Hawaii Ironman 2014 – Helen’s Story

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2014-10-13 04.04.52This is Helen's report on her experience of the Hawaii Ironman 2014. I want to thank you Paul, for all your support during this year.  I have done all your training and stuck to your plan since I signed up. I have to say, it worked. I was absolutely perfectly prepared and ready for this race. And I was never ever so fit before. Thank you so much for that! Without you and your plans I maybe would not be able to finish this race in this way how I have finished that. THANKS for everything! Now I want to tell you something about the race. I try to keep it short but it is really difficult, because I have experienced so much, that I do not know where to start or to end. One report is maybe not enough and words cannot describe the feelings and the experience. The race itself deserves it to be a world championship course. And all what you hear about the race, the conditions, the island, Kona, the spirits are all real. On race day we all had tough conditions. Normal for Kona but the winds were stronger than they had been for the previous 10 years and it was record temperatures for autumn since 1985. Awesome 😉 SANY1573I was lucky that I didn't have the strong winds during my trainings sessions, if so I would have been scared and would have raced the race completely differently. During the trainings days in Kona I gave up all my hopes and dreams for finish time I was expecting, because I gained a lot respect for the heat and the wind (I know I told you that is was quiet, but the winds still were there and I really found them strong. Especially the crosswinds). I swam basically every day in the ocean just to get a feeling for the water. The strong current and the big waves I found I could handle pretty well. I learned to accept the wind. The heat I knew I would handle much better in the race because of all the aid stations. I decided to race the race by feeling and without my watch. I carry it but I have not payed any attention. I did not want to get interrupted by that. I also had no control over my HR. Swimming: It was a nice start because they separated the women from everyone. I could find a good space. And wow, they were fast. The first hundred meters I tried to stay with them, but no chance and then I got settled in. I had good feeling and no panic, no breathing problems or any other problems. It was just a long swim. About 1.9 km straight on feels long. The was back was even longer, because, I got a bit tired 😉 And we had a strong current. But I have to say I still thought I am good on a way back to the T1. A week before the race I did the training swim race. It was basically the same course, just 200-300 m longer, so they say and my watched show also the same distance. I swam 1: 16 h. Well, I thought on race day I should be able to come under 1:10h. The swimming felt so good that I had to look at my watch. Big mistake: 1:16 h and I was really disappointed about that. I took me 10 minutes to get that out of my head. Later I found out that everybody had a good feeling about the swimming and was really disappointed about the time. They said on average everyone was 5-6 min slower than normally. So, I was right. Theoretically 1:10 would have been possible. But I am okay with that. 0813_034954Biking: Well, one word? Brutal! For the first 20 miles I thought “Yeah this will be a great bike time” but then headwinds in Queen K. Untypically for Kona at this time of the day and slightly crosswind. From there on it never ends, no break, no peace. When I headed towards Hawi I got blown from the right side to the left side and was bent over. It was scary and tough. I never ever experienced winds like that. There was a moment that I wanted to quit. Really. I was ready. I could not do it anymore. But then I took all my strength together and was literally screaming in the wind “no, no quitting. You have no choice. You can do it and you have to do it” I believe in the power of the island and that I will be protected. I had 2 older men about 55-60 in front of me. The way they were riding the course helped me to calm down. It is sad that I did not know who they are, because I wanted to thank you them. This experience on the bike has made me proud, because in real life I would have never ever ridden in winds like that. I learned a lot about myself. But the price that I paid for my fear was a slower bike time. It was not that I was tired, I just was scared and wanted to be home, back in the Transition. I just have done what I had to do to finish the bike. I left a piece of my soul in Hawi. Really. The good thing is that I was strong. My legs were there. I never hit a wall or got insane tired. It just was mentally tough, really tough. Without my fear I would have been faster, I guess.
Helen Viehr
Helen Viehr
Running: It is also a tough course. Hilly, never flat and hot, of course. As I said, you get never a rest in Kona. Its relentless and difficult. But I had a good run.  Wow…I had strong legs and a good feeling. I just went by feeling. After biking I was relieved but I took a while to get that experience out of my head (still a few days after the race I could not see the bike). I could handle the heat pretty well. At every aid station I drank water and coke and get ice in my jersey and sponges over my head. It felt good. I also never hit a wall. I just wanted to finish. After the energy lab I knew I would finish. It was really long hard 8 km. Nutrition: I did a good job. I never ever was so well prepared with nutrition. I had a plan how much I have to eat when and I did it and it worked out perfectly. I have also used by biking and running the special need bags. The time that I lost there was worth it. The finish: AWESOME. I have no words for that. It was a great race. I was ready and perfect trained and prepared for that. It was hard, brutal and mentally a challenge. But would I do it again? YES! Because no matter how tough it is how difficult it can be it is the best race in the whole world I am happy to be a Kona finisher. I never will forget that race and I hope I can do it again. Please Paul, get me back there, do your best and I know you will... In another email I will talk to you about me ideas and dreams, hopes, goals for next year... Thanks so much again. Helen Viehr
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