What a crazy month it has been! From becoming World Champion Ironman in my Age Group to smashing my personal best at the European Championships Ironman in Hamburg. It was definitely not an easy month, but one I would never forget!
After the Ironman World Championships
I felt overwhelmed after the Ironman World Championships in St. George. From catching COVID, to making it to the finish line in St. George. There were a lot of emotions I had to process.
After the Ironman, I went to Los Angeles and to Disneyland to enjoy my time in the United States. I had a great time but I felt exhausted as well. As I already mentioned in my previous blog, the road towards St. George was a rollercoaster. I was happy when I got back to the Netherlands to spend some time with my friends and family. There was not a lot of time though because my next Ironman was already around the corner!
4 weeks between two Ironman's, crazy idea right?
Last year I carefully made the decision to race both the Ironman World Championships on the 7th of May and Ironman Hamburg on the 5th of June. Due to postponements, the timing of both races was not perfect. Together with my coach (Lionel Wille, Ferrum Endurance), we decided that Ironman Hamburg would be a 'B' race. Which meant that the focus would be on the Worlds and every result for Hamburg would be fine. I was super excited about the plan. I love the challenge and had no idea how my body would feel during Ironman Hamburg.
Road to Ironman Hamburg
After getting back from the States, 3 weeks were left before Hamburg. Which meant just a few sessions before the taper would start again. Getting back into a rhythm with training was hard as I was struggling with my jetlag and sore legs. My legs felt pretty tired during the workouts. Luckily after 2 weeks post Ironman, everything started to feel like it used to be. I started to feel excited about racing my first ever 'flat' Ironman. So far I only did Ironman Mallorca and Ironman St. George. Both have hilly bike courses. I really wanted to break that sub-10 Ironman goal and I was hungry to check that box in Hamburg.
1 week out, tapering was starting again. As training was finally feeling better, I was not looking forward to the rest and recovery all over again. I knew it was necessary to be ready for Hamburg. So I made the most out of it. Invested some extra time in sleep and Netflix, which was not that bad after all.
2 days before race day
Two days before the start, I went to Hamburg with my boyfriend. I was super excited and looking forward to the race. In Hamburg, we met one of my friends who was racing her first Ironman. I always love to share such an experience with a friend. Together we did our last taper training and we racked our bikes. Both quite stressed and nerves, but we were trying our best to stay calm.
The circumstances on race day looked perfect. A water temperature of 19 degrees, no wind (at least that was what they said) and a temperature of approximately 25 degrees. As I love racing in warmer conditions, I was really happy with that.
Before the start I felt a lot of emotions. St. George was still fresh in my mind which was a really though day. I was not sure whether I would be ready for such a hard day again. I tried to stay calm and focus on the things I could control.
Ironman Hamburg - SWIM
Must admit that this was definitely one of the most pretty swim courses I have completed so far. The water temperature was perfect and the course was pretty straightforward. Unfortunately I had some issues with the visibility of the buoy's as the sun was shining in my eyes. Besides that small detail, I felt like I was in a good flow. My swim was feeling way better compared to St. George. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!
Getting out of the water in 1h and 12min was not as fast as I expected. But I was not the only one who had a slower swim time than expected. I ran into one of the longest transition zones of the world and found my bike fast. Happy with a low start number being an All World Athlete - Gold.
Ironman Hamburg - BIKE
For the bike I made a plan together with my coach to push a bit harder than usual. To test my body and how my legs would respond on the run. Unfortunately some rest fatigue got into my legs so I was not able to push the watt's we planned for. I tried to push as hard as I could and to stay aero as much as possible. My watts were disappointing me at some point. But I tried to let it go and to keep going. I knew that this was one of the risks of racing two Ironman's so close to each other. Especially with all the travelling in between. The first lap passed by quickly with an average pace of 36.2 km/h. The second lap was a bit harder so in the end I made it to transition in a time of 5h and 2minutes, average pace of 36 km/h.
Ironman Hamburg - RUN
Normally I am always have fun during a marathon. I don't know why, but I just love it! Today I wasn't exactly having as much fun as I usually do. I was focussing on keeping my legs going from aid station to aid station.
After a few kilometres, I saw my coach and his girlfriend (Gaby Reijseger). As a surprise they came all the way to Hamburg to support and coach me. I felt super happy again as they are part of my favourite support crew. They are both a huge part of my triathlon journey. I was happy to have them with me.
This motivated me to keep my pace steady and to keep going. I was counting the laps and getting my nutrition in. Unfortunately I had to go to the toilet twice as my stomach was having some issues. Despite the issues, my pace was fine. The last lap I was able to increase my pace a bit. In the end I finished the marathon in 3h and 17min. I knew I have more to show, but given the day this was the best possible.
THE FINISH LINE
The finish line experience in Hamburg was amazing. And I saw that I reached one of my biggest goals; finishing an Ironman in 10 hours. My time was actually 9h 43min and 26 sec. Super happy with the result of my third Ironman and my second one within 4 weeks. This time was good for a third place in my age group, 4th of all Age Groupers and a 12th place including pro's. That's not a bad result for an European Championship!
After finishing I was finally able to hug my support crew. I was looking forward to that so much during the run.
You are probably thinking; WHAT'S NEXT?
For now I am going to focus on shorter and middle distance races to get some speed back. Before getting back into the long distance work for the Ironman World Championships in Kona in October.
Super tof om te lezen Kyra!
Mooi raceverslag van superprestatie!
Leuk verhaal Kyra, dit gaat nog echt leuk worden🔥🔥👏👏