Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii is definitely THE RACE in long distance triathlon. It is the only time during the year when every single high level triathlete toes to the same start line, hungry to cross the finishing line first. All the work done during the past years culminates in how well you can perform in this one event. The task is not easy as the weather is hot, humid and windy, but still the hardest thing in Ironman Hawaii is the ultimate pressure to perform.
Last year I was a Kona rookie and overwhelmed with my fifth place finish. This year my placing was the same, fifth. After the race I was asked many times if I am satisfied or not. The answer is a strong yes! My ultimate goal was to do a better performance than last year, in which I feel I did succeed. I was faster although I had to face more obstacles. Of course it was also hard to miss the podium with only a few minutes and I have been asking myself many “if” questions, but at the end I am happy with my own race and with the women’s race in general – I think we had a very honest, exciting and high level race and the best of the day did win. Congrats Daniela Ryf, Lucy Charles and Sarah Crowley!
I will keep the long race recap short. My day started with a swim that I would say was pretty average. Not bad, but still lacking the ability to really push it fast. At the start of the bike I got over excited, again… the atmosphere in Kona is just so amazing! I was so energized that I flew on my Felt bike and ended up being the fastest woman on the first section of the bike. At around Hawii I started to suffer stomach issues. I save you from the dirty details, but lets say that the body was swollen and at the same time neither the liquids nor the solid energy did not stay in. The only option was to ease up and see how I can survive this ironman with about half of the energy that I had planned to take in. I did quite well until around 20k of the run. I was just flying for the first 10 kilometres of the run catching many women, but then the legs started to be more and more empty and as it is quite impossible to fix the lacking energy while running with a bad stomach I did bonk a little, still luckily was able to keep the running like running and not only hobbling till the end. So it was a hard day at the office, but so it is always for every single athlete racing Hawaii Ironman.
It is a special moment to come to the finishing line in Kona. The last kilometre was full of big emotions also this time as even though I was totally tired, the amazing spectators gave me so much new energy that I was able to fly with happy feet, carrying the Finnish flag and celebrate the days performance with all my heart and soul. I am pretty sure that these memories will always put a smile to my face 🙂
Mahalo to all who have helped me along the way to this race. My superman Markus. Amazing coach Siri Lindley. Skilled physios Tiina Lahtinen-Suopanki, Ville Rapeli and Erin Carlsson. Terrific technical adviser for cycling Ivan O’Gorman. Family, friends and all who have been cheering. All my gear and financial supporters. Without you, the dream team, nothing would be possible.
Photos: Jesse Väänänen / Snou Creative