Yesterday was a day we’ll never forget. Astrid and I have never been so proud of a finish. Never has Astrid fought more than yesterday.
Yesterday, Astrid was fit to the point at the starting line and she was back with a wide chest and full of self-confidence at the start. First time after the injury. She knew it was in her.
Astrid did a great job of swimming, caught a good group at the beginning and improved her swimming time in the race here by four minutes. What a start to the day.
A quick change to the bike, while three other athletes overtake each other in the transition zone and then competently rode their pace. The gap to the next two athletes of less than one minute was closed after 13 kilometres and together with the former 70.3 world champion Mel Hausschild, the journey continued towards Hawi. They lost some time to the top, but they did well on world champion Daniela Ryf. Ideal, especially since Astrid was able to keep her scores constant in second or third place in the group. The wind was constant from KM 40 onwards and the conditions became better and better for Astrid. The nutritional strategy was also perfectly implemented, feeling comfortable at the junction of the Queen K at KM 69, and the first attacks that Astrid undertook within the previously agreed boundaries went up to Hawi. In the Ironman, only one’s own values count and not what others do, especially in Hawaii.
Suddenly Astrid noticed again this nascent pain at the Sacrum, which she knew too well from last year. The injury went away again. Now it was time to stay cool. Since she knew with a little pressure to reduce it would probably not get any worse, she took a few watts to Hawi high back and lost a good one minute to the group in the climb. Downhill, the plan was to loosen the hardening muscles at a higher frequency and then find them on the way back to their values. I really admire this coolness in such an important race and this shows her real mental strength. Reflected in the heat of the race – in the truest sense of the word, the file shows constantly rising temperatures up to 40 degrees in the shade that didn’t exist – she analyzed and responded to the situation. So she could catch herself downhill and save some time. But already at the ascent back to Queen K, the muscles around the sacrum were already closing up again. In order to reduce the pain and tone, Astrid had to take out about 25 watts and lost important time on the way back. But she made sure that she could still run and so the races are held in Kona. Top 10 was still in when Astrid switched to the running track and she gave everything. She ran her pace coolly, which had been agreed before and because of the – unfortunately – saved energy on the bike, the circulation load was lower than usual. Since 42KM at 40 degrees will be hard enough at the back, we decided not to run faster than planned. Astrid made room by room and ran 45 seconds per mile faster than the athletes in front of her. Big names were present and the confidence rose again to find a conciliatory ending with a top 10 result. At the turning point on Alii Drive, when Chrissie Wellington cheered her on, you could see the glow in her eyes. Many of the top favourites were already out or without chance in the conditions. Pederson, Versterby, Beranek in the ladies or even Frodeno in the men. The merciless heat took its toll. Astrid, on the other hand, looked good. The food worked smoothly and every mile she took ice cream into her hands, which is the most efficient way to cool down, according to studies by Harvad University Medical School. The feet too, by the way, but that works so badly with shoes. She worked her way up to the competition and saw at the turning point how the distance to the rear also increased. On back to the city and Palani so high that the heart rate counters in the steep ramp remain the same. So speed down and start to pick up speed again. Here there was another goose bumps when a group of Swedes made it easier for her to climb with “heja” calls, too well she knew these calls from her victory at the Ironman in Kalmar. Astrid looked up at me and the radiance in her eyes turned into despair. The goal Top 10 so close and tangible at the pace, she shouted that the injury was back and hurt more with every step. Yet she kept fighting. It was all so close and the privations so present. With each uphill climb it became more painful and there are many of them on their way to the Energy Lab. It hurt to see her energetically fully there, but she was restricted muscularly, to know that she has the form and then this setback. After the energy rennet she had to loosen up the musculature for a short time, as the whole lower back closed. Symptoms similar to those of world champion Jan Frodeno. Astrid could not take up any more drive too much pain. From the target attack and later top 10 was finished. It was hard for them to come to terms with it, but all sporty size was about to do the thing. Astrid can be proud to have fought such a fight and she knows what form it was.
André Collet then commented very appropriately and from experience:”Not to give up is sometimes the last option, but also the hardest fight”.
So this statement and for Astrid it was a day that she can carry with pride in her heart, because she left everything out there and fought for her dream. Fighting everything and reacting coolly. I salute this outstanding achievement. And never before was a finish in the truest sense of the word so much deserved with blood, sweat and tears. 25th place is at the end of the day and is the sober result of the biggest fight and the most moving emotions I have ever experienced in sports.
Now it is time to give your body the necessary rest and enjoy the last day before your flight home. Just so much. She’s making plans again. Too much she knows what would have gone. Now the coach has to slow them down a little bit. It will not be allowed to attack again until next year. Health comes first and big races are certain.
Thank you Astrid for this fight. You’re a champ!