Thursday, July 9, 2009

Ironman Austria

Hello! I have yet to post on this website, but I just got back from IM Austria and thought I’d send over my race report! Here goes:

Im never a big fan of race morning. The anticipation for an Ironman is always quite nerve-racking and I am always anxious to just get going. The morning of Austria was no different, but I must say that it didn't feel quite as "daunting" as races have sometimes felt in the past. My friend Erin and I headed to the race start which was awesome. Crowds of people packed on the 3 docks that jutted out into the lake, a huge balloon on the beach and almost 2400 people waiting to start. I was escorted to the "Profidis Start" which was located 30 meters ahead of the age groupers. We all jumped in, swam around a bit and next thing I knew, the gun went off! The start always scares me, but this one wasn’t too bad. I hung onto the group for as long as I could and then found myself swimming with another Pro, who I thought was a guy, but I’m not positive. Soon the fast age groupers would catch me and I would hang onto their draft for as long as I could. Once that group would drop me, I would wait for the next group to come along! Heading into the canal was AWESOME! People lined the side of the canal and it was the coolest feeling swimming along in such a narrow canal hearing the screams of the crowds!

Finally I was out of the water in 59 minutes! I giggled to myself because I definitely wanted to break an hour, but I knew that many of the other pro women were far ahead of me at this point. If anyone wants to help me with open water swimming, be my guest, because it is definitely a weakness of mine! On a positive note: Eli from Zoot shipped me a new Zenith wetsuit that I received a few hours before I took off for the trip to Austria and it was AWESOME! Super comfortable and the new size (small/tall) fit me PERFECTLY!!

I was so relieved to be through with the swim and onto the bike. My legs felt good right away and the watts came pretty easily, which is a great sign! I've done races where the legs do not feel good and it definitely ends up being a LONG DAY! The bike course is STUNNING! The section that lines the lake is FAST! Once you turn off of that road, the course becomes hillier. There a 3 major climbs and it feels as if you are riding in the Tour de France when you climb them. Crowds of people line the entire climb cheering and running next to you! The roads are covered with people’s names and the music is blaring! It's awesome!! I came in on the first loop in exactly 2:30 and I was PSYCHED!!!! I figured that even if I went 10 min slower on the second loop I would STILL do a 5:10!

My new Orbea was so fast and comfortable and I even made friends out there with another Orbea! The second loop on the bike went by fast! I still felt good, but of course I felt a bit more uncomfortable and the effort felt a bit more difficult. By the end, I was anxious to get off my bike and run! I was expecting a fast run! I got off the bike in 5:04, a personal best...Woo Hoo!

I didn’t feel "great" off the bike, but I am aware that sometimes it takes a few miles to feel "great". The sun was really intense and the first section of the run is hot without a lot of air movement. I felt like I was having trouble breathing, but after some time, I settled in. As I headed back towards the race site I was excited for the anticipation of seeing my friend Erin! There she was standing on the side as I headed out for the next section of the run! I felt uplifted as I ran past her! As I headed back into the race site to start loop 2 I saw Erin again, which was great, and headed back out to Krumpendorf. This is when things started to fall apart. "No!" I thought..."just keep it together"! I started to feel nauseous and the heat was getting to me. I was "running" but it felt more like a shuffle. "Just keep moving forward" I would tell myself. Soon I knew that I was entering a delirious state. "This is not good". I stopped. I poured water over my head and forced a gel down. I also took some endurolytes. "You have to keep running", I said to myself. "You will not stop again. You will run even if you feel nauseous. You can't walk". Off I went. It was a terrible feeling, but I just kept repeating "keep moving forward" over and over again in my head. I took gels every 30 minutes or so and said to myself that I was "taking my medicine". I think I gagged with every gel, but they really did help to keep me moving!

As I reached the only 38 K mark I knew I would finish. Also, I knew I would reach my goal of sub 9:50! I saw a woman who was close behind at the turn around and I hoped that I would run fast enough to make it to the finish without being passed. I still felt sick, but I was able to "run". Finally, I passed the 41 K mark!!! With less than 1 Kilometer to go and with the roar of the crowds at the finish line just ahead, I got passed. "Oh well...she caught me." I said to myself...then, "No! I can’t let her pass me with less than 1 K to go! How can I let that happen?! I have to at least put up a fight!" SO, I sprinted as fast as I could. I passed her and ran for my life towards the finish ! I gave it everything I had. The finish line was a blur of screaming spectators. The finish line was just ahead and the other woman was right behind me. I crossed the line just 5 seconds ahead of her!!! 9:38:51! 6th Female overall! I reached my goal of sub 9:50! After such a grueling run I couldn't believe it was finally all over! I was so excited, relieved, in shock, exhausted...

I HIGHLY recommend this race…it goes down as one of my favorite races ever! Thanks to Zoot for keeping me comfortable and totally prepared in all areas of my training, throughout the race, and in recovery post-race (I have my recovery tights on as I write this). Good Luck to my fellow Zooters on all of their upcoming races! I look forward to reading about them!! Ciao! Danielle

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