I never thought that I could ever write this but I am super excited to share that a few weeks ago I have finally completed my first Halfironman in Dubai. I am more than grateful for this experience, for all the great people I had around me to give helpful tips and share their previous experiences and especially that my body was strong enough to complete all the training and the final event. It was not always easy to stick to my schedule and sometimes to train even twice a day beside a normal job, family and friends but I need to say that I really enjoyed this process. Before I registered for my first Halfironman in Dubai I have completed two sprint triathlons to get to know the sport better and to see if I will enjoy it. I would describe myself as a really disciplined person, I love to become better and to challenge myself. That's why I got more into swimming, cycling and running after I have completed my first sprint triathlon. Especially cycling became a big part of my life and I can never say it enough that we are super blessed in Dubai with amazing cycling tracks, a huge cycling community and a lot of options to train

When I registered for my first Halfironman back in December I was actually not even sure if I am able to complete it, however I didn't have much time to think about it since these events are usually super quickly booked out and I needed to be fast to get a spot. Beside me also my husband and my mum registered as a team to take part into the relay category. As soon as I got my registration confirmation for the event I got in contact with a coach from Germany to get me as fit as possible for this special day. I had only 2 full months to get ready but since I was training before already I could at least start with a good base. The main reason why I wanted to have an experienced coach was to not get injured, to have a good balance between low and high intensity sessions and to get more input in nutrition and all things related to triathlon. I can definitely say that the sessions of my coach were really helpful and brought me definitely to another level. Especially when it comes to running, which is definitely my weakness, I could notice a lot of improvement. 

The final day came definitely much faster than expected but I was super excited and ready to fully enjoy this experience. The swim start was around 7.10am in the morning and I was super happy that I could wear my wetsuit for this swim since this is only allowed until a certain water temperature. The start was great and I had a good feeling in the water. I usually enjoy swimming but open water swims often scare me especially after I had a bad jellyfish accident in January. Luckily, all went well in the water and I tried to find a good pace to not go too hard in the beginning. Once I lost a bit of orientation in the water and did around 70m extra but I had a final time of 38:18min which was definitely better than expected. 

After the swim I was super excited to get on the bike because this is the discipline I enjoy the most. I really tried to focus on a certain wattage I have agreed on with my coach but also tried not to slow down too much. I definitely could have been faster on the bike but I knew that I would need all that power for the run. The wind was luckily not that bad as expected and since it started with around 45km headwind I had almost the whole way back tailwind which gave me a great average speed. It took me 02:36hrs to complete the whole 90km and I was super happy with an average of a bit more than 34km/h. Till this point I enjoyed every single second of the event but I had still the hardest part in front of me - the run.

The run started good and I felt okay. Since it was super hot and I was scared about getting a heatstroke, I always slowed down a bit at each water station to drink and to put some water on my head. This might have cost me some minutes but I was super happy that I did it since I saw many people struggling with the heat. After I had completed the first 3km I felt that I was not feeling that well and tried to slow down a bit. When I reached 7km it got luckily better and I tried to keep a steady pace for the rest of the run. The last few kilometers I struggled a lot with stomach cramps but at least I was still able to run. I had a final time of 2:15 hours for the run which is an average of 6:28min per km. It was definitely not the time I hoped for but in the end I was still super happy with my overall time of 05:40 hrs. 

I am grateful that I had the chance to compete in this competition and to race in my second home, Dubai. It was really special for me because many people I knew and even my husband and my mum competed in the event and it helped a lot to see so many familiar faces who cheered me up. There was luckily never a time where I thought about giving up but I can definitely tell you that I felt a lot of pain during the run. It is incredible what our bodies can do and how much your mindset can influence certain situations. 

Since it was my first Halfironman it is super hard for me to rate it or compare it with a similar event but I think when it came to the timing they did an amazing job. Also the pre-registration and bike check-in were well organized and the online race briefing helped me a lot to answer some of my last questions. Unfortunately, there were some problems on the bike track which I luckily didn't face, however I heard from many other athletes that not the whole cycling track was properly closed for traffic and cars were interfering with bikes which is obviously super dangerous. Beside that they were quickly running out of water at the aid stations which should never happen especially in the heat and I think that even last year this issue occurred. I just hope that this is something they will consider for their organization for the next year's event so that everyone can have a great time. 

Best, Patty

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