble out of the water and try to run to the transition spot. Running is not an option, I’m completely out of breath. Switching to my bike goes very smooth. Fiek and Vi are still at the transition point and Vi quickly shoves a piece of energy bar in my mouth. During the cycling it takes me a long to finally manage to control my breathing. Halfway the 20K I finally feel calm again. The views along the course are stunning and I feel incredibly happy. “Move move move! You can make up for your lousy swimming now!” The many climbs during the trail are tough, but my ultra-light road bike does miracles. The transition to running also goes very smooth. The off-road trail goes straight through a nature reserve and the sun is shinning. My legs can’t run as fast as they normally do, but it feels good. I’m in a good flow. The last part of the route goes through loose sand. Seriously? Who ‘s idea was this! Suddenly the finish line pops up! I F * CKING MADE IT! 3rd Place of the females:)

MartinHalTriathlon2Vi’s race report
Just like Manon, I was ready for more triathlon adventures. Our first one had made us hungry for more. My intention to get some professional swim training failed miserably. And although Fiek and I ran 10K run during the AJAX Foundation Run two weeks earlier, the days before our departure I felt like I hadn’t done enough. Annoying, because my goal was clear: crushing my Amsterdam triathlon time of 1:49:40. Many times I discussed tactics with the girls. Where did we loose time in Amsterdam. What can we improve to win minutes. We were chicks on a mission … and that’s nerve wrecking;)

The race
After a huge portion of “game food”, I’m ready. As soon as the signal echoes over the sand, I run towards the water. I see people jumping in while they start to crawl right away. Something I don’t get because the water is undeep and still walkable. So I pass the fanatics while walking and than dive in. Soon I see Manon. She is struggling. “Continue” my inner voice says to me “both Fiek as Manon are way faster on the other components, you have to focus and win time here.” When I swim aside Fiek, we hear Manon shout for our support. Bye bye game plan. Together we shout at her to continue and not give up (combined with sweet little lies like ‘you’re halfway there “or” after the buoy the currents will take you to the beach!”). It works, she fights back and overcomes her fear.

MartinHalTriathlon3I seriously thought it would happen. That we would be carried back to the beach by the waves after the last buoy. NOT! Before each wave, you first get sucked back into the ocean before it spits you out. I should have known! When I finally get my feet back in the sand (where a fantastic Dutch family encourages us with pure energy, thanks guys !) I see Fiek. She has cramp in her abdominal muscle. For a moment I stand still, ask her if I can do something. Then I decide to continue: game mode ON. Changing into my bike gear goes fast, I put a piece of an energy bar in the mouths of Fiek and Manon (you need that!) And then sprint off first. On the bike there’s only one goal. Have Manon ‘kiss my race’ as long as possible. During the Triathlon in Amsterdam she beat me after 6KM and finished 7 minutes before me. I do not want that to happen again.

Although the distance between Manon and me is getting smaller, I finish first with the bikes. Yes! Now the last part: running. Once I jump off my bike I feel it. Shit, I have to pee and not a little either. Along the running trail, I see one of the organizers “I have to pee, reaaaaaaaaly badly!” as I run along he shouts: “behind the Landrover” what a relief:) Exactly when I dive into ‘the bushes’, Manon passes. The rest of the race her neon pink shirt is my point of focus. She MUST be in my sight. From the tips of my toes I push myself. Annemerel gives me a final boost to outrun some others. Only 50seconden after Manon I arrive at the finish. A fourth place! I’m 15 minutes faster than my last race: 1:34:40. Wow, this feels sooooooo good! Amazing adventures in a beautiful surrounding.


Thank you so much Algarve Triathlons and Martinhal Resort for the well organised event. We loved every wave, hill, trail and second of this journey. Bring that next triathlon on girls! Thank you so much for your support. We couldn’t have done it without you!

And a tough shout-out (ahu, ahu) to our Viking Erik and Anne Merel. What a great team we are together!

Fiek, Manon and Vi

P.S. Plans for the next foreign triathlon adventure triathlon have already been made:)

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