It was definitely not easy to sum up the emotions and feelings during the raceday, still its so difficult to sort everything in my head! But I tried to sum it up at least a little bit…
Let the day begin….
The alarm went off….. I surprisingly slept awesome….. 6 ½ hours of really good sleep…the day could not have started any better…..;) I definitely felt like smiling already 😉
I must say I did not even feel that nervous yet! I had a yummy breakfast ( some hot chocolate and some ricewaffles topped with yogurt) and got ready and left the hotel at 4:45 am with my styrian gang 😉
And oh yes, as soon as we got to downtown I was more than nervous…. Jesus, it was so crazy there…so many athletes and definitely a lot of tension in the air!
First stop than was the bodymarking…
Next stop bike-check:
I went to check my bike, pumped up my wheels and put my food and drinks on the bike! Oh man, I was super nervous at that time already, the air was really heavy at that time…so many athletes just going through the race in their heads already and hoping for a perfect day….Luckily I did not put any pressure on my performance and so I still did not freak out like some other athletes that really had a clear goal or some times they want to beat!
We even took a early smile picture while waiting in the toilet line 😉
Shortly after the gun went off for the professional men start followed 5 min later by the ladies….but to be honest at that time as an age grouper athlete you don’t really care so much about them cause you are just get ready for yourself! Since the swim entrance and exit is really small we had to go there quiet early to get into the water in time…. I mean could there be anything worse that hearing the gun go off and you are still not in the water? Oh no…. that would be too stressful…. So I began to swim to the start line around 6:45 am! And to be honest all the people around us on the land were wild….screaming as loud as they could and taking pictures as crazy…it was a flashlight thunder 😉
And then at actually 7 am the fun started…since I was not wearing a watch I was a bit surprised cause I thought there were still a few minutes to go….but suddenly everybody started moving forwards and so there was no way out of it and I was in the middle of the wild swimming crowd;)
I did have quite a lot of respect of the swim as well cause from the Ironman Klagenfurt I really had suffering moments still in my head…many arms and legs all over me, making it very difficult to breath for me and often thinking of drowning and so I definitely was scared of that situation again and so I tried to find a big gap for me! I preferred swimming more or less “alone” instead of fight for a better watershadow position….
After 01:11:54 I already enter into first transition….. How exciting…. But if you look at my face I look a bit exhausted already 😉
So during the transition I enjoyed a quick shower to rinse off the salty water and then putting on a lot of sunscreen cause the sun was really burning down and then with the helmet and shoes already on I went to pick up my bike and head out to the 180km bike course….
In the beginning of the course the course went through Kona and so the crowd was really amazing there…. It’s also a bit dangerous to start off way to fast because you have so much adrenaline and a screaming crowd that even pushes you more…. But I took it slow…I did not wana rush too much! After about 20 min the course leaded us up to Queen Kaahumanu Highway…there it was really awesome cause the wind was coming from behind so we were all speedies on the bike but I already knew that that wouldn´t last forever…so I also didn’t want to risk anything before feeling the big breakdown…so I still let many people pass me and not trying to go with them…
The time to Hawi was fast (100km en 2h50min) and I also already thought I will break my personal goal for the biking but this thought changed just when I came down from Hawi again…there the wind started to pick up and this time not from behind but from the front…so the speed quickly dropped down …and the fight started… it was so windy all the way back…unbelievable…you pedal and pedal and you are barely moving forward….that was so frustrating! The really good thing was that we had lab stations every 15km so at least you could load up enough water and energy because you definitely needed it! I did not want to destroy me completely before the run and so I only thought in saving up some energy for the marathon and so I came back to the second transition with a total bike time of 5h 47 min!
For the conditions we had I was satisfied with the time but just getting down from the bike I already noticed that I wasn’t feeling that well… the stomach felt a bit wired already…. After a quick change in transition 2 I started the marathon with running up the Palani Road where the crowd again was wild and loud!
The crowd definitely pushes you there so much… its really amazing! At the beginning of the run the sun was also still burning down to us…it definitely felt super hot and every little uphill path felt even harder with the heat…after about 3km I had to through away the new bought fuel belt bottles which contained my gels in it but they were jumping up and down and bothering me just way to much…but shortly after I throat them away I already regretted it because at the lab station they only had GU gels with the strawberry/banana flavour which I do not like at all…and since my stomach didn´t feel good already I just didn’t know which would be the best to take and so that basically was the worst!
I tried some of these jellygumms but that wasn’t the best idea….after that I just had to look out for the dixietoilets at every lab station…so I really suffered a lot from the very beginning….with the bad stomach I really started to think if I could do a whole marathon with it or if I should give up right away…… but of course who wants to give up in Hawaii….?????
I also was just thinking that so many people were following me online and they probably would have been freaking out if no time would have pop up at the next kms…… so I really had to get myself together and push myself from the very beginning. At that moment I definitely started to miss the great support from Klagenfurt from my family and friends that would made the race a little bit easier….
The worst thing at that time was that I knew that the hard part is just starting within a mile when I had to run up Palani Road and then out to Queen Kaahumanu Highway until the energy lap! The bad thing was that my legs actually felt fine…not heavy and not tired but my stomach had another program running than the normal one…. When I finally got up Palani Road the HannesHawaiitours team gave me another motivation kick to help me believe that no matter what I will finish!
So I tried to get myself together and ran always from lab station to lab station and then make a toilet stop and walk through the lab station before starting to run again…that actually worked well and also since it got cloudy the heat was not too bad anymore! The highway run out until the the energy lab really seemed like an never ending road, especially when you know that you have to run all that back again as well… honestly I was so jealous of the guys that were already running back on their way to the finish line….yes its true…I was soooo jealous!!!
One positive thing was that I definitely was not the only one suffering….there were so many people out there that already walked just at the start of the marathon and out on the highway many were suffering pain and throwing up and everything….
FINALLY just when the sun went down I ran down the Palani Road, entering to Kona again! Now I only had to keep on going for 2 more miles that was the only think I could think of!
You cannot imagine the feeling I had when I saw the entrance into the finish line! Of course I throw away my cap and put my sunglasses up and put on the biggest smile I before entering onto the red carpet!!!:D
I was just sooo happy! Honestly…. I couldn`t have ran for much longer….
So I crossed the finish line exactly after 11 h18 min and 54 sec!!!!! “YOU ARE AN IRONMAN”, Mike was saying!;) I couldn’t believe it! YES I DID IT!!!!!
It didn’t take a second until some volunteers came up to me and brought me to the chill out area for the athletes…. There I got my medal and some drinks and food! After I laid down on the ground to relax a bit I went to the massage tent where my feet got a well helping massage! Then Alfred came up and told me that Gerit and Robert would take our bikes and bike home on them to the hotel, so we didn’t have to worry about them! That was really great…so we got my stuff from the transition area and Alfred and Mona brought my stuff to the car while I showered and got ready for the finish line party!
So yes, we drank our first recovery beer in a bar and then we stayed until the last athletes entered the finish line before midnight and you cannot imagine the emotions that where going on there…. So much motivation and energy and happiness were in the air! It was really awesome!!!
So after midnight we finally got home and I first congratulated my roommate who got third in our age group! CARO you ROCK!!! But after some chatting I eventually got super tired and I felt asleep around 2:30 am….
What a long long day it was!!!!
BUT to be honest, it was a challenging experience that took out a lot of me but it didn’t take me down!!!I am thankful that I was able to cross the finish line and I can’t wait to come back someday in the future to race again here in Kona!!!!!
THANKS ALSO TO EVERYONE WHO SENT ME ENERGY AND MOTIVATION!!!YOU GUYS ARE THE BEST!!!