Well last week I was blogging about my first half ironman victory ever at Ironman Salzburg 70.3 and now unbelievably I have another half iron distance title!! Also in Austria at Challenge Walchsee. In fact this was my third race in Austria this year (more than any other country).
We have had a fabulous time in this little town Walchsee. The Challenge race really looked after us and put us up for 5 nights in the best ever hotel Walcherseehof which was literally 100m or so from transition! Can't get easier than that for racing. Even drug testing was the door opposite to our room! So anyway we have had a really good time in this little place with a wonderful lake and surrounded by mountains.
I really wasn't sure how I would go in this race. Earlier this year I tried back to back half iron distance races and the second was very hard and I struggled to hold my posture on the run and lost valuable time and finished in 6th place. This time was not easier but I concentrated so hard on trying to hold my posture together and although it was tough, I did it! During the week I couldn't really have a break after my last race, I had to keep the long bike ride in there, the long run and I also did a track work out and a very hard bike ride (and of course swimming too). I knew the race would be hard but hopefully the benefits will be seen later down the track as I get stronger from each race.
Mary Beth Ellis was a late minute entry to the race and I was a bit intimidated to be racing someone so good. She has won every race this year that she has done I think. Wins at the Ironman New York and Ironman Texas being the main ones. Anyway I was determined to just focus on myself and do the best job I could. Erika Csomor another really great athlete was also racing and many of the other European girls I have raced before and I knew Eva Wutti after her crash last week would be very determined to do well this week in her home country.
I had quite a good swim. The first 800m for some reason I had very cold arms and I just could not stroke properly. The lake wasn't that cold, around 17 degrees so I am not sure why my arms found it so cold, but after the 800m I came right and felt good and started passing and catching groups ahead. I came out 2nd about 50sec behind Mary Beth.
Onto the bike I tried to push as hard as I could. It was around 13 degrees to start and I had quite cold legs. At about 10k a group of men came by me and also Eva Wutti. The group was annoying as they were too close together and they were determined to just get ahead of me and then slow down. I found it annoying and just wanted them to pass me and keep going faster away from me, not slow down as soon as they passed. I didn't like having to keep slowing down as my main aim was to get a very good hard cycling work out. So after about 5k of annoyance I backed off and let them all go so I could just have time by myself. I then had a good time by myself until 50k. After 40k I looked at my clock and I was just over 1 hr. I couldn't believe it, I have never biked so fast in my life even in an Olympic distance tri. At 50k another annoying pack came past and it was the same problem, so then there was another annoying 5k of this, when we did the big climb for the second time I tried really hard to get away from them, but it wasn't a steady climb but instead had little plateau sections where people would get breaks, so I couldn't get away. Then it was a down hill and to my relief the male pack were gone. So then it was just me and Mary Beth together and the rest of the bike was good. It was a long bike because there were road works this year and they had to change the course. My clock said 93.5k and I did 2.24. I was very happy as my goal was to get under 2.30. I was however a good 4 min or so back behind Eva Wutti.
So onto the run and I ran out of transition with Mary Beth Ellis. She is a great runner who has come from short course up the distance so I was worried that she would blast away from me, I tried as hard as I could and to my surprise I ran away from her. I didn't feel like I did last week. Last week I had my best ever run and I felt like I could run forever, it was so easy to go fast without really trying. This week was a struggle. My hamstrings were very sore. The run was 4 laps and I caught Eva at around 11k. Then I was in the lead and just held on to my running form the best I could, it was just starting to go in the last k so I was happy when it ended. In the end I had a 1.04 margin over May Beth and also surprisingly broke the course record.
Very, very happy. Again I want to say a huge thank you to my sponsors KSwiss, Powerbar, Ceepo, Rolf Prima, BlueSeventy, Keywin, Oakley!!!! Next up for me is Challenge Henley which is a full iron distance in 2 weeks time. I will be training hard these next 2 weeks getting in some miles for Kona (well a big week for me is 22 hrs over the usual 18 or so). I will not taper for Henley I want it to be my big training day for Kona and then I can rest up. I know people think it is strange that I am doing a full distance race 4 weeks before Kona but 2012 was all about getting out there and back into racing. It is hard to come back after a baby, you lose sponsors (I am very lucky for the ones that have stood by me) and you have to prove yourself all over again for a second time. After a year off in 2011 I simply need to earn the prize money to pay for our travel costs to Europe and make a profit for our little family. I believe if I do Henley sensibly then I can meet my goal of a top 10 in Kona. And then in 2013 I can really concentrate on the Kona race. That is the plan anyway!!