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Lucie Zelenkova's Blog

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IM South Africa – my first win!

April 8th, 2009 by luciezelenkova

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It is really great feeling to cross finish line as a first one (ok as a first woman). And it was even better for me this Sunday as it happened for the first time in Ironman race. And actually even more enjoyable because it was in my almost “ home” race. I am based in Johannesburg and at this moment consider South Africa as my home.

I was unusually nervous already few days before the start. After winning 70,3 SA in January lot of people expected me to do something similar in Ironman as well. I knew I put in really good training but still, it is an Ironman and field was pretty strong.

Who have ever raced or visited Port Elizabeth know that biggest challenge can be a weather, especially wind. This year it changed a bit and biggest challenge for almost everyone was a heat. It was one of the warmest day of the year with temperature about 35 degrees.
We started exactly at 7:00, pro athletes about 20metres before the rest of the field. And because ocean was nicely flat, my goal was to improve swimming record from last year. I had really good start and comfortably established myself in the first pack. After first lap, first group split into the two and I was swimming together with Marino and Stephen. So I knew I am having good swim. I came out of the water 6th overall and first woman with quite good lead.

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Once on the bike I start pushing and trying to open even bigger gap to other girls. Bike was quite lonely for me, there wasn’t many guys who passed me. At the end of the first lap it was group with James, Petr Vabrousek and Michael Gohner but they were too fast. I stayed with my pace and again alone. I didn’t have any information about other girls so I just tried to stay focused and go During the third lap my stomach stop cooperated with me and wasn’t able to put anything in for next 40km. But luckily it wasn’t any major problem, I just had to controlled my pace little bit.

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Only on the run I found out that I have nice gap to the others, 9minut to 2nd Joyce Rachel and 16minuts to Bella. Ok, I was almost in same situation as last year, leading after bike but then run down by Bella and Edith on 35th km of the run. This year I was determined to do everything not to repeat last year story. And I also knew that I had really good training in Subic. I also remembered doc saying us, pace yourself, race start after 30km of the run and girls from my group are strongest. So I listened (and I am not as good in listening). I started bit slower, controlling myself and made sure that I stayed hydrated as it was getting more and more hot. But also all the spectators around the road were amazing, they pushed me a lot, they kept me going. I have to say BIG thank you to all the people who cheered for me. When I run through the crowd in each lap, I was having goose bump, atmosphere was more then great. My run was quite good and I really got stronger towards the end and felt best in last 12km.

But best experience for me was finish line. Actually not only finish line but last 2km! I was greeted by all the people and was really so happy. And also relieved. I was smiling and crying together! My first win. Great feeling!

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I have to say thank you to everyone who helped me to reach this, to Alex and Brett for opportunity and great guidance. To Kurt being there with me and support me. To Blueseventy for my speedy wetsuit. To Cervelo for my awesome bike. To ISM for saddle which is really comfortable for whole 180km. To Oval for my handlebars and airbars. To Avia for fast shoes which didn’t give any blister! To Scody for great clothes. And all my friends and athletes who made the whole weekend really special for me!

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Teavigo duathlon

March 30th, 2009 by luciezelenkova

This Sunday i took part in 2nd race of Teavigo duathlon series. It was not far away from where i live and i thought it would be fun and good training as well. I got my instruction how to “race” from doc and went quite excited on the start. I think it was only my 3rd duathlon ever (including World Cup in New York where they change triathlon into duathlon due to bad water quality). It was great to be on the start line with 300 other athletes. Triathlon and duathlon is really fast growing sport in South Africa and you can see growing number of participants and top athletes racing. With great history of swimming and running in this country, I believe that triathlon (and duathlon) in South Africa has good future.
Race was hold on 5km – 30km – 2,5km distance with same start for men and women. Just before our our start, there was a kiddies race and there was nothing more exciting then to watch all the emotion of these small athletes and their parents!
I started running in comfortable pace (i would say almost Ironman pace) and found myself at about 7th place in female race after 1km. Luckily for me I was able to hold my pace, while most of the others were getting slower and i came to first transition at 2-3rd place. Then I started immediatelly pushing hard on the bike and started passing some men as well. I really enjoeyd cycling part of the race and felt strong. I was able to cycle away from all the girls behind me and had comfortable second run as well. I finished 2nd behind Andrea Steyn, who continued in great performance as whole year.

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After the finish i did another easy 10km run to finish my training for a day.
I had nice Sunday at the race, enjoeyd to meet my friends and support such a great events as a Teavigo series is. Thank you everybody!
Now it is time to get ready for Ironman! :-)

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one week to go..

March 29th, 2009 by luciezelenkova

I cant believe that it is almost time to race IM South Africa, that it is only one week left. After spending 6 weeks at training camp in Subic I stopped on the way home for 70,3 race in Singapore. I was suppose to use this race mainly as a training race and especially for doing 21km run as preparation for IMSA. I tried to push hard at swim and bike, unfortunatelly my legs didnt want to cooperate and in the end I finished 4th, quite far behind winner. But i was also really happy for my teammate and friend Tereza to be on the podium after having good day.

here is picture of me and Tereza after the race
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I had great time in Subic and in Singapore, thanks to all my teammates, Brett, Alex and all the other members of team TBB.

Now I am back at home and i found out few things:

1. my cat grow up, it is not a small kitty anymore

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2. I didnt miss the traffic in Johannesburg at all!!!
3. I missing my teammates but I am also happy to be back and see my friends here
4. After spending time in hot and humid Subic, I am almost not sweating here at all :-)
5. I cant wait to race next week Ironman South Africa

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Ocean swim

February 28th, 2009 by luciezelenkova

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After 3,5 weeks here, finally I have chance to swim in the ocean. Yesterday we didn’t do our swimming session in the pool but change it for open water. And it was great, really nice and warm. We really enjoyed swimming and bit of diving, discovering under water life.

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After the swim, we were trying to find new sport we could be successful as well and I definitely think that Rebekah should should be a wrestler. Way to go.. :-)

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Day off..

February 22nd, 2009 by luciezelenkova

Today we were lucky and had day off after whole week of hard but good training. It was nice for a change don’t have to be wake up by the alarm and sleep as long as I wanted. After breakfast, me, Tereza and Aby went to do the city to do some shopping.
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We stop at the pharmacy to buy Voltaren for everything what is sore on our body
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And then we stopped at big market in the city for some fruit and vegetables…yip, we are trying to eat healthy.
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And then rest of the day we spend sleeping, eating and saving energy for another block of the training.

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Valentine´s day

February 13th, 2009 by luciezelenkova

Today morning I woke up little bit sad that I am not at home at Valentine´s day. But once we open the door and were ready to go for swim, there was a nice surprise waiting for us. Thanks Johny:-)
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70,3 South Africa

January 25th, 2009 by luciezelenkova

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My first race of the year is gone and I am more then happy with my result and performance on the race day. It only give me more motivation (if it is still possible:-) for training and racing still coming. All the pro (male and female) started in first wave. I wasn’t so sure about my swimming shape after my injury – broken arm (I was hit by truck end of the November while cycling) as I started with swimming only 3,5 weeks ago. After a bit slow start I found myself just behind second group, I quickly got into my pace and passed second group just before half of the swim. I got out of the water only 2minuts behind fastest man and as a first female. Bike course in East London is really tough, with rolling hills all the time and this year with quite strong wind as well. But amazing thing is that we were cycling on highway, which was completely closed just for us Triathlete! I didn’t have idea where the other girls are, so I just tried to stay focused and to push whole way. Only on the run I found out that I have really big and comfortable lead. I was feeling really good during the run and enjoyed every moment of it. It was great bonus for me not only to win but also to break course record and finish day with fastest split in all three disciplines. I couldn’t wish for more! I had really nice weekend in East London, people from Triangle did awesome job and put together great event with lot of spectators around, cheering for every single competitor. I am happy that my first start in my new pink suit of Team TBB was successful, even more because the race was hold in my second home country, South Africa, where I am currently living. But instead of having little celebration in days after the race, I was fighting again, this time with really bad stomach bug. Now I am ready to put in even more training and meet my new team members in training camp soon.

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Never say never

January 12th, 2009 by luciezelenkova

If someone told me a few years ago that I will be racing long distance and under the guidance of „doc“ i would tell them that they are insane. But never say never and here I am, new in Team TBB and pretty excited about this year.

My season is starting soon, already this Sunday at 70,3 IMSA. Last year I finished 3rd after coming from cold winter Europe. This year I moved to South Africa and as i consider myself already as half south african, this race is actually in my home country. I am looking forward to the race and i hope i will be able to improve my position from last year. But i will keep you posted.

Cheers Luc

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