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Mathias Hecht's Blog

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Tough day at the office

July 17th, 2012 by mathiashecht

Well, where do I start. I have to say, I felt very confident going into this race. Training was going well and since I restarted my training after my injury in winter I didnt have one little problem. At Ironman Texas in May I knew my run shape is still nowhere. And for sure I knew before Ironman Switzerland that my run is not yet where it is supposed to be. But I still believed in my abilities in battling it out in a “TRI-athlon” …  if you race Ronnie Schildknecht you know it is not just about a running race. it is full on from the start. hard swim (trying to get away from him ;) ),  bike and run. the way I love to race.

But my body was just not ready to race at a world class level. I was struggling all day. It was not the weather, as I was never cold and also I had no muscle problems. It was just my energy that was not there on day X.

Yes, there were a few mechanical problems. My bike slipped out of my hands while running out of transition, I lost a bottle, went back to get it. Then I jumped on my bike only to get off again a few seconds later as my chain was off. Great start into a cracy day. Around 150km I started to loose air in my front tire. I kept riding as it was still fine for a while… but the last 20km I did on a complete flat tire. Not much fun to go up a steep 1.5km climb and even worse to go downhill in wet conditions. I lost my CO2 somewhere during the race. So I had no other option then keep riding on my carbon rim…

But after all, I think I still would have finished 3rd. maybe I could have been more in a battle for second. But Jan had a great first Ironman race. my respect to him. Also congrats to (now) 6time winner Ronnie. This was another world class performance. I hope he is racing in Frankfurt or somewhere else in the next years or he will be Cameron Brown of Switzerland (Cam has 10 wins at IM NZL) ;) ).

Also it was great to see “the animal” Scotty flying over the run course and finally run the way he can run. A 2h43min marathon on a course that is not easy at all (lots of U-turns, underpaths, park running etc) and even more important,  a run course that is actually measured out to a 42.1km. The swiss love perfection so they know how to measure out a course.

Last but not least, congratulations to Bella Bayliss for a great 2nd place and a very big thank you to “Dan the man”. He paced me in the swim and on the first kilometers on the bike. I give him great credit for that. Thanks a lot buddy!!!! and best of luck for your Ironman race next weekend!! rock it !!

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“A winner never stops trying” Tom Landry

July 13th, 2012 by mathiashecht

Once more it is time for Ironman Switzerland. My home race. I have raced it 5 times in the past. I finished 2nd, 2nd, 3rd and I had two DNF ‘s (2008: hypothermia 2010: injury). So I can say I had my ups and downs in that race. Maybe a bit of a hate – love relationship. But I am still as motivated to win this race as I have been in the past years. This year things look better then in other years. I have been injury free for over half a year now and I was able to get some very solid training in. At home and with my team mates in Leysin. I really enjoy being around coach Brett Sutton and the crew. It really feels like being in a team and I think we all push each other to reach a higher level. The results Team TBB had this year just speak for themselves. We def are the most successful team in the sport of triathlon and there is so much more to come. So this is also a big motivation for my own racing. It will be great to have “the animal” , “Dan the man” and also Bella Bayliss racing in Zürich as well. It will be a great show up of our team. And it always helps to see familiar faces out there on the course.

Ironman Switzerland also means very unpredictable weather. In 2008 this resulted in a DNF for me because of hypothermia. But as bad it feels at that moment, you learn from such moments and you are more prepared next time. This weekend looks like a wet and cold race again. So for the ones racing this weekend in Zürich, be prepared. Take the extra time in the transition after the swim. you wont regret it. you have to remember, there is quite a long and very fast downhill each lap (on the way down to Küsnacht). This makes a big difference to a race where you would ride all flat. in this long downhill you want have a chance to pedal and keep warm. it will be cold and windy going down there. the body temperature will drop quickly. so make sure you think about your clothes before it is too late. make a smart decision and it will make your ride def more “enjoyable”.

see you out there

Mathias

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Getting it done

June 25th, 2012 by mathiashecht

I just came back home from a one week camp up in Leysin with the Team. I enjoyed it a lot. It is good to have the team around to do all the hard training I normally do by myself. Also, to have coach Brett around is very important. Everybody who trained with him before knows, he is at his best when he is coaching you on site. that is when you get the most out of his training. doesnt mean it is easier at all … ;)

so I am back home for a few days and then up to Leysin again for another push towards my next big goal, Ironman Switzerland. I tried to win this race for a few years now. A few times I went into that race with injuries and once I had to pull out because of hypothermia. So I hope this year I have one of those perfect days. I will need that to beat guys like Ronnie, he won the race 5times and he always is at his best racing in Zürich. But I like a good challenge and he knows I wont make his life easy there.

at the end I have to keep the big picture in mind. it is just another race. I joined Team TBB and Brett for one reason. To learn to run fast marathons in Ironman. So this takes time and I work hard on this every single day. It is great to see my team mates doing so well in their races. I think Team TBB has a super strong team together this year. not only women, but also men. the girls set the standard high over the last years. so it is about time the boys step their game up too. And I think so far we are not doing too bad this year. But I am sure there is much more to come. So watch out for Team TBB … you wont get around us that easy.

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After Ironman is before Ironman

June 13th, 2012 by mathiashecht

It has been 3 weeks since my race in Texas. The way I raced it defenetely took a bit of energy out of my body. but I recovered well and after 9 days I was back into full training. I joined the Team up in Leysin for a few days and enjoyed it a lot. At that time it was just part of the team really. Next time it will be full on. I look forward to get pushed by some of the best athletes in the world. Mostly to improve my running.

Last weekend I raced in Zarautz, spain. it is a race I go to since 3 years. It is my favourite race. mostly for its course and for its people. it is in the basque country. for those one who watch the Tour de France know how those “orange” spectators love the sport. So there were thousands of people along the road. Def helped to push up the so called “wall of Aria” , a 2.5km climb between 17 – 21% incline.

All this is part of my Ironman Switzerland preperation. A good training day under race conditions. in 5 weeks I have to be ready to take on another attempt at winning my home race. ok, no pressure here. but it is about time and I will run my heart out to make it happen. at the end I can only give my best. lets hope it will be good enough. but first a few more weeks of hard training. time to join the team up in Leysin again and toughen up a bit more.

looking forward to meet a few athletes I havent met before. just heard about.

keep training hard

Mathias

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..I dont just go out there and ride …I like to give people watching something exciting!

May 22nd, 2012 by mathiashecht

Finally I started into the 2012 season. It was hard to watch all my team mates racing so well all over the world. It is motivating on the one side, but it is frustrating on the other side, as there is nothing more I want then being out there racing the best in the world.

So this was a bit of a comeback race for me. After having a dodgy knee that left me with 10 weeks off running and 8 weeks off biking in winter. Before that I had two Ironman starts with DNF’s … for good reasons as the doctors found out a bit (too) late.

So here I was, not sure if my knee would be able to go through a full Ironman distance and with not so much confidence in my running fitness. I am not one of those talented runners. I really have to work hard (or harder) to get my run to where I want it to be. So my tactic was not to get off the bike with guys like Rasmus Henning and Jordan Rapp. But as we all know, both of them are known for their bike strength as well. So it took an extra effort to build up a lead over those two guys. In numbers, I only know I went through the 90km (on my garmin) with 2h01min on my watch… yes, there was a bit of tailwind. It was a lonely 180km out there. Trying to keep pushing hard without overdoing it. Going back home against the wind was not helping much either. But I felt good and I made a decision early in the race and I wanted to stick to this plan. In my opinion, you can only achieve  the  extraordinay  with doing something special. It doesnt mean it works, but if you never try you never knwo. So I finished the bike in 4h18min, a new bike course record.

I know, at the end we are doing Triathlon, so you cant buy anything with a best bike split. And at the end my goals is to win Ironman races. Not to have just a best swim, bike or run split.

But like I said, on that day, I decided to go with the risky tactic. As I felt good and I thought I will be able to run a 3h marathon home even when I am in bad condition. But there was the +30°C temperatures und humidity that played against me. Not that I did not know about those factors, but the thing is, sometimes you don’t know if it will hit you just bad or really bad. I guess coming from Europe and cold temperatures didn’t help much either. Fact was, I was out for a pure survival run. Other competitors didn’t matter anymore. It was just about making it to the finish without passing out. I felt dizzy for most of the run and just tried to run from aid station to aid station .

On the last 800m I got past by a fast running Justin Daerr. There was not much I could do as even if I tried to go faster, the body didn’t react the way I wanted. So I have to be happy to finish on the podium still. My 10th Ironman (WTC) podium since I started doing Ironman in 2005. Next time I will go for that win again. You can count on that. And it will work out.

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Pre Ironman Texas

May 17th, 2012 by mathiashecht

In three days it is finally time for me to start into the 2012 season. A bit of a late start due to an injury in winter. But this doesnt mean I am not ready now. Training has been going very well and I have no pain at all at moment. Sometimes it is hard to make it to the start line of an Ironman in one piece. As we are pushing our limits in training and we have to, as the quality of athletes rose over the last years. The sport is def growing.

So here I am at the start line of another Ironman. And I have to say, I have great expectations of myself. I wont go out there just to see how I go. I think I should be over that by now. I won an Ironman before and I finished another 8 of them in the top 3. So this means I have to set my standards high. But at the end I still have to earn it big time. An Ironman Top3 never comes easy. And I have been lining up at start lines in top shape and didnt perform. There is always a few unknown factors out there. A long day where a lot of things can go wrong. So Ironman is also about not making mistakes. So those unknown factors (or at least a few of them) dont even get a chance.

I try to prepare a 100% in everything. Knowing the course by heart, knowing my competitor, knowing about the weather (wind, sun, humidity, …), knowing when and where I will get my energy in. And many other things you have to know.

So, lets bring this first IM of the season for me on !! I AM READY FOR THE BATTLE.

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Costa Brava

April 29th, 2012 by mathiashecht

I am back home after another great week in spain. This winter spain really has become a bit of a second home. This time I spent 8 days in Tossa de Mar, which is at the Costa Brava. About 100km north of Barcelona. The area is famous for its amazing cycling routes. Lots of pro cyclists live(d) in the town of Girona, which is only 40km away from Tossa. After training in this area I also why it is so popular. The riding is just amazing. I really loved the nice climbs and quiet roads.

the main reason I went down there was that Eitzinger Sport invited me to be a guest in his famous cycling/triathlon weeks. Peter Eitzinger has been in the cycling/triathlon holiday business for many many years. And I was really impressed how well everything was organised. I had a great time and met a lot of new people. I had two lectures and I think it was interesting for the age group athletes to see how a professional athletes trains and lives.

Now I enjoy a few days at home and it seems like summer nearly arrived. But unfortunately I can only enjoy it for a bit. Next week I am off to the US already. Racing a non drafting olympic distance race in Knoxville and then not long till my first big race of the year is on. Ironman Texas May 19. After my knee injury and longer break in winter, I really can say everything is good now. the last weeks I was able to do my specific speed sets again. So that was a big plus and my shape is def really good. So I can travel to Texas with great expectations. But for sure I need a perfect day and I need some good luck as well. It is always a long day out there.

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Just numbers

April 13th, 2012 by mathiashecht

This week I went to the EMPA in St.Gallen. EMPA is the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology. I did a test on the turbo at race pace for 2hours. All this in Hawaii like conditions. I think this test is not so much about how much you sweat, but more what exactly you loose. Questions like “what is the consistency of the perspiration” are interesting. Getting information about how to get your nutrition right. You dont want to be low on sodium for example but you also dont want to overload it. The test showed me some interesting numbers about my electrolytes loss (natrium, kalium, magnesium,calcium). But with all tests and numbers you have to be careful. Tests like this are always  simulated situations. I didnt swim 3.8km in the ocean before, I didnt prepare like I would for a big race, I didnt ride for over 4hours , I could list up a few other facts easily. I think this is the same with most of the tests. Athletes looking for numbers and try to read too much into it. Here again, it is all about finding the right middle way. Do a test if you think it will help you, but dont get too focused on the numbers in training. In 2009 and 2010 I raced all my Ironman races with an SRM system on my bike. I remember racing Ironman South Africa (finished 2nd behind Raynard Tissink) staring at the display non stop, trying to keep a certain power output up where I wanted it to be. It killed me. I forgot to listen to my body. I pushed maybe too hard when I didnt feel good and maybe not hard enough when I felt good. Since I train with Brett I dont use the power output anymore. I go with my feeling again. I listen to my body and I dont set myself a limit with a number I see on my display. A few weeks after my Ironman St.George win last year I read an interesting post on Michael Weiss’s FB page. He posted his SRM data and he said “I pushed this unbelievable numbers and still didnt make up any time to the leader” … I tell you one thing, if I would have seen this number he was talking about, I think I would have slowed down as I would have thought “no way I can push that hard and still survive the marathon”. At the end, this are all just numbers. Dont set your limits by them. You will be surprised what you are able to do …


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sweet home

April 3rd, 2012 by mathiashecht

I am back home from camp since a few days. And Switzerland shows itself from the best side. The month of march was 4-5°C warmer then the historical average. Global warming has its good sides (just joking;)). Temperatures went up to 20°C and it helped me to keep up the hard work from the Gran Canaria camp. Main thing coming back home is changing to another routine and getting used to it again. For me this means getting up at 5.45am, and start my swi

m training at 6.15am. Which means it is still dark and down to 2°C. Makes it a little bit harder then doing the same thing in countries where the sun rises early and temperatures are high already. But I am not complaining. I really have a great set up here in my hometown Willisau. The people look after me.  Nicole and I have our own lane in the pool every morning for two hours and we also have the key for the pool, so on the weekends we can swim there outside of the public hours. Then I have set up my own little training room which has a computrainer and a top (25km/h , 25% incline) treadmill in it. I spend lots of hours in there, that is for sure. It is my “hurt box”.

In general this is a very good area for training. As I am only 10km away from the alps, which means big mountain passes are just around the corner. But I can choose if I want to ride flat, rolling hills, 2-6k climbs or 10km+ climbs. Beside of the local 25m pool we have a nice like just 8km away.

The area here is also very well known for its endless Mountainbike Trails. Which means there is lots of trails to run on as well. Flat along the little river or up to the region called “Napfgebirge”. Named after the local mountain.

Yes, I will enjoy my time home before I am off to another short camp in Spain and then off to the US in may.

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final days on the island

March 24th, 2012 by mathiashecht

The 3 week Gran Canaria camps soon comes to an end. It has been a very successful camp and I am very happy with the work we have done here. It was good not to come here earlier. It was smart to do my first 3 weeks of training this year by myself in Andalucia and get at least a few kilometers in before coming over here. Or I would have suffered even more. As Dan and Stephen are in really good shape already. They are ready to race (and already did so in Abu Dhabi). So it has been a bit of a challenge to get going around those to fit blokes. But it  helped me to get fit much quicker then expected. As I had to push a bit harder in every session then I probably would have done by myself. So I will get off this island with a great feeling. Brett and I are happy that we are a few weeks ahead of what we are originally planed on “the way back”. The weather did me a great favour too in this preperation. I didnt feel a drop of rain since nearly two months now. the last few days here in Gran Canaria were the warmest so far (up to 30°C). Dan and myself found a great friend in the local gym. As every time we showed up there he gave us this “not so happy look”. well, not our fault that his gym is not climatized. He was controlling us over video camera and as soon as we have finished our sessions he showed up and checked if we are cleaning the treadmills right. Yesterday when we arrived at the gym first thing he did was handing us over some wimps …   ah yeah, and he explained us every time that we are not allowed to sprint on the treadmills and that we have to read the gym rules. Which is easy if the rules are hanging right in front of your face while running and take away the ocean view…

I think Stephen made a friend at the pool as well. We have to buy those yellow entry fee tickets here. You get them at the pool “kiosk”. Even Stephen who is here for several months has to do that. So not his fault that he has to ask for A LOT of tickets every now and then. So this guy there gives him this “not you again” look every time Stephen shows up to buy ALL the tickets available.

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