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2018 Ironman Austria Finishers - quick recap

As of yesterday, Karel and I have now completed a combined 23 Ironman races. With every race, we learn something about the art of Ironman racing. While physical readiness is important, the race requires such great mental toughness. With every Ironman, we get a one-day opportunity to test both our mental and physical skills. While we always hope for that perfect day of racing, we know very well that that day rarely comes but just a few times in an athlete's career. Therefore, the other 98% of races require a lot of focus, determination and strong will to not give up in order to reach the finish line. And let's not forget about all those mental demons trying to convince you that the pain is not worth the finishing medal and that quitting is the best option. 

After crossing our 3rd Ironman Austria finish line (my 13th Ironman and Karel's 10th finish/11th start), Karel and I can honestly say that this was one of the hardest 140.6 mile adventures that we have ever had to take our body on and to be honest - it wasn't a day full of smiles, enjoyment and fun. We both struggled all day, at various times, throughout the entire race. While there were some highs, there were many, many lows. It was one of those days where the body and mind were not working well together. I'm not sure how it worked but something in the mind kept us going when we wanted to quit a thousand times on the marathon run. Typically, the pain that is felt in the later miles of an Ironman marathon is anticipated but this time, the pain was just so deep and uncomfortable that it was a constant struggle to run 26.2 miles in that type of hurt. Thankfully no nutrition issues or other issues - just not enough energy to speed up my pace. There was A LOT of walking through the aid stations to reset my mind and body from mile 6-24.

The highlight of the day was Karel swimming his first 1-hour swim in a speedy low 58 minutes. Of course, he had to one-up me and beat me in the water by 28 seconds. I am just happy that my 57 min swim from 2016 Ironman Austria was not a fluke and I have another legit 1-hour wetsuit swim in my Ironman resume. Karel felt so-so for the bike, especially since he rode most of the bike solo as the rolling start swim (8 athletes every 5-6 seconds) really separated the field. My legs didn't come around on the bike until the 2nd loop when I finally started to feel a little more like myself. But the first loop was a struggle and I almost debated stopping at half way on the bike.

If it wasn't for Roman (Karel's friend from Czech) telling me that I was leading my age group around half way of the run, I was ready to give up. But hearing that I was still having a competitive race despite not feeling very competitive, it somehow kept me going. Karel couldn't believe that he finished 5th (out of over 400!) in his very competitive age group. The weather was nearly perfect for the swim and bike and although it did feel a little warm when the sun came out on the run and it was very windy on the bike (and choppy in the water at times), the conditions were tolerable for racing. We have raced in far worse conditions but something was just off all day. But that's ok - that's all part of racing. You can't feel great all the time and you can't get much accomplished if you only start (and finish) races on the days you feel good.

With every Ironman finisher medal, there's a story behind what it took to earn that medal. This medal's are not given away but you have to work for them.....really, really hard. While the day did not go as Karel and I hoped for it to go, we are not disappointed in our performance for that's part of racing. You savor the few races when everything seems to fall into place and you test your mental strength and learn things when your body falls apart. This race took every ounce of willpower to not quit and despite the all-day struggles, I'm so glad that we didn't give up.

Thank you for the cheers and support - we could feel your energy all day!

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Also a huge congrats to our athletes Justine and Natalie for finishing their first experience of racing Ironman Austria! It was so awesome to share this race with them! Proud coach moment to witness our athletes grit it out to the finish line!
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And it was so special to have Karel's mom out cheering for us as it was the first time she has watched Karel race in a triathlon!


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2.4 mile swim: 58.48
T1: 6:08
112 mile bike: 5:20.58
T2: 4:03
26.2 mile run: 3:53.15
Total: 10:23.10, 2nd AG 35-39 (out of 64), 22nd female (out of 336), 344th overall (out of 2315)

2.4 mile swim: 58.20
T1: 4:31
112 mile bike: 5:03.29
T2: 3:01
26.2 mile run: 3:10.43
Total: 9:20.02, 5th AG 40-44 (out of 411), 36th male (out of 1977), 41st overall (out of 2315)

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