Finally it’s race week again :-)

(Please scroll down for the English version!)
Die Tage wo ich kurz/kurz gelaufen bin sind hier leider vorbei. Für ein paar Tage darf ich diese Woche nochmal Sonne schnuppern. Am Mittwoch Reise ich zur IM 70.3 WM in die USA, nach Chattanooga in Tenesee. Bis vor ein paar Tagen war ich noch recht lustlos, nicht weil ich nicht längst wieder Lust auf einen Wettkampf habe, wohl eher weil ich mir selber nicht ganz im Klaren bin in welcher Form ich dort am Start stehe. Ich bin mitten in einem großen Umfangsblock vor Kona. Die Weltmeisterschaft auf Hawaii hat gerade für mich Priorität. Zum Glück gehörte aber auch etwas Speed-Training in den letzten Wochen noch dazu. Inzwischen bin ich auch sehr gespannt und kann es kaum erwarten am Samstag an der Startlinie zu stehen. Soweit ich das aus dem Kursprofil alleine beurteilen kann wird das ein Rennen das jeden fordern wird. Ich bin mit sicher, es wird sehr spannend!
The days where I went short / short are unfortunately over here. For a couple of days, I can enjoy the sun again. On Wednesday I travel to the IM 70.3 World Championship in the USA, to Chattanooga in Tenesee. Until a few days ago, I was still quite listless, not because I do not want to race again, but probably I am not quite clear in which form I will be at the start. I am in the middle of one large block before Kona. The World Championship in Hawaii has just priority for me. Luckily, however, there was also some speed training in the last few weeks. In the meantime, I am also very excited and can not wait to be on the starting line on Saturday. As far as I can judge from the course description alone it will be a race that will challenge everyone. I’m sure it will be very exciting!

Back in the game 

She is back in the game. After long term injury during winter season she finished with a strong fourth place at IM South Africa in April, still not being in full shape at that time. Astrid secured her Kona slot and was therefore able to take some time off again and work on her injury again. Building her fitness she felt ready for her summer races to enjoy what she loves, racing in triathlon, but unfortunately she earned another lemon by having torn her quadriceps in the first race. So again she had to rest and work on her rehabilitation instead of racing. Now she is finally back. Last weekend she finished the sprint distance Triathlon in Eupen and she was not only happy to finish second but also that her body felt strong again and didn’t show any weaknesses. Just in time to continue with her training blocks leading into the next races, the double world championships, IM 70.3 WC in Chattanooga and the IM WC in Kona.Astrid did find her balance again.

Wish her luck and join her on her #roadtokona #performingperfect 

The championship double – Das WM-Doppel

Planing 2017 we were quite sure I will not race the 70.3 world championship. But it came totally different. Well, in my latest blogs you can read about my injury during the off-season and heading into the season as well as my crash and following injury in June so I had to cancel my summer races. Luckily my muscle did heal fast and I am back to training and the preparation for Kona has not been effected too much. Kona is the big race for me this year and starting as well at the IM 70.3 WC does not change my plans in any way. We decided to go there to have a chance racing against the best athletes of the world before going to Kona, to see how much speed is left and feel the spirit of racing. I always enjoy racing the best and strongest athletes. I won’t be in a perfect form for racing the middle distance but I’ll give it a shot 😉

Having done only one race this year so far I am very excited heading to these two big events. I will open the second half of the year with the Promo at Triathlon Eupen, a sprint distance near my home and I am really excited about that as well, not having done any shorter races and speed work for some time 😉

I feel fresh, fit an healthy. You might wonder what have caused my injury. After having time to think about it a lot, me and my team are kind of sure that it was due to the stress I put onto my shoulders. It is not always easy to handle your job AND sport and the stress level in my job did rise kind of high during the last year, which I did not notice earlier. I did wonder for a long time why it happened when I did not do any sports, taking time off after the 2016 season, but there is this phenomenon that your body works as long as you need it until you give it a rest. Thats our theory at least. Since I monitor my training stress, heart rate and sleep quality already for a long time, I try to keep track of my stress level and adjust my training load to avoid overtraining and keeping the risk of injuries low.

I have learned a lot too and made a decision which I am not going to tell you today, but you will notice soon. Since I made this decision I feel free and balanced again 🙂

I hope you find your balance! See you soon,

Astrid

Injury on my Scandinavian tour – Missing to defend my title at Indeland – Building for two World Championship

Jetzt ist es schon einige Zeit her dass ich etwas geschrieben habe. Sorry dafür.  Wie ihr euch denken könnt war ich in der Zwischenzeit trotzdem gut beschäftigt 😉 Nachdem ich glücklich den Ironman South Africa überstanden hatte, und nicht nur überstanden, sondern deutlich besser ins Ziel gebracht habe als wir vorher aufgrund der viel zu kurzen Vorbereitungszeit gehofft hatten, wollten wir meinem Körper etwas Ruhe geben. Daher habe ich einige Tage gar nicht trainiert. Das war allerdings einfach, da ich in der Zeit viele Dienste in der Klinik hatte. Wie immer wenn der Sport deutlich zu kurz kommt habe ich die Bewegung vermisst. Da wir aber in keiner Weise unter Druck standen, da ich  für die Qualifikation für Kona  schon genügend Punkte hatte, konnten wir mit einem sehr langfristigen Aufbau für Kona beginnen. Auf dem Weg dahin wollte ich jedoch im Sommer einige Rennen bestreiten, aber keine Langdistanz. Beim Blick in den Rennkalender waren die Rennen schnell gefunden. Ich wollte sehr gerne wieder nach Schweden, wo ich meinen ersten Ironman gewonnen habe, und habe mich daher für den 70.3 in Jönköping angemeldet. Zur Vorbereitung auf das Rennen sollten der 70.3 in Helsingor und der Indeland-Triahtlon dienen. Da es keinerlei Druck gab noch irgendwelche Punkte sammeln zu müssen habe ich mich gefreut einfach nur des Triathlon wegen am Start zu stehen. Die Vorfreude war riesig.

It’s been quite a long time I didn’t write something here, sorry for that. As you can guess I was busy in the meantime. Happily having survived IM South Africa, and not just survived, but finishing much stronger than what we could have except from my short preparation for the race, we wanted to give my body a rest. So I took off some days from training. That was kind of easy because I had a busy week in hospital 😉 But as always I started missing to swim bike and run soon. Now that we weren’t in any rush or had any pressure anymore since I had already enough points for Kona we started a long term build up for Kona. My wish was to do some races in summer. No more long distance, but some shorter races. Looking through the race schedules it was easy to decide. I wanted to go back to Sweden, where I did win my first Ironman, and signed up for IM 70.3 Jönköping. For preparation we also choose to do two more middle distance races before to get me into peak form. I was really excited. There was no pressure for collecting points, it was just about triathlon and racing and giving the best on race day.

 

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Wenn ihr genau hinseht, dann seht ihr das der Helm gebrochen ist. Bei mir waren es zum Glück nur Prellungen, Schürfwunden und Schleudertrauma. Looking close you can see that my helmet is broken, I had sone bruises, abrasions and a whiplash injury.

 

Zwei Woche vor dem Wettkampf in Dänemark hatte ich noch einen Sturz mit meinem Rad. Zum Glück ist nicht schlimmeres passiert. Der kaputte Helm wurde rasch von Giro ersetzt (DANKE!). Prellungen, Schürfwunden und Schleudertrauma waren relativ rasch auskuriert (DANKE Dirk König bei Physio Vital). In der Rennwoche selber merkte ich auf einmal dass mein Körper bereit war. Bereit für das nächste Rennen. Mit der Verletzung vom Winter hatte ich noch lange zu tun und war noch lange damit beschäftigt die Muskulatur wieder aufzubauen. Aber genau in dieser Woche fühlte sich alles endlich wieder normal an. Dazu kommt dann auch noch dass Helsingor wirklich ein schönes Städtchen ist, die Landschaft, aber auch kulturell wird dort einiges geboten. Am Wettkampftag lief es dann leider nicht wie geplant. Mein Schwimmen war ganz gut, das beste seit langem. Vor allem der Start war prima bis ich irgendwann die Lücke nach vorne nicht gefunden habe und bei dem Versuch einen anderen Weg zu nehmen hinten raus gefallen bin. So habe ich mich irgendwann in der dritten Gruppe wiedergefunden. Bis dahin war alles soweit okay. Auf dem Weg zum Rad hatte ich dann plötzlich starke Schmerzen im linken Oberschenkel und konnte  nicht mehr laufen. Es fühlte sich wie ein starker Krampf an, nur eben viel schlimmer. An Laufen war nicht mehr zu denken, also bin ich gegangen bis ich es irgendwann an die Mount Linie geschafft hatte und auf das Rad durfte. Ich beschloss  zu versuchen Rad zu fahren, in der Hoffnung dass sich die Muskulatur lockern würde. Die ersten 10 Minuten waren die Hölle, zum einen der Schmerzen wegen, zum anderen aber vor allem deshalb weil ich sah, dass ich nicht annähernd Wettkampfleistung trat. Es war klar ich würde immer mehr Zeit nach vorne verlieren. Und so sind aus gut drei Minuten nach 10 km schon 6 Minuten Rückstand geworden. Mit und mit konnte ich das Bein aber normal bewegen, wenn auch nicht den normalen Druck geben. So blieb es für den Rest der Radrunde, die Schmerzen waren fast weg, aber normal war das nicht. Irgendwie habe ich noch gehofft dass sich das beim Laufen ändern würde. Wieder in der Wechselzone angekommen, musste ich erst mal vom Rad runter klettern und dann war es eigentlich auch schon vorbei. An Laufen war nicht zu denken, die Schmerzen waren wieder so schlimm wie am Anfang, es zerriss mich innerlich. Also hieß es aufhören, doch so einfach ist das im Wettkampf irgendwie nicht. Es ist schon unglaublich wozu einen so ein tolles Publikum und das Adrenalin bewegen können, ich habe mir doch tatsächlich die Laufschuhe angezogen und wollte es mit Gehen versuchen. Zum Glück hat Chris aus einiger Entfernung gesehen dass etwas nicht stimmte und kam zu mir rüber gerannt um mich aus dem Rennen zu nehmen.  Das war meine Rettung und die einzige richtige Entscheidung. Klar war ich frustriert und habe einige Tränen vergossen. Zurück zu Hause hieß die Diagnose dann Muskelfaserriss. Die nächsten beiden Wettkämpfe muss ich leider absagen. Etwas gutes jedoch hatte der Wettkampf, ich habe einen wunderschönen Ort venengelernt, viele nette Menschen getroffen und weiß, dass ich mit der Vorbereitung auf den Punkt topfit war und sogar meine Leistungen aus dem Vorjahr bereits jetzt übertreffen kann.

Two weeks before the race in Denmark, the IM 70.3 European Championships I had a crash with my bike. Luckily I didn’t have any severe injuries. And just as race week arrived I felt that my body was ready. Ready to race again. For a long time I still had to deal wish my injury I had during winter and was working on building strength again. But just that week everything felt normal. Helsingor is just a beautiful place. But everything did fall together on race day. My swim was okay. I had a great start but then I struggled to keep contact to the fast woman and even struggled to stay in my group firstly. Slowly I managed to get back into the group. Either way, it was one of my fastest swims and I existed the water in a perfect position to attack the podium. Running to my bike I started to really struggle. I felt a pain in my left quad, like a cramp, just even worse. Trying to stretch and loosen it, I only made it worse. I wasn’t even able to run through transition, I had to walk. That was so frustrating. I decided I try to start the bike, being in lots of pain I wasn’t able to push my pedals. It took about ten minutes until I finally found some rhythm, but far away from what I am usually able to push. And from three minuter in T1 the gap to the front was growing to 6 minutes after only 10 km. It is a two loop bike course and you pass the center of the city. Coming trough the large crowd they were cheering loud. I wanted to cry because I would have liked to enjoy it but was just suffering. Since the pain got better I was hoping for a good run. I should have known better, because I still was not able to ride my normal watts. Crawling off my bike the pain was even worse. It is surprising how a huge crowd and adrenalin can influence you and make you try. I had to walk and every step did hurt. I just didn’t want it to happen so I got my running shows on and wanted to just walk and maybe see if the pain will go away. Chris was waiting for me somewhere down the run course. Looking of me he saw my head going up and down (as I was humbling) and ran over to the transition where he had to shout very loud until I was able to hear him. Luckily he came to safe me to start the run. As you can guess I was really frustrated and sad and yes I did cry. Back at home I got diagnosed with a torn muscle in my left quads. What means that I had to withdraw from Indeland Triathlon as well as IM 70.3 Jönköping. But I also took some positives with me, having been at a great place, meeting some very nice people and knowing that I was perfectly fit on race day and I am already stronger than I have been last year.

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In der Zwischenzeit habe ich die Einladung zur IM 70.3 WM in Chattanooga erhalten. Eigentlich wollte ich die WM dieses Jahr ausfallen lassen, aber unter diesen Umständen habe ich die Einladung sehr gerne angenommen. Es wird für mich kein „A“ Rennen sein, aber wo kann man schon besser seine Form testen als wenn man mit den Besten der Welt zusammen an der Startlinie steht?

In the meantime I got the invitation to the 2017 IM 70.3 World Championship which will be held in Chattanooga, and I am happy to accept the invitation. It won’t be an A race for me, but what place and race is better to test your performance before the World Championship in Kona than racing against the best of the world?

 

Thank you all for your support, everyone out there who follow my  passion. My family and friends for being me just who I am. My husband and coach Chris (triworx-coaching.com) who support me, believes in me and helps me to get stronger. My medical support team: Dirk and Berit and Conny and Andreas. And of course all my sponsors:

before and after IM South Africa – wish I were a pro

I felt like I wanted to write down my schedule leading into the race and coming home, because I don’t think many people know what I take on to live my dream. And I think I am good at it, just I also believe I could be even a better pro triathlete if I don’t had to work that much. But that’s kind of a shame in the sport, you don’t get much support (even not after winning 2 IM, multiple podiums, setting bike course records and the fastest bike split world wide 2016 in an IM and setting the fastest IM-time of the year for your country), there is no funding because it’s not an olympic sport and if you are not on a team it is hard to find brands or private organisations or persons to support you (financially), racing for your country.

If I had a choice I’d do it different but there was none:

Thursday: Taking my exam for neonatology, back home 4h bike ride, 1 ho run, 1.5 h swim

Friday: 4h bike ride, 1h run, 1 h strength, start shift @ 3pm, home 10.30 pm

Saturday: get up 6 am for 6 k run, yoga, 8am shift starts, home @ 9.15pm, some dinner, to bed @ 11pm

Sunday: changing to daylight saving time, 1 h less sleep, get up 7 am, start shift @ 8am, home @11.10pm

Monday: get up @ 6.40 am, breakfast, osteopathic treatment, setting up new saddle and rear hydration, bike trainer session for 3h, lunch, nap, packing, stability & yoga, swim practice, dinner

Tuesday:  breakfast , bike session for 2 h, 1h brick run , yoga, blackroll, pack the bike, drive to FF, fly to SA

Wednesday:  arriving in PE @ 2pm  , 1.5h bike, 30 min brick run 

Thursday:  breakfast, 10 am Physiotherapie, swim , register, rest

Friday: 1.5h bike, 15 min run, 30 min swim, briefing

Saturday: 45 min bike, 15 min run, bike check in

Sunday: race day, get up @3am,  start 6.35 am, not the best swim, moderate bike and run…. 

Monday: rest and awards, paling my bike

Tuesday: flying home

Wednesday: arrive 6.30am in Frankfurt, be home @11.00 am, unpack, lunch, go to work and start shift @3pm, get home 11.30 pm

Thursday get up 6.30 am, go to work run to the doc 3.30 pm

Friday:  stability, yoga, lots of sleep, start nightshift @ 9.45 pm

So after those busy days it is no wonder I get sick a few days later. It is just a cold, but it costs 3 of my off-days from clinic when I had the possibility to just train and rest.

Always hard to find time for recovery but doing my best to rest 😉

Nor worries, I’ll be back!!

#myroadtokona – IM South African Championships 2017

For a long time I didn’t write on my blog and just posted on social media. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to write but I just couldn’t. During winter happened a lot.  Just to make sure you stay with me, I start at the very beginning:

Last season was an up and down, with not finishing IM Frankfurt did mean not going to Kona in 2016 (we had decided to get there either with one IM or not at all). So I aimed for early points and did get them by racing IM 70.3 worldchamps in Australia, winning IM Barcelona and placing 4th at IM 70.3 Miami. Since Frankfurt I already felt a minor problem with my gluteus and hips, nothing to worry about, I thought, but I did have cramps every race I started and my stride just didn’t feel normal. Even Chris did ask me once why I did have changed my running posture from mid foot to front foot and I just answered that I didn’t changed it but it just happened (and felt happy about it). That should have been the point to stop and ask someone what was going on. Well at least we did ask but didn’t get the right answers. So we just kept going and hoping it will just be okay with having massages and doing stretching and drills. When I was able to win Barcelona in sub-9 I thought it might not be too serious. Then in Miami I still had one of my best bike splits (and the fastest of the day), but running didn’t feel normal at all. First day after the race I asked to go for an easy jog to get rid of my cramping gluteus, believing it would be better than resting. The flight back home made it even worse. Finding some rest the first week back I did hope for recovery which didn’t happen, gluteus got even worse. So I started training with almost no intensity, starting my runs with having pain in my right hip which did disappear every time after a few minutes. So I decided to go for one of the local running competitions which meant to do also speed work. On November 15th I went out for 5 x 1 k. It took me some time to settle into a nice rhythm. Intervalls worked out better then ever. Only the rests in between made me almost cry, pain got worse. But still not feeling any pain during my intervalls I kept going. Just to realize after I finished my speed work that I had no idea how to get home. It was still a 4 k jog home and it took me forever. This was the last day I did run for a long time. I was in pain walking, I was in pain resting, sitting and even lying – I was distressed. 

An MRI on Thursday didn’t show any significant pathological signs. Knowing that, I thought I just might need more rest and more massages and manual treatments. Friday night we went by car to the movie theater, me on the right side of the car. And then I wasn’t able to get out of the car. I wasn’t able to lift my right leg at all and had to take it with my hands and put it outside like I was paralyzed. Shocking!

I thought walking did at least look normal and every time Chris asked me why I was humbling I groaned at him that I didn’t, until also strangers asked me what had happened. There was no way to ignore it any longer that something serious was going on. Swimming was only possible with a pull boy and riding my bicycle only on my indoor trainer with almost no effort. For the last week of November I had signed up for a seminar in pediatric intensive care medicine in beautiful Blaubeuren. Not only intensive care seminar but it was also to be an intensive seminar since the talks started 7.30 am each morning until 8 or 9 pm with a break of an hour for lunch. First I had planed to have some running sessions during this week, make some trail runs, have fun. But I had to change plans and took my indoor trainer and bicycle with me. After another week of no training but swimming or better say pulling I just wanted to give my legs and body some turnover whilst sitting on a chair for 12 hours all day long. At least I did learn a lot and really can recommend this seminar to all German speaking pediatricians. The food was great as well 🙂 Just my walking didn’t get any better, but worse neither. End of the week there was a hike planned and I just wanted to get outside. Bad idea. It did only last 90 minutes. Going a bit uphill was fine but the way back, having some downhills I had to fix my hips with my hand to be able to walk anyway. I barely made it back. So I prescribed myself: no more sports at all. Back home I immediately saw my doctor again, got treatment, but nothing worked. With help from a friend I finally found the best orthopedic doctor I met so far. I was totally destroyed, willing to travel anywhere if just somebody could help me. As soon as I contacted her she just saw me. Being a former Olympic qualifier she knows how you feel being injured. When I told her my story she knew what my problem was. She even didn’t need to examine me, which she did anyway just to be sure. The same day she made me see an osteopath. The first time since 6 weeks I felt that something positive was going on, just a minor step, but something did work. I met another osteopath who also helped me a bit but the pain in my hip didn’t go away, still not being able to walk. Just before New Year’s Eve I met Berit, the sister of my orthopedic, also a physiotherapist and osteopath who also sees a lot of athletes. And after her treatment I didn’t have any pain. She wanted me to take 2 more days of rest and then start running again for 20 minutes. So I did. I immediately felt that I was still having a schon relieving posture and didn’t think it was good to keep going like this. I tried it 2 more times and then we had to decide to stop running again. I made appointments with her in Hamburg where she lives and works to get another treatment in the second week of January. At least I was able to push the pedals again on my bike trainer and was back to swimming. No big efforts but at least some. After this second treatment she got me back in my running shoes 🙂 Really slowly but making progress from day to day. I started running 10 minutes a day, after a week I did it twice. We did built it up like this very slowly, still having a relieving posture and not being able to stretch my hip for along time until it looked and felt almost normal again. In the middle of February I was able to run 10 k again, just easy effort and flat. Instead of a strong schedule of swim, bike and run I had a strong schedule of rehabilitation training, stability training and work at the hospital. In the time left I squeezed in my „normal“ training. Seeing Berit again in February she gave me the GO to increase my volume and go for my training camp at end of February, but kept my rehabilitation work doing every day. In between I still saw my other therapists and now have build a perfect network. I now see my physiotherapist every week, see my osteopath every 4-6 weeks to check on my body and meet Berit every 2-3 months or as often as necessary.

But back to the story: Training camp went very well. We had 8 days of great training in the southern sea alps, some long rides on the bicycle, a lot of brick runs. Most of them starting fast and also had my first run longer than 75 minutes. And it all did work very well. The day of our trip back home I did a two hour run in the morning with increasing my speed on the last half hour. I was so happy that even after a tough week of training I was able to run some k’s in Ironmanpace. For the first time I didn’t feel my hip at all this week. Before I still had a strange feeling like my hip being tired (no pain). But this week I did enjoy running again. Didn’t last long though. Sitting in the car for an hour I already felt the pain coming back. Anyway we had planned to stop at least every 2 hours to get me do some stretching but now I really needed to work on it. Having our first stop Chris got shocked when he saw me walking. In his eyes it looked like I did walk as I did back in December and January. I knew I wasn’t walking normal but I also knew it was different from what I felt back then. Stimm on our trip home I contacted Berit who did answer immediately. Back home I did my hip routine and went to bed. Now I had to admit that something was going on because I again did feel a discomfort. The next morning she gave me an additional hip routine which I was supposed to do after having done a 20  minute run…. and it did work out! I was so happy!!! Also I knew I was kind of safe because I would meet her again the next weekend. Feeling better from day to day we decided to stick to our plan and test how far I can go. So on Friday I had an Ironman specific bike session with some Intervalls and on Saturday a 28 k run, my longest so far (3 weeks before the race), again with increasing pace towards the end. In the evening I saw Berit and she was very happy. Just from the therapists view I did look much better than before, she didn’t find any major problem. You can’t imagine how happy I was, it might actually become true that I’ll be on the start line of IM South Africa on April 2nd to chase my points for Kona.

Well, not the last time of a setback. Back at work the next week I got asked if it would be possible I could work a full time job again (I did cut back my hours in February) and only a few minutes after being asked I started humbling again like in December. I just thought, this cannot be true! What did I do wrong?? I was able to take some minutes to just lay down in our office, come down and do a bit of hip routine. Getting checked by my physiotherapist the next day we were sure it wasn’t a setback but just my soul crying :-/ I had a though schedule, maybe not wise to register for my neonatology exam one week prior to the race. Anyway, I managed to calm down at least a bit, nailed my training sessions and was perfectly prepared for my exams, which I happily passed. Not much time to relax the next days as I was on duty all weekend, really looking forward to leaving on Tuesday. To be sure I didn’t take any minor or major problems with me I had a last body check with Andreas (osteopath) on Monday. After arriving in PE on Wednesday we did go for an easy bike and run in the afternoon. On Thursday I saw Marolien (physiotherapist) who checked on me a last time that I didn’t have any muscular problems from the flight (thanks for making the contact Kyle!) she herself raced the Ironman and she got hit by a car about 4-5 weeks before the race and she still made it to the start and from start to finish! CONGRATS!!!

About the race itself:

I needed at least to place 7th to get a safe Kona slot. I knew I wouldn’t be able to have a fast race, but of course I dreamed of the podium. And I was really excited for raceday.

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My swim got much stronger. So my plan was to catch a group and somehow have the swim of my life. Did not happen 😦  From my trainings we knew I hadn’t the fitness on the bike like before IM Barcelona and I missed a lot of running. So our plan was to take it kind of easy on the bike, and went out with a lot less power than what I raced last. It seemed like the other girls in the front did push very hard and they gained some time on the first of two laps, only Daniela Ryf, the reigning world champion didn’t go much faster, so either she didn’t have a good day or had a similar strategy I thought. Passing Chris at the beginning of lap 2 he shouted at me to go just 5-10 watt harder on the second lap. And just as said I did go some minutes faster. I had to be very patient all the time. Well, I know what it feels to exit the water far behind but usually I gain place by place much faster. Not this time, holding back. Counting places I moved from 20th after the swim to 6th after the bike, not realizing I overtook Nikki in T2. Racking my bike I hit my toes, but anyways this didn’t bother me much longer. Running off the bike felt easy and smooth. We just changed strategy here and decided to not go out for an even pace but start a bit faster to gain some time. It was going to be a very hot day out on the run. The crowds made it a bit easier, they were cheering loud! From the middle of nowhere I started to struggle with a pain in my right knee it did bend when it wasn’t supposed to, it came and went away and came back. Trying not to think about it too much, but didn’t help, it slowed me down. Thanks I have a dream and I believe, I just thought „never give up, keep smiling and keep going“. I was able to settle into a new rhythm. In between I made it to 4th place, knowing that close behind me are 3 or 4 girls chasing me. Instead of looking back I kept looking forward, counting k by k. I still wasn’t going for the 7th or 4th place, I was going for as many points I could get, I was willing to fight for my road to Kona. I had already did put so much blood, sweat and tears into it for my comeback and that made me defend my 4th place until I crossed the finish line 🙂

The next day I didn’t know how to handle my emotions. On the one hand I was soooo happy I made a safe Kona slot, on the other hand it wasn’t satisfying not to have a close fight for the podium. Because I race to fight for the win and compete with the best. 

I love to say thank you to everyone who believes in me: My husband and coach, my family and friends, my sponsors and partners AND my docs, physiotherapist and osteopath! THANK YOU for BELIEVING in me and MY DREAM!

Fotos: Ingo Kutsche, Chris Decker

So langsam ist mal gut mit Winterschlaf ;-)

Ich habe hier lange nichts mehr von mir hören lassen. Nicht weil ich nicht wollte – irgendwie finde ich einfach nicht die Zeit. Zur Zeit bin ich froh wenn ich Job, Training und Reha und einen Hut bekommen. Was von Tag zu Tag nicht einfacher wird, aber aus einem guten Grund, denn ich kann wieder (fast) normal trainieren, aber zusätzliche Einheiten sind gerade wichtig, dass ich mich vollständig erhole. Was mir diese richtige Winterpause beschert hat wissen wir immer noch nicht genau, aber wir haben es im Griff und das ist das wichtigste 🙂

Ursprünglich hatte ich geplant wie im auch im letzten Jahr einen frühen Schnupperwettkampf zu machen und hatte dafür dieses Wochenende ins Visier genommen. Jetzt stehe ich selber nicht an der Startlinie, bin aber natürlich neugierig wer früh in die Saison startet und so habe ich mir heute mal die Startlisten angeschaut und werde die Rennen auf jeden Fall verfolgen und habe natürlich auch meine Favoriten 😉

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Zur Zeit bin ich sehr optimistisch, seit ich wieder trainieren kann steigt die Form stetig und viel schneller als wir uns das vorgestellt hatten 🙂 Anstatt draussen in der Kälte bin ich viel drinnen im warmen Wasser gelaufen und bin jetzt versiert im Depp Water Running. Gar nicht so unanstrengend 😉

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Habt ihr denn schon eure Rennplanung gemacht? Ich bin mir noch nicht ganz schlüssig wo ich dieses Jahr an der Startlinie stehen werde, was meint ihr? Wo eröffne ich meine Saison und wie geht es weiter?

Bis bald, eure Astrid

Mit fettem Polster in den Winter(schlaf)

Bei meinem letzten Wettkampf der Saison 2016 ging es nochmal um alles oder nichts. Die Reise nach Miami hatten wir geplant weil die Lust auf den Wettkampf selbst nach einer langen Saison (seit Januar) noch da war und ich trotz der Langdistanzvorbereitung noch jede Menge Spritzigkeit im Tank hatte. Selbst im Wasser zeigte die Formkurve weiter bergauf und somit startete ich die Reise selbstbewusst mit dem Podium als Ziel. Am Ende wurde es der vierte Platz und dementsprechend spielt ein wenig Enttäuschung mit. Doch bei diesem Rennen bin ich über mich hinaus gewachsen. Insbesondere mental war ich so stark wie nie zuvor. Wie schon bei den letzten beiden Rennen hieß es für mich wieder Bestzeit beim Radfahren und wie in Barcelona beste Radzeit des Tages, sowie neue PB auf der 70.3-Distanz. Und somit kann ich auch mit einem vierten Platz und bereits über 3000 Punkten auf meinem „Kona-Konto“ entspannt in die Winterpause gehen.

Beim Schwimmstart konnte ich mich aus dem Getümmel raushalten und gut mit anschwimmen, habe dann aber die etwas schnelleren Füße verloren und mich in Gruppe 3 wiedergefunden. Es stellte sich jedoch bald heraus, dass es eher ein Bummelzug war, so dass ich die Initiative ergriffen  und die Gruppe aus dem Wasser geführt habe. Dass das Schwimmen dann doch wieder eher eine Ernüchterung war, war eigentlich die einzige Enttäuschung an dem Tag – okay neben dem verpassten Podium. Der Wechsel war okay. Und ab ging aufs Rad.

Die letzten Einheiten fanden auf meinem Rollentrainer statt.

Die letzten Einheiten fanden auf meinem Rollentrainer statt.

Die ersten Meter erforderten ein wachsames Auge. Zunächst führt der Kurs durch Downtown Miami, dieses Jahr mit einer kleinen Umleitung aufgrund einer Baustelle, außerdem gibt es einiges an Hindernissen, wie Schlaglöchern oder Bumps, wie in einer Großstadt so üblich. Dann ging es 21 Meilen nach Nordwesten auf dem Highway. Es war ein klarer Herbsttag mit 28°C (im Schatten). Der Wind kam aus Nord, Nordwest und wehte einem auf dem Weg hinaus genau und ziemlich kräftig ins Gesicht, so dass es hieß sich klein zu machen und zu treten. Das klappte auch sehr gut und ich konnte, auf Platz 17 nach dem Schwimmen liegend, eine Konkurrentin nach der anderen einsammeln. Am Wendepunkt lag ich dann auf Platz 6 und mit dem Wind im Rücken habe ich den Turbo gezündet und mich bis auf Platz drei bis zum Wechsel vorgearbeitet. Nach einem schnellen Wechsel  lief ich vorsichtig an, konnte aber schnell meinen Rhythmus und auch mein geplantes Tempo finden. Bei einem Rückstand von ca. 2min20sec war der Sieg somit noch möglich, war ich doch zuletzt in Australien schneller als Elli und Leanda gelaufen. Ohne den fehlenden Fahrtwind merkte man schnell, dass die Sonne sehr kräftig war und es ein heißer Tag werden würde. An den beiden ersten Verpflegungsstellen habe ich zwar etwas zu Trinken greifen können, doch Wasser zum Kühlen war nicht griffbereit und das kühlende Eis war ein zu großer Brocken als dass ich ihn hätte halten können :-/ . Hätte ich hier schon gewusst was das für die kommenden Kilometer bedeutete, wäre ich stehen geblieben und hätte mich in Ruhe verpflegt. So kam es dann aber, dass mir wirklich schlecht wurde was ich zunächst nicht wirklich einordnen konnte. Ein erstes Gel hatte ich schon genommen. Ich konnte mir gar nicht vorstellen noch eins zunehmen, allein der Gedanke daran… doch ich merkte, wie meine Beine nach Energie verlangten und somit dachte ich mir, dass es egal ist ob ich mich jetzt übergebe weil mir schlecht ist weil ich nichts esse oder weil ich was esse, und habe mich dafür entschieden viel früher als üblich weitere Gele zu mir zu nehmen. Zum Glück die richtige Entscheidung an diesem Tag. Mit etwas mehr im Magen lief es sich direkt besser und auch an den weiteren Verpflegungsstationen konnte ich genügend Flüssigkeit aufnehmen und mich mit Wasser und Eis kühlen. So gestärkt konnte ich mein Tempo wieder verschärfen und die auf Platz 2 und 3 liegenden Athletinnen kamen wieder in Sicht. Es wurde zunehmendend voller auf der Laufstrecke und es war ein hin und her an den Verpflegungen, so dass teilweise die Seite gewechselt wurde und so kam es zu einem Frontalzusammenstoß mit einem anderen Teilnehmer. Innerlich schäumend vor Wut, über dieses Missgeschick und über meinen Einbruch zu Beginn des Laufs holte ich auf den letzten Kilometern alles aus mir heraus was nach der langen Saison, den letzten 3 anstrengenden Wochen und diesem heißen Tag noch in mir drin war. Somit war ich super glücklich als ich im Ziel einfach nur noch zu Boden sinken konnte. Ja, ich habe mich wirklich darüber gefreut! Auf Platz 12 im Kona-Ranking liegend kann ich mir nun eine wohlverdiente Pause gönnen. Das war der erste Teil der #roadtokona2017 – more to come 🙂

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Lockeres Warm-up vor dem Rennen 🙂

 

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Überglücklich alles gegeben zu haben 🙂

 

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Ganz nach dem Motto …

Sub-9 Club

„Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.“

Every Race is different! You never know what you get on raceday. You know the distance you will go and you know the course profile and the climate, but if you are going to have YOUR day that’s sadly nothing you can plan but only hope for.

Although I had a great season so far, placing 1, 2, 3, and 2×5, my goal races didn’t went as planned. So instead of heading to Kona this year I went to IM Barcelona, looking for some early points for Kona 2017 and another victory. That’s what I came for. Once again struggling on the swim I wasn’t too far behind the leader, so I was still in good mood in T1, just realizing, as I made my way to my Cervelo P5 that my left quads started to close up. I took it easy, tried to relax and kept going, but it only got worse. I even had to stop close to the mounting line and tried to stretch it out. Somehow I made it onto my red bull, at first not flying at all. The first 3k of technical section through narrow streets of Calella we weren’t allowed to go into the aerobars, so fine for me, still time to stretch, massage and work anyway on my quad to get it again ready to race. Passing the roundabout at 3k, allowing to go into the aero position I was surprised I could do the position, even better than any other, so I got even more optimistic cause it’s manly a flat course in Barcelona. I knew I was 6 min behind the leading woman, the ever amazing fast swimmer Lucie Zelenkova. Approaching the first turnaround halfway out I already gained 90 sec. I started to calculate and tried to stay calm and pace myself, if I would just keep gong like this I could catch the other girls at 90 k, so still much time left. And so far everything seemed to work out as we had discussed it before the race. Going out just felt easy, having a tailwind, the way back, facing a headwind was still fast. Shortly before halfway through the bike, I spotted a group in front of me and Chris shouted at me that’s only 20 sec, and shortly after that I passed them, taking the lead. It was a mixed group of us pro woman, some pro men and AG men. Although I caught and passed them I did not manage to break away. So it was a game of being patient again and staying focused. On the way up to Argentona I attacked again and tried to get away from the pack, not looking back a single time, even going down I pedaled as hard as I could just to get passed again some km later. On the last turns and slight uphill I again managed to stay in the front and made my way to T2. Still not sure if I could stand on my left leg and swinging of the bike I  took it easy, and then running felt kind of okay, even sitting down to take on my Asics did work. I just left my bags and ran out of T2 when Anna came, so I knew I did not have much of a lead. I wanted to take it easy in the beginning of the marathon, knowing that it will be hard on the second half as always, but something made me run much faster than planned, feeling just fine. Knowing that this was very risky I still kept going and getting payed off by building my lead more and more. The run course is mostly flat with some short down- and uphill. Each time passing this part of the course I got scared my leg would shut down, close up again. It did not feel smooth but I was kind of hopeful I could make it to the finish. Going onto the last of three laps I knew I could bring the race home in 1st position if nothing unexpected happened. I did not smile at all, being in pain but tried to fake a smiling face – seems like it did not work at all 😉 only on the last two km of the run, when I knew for sure, even if I had to walk I would take the win, I just could not but smile all over my face!

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Taking home my second IM victory, setting a new PB on the bike, the run and finish time of 8:54:27 entering the sub-9 club, setting a new bike course record and putting down the second fastest female bike split in 2016 with 4:40:13  (Daniele Ryf had the fastest time in Roth) I was more than happy!

Congrats to Lisi Gruber and Anna Watkinson for competing the podium, AND of course, congrats to Patrick for another great race and win!

I am loving enjoying to cross the finish line, I wanted that tape and I got it. The probably best part of winning, except for the victory itself, the ceremony and the shower of champagne is coming back to the finish line for heroes hour to welcome home the last finishers of the day.

I am so thankful for all your support and messages, it’s overwhelming! I am proud of having the best coach and husband on my side, believing in me even when I struggle. Friends and family I often don’t have time to see and of course my partners in triathlon.

First step is taken on my mission #roadtokona2017

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IM 70.3 WC 2016

We had a great time in Australia and felt like home. For the first time we had a homestay and were so lucky. Never met before, but just some days later felt like being friends (or even more family!). For me it was the first time in Australia and I immediately felt in love with the people, the country and the style of living. Good and healthy food, even better coffee and perfect training conditions. We not only enjoyed the lapped 50m pool but also attended the swim squad (thanks for the warm welcome!). If this wasn’t enough, we met with Mel Hausschildt who showed us around on her training routes. From the first day on we were getting familiar with the area around Noosa. Last trainings went perfect except running felt strange, my stride felt somehow different. Having one of my best massages ever we found out that this was caused by a sore glute. We worked on it and I felt fine and fresh, ready to race:

My day did not start well, I somehow got stopped at the swim start and it felt like ever to manage it to swim to the front, just to realize I missed the group. Kind of trying to not make it even worse, I put lots of effort into the swim, so I was more than surprised when Chris told me it was a PB in the swim. Good way to start a race.

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Now I was ready to rock it on the bike, that was at least the plan, but sometimes it comes different. The run in T1 took forever. Just thinking if they maybe changed the rules and I didn’t know, I finally got to my red bull. In short distance to Laura I started the bike. Closing my shoes, approaching the turnaround, my left hamstring shot down, I had a cramp I never had before. Trying to get rid of it with just moving and pedaling did not work at all, every time I bent my knee it got worse. So I had to rest and stretch, I clapped and massaged it and all the other did pass me. Rolling like this for already 5 minutes I just thought that I am not coming all the way to DNF and no matter what, I will finish the race. Some minutes later I was able to push again with both legs. It still was there and it felt strange but surprisingly I was able to stay with my expected watts. I caught back the other girls, just to take them with me until the 50k mark. I spent a few k’s riding at second weighing up my options, riding in second, saving some power and saving energy for the run but going slower or making my own race. I went for the second and I am glad I made a fair race. I pushed really hard on the last 20k to make a move from the group and finally did. When I jumped off my red bull at the dismount line, well I didn’t jump due to my sore hamstring,  I was already on the run course trying to catch as many girls as possible and having one of those runs I had in my other races this year. I wasn’t with myself in that moment and so it happened that I did open my helmet some seconds too early, but that’s the rule and I got to close it again and again to first rack my bike. Loosing again some seconds… what a day, I stayed calm.

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Starting into the run I immediately felt that I had to work hard. It did not feel like running that day, my stride was short,  I could not push. I never felt the rhythm, it was just hard work and I guess it did look as horrible as it felt. Don’t give up and keep pushing and smiling was what was in my mind and so I kept fighting and even passing some girls, finishing 14th.

Breaking into tears cause of being dissapointed by such a black day due to what happened during the race. It took me some days, exactly 3, when I was back at work on the preterm intensive care and all my colleagues where nothing but happy for me. Now I am proud of what I achieved, PB in the swim, the bike and overall, placing 14th in the pro field at the 70.3 world championship.

Thanks to everyone who believes in me and helps me make my dream come true, for this I work hard, every day.

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Thanks to our families, the Stienens, the Deckers and the Hamblins!!! Thanks to Chris for pushing me, understanding me, loving me!

And of course thank you to all my partners.