Ironman Lanzarote 2018

During the two weeks before the race, which I’d been looking forward to for a year, I felt ready for it. Body and mind felt fresh and strong, ready for revenge of the 2017 edition. The numbers and graphs, however, said that I had to wait a bit longer: train for another week and then tapering for a week. It’s not easy to ‘have to train’ if you can easily swim fast 100 meters, if you push easily the right watts on the bike and if you have to control yourself to run the right pace. But it gives a fantastic feeling, because it indicates that I don’t have to doubt about the preparation and form. So without any doubts and fears, I was at the start of Ironman Lanzarote 2018 last Saturday, 26th of May, ready to rock!

Based on my performance in 2017, I got a status as All World Athlete, nothing special but  you can start right behind the pros. Behind us are the start boxes for triathletes who swim in less than one hour, 60-70 minutes, 70-80 minutes, and so on. I had a 1h05 in my mind, so there I was, little Me surrounded by big strong men who swim the 3.8km within an hour. I wasn’t nervous, until 10 minutes before the start, you’ll understand when you see photos or videos of this mass start with about 1900 triathletes, my God… My heart beat in my throat and it felt like my head exploded, the adrenaline was huge. BAM! We started the race and the water fight began. A mess of arms and legs in which I searched for the first big buoy, after which everyone would have found their place and you could easily find your rhythm. Unfortunately I had the feeling that I had my position after a kilometer, but I have stood my ground and they haven’t been massively waved over me. During the landlap I tried to catch a glimpse of the clock, the photographer stood half in front of it but in a flash I saw 30 minutes. Whooooppp!! It’s going well! Even if I would swim a bit slower in the second round of 1.9km, I would still go down 1h05. During the second round the water seemed to have become somewhat wilder and I felt tension in my calves. I tried to spare my legs a bit and make powerful strokes, but noticed that the pace was slower than lap 1. No stress relaxed, better minutes slower than cramp, my mind told me. Without further problems I came out of the water after 1h04, in the pocket and with a good feeling on the bike!

The new bike course gave us the first climb after 5 kilometers, so control, control and control from the beginning. We scanned the course and the watts, so I knew exactly what I had to do. With the ‘normal’ wind, it would give me a bike split of about 5h45. As always my engine needed some time to get started, after about 50km it was warm and the legs felt perfect, ready for the part with the most altimeters. I had no idea in which position I was, but I occasionally caught another lady. Position didn’t matter either, race your own race, give it all and after the finish you will see what the result is. With the progression I ‘ve made in recent months, there would be a top 10 in the general classification possible. When I passed two pro’s after about 100km I knew for 99% that I was in the top 10 at that moment. Not much later I felt that my front tire was a bit soft .. Oh no, ooohhhnnooo, please do not! Very slowly he ran empty and I managed to reach the top of Mirador del Rio, where there was a care post and hopefully also a mechanic, should I need it. I pushed my tube Pitstop on my tube (fill your inner tube if there is a small hole in it, so you do not have to change it) and prayed. The band was hard and stayed hard, pfffffffffffff!!! I jumped on my bike and started the descent, but didnt dare to take any risks, afraid that my tire would leak again. Thank God I could finish the rest of the course without mechanical problems.The new course has a heavy stretch between kilometers 120 and 150 with a difficult climb and huge headwind. Especially don’t push too hard, the day is still long. After 5h56 I was back and ready to change my bike for the running shoes. Not 5h45 but with a flat tire and with, which was confirmed by many, a very difficult course, it was still a great bike split.

In my best practice I should be able to run the marathon in about 3h30 with a pace between 4:50 and 5:07 min/km. I’ve been able to keep eating and drinking well on the bike and the legs felt good. I left the transition as 9th lady overall and was 2nd in my agegroup. The first 5km I ran slightly below 4: 50/km, I controlled and I ran relaxed. The first loop was 21 km, followed by two more loops of 10.5. The first loop felt perfect, I was in a good rhythm, but a strange feeling in my stomach bothered me. The 2017 edition shot through my mind, but there the problems started after 10km. Now I knew that I could reach the finish anyway. A crowded boulevard, no toilets, but I knew a place. While running, I lowered the upper part of my trisuit and a few seconds later I reached an empty kiosk at the end of the boulevard. After 23km I left my first 💩. I was able to pick up the right pace up to kilometer 28 where I had to leave a 💩 again. The power in the body was gone, but there was loads of power left in my head. The next 5 kilometers felt worse than they accually were. The encouragement from everyone gave me strength and wings. After 33km I came back to my first 💩 and I put another 💩 next to it. Not nice, but then they have to put more toilets. I felt really weaker now and the pace was dropping down, but I could keep running. After 37 kilometers I spent my last visit to the toilet and knew it: another 5 kilometers, and if I can keep running I still go down 11 hours. With a perfect race I would cross the finish line after 10h30, but a race is never perfect.

I felt the first tears coming at 4 kilometers before the finish, where my coach, and the rest of the TriYaiza aidstation team, gave me great support for each passage. While running, I managed to dress myself reached the last 2 kilometers on the boulevard. I was overloaded with encouragement and when I saw friends and colleagues tears started to fall. The red carpet, speaker Ruud and the finishline were in front of me, my revenge of 2017 was a fact! I already was an Iron(wo)man, but this one is very special. I fell into the arms of Mister IM Lanzarote Kenneth Gasque and my Fariones colleagues took proudly care of me.

A little disappointment (💩againand no agegroup victory) made space for great pride and joy. Finish as 10th on IM Lanzarote in a time of 10h52 is massive, it had to be said to me a few times, but now I realize the level of my performance…
The preparation, the race, the after party, it was a great experience! Many thanks for all support❣️


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