Podium at Ironman 70.3 Berlin

June 16, 2013

I had been really excited to race the inaugural Ironman 70.3 Berlin. As many of you know, Berlin is home for me in a lot of ways as my parents have lived there for almost 19 years now. I actually graduated from high school there and have had the opportunity to go back often, including running my 1st marathon in 2004.

I can’t thank enough my amazing friends who came to the race to cheer me on! Mum, Kim, “cool Berlin” tour guide Wolfram, award-winning singer/songwriter Paul Tracy and his son Devon, Team Astrophysics Bernard, Bill Grossman and friend Joe, Team Ossenbrink’s Gen and Eric – your support means so much to me. Here’s how the day went down….

I had been really excited to race the inaugural Ironman 70.3 Berlin. As many of you know, Berlin is home for me in a lot of ways as my parents have lived there for almost 19 years now. I actually graduated from high school there and have had the opportunity to go back often, including running my 1st marathon in 2004.

I can’t thank enough my amazing friends who came to the race to cheer me on! Mum, Kim, “cool Berlin” tour guide Wolfram, award-winning singer/songwriter Paul Tracy and his son Devon, Team Astrophysics Bernard, Bill Grossman and friend Joe, Team Ossenbrink’s Gen and Eric – your support means so much to me. Here’s how the day went down….

SWIM: Finally a chance to test out my new custom Wattie Ink Blue Seventy Helix! Water temps were a very comfortable 19degC and the course was a simple 800m out, 900m back. I had a good start, swimming with Konschak and Riveros just ahead. As the two ITU swimmers pulled away, I kept a good pace in 3rd. The turnaround came sooner than I expected! Little did I know that second half of the swim was going to feel like miles as we fought the slight current of the Spree River. I had been swimming really well in training in the last few months and was happy to exit the water only 45s back from the lead.

BIKE: Having had over a week in Berlin to familiarize myself with the course, I knew exactly what was ahead of me. Flat, exposed, windy, 3-lap course taking place mostly on the old airstrips of the Tempelhof Airport. Tempelhof Airport is an incredible Berlin historical landmark. In 1948-49, West Berlin was isolated from the rest of the world by the Soviet Union. The Western Allies kept the city’s inhabitants alive by dropping supplies by aircraft every 6 minutes…for over a year! Now the city has opened the grounds completely to the public, and it is seriously like stepping into another world when you enter the grounds. On a warm summer day, you will see literally hundreds of school kids, cyclists, walkers, picnic-ers, kite- and wind-surfers on skateboards….

Ready for take off!

Leading the race at Templehof airport

Anyway, back to the race! As I moved into 2nd place within the short 6km shot from the Spree, I screamed into Tempelhof on my Trek SpeedConcept 9.9. I was worried my Bontrager Aeolus 9’s were going to be a little tricky in the wind, but it was truly no problemo; I was very stable. Within the first lap of the airstrips I moved into first position, and Riveros hopped onto my tail. For the rest of the ride I just couldn’t shake her. However I came into transition rocking the fastest bike split of the day!

RUN: I gained about 30s in T2 as I slipped into my Hoka One One Bondi Speeds and headed out on the run. Riveros was quickly back up to me and was literally breathing down my neck for the first of three 7km loops, drafting me through the rather strong headwind.

Shadowed by eventual winner Olympian Riveros

As we started the second loop she pulled ahead, and I just couldn’t respond. I kept positive though and pushed forward. About 3km to the end, my legs REALLY started to fail me, despite my awesome purple Compressport calf sleeves. It was almost like I had to use my body’s momentum to swing my feet in front of me to keep going. It was incredibly frustrating to see my pace slow to a snail’s crawl. Konschak, who came off the bike over 10 minutes behind me but had a fantastic run, caught me with just a couple kilometers to go.

I was so happy to finally head into the finish shoot. I was just really hoping that my wobbling legs would get me across the line at least. I think the whole crowd must have cringed as I stumbled just a few meters before the line, but stepped across and dramatically hit the ground as my legs just couldn’t hold me up any longer. Not as dramatic as Julie Moss's epic Kona finish, but let’s just say I have a small idea of how she might have felt on her fateful day.

Thank goodness for the cushioning finish line carpet...

A dramatic finish as my legs give out!

After a couple minutes in the medical tent to stabilize myself, I was shuffled off to the flower ceremony to celebrate and later that evening the full awards ceremony. I was pretty honoured to share the podium with some incredible athletes, including 2-time Olympian Riveros and German superstar Michael Raelert who won the men’s race.

Flower ceremony

Women's podium

Awards ceremony

Men and women's podium.

Another podium finish is a great result, and my fitness this season is really pulling together. I am so thankful to be working with an incredible team (to help figure out my wobbly leg issue, for example!), including Coach Bjoern, nutritionist Dana Lis, Dr. Mike and my amazing physiotherapists Clyde and Zenya at Allan McGavin Sport Medicine and Jen Dobell RMT.

As always, huge thanks to the rest of my incredible sponsors and supporters: WEST POINT  MULTISPORT, WATTIE INK, COMPRESSPORT, BLUE SEVENTY, ELOAD, HOKA ONE ONE, KASK and ISM.

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