It was a freaking fast day in this year’s Ironman World Championships on Hawaii. I posted Kona personal best times in all three legs and my finish of 09:06 hours was 15 minutes faster than last year. And it was good enough for a 13th place. Only? for the 13th place.
Kona is always tight race, as the 40 best female athletes toe the start line in peak shape to show their best in the most important race in Ironman sport. I was fit and healthy and looking forward to the race.
The swim start was a bit rough, but I found and defended my space and could swim with the big group of girls. I had a good swim and exited the ocean after 58 minutes with 17 other girls. That means place 15-33 were in transition zone together. What a busy female change tent! After coming out with the first swim group at Ironman Klagenfurt, this shows my improved swim level, both with my Aqua Sphere speedsuit and the Phantom wetsuit.
On the bike I made my way on my new Ceepo Shadow to close the gap to the very fast swimmers. I was among some strong girls and together in a small group we had closed the 4 minute gap to the chase pack of fast swimmers about half way of the bike. Only 4 girls were still ahead. There was only very mild wind, thus it was hard to separate the group that just had formed. Being a strong biker especially on the second half of the bike, I would have liked some tough head wind on the way back to Kona to being able to put some time into the fast runners.
Another girl and I could establish soon a small gap. However, a rolling bottle at an aid station forced me to a hard brake and I lost my front hydration system in this maneuver. It was just a small stop to pick it up again, but I realized how close the field was. I was overtaken by many girls. I put in some extra effort to overtake the field again. I managed that, but did not gain a substantial gap to the fast runners. I was happy with my bike split of 4:43 hours that brought me from 31st to 8th position confirming that the Ceepo Shadow is a great bike for me.
Dismounting the bike in 8th, I spent some extra time in transition 2 to hydrate myself, as I ran out of water during the closing miles on the bike. Early in the marathon, I quickly got “run over” by the fast girls that were not far behind me. At the first turn around 6 km into the run I was already running in 12th position. So early in the run I have to concentrate on my pace and how I feel rather than getting irritated by being overtaken. I have high respect especially for this marathon, as is has broken so many great athletes. I ran 3:18 hours steady, but not as fast as I thought I could be. There was not too much change of positions anymore. I lost another three places and regained two places and most of the time ran in 13th position. Somehow I could not get my heart rate up to where it should be in the run. Not sure why. I hope I will find it out.
Summing up the race:
Yes, I did expect to have a faster run, but hey, I had a great swim, a strong bike and a solid run. I finished Kona in 09:06 hours and hey, I am 13th in the world of professional females. In terms of performance, I had my best Kona so far I am happy with it! Looking at the front of the field is so inspiring! The fire in me is still burning to improve even more! And maybe the dream of a top 10 in Kona will come true.
Mahalo for everyone supporting me. It was great to have my partners Ceepo, Kask, Profile Design on site. And last but not least, a big shout out to my parents. They did everything they could to help. The feet of all of us were hurting after the race 😉