Challenge Roth – what an experience!

I did it! My 2nd Ironman distance race and it was Challenge Roth, one of the must-do Ironman distance races in the world.

Challenge Roth - Swim startThe swim in the channel worked very well for me. After a (usual) rough start, the field was spread out after about 400 meters. Quickly, I found my rhythm and I was pleased to notice that I regularly overtook other swimmers. As every swim cap was marked with the start time, I was pleased when I could see a swimmer next to me with 5, 10 or more minutes start time before mine… This motivation kept me going well. After the 3.8 km, I felt that I could swim longer, if required…

Challenge Roth - Bike Markus Fehr

The bike course is 2 laps of 90 km each, with many rolling hills. As I am not the fastest in climbing hills, I liked this terrain, especially the downhills. On the first lap, I was riding fast and I had to keep the pace a bit back to avoid burning all energy too early. The highlight was Solarer Berg, being known for the Tour-de-France atmosphere with the many spectators cheering bike riders on. I decided to enjoy this moment on this slight hill, with less than a meter of free space to my left and right side…

20x30-ROTH0597

During the second lap, the wind picked up. The combination of the time into the race and the wind made my second lap a bit slower. Nevertheless, I finished the bike leg in my anticipated time below 6 hours for the 180 km.

So my run started at 3 pm with the sun burning the strongest of the day. Thanks to a reconnaissance training weekend earlier, I knew that the run requires a lot of mental strength: More than half of the marathon is along the Rhein-Mainau channel, being straight, looking the same wherever you are along the channel. Luckily, the run stretch has a loop at both ends along the channel. In between, there is a “harbour” with many spectators. I divided the marathon distance into smaller segments between these landmarks. This allowed me to focus on the next milestone during the race. Towards the end, my carve muscles signaled signs of cramping. As I changed my nutrition to coke after 15 km, I ate less than I probably should have taken. I continued running but I was hoping that I will not have to stop with a cramp. Luckily, at km 40, Eva, Oli, Martin and his girl friend were cheering me on in Roth. I was very pleased they were there. For the next kilometre, my thoughts were still with this positive surprise and kept me forgetting the risk of a cramp. A few hundred meters before entering the station to finish the race, a spectator told me “Nearly there, now enjoy the last part of your race finishing in the stadium”. The stadium was full of spectators, my name was announced by the speaker and I did follow the advise I just got, enjoying this long race in this fantastic atmosphere.

Challenge Roth - Run finishing line

I am pleased that this race went well. During my 6 month preparation phase, I had one ski-accident and a bike-accident, resulting in my training interrupted twice. Most important was that I was ready on race day to perform this endurance race. Especially the 4 weeks of many hard and long trainings before the race gave me good confidence that I was ready for this challenge! Thank you Matthias for the training plans and advise that prepared me for race day, July 17, 2106!

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