Raynard Tissink Triathlon Coach
Powered by Velocity Sports Lab

Ironman Kona 2004

News Index

Ironman racing is HARD! Very hard!

You can do without any "curve balls” getting thrown your way, because even without them, you’re in for one heUuva day. If you chose to race in Kona, you can be sure it will be the toughest Ironman you’ll ever do, so, to have a good day would be nice. Keep on dreaming....

At 6.45am the Pro’s got off to an early start, with the age groupers going off at 700am. I started off quite quickly trying to get into the main contenders’ bunch, but after a few hundred meters got dropped. After that, it seemed as if every pro in the race came past me. I started thinking of 2001, where I had a terrible swim and finished about 5 minutes behind the big guns. Luckily, I managed to hold onto the back of the second bunch, barely, and exited only about 1.30 down on the main contenders.

I started the bike leg at a gentle pace, trying to save myself for the long road ahead, but quickly realized that if I didn’t get my butt in gear. I was going to be dropped from the bunch.

On a steady climb up to the first turn-around I passed most of the bunch and was making up big time on the lead group. At the turn at 12km. I was about 30sec behind. But on the downhill back into town disaster struck. Eventual winner, Normann Stadler, came flying past me on the downhill, both of us doing over 60km/h .

It wasn’t 5 seconds later when a marshal pulled up next to me and told me to "stand down” for a drafting penalty for not getting out of Norman’s zone quickly enough. It didn’t help to argue, but what did he expect me to do? Slam on brakes just so that someone can pass you? Can you imagine how long the ride would take if you had to brake everytime someone passes you. Anyway, not only had I lost the bunch and about a minute waiting for him to mark my numbers, but I would now have to serve a 4mm penalty in T2.

I spent most of the next 100km riding quite hard, but wasn’t making much impression on the group in front, Every now and then someone would fall of the back and I’d pass them, which kept me interested in the battle, but when I passed Simon Lessing, Francois Chabaud, and Victor Zyemtsev all in one swoop, I started feeling great. At the turn-around in Hawi, I was about 1 minute back to the group, but a long, long way behind the leader. That didn’t interest me though. I knew there was no way I was going to win, but a top 10 would be fantastic. So I needed to get into the group by the end of the ride, as there were about 12 guys in that bunch.

I neglected to mention that up to that point we had brutal head-winds, doing around 25km/h for the last 15km to the turn-around. When I turned, it was 54/11 and hammer time. I managed to catch the bunch 10km later, hoping that I would now have an easy ride home for the last 60km. It was pretty easy for about 20km, when another "curve ball” came my way. I started what’s commonly refered to as "blowing chunks”, and just couldn’t stop. In the next 20 km I lost about 3 minutes, feeling dizzy, low on energy, and having major issues just trying to stay on my bike, and this wasn’t due to the winds that had now turned and making the ride home painfully slow At least I had a 4 minute rest to look forward to at the end of the ride, If I made it to the end of the ride.

I did, and the rest was welcome. A top 10 finish, unlikely, but I’d give it my best shot I left transition in about 13th, but about 7 minutes down on 11th. I started wnning slowly, trying to refuel and save myself for the second half of the marathon where things are supposed to be especially hard here in Hawaii. I was quickly passed by Zyemtsev(IM Austria winner), and Rovera(lM Lanzarote winner), but let them go, more focused on keeping things slow and steady. Down to 15th, I started having doubts of finishing. But in an IM, if you don’t have doubts, you havn’t pushed hard enough, so this was normal. I kept pushing forward. 10km gone, Zyemtsev dropped out, 14th. The next miles to the turn-around in the Energy Lab were HOT. I could see Rovera about a minute up the road, but wasn’t making any time on him. I kept telling myself that top 15 would be great, just keep moving, don’t walk.” All I wanted to do was walk, but I had at least 5 guys lined up behind me, so if I wanted the top 15, I had to keep moving, at a fair pace.

At the turn in the Energy Lab I was surprised to find that I was now in 12th, Chabaud and Chris McCormack having dropped out. I was about 2 minutes behind 10th, but would 10km be enough to catch 2 people, especially since I wasn’t making any time on the guy one position infront of me. I was praying for a couple of others to pull out, but they didn’t, they were going to make me work for this.

The next 5km I gave everything I had saved in the beginning. Somewhere in the confusion of athletes coming and going I must have passed Tim Deboom while he was walking because I didn’t see him at all. With 3 km to go I could see Mitch Anderson up the road, but thought I was out of time to catch him. Rovera just held steady at about 1mm ahead of me. Up the last hill to Palani Drive I started sprinting, or what felt like a sprint anyway. The gap came down rapidly. Down the steep hill on Palani it was down to lOOm, and there was about 1 mile of running left. I just kept telling myself "I’m not finishing 11th. I’d rather stop and walk.lOth is $5000, 11th is nothing.” With 1km to go I caught and passed Anderson at a sprint, and just kept going when I went by. So fast was I running, that I almost caught Rovera in front of me. But I didn’t care. Finishing 10th was as good as winning for me. Sure, things could have been better without being sick and the penalty, but things could also have been a lot worse. In a race where so many of the favourites struggled to the line or simply quit, nobody would have noticed if I wasn’t around at the finish line. After this, not only did they notice, but I can finally say I’ve completed the toughest Ironman on the planet, and it feels good.

Annah Watkinson - Race Report IM Brazil 2017

After a great first year racing in the professional category in 2016, I was amped for the 2017 season. Feeling stronger and fitter and more in the "right head space" - I had done some great training over December spending many many many (and many more) hours on the bike - I loved it. My swim was starting to click, I was starting to understand the phrase "feel the water", and my running was strong

READ ONAnnah Watkinson - Race Report IM Brazil 2017
Visit my YouTube channel
Visit my YouTube channel for videos...