Image to be out there, finding your way towards the buoys…
It started as a bright, calm Sunday morning but as soon as the pro’s were on their way for a 1900m swim, the fog came in. Fortunately we were still able to the buoys, but turning around the last one, the only thing I saw were 2 yellow spots: the volunteers on the shoreline.
I bet I was one of the triathletes with the best support. The Gavin Glynn Foundation made two great banners and I had the feeling I was a little bit famous in Ireland. Couldn’t wait to race here, I felt it was going to be another unforgettable day. I was a bit nervous, curious how the body should be after a big, hard training block and I wanted to show Ireland what I’m capable of.
With the support of Team Gavin Glynn behind me at the start, we went off. A swim with mixed feelings, didn’t feel bad but really lost too much time on the lead. I left the water as 5th with two girls right behind me. Days before the race I got the golden advice to put a plastic sheet under my trisuit to protect myself from getting cold. The misty start on the bike made me feel happy that I followed up this advice. Soon the most disappeared and the sun came out. My legs felt crap in the first 30k but I was still able to push (more than) my planned watts. This, by meaning of many, hardest IM 70.3 bike course was a difficult one to control. I took the risk to push a bit harder during most of the course the first part and recover in the last part, which is more flat and downhill. Up in the Wicklow mountains the mist was back, I pulled off the visor from my helmet because I couldn’t see a damn thing, but I realized it wasn’t much better without. The sight was just about 10-15 meters. Fortunately it got better when we sat the downhill in. I felt better and better during the bike leg, catched two girls in the final part and started the run as 3rd.
I got a warm welcome arriving to T2, going through it, and once I came out the guys shouted me ahead, goosebumps… The run course is a great one for both triathletes and spectators, 3 laps of 7k and passing several times each loop. I was glad to be virtual on the podium, a goal where I was hoping for. But I knew still anything was possible, we were all quite near each other. Bang… after 3k I crashed from the podium, passed by one of the girls who came just behind me from the bike. Her pace wasn’t that much faster but I felt I couldn’t take to risk to follow.
The support gave me wings, I was suffering, pushing to hold my pace, not wanting to disappoint myself, not wanting to disappoint everyone who were screaming their lungs out for me. Even tough they must have been thinking I didn’t noticed they were there, because I was focused. But I’ve heard everything and I can tell you it was amazing!
It was a perfect course to follow your position in the field. Number 2 was on her way to take the lead, number 1 was fighting for her life, number 3 was making save her podium spot, number 4, me, was controlling her position with support from number 5, who was doing the same. I didn’t ran out on her, she didn’t came closer to me, nothing to worry about. Running in the last 4km I got another overwhelming scream concert from the cheerleaders, goosebumps and a lump in my throat… It was like the fatigue disappeared, I wanted to run another loop, so I could catch number 2 (nr 3 came very close to her). The last 200 meters were so great, I’m happy I have the videos so you can see it with you own eyes. I simply don’t have the words for it, guys your were amazing!
Yes, I was disappointed with my chocolate medal (4th place), but who should not be? Now I’ve made up my mind and have analyzed the data with my coach and I realized: I’ve had a stronger bike than ever, I still run a quick half marathon with destroyed legs and feeling I can hold this longer, it was a test race towards Challenge Almere, national and European champs long distance (14th of September), so I wasn’t in special prep for half distance, and we all finished so close upon each other. It was great to race like this and all I can say is: the test is completed! Cheers on my chocolate medal, hungry for more!
Thanks Ironman Ireland for setting up a great event, a beauty of a course in all kind of ways, impossible without the volunteers!
Thanks coach for showing me it was a better race than I actually thought and giving me the trust towards our big goal!
And once again, thanks a million to Team Gavin Glynn and everyone who was out there on the course cheering me on, you make the suffer so much easier! ❤️💙💛