Mª José Martínez Maroto: “I’ve already done an Ironman before I’ve reached my destination.”
Passionate about Ironman and all the challenges she’s facing and conquering; that’s María José Martínez Maroto. This Valencian triathlete won’t stop. And wow, isn’t she awesome! After her fantastic results at Ironman 70.3 Liuzhou (China) where she was the third place winner, she obtained a direct passport to the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Tennessee.
While we wait for that big day, María José will be disputing middle and long distance trials, in which she hopes she’ll get good results.
These good times are still more valuable when she shares all her sacrifice with us, as well as her experience traveling to the other side of the planet to compete in one of the toughest triathlon trials: Ironman 70.3 Liuzhou (China)
During the past three years I’ve been competing in Atlantic City, Florida, Abu Dhabi, Miami, Australia, Vichy, Lanzarote, Barcelona, Puerto Rico, and I’ll keep going around the world to do Ironman and Ironman 70.3. That’s what I determined myself to do when I crossed the finish line of my first triathlon in Abu Dhabi few years ago.
2017 is going great in this sense, and I added a new goal, which was classifying for the Ironman 70.3 World Championship, and I did it! I got 3rd place in my age range and the classification. It was a bittersweet race. I enjoyed it a lot!
The preparation before the competition is very stressful because everything has to be ready and packed one week in advance: bicycle, clothes, dietary supplements… and you also have to know how to send your bike. Then, you must take several planes to get to your destination, which means more anxiety. It’s complicated, tiresome logistics.
For example, on the trip to the Ironman 70.3 of Lizhou, I had to take three suitcases! A small handbag and two small suitcases, one for my clothes and another one for my bike. It’s a lot of luggage when you’re traveling alone. It gets worse when your flight makes stops and you have to check the baggage in again. It happened to me during a stop in Shanghai. I had to get the suitcases out and check them in again.
The issue is also the fact that the luggage can get lost or damaged in the process. This is why I always make sure my bags are kept in the hold. Also, when I get them back, I check that they are in perfect conditions. I even open the bike bag at that very moment.
But that’s not the end of the story. If you’re traveling with someone else, you have to take two taxis in the airport because the baggage won’t fit in. It’s all a big effort that does not end until you get to the hotel. Like I always say: “I’ve already done an Ironman before I’ve reached my destination.”
The Big day
I started very well with swimming. It was my best timing and I enjoyed it a lot. The exit was not determined by sex or age. It was made based on the estimated swimming time. So following these instructions, I stood in the 25-30 minute platform. I came out of the water in third position.
The transition from the water to the bike was very hard. I had to climb an eternal 100 steps stair, all wet, with my wetsuit, very carefully not to slip and fall. It was endless!
Then came the bike section. It was very nice, a lovely route with four slopes in a two lap circuit, wind included. There were so many people waving and cheering, and the security was excellent. There was a police agent on every lamppost, with good provisioning and plenty of volunteers. I finished keeping the 3 rd position.
Now, the transition from the bike to the footrace was quick but arduous. The worst race in my life! That’s because days before I fell down an iron staircase, hitting my coccyx and calf bones, so I knew it was gonna be painful. Apart from that, I got cramps in both legs, stomach windiness from the start and the loss of my salt pills to ease the cramps. Completing the 21 km under those conditions was horrible!
From time to time, my head tried to trick me with negative thoughts I had to constantly control, and motivate myself to be able to move my legs whenever I felt cramps and they got numb. I remember the tears running out from my eyes, my body wanting to stop, fall on the floor and stop moving my legs. The half marathon was eternal.
I finally entered the hall that lead to the finish line and there I received a huge bouquet of flowers and the Spanish flag that comes with me to every competition. I made it to the finish line!
“You’ve come in 3rd place, CONGRATULATIONS!”, I heard. I couldn’t believe it, I was very happy with my execution. At that very moment the pain took all over me and I had to get assistance on the floor. I cried like never before, I cried out of pain, out of joy. The truth is I felt a lot of cramps that didn’t allow me to move for some time, but I got better little by little. Actually, my recovery has been hard; three days not being able to move properly and a lot of muscular pain on my legs and coccyx. Would I repeat this experience? Of course yes!