The 2009 Ironman World Championships are over and the defending Champions took care of business and continue to be the reigning champions for one more year. Chrissie Wellington not only defended but also broke the course record. As I mentioned yesterday if she made no mistakes she will win. She did exactly that. What a great talent she is.
I personally did not watch the pro race very much. In fact I had to look up the results on my computer. I decided to spend more time looking for our athletes on the course.
When I got to the race site this morning I watch the swim start and then headed to a hill at about mile 5 on the bike course where I bumped into Peter Reid. As always he was very nice and cordial. I met him a few times the years that Mark helped him with his training.
Then we waited for the first riders. Andy Potts was the first rider to get there. He looked really strong. Chrissie Wellington was not the first girl but was almost near the lead already. She was the only person I saw that rides uphill and off the saddle for a long time. Just like the Colombian climbers used to do in the tour de France. That is a waste of energy. But who is to tell her not to do that eh?
Then I watched the procession of MarkAllenOnline athletes. Their blue Kiwami outfits makes them easy to spot. I also saw Rudy Garcia come up this hill. As I mentioned yesterday he has no quads and no hamstrings. So he powers the bike with his glutes only. Going up this hill was very challenging for him from my vantage point. His bike was definitely not going on a straight line. The day was going to be tough particularly if the winds pick up.
After watching the pros here I just went back to the condo and got the Internet updates as to how every one did in the swim. No real surprises there. Later I went over to the 5 mile mark of the marathon. I got there too late to see the pros but that was fine. I watched the pros so many times. Then I took pictures of our athletes. Some were doing fine some were hurting. Some did not want to talk much. (I know the feeling). But its fun for me to watch them and support them.
Once I saw many of them I headed for the Queen K. That is where the fun begins really. On my way I got to see Chrissie Wellington come down Palani road into town. Her pace was not the same I saw in training a few days ago. Surprise! It was way slower but she ran about a 3:03 marathon to go under 9 hours and break the Hawaii Ironman record.
As I rode my scooter out on the Queen K, all I can see was people going fairly slow. There was no huffing and puffing. There was no sense of urgency. It really did not look like a race. It looked more like a slow procession of athletes on a Saturday afternoon training run. Many of these athletes were taking their time and walking here and there, drinking, stretching with no hurry at all. But these guys looked fit. Ripped to the bone and looking great with all their outfits. But they were not in a hurry. The Ironman marathon and specially this race really tears you down and breaks the strongest people. Watching this just reminded me of what I been telling people for years. The guys who do well in an ironman are not the ones that can go the fastest but the ones that slow down the least. To do this you need to train long and relatively easy and learn how to handle your nutrition and hydration. If you do that better than the speedster 5K and 10K champion you will do great in this type of event. This is a tough event but not adrenalin tough. You have to have lasting power not explosive power.
So I cheered and encourage as many of our guys that I could then went it got dark I headed home to see the results online. Four of our athletes got on the podium, Roger Wacker 5th in M50-54, DJ Snyder 4th in M18-24, Diana Hassel 4th W40-44 and Lydia Delis-Schlosser 4th in W50-54.
I can go on and on about the personal stories of each of these athletes. Not only these 4 podium athletes but others who had personal bests or over came so many challenges to get here and to get to the finish line. But this race is about the journey. A journey filled with personal stories, some sad, some tough, some nerve wracking, but all interesting and full of challenges which at the end of the day its what really make them Ironman.
See you next year.