Race Report – Ironstar Indoor Triathlon – August 2019

Disclaimer: I am not a triathlete, although this was my third tri overall, and my second Ironstar Indoor Triathlon.

I enjoy doing the occasional triathlon, and these races are quite good for me as I am a below average swimmer (I guess my level is at “I am happy I can float and move”). This edition of the race was at the recently-opened Max and Aegle fitness facility in Meydan/Nad Al Sheba. The race’s format is simple, you do:

  • 10 minutes in the pool
  • 30 minutes on a stationary bike
  • 20 minutes on a treadmill (The previous time I did this race, the run was outside on a 400m running track)

The race’s rankings are based on the total distance each athlete covers across the three disciplines, so, for example, let’s say a triathlete swims for 1,000 meters in those 10 minutes, cycles for 20 kilometers in the 30 allocated minutes and runs 4 kilometers in those 20 minutes s/he has on the treadmill, the total distance would be 25 kilometers.

Not dying (yet)

Due to the format being like that, it meant that the swim part did not have a massive impact on the overall distance, which is not the case in traditional outdoor triathlons where you’d have a certain distance to cover. This translates to the difference between a mediocre swimmer (like me) and a good swimmer being a few hundred meters in the pool.

The race’s participants go in waves, so for this edition of the race, they had around 40 athletes take part, and they were broken into the following waves:

  • A team relay
  • Two waves of 18-39 age group males
  • A females wave
  • A 40+ age group wave

I did the swim part without pushing too hard, as I know my technique and speed are nonexistent, and preserved my energy for the ride and run. The field was good, and it had a few well-established and familiar faces in the triathlon scene in Dubai. I was happy with my race, where I covered 18k on the bike (in 30 minutes) and ran 4.8k on the treadmill in the allocated 20 minutes. To my surprise, I was the second-fastest on the run overall, with the number one runner finishing 10 meters ahead of me. I’ll happily take that! I was also happy that my Garmin (with a foot pod) indicated that I ran more than half the race at sub-4: 00-minute pace. I think I came 5th in my age group (out of 15 people mind you).

Treadmill time, pretending to look relaxed

On that age group ranking bit- As I tell my friends and fellow runners, it’s nice to challenge yourself and to aspire to get high rankings but to not fret about it. Let’s put it this way, if one PBs and/or gets a podium finish, great, but it should not be a disappointment when it does not happen. At the end of the day, we are challenging against ourselves first and foremost to become better, fitter and faster versions of ourselves.

My age group’s winner and the overall winner was an entertaining German who actually won an ultra triathlon event in Siberia last weekend. We rode and ran next to each other and bantered often during the race. He smashed the cycling leg, in which he covered 22kms, which means his average speed was 44 km/hr (!). He was the fastest cyclist overall as well. On the treadmill, we pushed each other to the limit, I love these ‘sprint finishes’, although it felt weird on a treadmill. In the 40+ age group, the winner is the evergreen Hasan Itani, ‘Mr. TriDubai’, and one of the nicest people you could ever meet (He and another friend actually taught me how to ride a bicycle a few years ago!).

With the one and only Sami Arafeh, who cycled to the venue from his place in Business Bay!

It was an entertaining race and morning, so thank you to Ironstar, I Love Supersports, Max & Aegle, the sponsors, volunteers, marshals, and well done to the athletes! Thanks to the friends who cheered us on as well (Especially Sami Arafeh, the Qassemis and Demi).

The funky medal

On a related note – I was taking photos at the race before and after my wave, and I will work on uploading the photos in the coming few days. I will share them with the I Love Supersports team. To see some of my so-called work, follow my photography page on Instagram at @Omography_.

Making Omographs