Roth Challenge 2011 – Race Report

So I completed my first Iron distance race as a professional triathlete!  I am excited to say that I am extrememly happy with the result – 8th female overall, 9:45.56, with personal best times in all three disciplines.  Here is my report of how the day went overall:

The day started at 3:15am, waking up to make my shake for breakfast, with the magic bullet that I brought along for the trip, my chocolate meal replacement powder and my banana.  It’s always interesting trying to make food plans work while you are in a different country with different food choices, and in a hotel room with limited facilities.  But, this worked for me!  Al drove myself and another athlete to the swim start for 5:00am.  When we arrived, I went to my bike and it was not where I had put it.  I did not see it anywhere on the racks for the pro women.  So, of course I start to stress, tell myself to calm down, and I go and ask someone what I should do if my bike has disappeared.  They look at me and say “well, you probably just put it in the wrong place” and we go over to the rack to look for it, and there it is three spots from where I put it.  First rookie move :-).  Apparently bikes are racked exactly in numerical order.  So I get myself calmed down, check out the bike and set up my transition area in the way that I want it.  I finally decide that after 30 times checking everything over, it must all be fine, and I head over to give my dry clothes bag to the big truck.  I head to the swim start and jump in the water for a swim warm up.  I feel great!  My goggles are a little foggy before the gun goes off, so I take them away from my eyes and go to rinse them with water.. and “snap”, they break!!!!!!  Being a stressed out female, I obviously start to cry, and run wildly out of the river yelling (in English, which most people did not understand) “Can anyone help me, my goggles broke!!!” over and over again.  I thought my race was over before I started… but, another pro woman got out of the water, went out of the swim start area, and brought me an extra set that she brought, making us both very close to missing the swim start – what a great thing for someone to do!!  I was so happy, it was going to work out!! The gun went off soon after that, and away we went.. from there, everything went perfectly!  The swim was beautiful.  They set us off in waves of 300 people, which was perfect for the size of the canal.  The water was calm and smooth, what a great place to swim.  Then, through T1 and onto the bike… what a beautiful bike ride as well!  The roads in Roth are sooo smooth, you can’t help but love the ride.  The course was more challenging than I thought it was going to be, there definitely were not as many downhills and flat sections as it looked like there were when we drove the course in the car!! There were a couple of good climbs as well as some false flats, which definitely keeps you interested!  The crowd support was amazing in every town we rode through.  The MOST amazing support, though, was alongside a hill that is nicknamed “solar burger”.  There are so many people on that hill, you basically ride through a small lane that is several feet wide, while people cheer you up the climb.  So cool.  You can’t help but get energy from them.  T2 was smooth.. and away I went on the run.  With my injuries this year, I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to run the whole marathon, but I planned to start out at 5 mins/km and just try and hold it as long as I could.  So, that’s what I did.. I kept playing games with myself when I would get tired, and say “okay, hold this pace until 21k.  Hold this pace until 30k.  Hold this pace until… the end!! I did it!!  PB’ed the ironman marathon, with only a few months of running in my bucket.  When I saw the finish line and the time clock, I couldn’t believe I had done it!! It’s such an amazing feeling when you realize that all the long hours and hard hard work over the past months was paying off.  My overall times were 1:00 for the swim, 5:09 for the bike, and 3:32 for the marathon.  🙂

I would recommend this race to anyone.  The organization of it was first class, the course was beautiful, and the spectator support was amazing.  One cannot ask for more.  The Challenge series is definitely a series to put on the bucket list for all of us triathletes!

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