Om toch al een beeld te geven van de wedstrijd, post ik het interview met endurance Junkie (mijn wedstrijdkledij) op mijn site en zet ik er enkele fotootjes bij! Mijn laptop heeft finaal de geest gegeven :-(, maar computerspecialisten hebben me beloofd de gegevens op te vissen. Meer blog later!
With two Ironman Age Group World Champions in the Squad, it is again made clear that Junkies rule! First up: Stefanie Adam, winner in the F30-34 age group.
Wow, age group World Champion… congratulations! Has it sunk in yet?
It is almost three weeks post race, so, yes, it has sunk in! I’m still on cloud seven and I hope that this will last for a couple of weeks.
Take us through your race day. When did the alarm go off, did you have a good night sleep and how did you feel?
Wake up hour is a detail that I already forgot , but if I do the exercise again, I must have put my alarm at 3:30 a.m., because I always want to be ready with breakfast three hours before race start. I eat white bread with jam (‘perestroop’, when I’m in Belgium!), and I drink two cups of coffee. I believe that coffee helps me to remain concentrated till race start. I have raced three Ironmans till now, but Hawaii was the first time that I didn’t sleep well. I was really eager to start and to give my best. That feeling was with me during the whole process of body marking, putting sun screen and vaseline, last bike check, warming up run. I also had to tape my foot and put my asthma medication in the run bag.
How was the swim?
The swim was one hour and three minutes of disappointment. I made the biggest mistake of the day before the start by entering the water 15 minutes early. By 7 a.m. I was cold and felt nausea due to the waves. I completely missed the start, and my arms felt very heavy. It took a while before my blood was flowing again, but at that time, I was swimming in a group that was too slow for me. I wasn’t able to get out of this group. Normally, I’m a better swimmer compared to others when the conditions are rough (wind and waves on race day), but due to the bad swim start, I couldn’t make the difference. I could only follow the others, save energy and stay concentrated.
The bike? You had the fastest female bike split (pro and amateur) of the day, so I guess it was pretty smooth all the way?
Yes, my legs felt really good. The whole race season, I have been complaining about tired legs on the few races I did, but if that is the compromise, I will take it each year! I knew I was cycling well lately. My coach is always sending me on the road with guys as Sam Gydé, Glenn Vekemans and Frederik Sleutel, top AG’ers. Those workouts are tough and I have often been angry with my coach during the workouts (when, fortunately for him , he was not there). But these workouts make me strong. I had never expected though, that I would pass professional athletes or record the fastest bike split. My coach did know, and that makes me very happy, because it means that it was not a one-day lucky thing, and that progress is still possible.
Being on the island two weeks in advance, also made me realise that this bike course suits me well. I’m small, so I don’t catch wind. I’m rather light so the climbs are no problem, and I have power. I could also stay in the aero position during the whole race. I didn’t have any weak moment, except between km 170 and 175, when I stopped to check my tires. I thought that I had a flat, but it was the rubber sticking to the asphalt . In fact, I can’t remember much of the cycling or running part. I guess that I was too focused and concentrated for almost 9 hours. It is as if I didn’t register anything. The only thing I did, was checking the time to stick to my nutrition and hydration plan.
I guess you “chicked” and bruised a lot of male ego’s on the Queen K. Did you have any issues with some of the guys you passed?
I didn’t have any issues, because I am fair during the race. I even count seconds when someone passes me (I stop pedalling at these moments) or when I have to pass someone. On race day, I could easily accelerate to overtake someone at any moment, sticking to the 20 seconds rule. It is in everyone’s advantage to cycle that way. Moreover, the Team Hawi house rules were clear: penalty means buying a drink for everyone!
On slowtwitch, there is a topic on the Belgian bike girl, and I haven’t read any negative comments. So, I think that I can return next year !
And finally: the run?
I knew the run was going to be tough. I have been struggling with a foot/calf injury since the 14th of August. I had missed workouts, especially the workouts with high intensity, and my longest run was only 29 km. My coach had 3h35’ – 3h45’ for the marathon in mind. I did 3h42’, so my run was within expectations.
The first ten miles on Ali’I drive were good. I only lost 5 minutes on the professional athletes. After those ten miles, I realised that I was not getting in enough carbs. I tried to eat more frequently, but I felt that I made a mistake there. When I got at energy lab, my pace had decreased. I didn’t crash, neither walked in the aid stations, but my pace was too slow. A consequence of training ‘not enough miles, not enough quality’. The last two kilometers, when you are very close to the finish line, but still have to do a block, were very hard. I really tried to enjoy, but at that moment, I was suffering. Also mentally, because, even though I hadn’t expected this result, it was difficult to lose the leading position so late in the race. Nevertheless, I am extremely happy with this marathon. It makes me believe that with an injury-free preparation and with more time to train and rest, I can do much better. I’m also convinced now that I can manage the high temperatures.
You almost even finished first female amateur overall, but got passed by three girls (of other age groups) in the closing miles of the marathon. Would you still have gotten the strength to fight for your position if one of them was in your age group?
I thought that they were of my age group! We didn’t get our age marked on our calf, so, with three girls that passed me, I was sure that one of them was in my age group. I really couldn’t run faster. After crossing the finish line, two volunteers had to carry me to the medical tent, where I had to lay down for half an hour! My sister, Valerie, sent me a text message with congratulations on my victory. When I read it, I was too tired and dizzy to realise what I had done. It even took me till the next day to realise it.
What did you do post-race? Did you stay at the finishline until midnight?
I first gathered with my family, friends and coach. Then we went to our Team Hawi house and took a shower. When everybody was ready, we went to Kailua again, ate at the Burger King , and then off to the finishline to cheer on the last finishers! That was an amazing moment: so many people there, all those happy finishers, everyone very emotional.
I had strange feelings the whole evening. My result was not sinking in, and I was not extremely satisfied or happy. I still don’t understand it, and I actually feel bad about it. I was focusing on the small mistakes I made, while forgetting the most important thing, namely achieving my goal: keep my head cool, stay hydrated, don’t crash. I think that I was still carrying the remnants of the concentration of the day. It took me till after the awards ceremony to be relaxed and fully enjoying my performance.
How was the awards ceremony?
It was nice, but I prefer training and racing . I don’t like crowds very much, I am often shy, and in first instance, I was not feeling like getting on that large podium. But once you’re out there, when you hear the people applauding, when pictures are taken, when you get the world champion jersey and the champion bowl, you feel extremely proud, happy and emotional. Then I really started to realize everything.
The party afterwards, was also great! I enjoyed every minute of it, and since I was dedicated driver (no alcohol for me and driving a big American car home), I also remember every minute of it!
Well, that World Champion jersey suits you. Will you be back to defend your title next year?
Yes, I will go back to Hawaii, but I turn 35 in August, so I will race in another age group. Hawaii is a beautiful island, Ironman Hawaii a great race, doing Ironman Hawaii a wonderful experience. I will work hard to equalize or improve my performance of this year, and I will enjoy every day of it.
Thanks for your time Stefanie and enjoy the off-season!