On Sunday, I raced IM Switzerland in Zurich. I woke up race morning to pouring rain and 10 degree Celsius temperatures. I had wished for cooler temperatures at IM China a few months ago – I guess my wish was just a bit delayed and not very welcome at this race!
The swim went as about expected. I had a little battle on my hands in the first hundred meters with a couple of the pro guys, but eventually things settled down and I came out of the water in 3rd place for the pro women.
I headed out of transition area wearing an extra bike jersey and vest as the rain continued to pour down. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so cold on a bike. My feet went numb after a few kms, and I continued to shiver for most of the ride. The descents on the course were tricky in the best of conditions – with a couple of sections where penalties were given out for using aerobars – so I decided not to take any chances in the rain. Braking became even more of a challenge with fingers that were not cooperating in the cold! Despite the weather, it was nice to see so many spectators on the course ringing cowbells, and yelling, “Hup, hup, hup, go Doh-na, go!” as I went by.
The first half of the marathon went well as I started to warm up, and I made up some of the time that I had lost on the bike. I was on target for a good run split, feeling like I could continue the pace and finish in the top 5. Unfortunately, somewhere around 25km, my legs decided to start complaining. I knew the other girls were suffering too, so I continued to push on while my legs were having an outright battle with my head. At 40km, I moved into 9th place, past the girl who had the fastest bike split of the day. I held onto this position for the last 2km, very happy to cross the finish line! It wasn’t the placing that I had hoped for, but like China, another battle against the elements that I was happy to overcome. What’s that saying about “What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger”…
So, now that this race is over, I’m really excited to do my next Ironman…..in normal conditions.:)