I would start my post race blog with a story within the story.
How did it happen that two Hungarians coming from the same small home town won the Ironman in Arizona?!
I have no idea.
We both grew up in a small town in the middle of the Great Hungarian Plains, without swimming pools (no wonder why we emerged from Tempe Town Lake together far behind the leaders…) athletic tracks, mountains, rivers or lakes….
We had what every kid had: Soccer. Playing anywhere, with 2 piles of sweaters serving as goal-posts. We played all day.
Even though our families lived within a kilometer of each other, we never played together, both because of the age difference, as well as the fact that we belonged to two different leagues.
We started triathlon at the same time, but never trained together or shared a coach.
After high school we took different paths, occasionally meeting at races.
Last year only the two of us represented Hungary in Hawaii. As it turned out, we both scored one of the best running times of the day.
Last Xmas I visited my Mom, and while running in the snowy-foggy countryside, I saw a figure moving fast in the distance – I immediately knew who it could be, so we did our Xmas run together.
He is blond, I am a brunette, and we have very different personalities. What do we still have in common? We share the same passion and humilty for this sport and our roots. Roots, as in background and roots as a plant in desolate country reaching deep into the soil to squeeze every drop of nutrition out of it’s surroundings so it can live and flourish.
That thought leads us back to desolate Arizona
I emerged from the water a bit later then expected, thanks to my ususal slow start. Somehow my improved swimming is still invisible in open water…
8 minutes behind the leader girls I stared the bike leg with a cool head. Our first lap was super fast due to the quiet weather, however from the second lap on we rode in a huge wind. I always hated wind, but now I welcomed the it like my friend, and I made a big move ahead while everyone else struggled with the hardening conditions. I took the face wind like a steady, long climb and the tail wind as a speedy downhill. This is how a flat bike course became hilly.
Even though I yelled my throat sick (I suppose everone else is deaf in these aero helmets ) with “FROM LEFT!” passing age grouppers, I still recieved a yellow card for illegal passing/crossing the middle line while passing 3 or 4 riders riding side-by-side….
The penalty for a yellow card is that you have to stop at the peanlty tent to register, which caused me at least 1 minute, considering the tent was set up on a slope. Once inside to register, after I signed up, they politely asked me to print my name…?!
After this little adventure I was still leading the race so luckily it did not effect the outcome much.
Arriving first into T2 I was criticized for my slow tranistion compared to Michellie….the truth is I took a quick toliet break. If I am after a new course running record, it’s better to take a pit stop during the T2 time instead of the pure running time. This was a strategic decision, not a mistake. Ironman is not about transition times anyway.
I did not chase records on the run, I simply wanted to bring this race home too. I did that without any problems, and still broke the record for best run time on this course.
My biggest surprise of the day was waiting for me at the finish line – the male winner with a broad smile – Jozsef Major from Abony, Hungary.
Honestly, I was happier for his win than for mine. He sprinted down 3 men on the last mile….that’s my boy!
I think there must have been something in the drinking water in our town
To sum things up I guess I can say I came, I saw, and I certainly conquered .
Soon I am heading home to enjoy the spoils of my victories, but trust me, as soon as they’re gone, I’ll be back….
See you in Kona!