Race Report: Ironman World Championship 2.0

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Coach/Athlete Vince Matteo proving that Kona is the place where “the men are pretty and the women are strong…”

This would be my second crack at the code of the world championship (you can read last year’s race report here).  Changes from last year:

  • More athletes.  2100 on the start list.  I only see this increasing.
  • More international athletes.  The diversity in countries and languages surrounding us throughout race week really reminds you that it is a “world” championship.  These numbers will increase as WTC adds more international races.
  • Less women.  26% of the field and less than a typical ironman.
  • No stamping of our arms.  Tattoos applied this year.  Impossible to remove post-race without chafing your arms.
  • Increased security post Boston.  No back packs and some spectator areas closed.
  • Dead zone on the run.  Miles 13 to 20 were closed to spectators and coaches.  I think lots of people had rough spots.
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Race Morning Transition Area

Things that I changed in my race this year:

  • I ate an espresso Gu fifteen minutes before the swim start.
  • I started left of the pier on the swim.  Had more open water and limited contact.
  • I waited for the most obnoxious guy to swim on top of and over me.  Once he was done, I got on his feet and let him pull me through the crowd.  When he tired I moved onto the next one.  I hardly sighted at all and kept my pace moderate.
  • I swear I saw someone swimming with fins????
  • Immediately consumed a gel as soon as I started my bike.  Averaged 310 calories per hour (100 more per hour than last year).  I felt energized earlier.
  • Used special needs on the bike.  Had three more nutrition bottles waiting that were frozen.  Drank no bottled Perform.  Experienced no nausea in this race which is a big difference from my other IM’s this year.
  • Used a couple of salted caramel Gus to boost my electrolytes.
  • Used gels only on the run for the first three hours.  Two per hour chased with water.  Coke and chicken broth in the last hour.

Equipment changes for this race:

  • No Torhans bottle on front end.  I found last year that I drank too much water and failed to douse myself with enough water during the race.  Aid stations every 10 miles make it easy to get the fluids I need.
  • Wore the Specialized Evade helmet.  Quieter and I believe faster.  Was able to keep my head wet through the vents.
  • Ran latex tubes on Conti 4000’s.  Worked perfectly.

This year I was less nervous, less exhausted (I attended every event last year) and less sick.  As I mentioned in my previous post, my long term goals were about “finding a way” to do well at Kona.  I believe I had a good day and ended up improving my finishing time by over an hour.  I ran my way into 23rd place and was overall very happy with my day.

This event is truly like no other.  The Hawaiian community is incredibly welcoming and embracing of all things Ironman.  I mostly spend my week in awe of the incredible athletes every where I turn.  I meet people I read about and get incredible advice.

One of the best things we did in the last two Kona experiences was attend the www.witsup.com Women’s luncheon with Coach Siri Lindley an Pros/Coaches Kate Belivaqua, Joanna Lawn, Hillary Biscay.

Witsup.com Luncheon

Witsup.com Luncheon

I learned:

  • On the Queen K remind yourself “fast feet.”  Too many people drop their cadence or run up the hills leaning on their heels.  Focus on form.  (Joanna Lawn)
  • If you roll a double (when I did Louisville and Vegas back to back) eat more to recover well.  Mistake made.  (Hillary Biscay)
  • When you are faced with big gusting winds, keep pedaling.  Hang on to your bars with a gentle grip and increase torque (gear down) if necessary.  Do these things and you will not get blown off your bike.  (Siri Lindley)

As always after this race I am thankful to be alive, loved, and supported by my family, friends and coworkers.

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Training Partner/Team MD David Fletcher and KT at Lava Java

Special thanks to Coach Marilyn Chychota McDonald for guiding this journey and my team at Endurance Corner.  I also want to thank friend and pro/coach Blake Becker. The night before the race he text me to go for an “hour of power” on the run at the Energy Lab.  I passed 11 women in my age group during this time.  I kept thinking that the energy lab charged my batteries!

I know I only scratched the surface on this race report.  Please feel free to ask me any additional questions at sue@fewoman.com.  Mahalo…





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