Race Report -  Philippe Rousset's Vietnam 70.3

Pre Race During the week before the race, we’ve enjoyed the place with the family. We have experienced all kind of foods (local) during our visits. Unfortunately this put me down on Thursday evening, vomiting with stomach pain. I thought of a food poisoning, which usually never last more than a couple of days. I barely ate on Friday and started very light meals on Saturday: half plate of pasta for lunch and full plate in the evening with difficulties and no appetite. Unfortunately, I had a intestinal infection (which has been revealed to me in the medical tent of the race), I lure myself thinking of a food poisoning, the temporary recovery was only due to fasting, the gels and energy drink I will take during the race will revive the illness. I should have seek for medical examination early enough to get the proper medication and be fully operational for the race The light training session on Saturday happened to be good and despite the 2 days of fasting and light diarrhea, I’ve decided to start the race. (Actually, I never thought of giving up as long as I was able to stand on my legs …)
Race Swim​​I did start with the 36-40 min wave but didn’t really understood how it was organized and ends up to put my googles and swim cap while entering the water. The swim was quite good for me, even if I had to fight my way all along the distance and try to avoid some poor swimmers switching regularly to breath stroke. Thanks to Raymond experience in metasprint series few weeks before, I kept some distance with those kinds of swimmers. I didn’t manage to draft too much, but felt good and strong during the all swim leg, which I finished really fresh in 38:43 (just one place after Regis). T1 has been very effective and I took over Regis on my way to the mounting lane.
Bike After quick nutrition (half bottle of Hammer energy drink) I did put myself at race pace very comfortably staying in my steady HR zone and cruising at 33 -34 Km/h with tail wind. Everything was under control, enjoying the scenery of Danang beaches and fisherman's villages. During the first 60 km, I sticked to my nutrition plan and managed to grab the water I needed at the water stations. Everything was good despite some light stomach cramps starting and a cruising speed reducing due to cross / head wind on the way back to the transition area (the last 30km). I managed to overtake Julian 20 km before T2 and was still feeling the legs very fresh. I finally decided to skip the last gel I was planning on the bike to avoid upsetting my stomach. The last 5km, I did on the small chainring, high cadence (90+), did a very good recovery on my legs. T2 has been as planned and rehearsed the day before, no bike around me and a lot of space to get ready for the run.
Run I get my legs very quickly in the rhythm and forced myself to keep a steady pace and slow down to avoid to blow later on the run. I also started to experienced some strong stomach cramps which was preventing me of a normal breathing. Everything did deteriorate quickly after that. First toilet stop after 6 km (heavy diarrhea), second toilet stop around 9 km (same). At that point I was still trying to run and kept saying to me that everybody was having something hurting and for me it was the stomach, but my legs was very fresh… I didn’t managed to run after the 10.5 km U-turn and took some time walking, hoping for a bit of recovery. After 1 km, I did start to run again but stopped after 2 min, vomiting clear water (all the water I drunk on the previous water stations didn’t went through and I was probably starting to dehydrate severally). The last 10km has been just an exercise of pain management and walking (half bent, because of the stomach cramps). No real memory of the last 6km, time suddenly stopped. Julian found me 1km before the finish line as he was cycling back to his hotel. He did support me for the final push and « escorted me » to the finish line and … directly to the medical tent. After an injection for stomach cramps and 2 litres of electrolyte water through drip, I was back on my feet, feeling good after 1h30 in the medical tent.I definitively think I lost some lucidity and should have drop the run and took a taxi to reach the medical tent, there is no point of clocking 3:32 min for 21km (of which more than 2h for the last 10km … which is even slow for walking !!). Hopefully, no hurt for my health, but it could have been more serious (all the conditions for a severe heat stress was there, walking in the middle of the day heavily dehydrated under a strong sun, no shade …) Post Race The doctor in the medical tent gave me some medication to take on the evening and the next morning, I was not able to eat the evening after the race, but was surprisingly feeling good at the breakfast. If I have had this medication 2 days before the race, I would have been able to race on good condition. Lesson learnt : 1/ do not change your diet before the race, if travelling keep it simple (and cooked !!) 2/ There is no point of racing sick… and no shame to quit in a middle of a race if sick. 3/ I’m impressed by the very good first 2 splits I did after 2 days of fasting … With the training I followed, I trust my body has reached the point of fat burning optimisation and didn’t require that much of carb for steady long efforts. Thanks coachs Mike & Scott for having drastically changed the way my body is functioning during endurance efforts. I now trust my body capability a lot more than before this week in Danang !!

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