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AUCKLAND HALFIRONMAN 2. PLATZ MÄRZ 2010
Like EVERY single year that I competed at the Auckland Halfironman we had beautiful weather on raceday this year as well. It was a bit windier than previous years but still nice and sunny and warm. Yay!
Now, I have to explain why I dedicate this race to my little friend Isabela. Isabela should be born on April 20th 2010 but she couldn’t wait and was born 24 weeks (!!!) premature. I met Isabela’s parents Marco and Emma about three weeks ago. Unfortunately it was a rather shocking first get together…because it was actually my very first car accident (in 13 years drivers licence) and totally my fault too. But fortunately Marco (the driver of the car I hit) and myself didn’t get injured and both cars were repairable. Still, Marco and Emma were not able to use their car for another fortnight to see their daughter Isabela in hospital. They had to improvise a lot. I am still so sorry for the inconveniences that I had caused them. However, Emma and Marco have two very big hearts and forgave me and even invited me to hospital to meet their little daughter. A great honour for me and it almost broke my heart to see this delicate little human being with oxygen-tubes sticking to her face and a tiny straw leading straight into her stomach for feeding purposes. After visiting Isabela I got to know Emma and Marco a little bit better and after lunch at Auckland hospital they told me they would like to come and support me at the Auckland Halfironman. Unbelievable!!! One great great honor for me. Before I left hospital Marco and I exchanged wristbands – so I am the proud owner of a very cool Columbian wristband now that keeps reminding me of the toughest little girl I have ever met (and her very lovely parents of course)!
The hardest part in a triathlon race for me is the run. And when I finally reached the “world of pain” on the last 7kms of the race I kept reminding myself of Isabela. What this wee little girl is going through is so much more and the pain in my body nowhere near the fight she is fighting right now.
Swim: It was a beautiful an calm morning. Perfect for a smooth swim. Because all athletes are sent off at the same time this always creates a nice battle field of the “elite” and age-group mixed bunch of swimmer. I had a guy with a big mustach swimming next to me who kept hitting me into my head and face so hard that my first goal was to get away from him. But no chance…he stuck to me like bubble gum. However, I could keep a safe distance away from him after the first boy to avoid his fist but still have a nice little bruis above my left eye days after the race. Overall I am quite happy with my swim time. The results show swim plus first transition. T1 took me at least 2min. So I guess my swim time was around 29minutes. Which is pretty good for me.
I absolutely LOVE the Auckland Half bike course. My bike split including T2 was 2:41:52h. So the actual bike time must have been around 2:40h. I had hoped to stay under 2:40h this year. However, due to the wind I could not quite get there. Almost though ? And I am pretty happy with my effort. My Bike+T2 time was the 2nd fastest female bike split (behind Julia Grant) and 11th fastest bike split overall (including men). The course has literally NO smooth road surface but all good rough Kiwi country roads which makes it an even tougher ride apart from being undulating with a couple of good hills creating four climbs out and back to Kawakawa Bay. I managed to catch Janine Simpson and Julia Grant at around 70 kilometres into the ride. However, it didn’t take long until Julia decided to put the hammer down and passed me again. I tried to stick to her but hitting the second last hill before Kawakawa bay she just pulled away and my legs had not too much left. Julia actually managed to put another 4minutes into me from kilometre 70/75 onwards. “I love hills” she said smiling after the race. I can definitely confirm that!
Unfortunately Belinda Harper (who just smashed her first Ironman race in 9:48h at IMNZ two week before the Auckland Half) ripped her bike chain to bits and had to pull out of the race. I sooooooo wanted to see how the two of us race if B has IM-eggs in her legs and mine are “fresh” (apart from Challenge Wanaka). In previous years it was always me doing CW+IMNZ and then the Auckland Half whereas B solely prepared for Auckland. This year she promise to race against me on tired legs. So BIG BIG Thanks to Belinda and Good Luck for the World Champs in Kona (B producied the fastest female age group time at IMNZ in Taupo!!!).
My running time unfortunately was another shocker with 1:43h. Looking at the men’s fastest Run split though (1:24h) shows that the run course is everything else but fast. It is a three times 7 kilometre laps course which is great for spectators (THANKS TO ALL YOU AWESOME SUPPORTERS OUT THERE!!!). The first two laps I felt really good however totally died on the third lap. But it wasn’t my legs it rather felt like my entire rip cage was strained making it hard to breathe. BUT I kept thinking of little Isabela in hospital and that put everything back into perspective.
I overall finished in second place (the third time in Auckland – after coming 3rd last year) in a total of 4:56h which was about 6 minutes slower than last year. BUT the bike course was different to last year and it was a lot windier this year.
Here are the top five female and male finisher results for the AKL Halfironman 2010:
Female - Auckland Half Ironman
Name Swim+T1 Bike+T2 Run Total
1. Julia Grant 28:48 2:39:21 1:34:34 4:42:43
2. Celia Kuch 30:44 2:41:52 1:43:35 4:56:11
3. Janine Simpson (Sax) 27:07 2:48:25 1:43:58 4:59:30
4. Jo Carrel 31:57 2:51:16 1:43:02 5:06:15
5. Susan Swann 35:12 2:57:11 1:45:46 5:18:09
Male - Auckland Half Ironman
Name Swim+T1 Bike+T2 Run Total
1. Mark Bowstead 1 23:26 2:18:17 1:28:03 4:09:46
2. Jamie Whyte 25:07 2:20:24 1:33:16 4:18:47
3. Tom Francis 27:14 2:28:30 1:24:26 4:20:10
4. Peter Hughes 26:17 2:29:09 1:30:57 4:26:23
5. Mark Cross 28:21 2:30:42 1:31:46 4:30:49
The FINISH: I won’t ever forget my finish at the Auckland Half. When I crossed the Finishline Marco and EMMA were standing right in front of me under the finish arch with biiiig smiles and shouting at me “you are our number one!!”
This has definitely been the most unforgettable race finish for me in about 5-6 years of Triathlon!