Not a season opening I aimed for
That I am not on the start line in top form in April is planned and ok. However, I was confident to show 100% of my fitness that I currently have. Certainly, I did not succeed in that and I am disappointed with my performance at Ironman South Africa.
Searching for the buoys in the Indian Ocean
At 5 o ‘clock on race morning I was on my way to the transition zone to equip my Ceepo Shadow with my Garmin, the PowerBar gels and bars and my Vittoria cycling shoes. It was still dark, calm and the sea washed a few light waves onto the beach. With the sunrise, the wind also woke up and became stronger and stronger as the day progressed. The sea became rough and the swim was shortened due to this. The buoys were two meters tall, but the waves still made it a challenge to find them. I was glad I somehow navigated the right way. Positioned as sixth professional woman, I exited the water, closely followed by two other girls. My new Aquasphere Phantom felt great and I was satisfied with the kick-off discipline. It was a good start for me.
Technical problems on the bike
On the bike, the women’s field mixed up a bit. After 1 hour, a group of three had formed. Together we chased the front of the field. It went well – until km 140. Then I lost my front hydration system on a bumpy downhill. I was considering whether to continue without the hydration system. I decided to go back and collect it. That cost me a few minutes, but an Ironman is a LONG distance. A few minutes of time loss is annoying. However, it does not mean you are out of the game. There are always a few sub-optimal situations during a long race day. It was more of an issue that my hydration system was empty and I had still a long way to the next aid station. For the next 45 minutes, I was without any fluids and energy, though I had cooked my lunch carefully the day before 😉. Nevertheless, I was confident to find my way back into the race. On the remaining 40 kilometers of cycling, I faced strong headwinds lost even more time.
A slow marathon
I still looked into the marathon positively. There were still 42 kilometers left to get back into the race. Unfortunately, my legs felt ponderous and the pace was way off my targeted race pace. My heart rate did not get up either. I was overtaken by some girls and ended up running across the finish line in 10th. The marathon felt like taking ages and was no fun at all. I also did not have the last bite to get everything out of me anymore. However, dropping out, just because it does not work the way I wanted, was no option for me. I was happy to finally reach the finish line.
Fascinating South Africa
Ironman South Africa is a race that I can definitely recommend. In Port Elisabeth, everything is very close together and race preparations are very relaxed. During the day, I did not have any safety concerns, either.
Before I went home, I had the chance to get to know a little the country and the people.
I am looking forward to the 2019 season and aim to improve from race to race. Currently, I have a cycling focus, being as a bike guide for Bikefriends Schon on the beautiful island Mallorca. Right after that, on May 5th I will race the Olympic distance in Buschhuetten to get some lactate into the body just after a 3-week training block.
In May I will focus on running and look forward to a start at the Challenge half distance in Lisbon on May 18th.
On June 23rd I will race the IRONMAN 70.3 European Championships in Elsinore and on July 28th I will hunt for the German Championship title at IRONMAN Hamburg. There are more races to be planned and an up-to-date race plan you always find on my homepage (https://mareenhufe.de/en/events-2019).