This weeks blog covers the Ironman 70.3 Jeju Race Review. Coming from our legendary blogger from the other side of the globe who continues to make us feel bad about our training efforts by racing week after week and smashing it. Check out his Youtube channel here or get more triathlon legendary content from his website. Big love to our guest blogger TC Tanakorn and respect to his monster racing efforts already this year.
Getting to The Race
Racing Ironman 70.3 Jeju was probably an experience that I felt unsatisfied in terms of race day weather conditions, race result and my experience at local accommodation. Most of all, it was an experience I will never forget and I will definitely go back to Jeju again in the near future. Here are why. Travelling there I choose to fly from Bangkok to Busan on overnight flight and connect with local airline to Jeju on late morning flight.
My connecting experience was quite ok as the distance between domestic and international terminal at Busan airport are very near and I spent around 30 minute for transit time from international to domestic terminal. I chose Jeju air for my flight from Busan to Jeju and Jeju back to Busan. 10000 Korean Won must be paid for sport equipment (Bicycle box) and their weight allowance are 20 kg per passenger.
Travel tips Rent a car right after you arrive at Jeju. Yes Jeju has a reliable and on time of public transportation system but it is very limited (one bus per hour per route). Not to mention having bicycle box which make your trip a bit more difficult if you travel by bus or taxi. Fortunately, 70.3 Jeju race organiser provided bike transfer for all athletes.
If you plan to fly in , race and fly out. Seongsan Ilchubong (Unesco World Heritage) is a place that you should visit. Just only 2000 Korean won for one entrance ticket then 5 stars views and atmosphere are waiting for you. Pre Race I was a bit worried about my fitness because of a few days off from training and around 10 days off from swimming during 7-10 days before race week. But I knew that my fitness for bike and run were ok and probably better than my last two race of this year.
After my arrival at Jeju on Friday, the weather was not perfect at all. With the rain and wind (mostly cross and front wind during bike leg), I knew that it would be another challenge day for me on Sunday. Waking up on Sunday with cloudy, windy and mild storm. Race organiser had decided to shorten the swim course from 1900m to 500m and relocated swim course to the bay area.
During the swim part I tried to focus on build up my own rhythm and draft other athlete as much as possible. I didn't feel much tired and still felt fresh for the tough bike leg.
The bike part was probably one of the most difficult weather conditions I have ever ridden. Storm came right after I started riding and it was there almost until I finished riding. On downhill part which should be easy to accelerate became super difficult in term of handling the bike on wet and slippery road. Also, some part of the bike became very difficult because of the rain and the wind. I tried to save my leg for the run as much as possible and I felt confidence that I could have a good run.
I started the run part very very easy and tried to built up my run pace to 5:30 min/km. It was quite a surprise that I got my leg back very early in the run; around
300-400m. Normally it took me 2-3 km until I can increase speed to race pace. First ten km went very fast and in some part I took some risk to run sub 5 min/km pace.
After the first lap, my legs started to feel heavy and about to had cramp in every single step. Luckily, I could run along with a faster athlete and he paced me to run at 5:50-6:10 min/km. At Km 18th, everything in my body seemed not able to work as I wanted. I took risk again to ignore this feeling and run my very best to finish line.
Post race I was glad that even the difficulty of bike part I could still mange to finish with a good average of power. Running was probably the thing I most proud of myself as I tried to run by feel as much as I can and it seemed like the right way to race. Finishing this race helps me realise that if I train right and hard enough with the good selection of 70.3 event, a sub 5:30 hrs is reachable and possible.
Pre-race communication: 9/10
Athlete guide, YouTube clip for race course summary and athlete name list were availabled for athletes to download and watch more than one month prior to race day. All in all, it was one of the best pre race communication I ever had experienced.
Race day safety: 8/10
It was a wise decision from race organiser to cut the swim part from 1900m to 500m. Obviously, no one should swim into that open water conditions of Pyeseon Beach during that weekend. My concern for safety issue on this race are ;road closure was not 100% and there are some vehicles on bike course. Also all the orange cones which used for separate bike lane and car lane were moved inside the bike course because of very strong side wind.
On course nutrition: 8/10
One aid station after swim exit + Two aid stations during bike course + four aid stations during run course were more than enough to feed energy to all athletes. Electrolyte and water were available on bike course. Banana, cola, electrolyte and water were served on run course. In summary, on course nutrition were delivered effectively to athletes by enthusiast local volunteers.
Finish line experience: 8/10
Finish line and post race area were located at Haevichi Hotel & Resort. Every finisher will get one finisher cap, one finisher towel , one finisher medal, one
certificate, one t-shirt and post race light meal. Overall, this race is brutal but Jeju Island is super