The Seeland International Triathlon, also simply known as the Morat or Murten Triathlon (depending if you’re French or Swiss-German), is one of my favourite races. I have competed twice in the middle distance (1.9km swim / 83km bike / 20km run) and once in the short distance (500m swim / 26km bike / 5km run). The race is located in Morat in canton Fribourg, right by the Murtensee (Lake Morat). Morat is a beautiful village and well worth the visit if you have the legs post-race!
The swim a one loop course out and back in the Murtensee. The bike is an 83km two lap course that take you through beautiful villages and famous local vineyards, with stunning views of the Murtensee but also Lake Neuchâtel which is on the other side of the hill. The course is a little hilly, but more “rolling hills” with 700m elevation for the 83km in total. The run is a four lap course through forest paths and also right by the lake. The course is absolutely stunning!
I came to the race without any ambitions in terms of rankings, but my goal was to pace myself and practice for my Ironman in December. I had trained quite a lot before the race so volume could come and bite me during the race but the idea was to race with a certain fatigue, as during the end of an Ironman I will more than fatigued ! I left Founex at 7am with Nic, one of my top athletes who is an absolute machine, and we talked about the environment, food and racing which made very nice conversation and took our minds off from the day ahead !
My goal was to have a higher than normal stroke rate and use a straight arm technique. Proper swimmers would be disgusted by that technique but its efficient. I didn’t grow up swimming and learnt only at the age of… 24… so let’s forget about technique and be all about efficiency!
I did exactly that. Boom. 1min40sec average for the 1.9km which means slightly under 32 minutes. I could have kept going which is encouraging but I could feel my arms were not used to this speedy turnover (which I’m sure was still at snail pace if you’d filmed me…)
> PHOTO : I’m the one with the red cap !
The goal was to race at about 210 watts average, and I did exactly that ! The course is brilliant and loved every minute of it. I felt great and didn’t feel like I was pushing hard. In fact, it felt like I was going easy. On the descents however, I was maintaining good power which meant I overtook so many riders who were freewheeling and then again overtaking me on the flats. They were “yoyoing” which meant they would suffer on the run. My goal was to keep as constant as possible with a variability index (VI) as good as possible. My VI was 1.04 which is what we want in triathlon (anything between 1 and 1.05) to set us up for a good run.
My heart rate was slightly higher than I would like to, at an average of 137bpm, but this can be due to the hills and the exhilarating downhills! All in all, a very good effort which gives me a lot of confidence for Argentina.
Where to start… I didn’t have a plan and basically, I failed. My only plan for the day was to run the first 2 to 3 kilometers at an average pace of 4:45 so I can speed up at the end and give a good effort in the last 5km. I wanted my average speed to be anything between 4:30 and 4:20 overall. Disaster. What happened? I felt great at the beginning and started way too quickly at 4:25 pace which is 20 seconds faster than planned. Doesn’t sound like a lot but it is. I decided to let the run happen and see where it goes which was a mistake.
I also badly needed to pee so on the second lap of the run had to stop for about 45 seconds. I felt gold during the first 10km, then felt horrible on the third lap and the last lap was a survival effort but nevertheless I managed to dig deep in the last 2km and go back to the original desired speed but not the finish I wanted. I clocked the 20km in 1h25min which means 4:15 pace, but my watch recorded 18.7km which means 4:35 pace. Maybe the truth lies in the middle and my run wasn’t so bad after all…
Lesson learnt; I will definitely start very easy at my IM, please slow me down if I don’t! The other negative aspect of the run also came from my nutrition, I couldn’t eat my gel and they didn’t have any Coca Cola at the aid stations. The gel felt too sweet and I just couldn’t force it down so only had a third of it… I need to find a solution for that!
It was a brilliant race and enjoyed it very much. It didn’t go 100% to plan but rarely any race does. Lots of positives (swim, bike, nutrition) and some negatives (run start, gels during run). The great news is I finished 18thin my age group (woop woop top 20!) and 34thoverall in a very competitive field. My overall time was 4h20min56sec (that pee cost me the sub 4h20min…) which was about 11 minutes faster than my previous time in 2015. I would definitely recommend this race to anyone who wants to finish their season in beauty, or for those who have late races in the year.
Lots of positives to take for IM Argentina and it’s a big boost in confidence for the months ahead ! To follow my weekly blog on my preparation for Ironman Argentina please click here.
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