IRONMAN World Championship Race Reports
Written by 4 LifeSport Athletes
Nell Stephenson – Coach Lance
The day after any race is always an emotional one for me, and the day after Kona tends to be that ,and then some, taking those feelings to the nth degree, given its significance and magnitude. This is precisely why I opted not to write a post yesterday, to reflect on the race (as well as take a rare day of digital downtime), process everything in its entirety and craft something a bit more more thoughtful. On paper, my race went exactly as I wanted it, just as I’d planned it. I had a swim PR on this course by 4’, my bike watts were dead on at 80% FTP and my run pace was just a tad off – 10’ slower that my goal pace. Not a PR for me time wise, and I missed the podium by two spots this time, but honestly, I gave it everything I had. The conditions were awesome! Not too hot, not too windy… really, there’s not a single thing I can report that I wish had gone differently. I felt present, filled with gratitude and focused all day long; balanced but not disengaged….happy but not lackadaisical by a long shot. Hydration was spot on, energy level solid and steady and seeing my husband at multiple spots throughout the day, as well as the inherent energy from the crowd, all served to create an idyllic setting for an outstanding day. So that’s why I was a bit surprised to wake up yesterday morning still feeling a little bit out of sorts. I know myself and I know my body and I knew without a doubt that I raced with all my heart on Saturday, yet I still found myself mulling over whether I could have found that extra few minutes somewhere during the day to push through and have a faster bike split, as I’d done in years past or to possibly have come closer to my goal run pace. Why had I suddenly gone down the what if or could’ve / should’ve route? I chalked it up to part of the personal growth work I’ve been so highly focused on this year, and rather than either allowing myself to detour into a foul mood, I just sat with the emotions for a little while, had a little bit of a temper tantrum in my mind, meditated and took an invaluable day off from everything. Chris and I enjoyed a much needed day by the beach. I got in some serious magazine reading, meditating and aside from responding to some kind congratulatory notes from friends and family, had relatively no computer time, in order to begin this week, the off season from triathlon racing and the months leading into the holidays feeling refreshed, rejuvenated and focused. Too soon to say at this moment what next season’s going to look like, but I can say one thing for sure. I’m not done here yet!
Michelle Ball – Coach Paul
Well - I got 'er done. Ironman World Championships 2016 finished. A quick recap. Unlike most races, I actually enjoyed the swim but how can one not love the clear warm ocean water with coral and fish - it's so easy to see the feet to follow. The headwinds both ways on the Queen K destroyed my otherwise decent ride. To comply with doc's instructions, managed a soft Ironman shuffle when I wasn't walking through all 26 aid stations and the hill at Palani, seeing the awesome Rachel McBride cheering out on the Queen K (who didn't hesitate jumping up to hug me despite me being drenched), chatting with Peter Reid (3 x Kona champion) at the Energy Lab aid station, stopping to help and get medical aid for a young female athlete laying in the dark at the side of the road, and "running" alongside and chatting with so many interesting people including the amazing 60+ year old Missy Lestrange, the winningest age-group athlete of all time. I also tried lots of new foods and drink (hey why not?) and discovered pretzels are impossible to swallow while moving but I actually like chicken broth when running in the dark. Other race highlights: last minute pep talk from Coach Paul telling me "never swim alone" and draft so I don't get lost at sea; being in T1 with my fabulous friend Kathryn MacKinnon, who has finished 17 Ironman and will do many more; a pre-swim hug and encouragement from Lisa Bentley, Canadian triathlete and 11x Ironman winner, my inspiration and Ironcops supporter from when I started in 2006; seeing Megan Elise Morley fly by and kill it on her first trip to the big show; a big thumbs up from LifeSport Coach Lance Watson out on the Queen K; big smiles from Janet and Ivola at the LifeSport Coaching house on Alii Drive; and finishing in less than 13 hours when I probably shouldn't have made the start line. It wasn't pretty despite people calling "pretty in pink!" (Chance Regina - I need a pink Fusion top to go with the rest of my Fusion Sports US gear). And all - wish you could have been here -- thanks for the e-support and encouragement! You are the BEST Ironfans.
Brent McMahon – Coach Lance
There are many moments that make up a race and some are good and some are bad, it's how you process them all that makes you stronger. I will take all of these moments from Saturday to learn and then leave the disappointment behind me and focus on the future. I am excited for the fast moments ahead the Island house Triathlon in two weeks, time to reset and re-energize!
video credit: Specialized Bikes
John Kilburn - Coach Chuck
After waiting for almost an entire year to race (2015 IM Maryland qualification), my time to compete at the 2016 Ironman World Championships had finally arrived. All week, the pre-race scene along Ali’i Drive in Kailua-Kona was exactly how my coach (Chuck Kemeny) had described it – energetic and exhilarating. Difficult to resist or even avoid, I managed to absorb that atmosphere in short, controlled doses to avoid becoming frazzled in the days leading up to the race.
On race day, with my planned paces and race plan burned into my mind, I set out to toe the line and execute - coupled with the advice and encouragement Coach Kemeny had given me. Overall conditions throughout the day allowed me to focus more on executing my plan than mentally trudging through each discipline and gave precisely the result I had planned for. A PR time on the swim, coupled with a bike result that has gleaned improvement opportunities, lead into an even and well-paced run. My nutrition-focused and proactive cooling strategy paved the way to a satisfying 10:12:31 first time finish.
With this new experience under my belt and race plan base that can be fine-tuned to garner even better performances, my future with Chuck and LifeSport Coaching is looking bright. My first attempt at a 2017 qualification for the World Championship race occurs in 6 weeks at Ironman Cozumel…