764 Marc Attenhofer, SUI

764 Marc Attenhofer, SUI
Position in AG M35-39: 36 // Finish time: 10:08:48
Swim: 1:11:14 // T1: 0:02:27 // Bike: 5:20:32 // T2: 0:01:44 // Run: 03:32:51

Coach’s remarks: Nice insight into what I believe was a brilliant performance from Marc, thinking about race goals next year in Roth, well I will only accept 9 something hrs from Suisse.. Enjoy this read team!!

Race report Ironman Zürich 2011
Friday 08.07.2011
After a good night of sleep at a friends place about a 30min car drive away from the start line, which would be our home base fort he next three days, Martina and I had a good breakfast and I unpacked the bike.
The weather was perfect and we decided to have a closer look on the bike course. I already knew most of it from the time when we used to live in Zürich but still wanted to have a better feeling about it. So loaded the bike into the car and and off we went. I decided to do some of the climbs and descents on the bike to see how it all goes. It all went fine and we made our way to the race briefing.
We arrived at the expo area and I all of a sudden got super nervous seeing all this keen and lean athletes and everybody seemed to be in far better shape then I was. So kept our stay at the expo as short as possible. During the briefing we got told that the bike leg had to be extended by 2 times 1.7k and a few meters of climbing due to some ongoing roadwork. That was basically the only news, the rest was just the normal explaining of rules etc.
Spent the rest of the day with seeing family and friends.

Saturday 09.07.2011
Again great breakfast and off to do 15/15/15. Went all fine and I was happy to see how lovely the water temperature was and how easy the running went in 27°c.
In the afternoon we went to Zürich to check in the bike etc. and got everything ready for race day!
Back to HQ for dinner and a good night of sleep.

Sunday 10.07.2011 (race day)
Martina and I got up around 3:45am and I had some müesli for breakfast. We left our home base by 4:15am and drove to the start. Weather forecast was good fort he morning but there was also some forecast for thunderstorms in the afternoon.
Finally all done and set fort he race. Squeezed myself into my wetsuit and went down to the start line.
10 min to race start, swiss national ???????
The pros went off 6:55am. and almost 2000 age groupers were waiting fort he gun at the edge of the lake. It was a land start so I decided to go a little bit to the left of the whole crowd to avoid the worst of the carnage at the beginning. The swim went out straight and the first turn was to the left and after that it was actually a clockwise swim with a short (50m run over an island after 2k) and back in to the main land.

The swim:
Finally the gun went off and although i thought i would have positioned myself smart, i realized that it did not really matter where you are fort he first 500m it was war in water.
Stay calm is what i kept telling myself fort he first few hundred meters and eventually the situation seemed to calm down and I got into sort a rhythm. After 2k i crossed the little island checked my watch and was on 33min. more then happy with that i went on the second lap but started to cramp on my right calf and had to slow down and was finally happy to get out of the water after 1h 11min.

The bike:
T1 was pretty uneventful and a quick look at my garmin told me 1h15min. bang on target. The first 30k on the bike was flat as a pancake and I decided to push it hard to get into a nice rhythm. Unfortunately I had to stop after 5 min because I was loosing my aero drink bottle. I stopped to get it fixed and was back on the bike in less then 2min. The next 30k’ were pure pleasure until the bottle came off again and I decided to stop again and try to fix it for good, but told myself that if the bottle comes off for a third time to get just rid of it and use the normal drink bottles. Fortunately there were no further incidents so I could concentrate on the hills which were just coming up. I realized that i was still passing lots of people on the uphill parts and took that as a good sign at the same time I kept looking on my heart rate to make sure I would no push it too hard. The steepest part came after 85k on the first lap and 170k on the second lap. It is very steep but rather short section and especially on the first lap the place was absolutely packed with supporters and only one bike at the time could make it’s way through the crowd and it was like we all know it from some mountain finishes on the tour de france. People are screaming at you and you feel like a pro for a few seconds at least and it makes you forget your pain in the legs for a bit.
When I finished my first lap I was on 2h36 which was pretty much what I expected considering that the bike leg was 3.4k extended. The second lap a bit easier for me, since I found myself in a nice pack for pretty much the whole loop. I finished the bike in 5h20min. Was actually a bit disappointed with the second loop but most important was, I still felt pretty fresh by the time I got into T2.
Dropped my bike, got off my bike shoes, put on my runners and had to make my mind whether or not I wanted to carry my camel bag on the run with me or not. The weather which used to be quite sunny for most of the bike part just started to get overacted so I decided to start the run without it and hold on to the aid stations.

The run:
I was out on the run and race clock showed 5h 36min which was great because that meant I was still pretty much on target for 10h 15min.
The run was four 10.5k loops and there were supporters all over the course which made it quite nice to run.
I started running without even looking to much on my watch to check my pace, but to my surprise my legs felt really good and I got into min 50 k pace. After maybe 5.5k the track went trough the back side of a little park and that was the only part with no people on the road. To my surprise I just saw one person staying there shouting some words of courage and support to the athletes and as I got closer I realized that it was Chris Mc Cormack staying there all alone cheering on every single athlete passing him. I gave him a thumb up as I past him and It definitely helped me to keep up my pace. I finished my second loop and decided not to look at my overall time fort he rest of the run and just stay focused on myself. I passed the 20k mark and was still feeling ok. The weather had changed by that time and it was poring down like hell. I came into an aid station after 25k got some coke and water down and tried to eat a slice of banana which came straight up again and from one second to the other i got in panic mode. Am i getting sick know? Can I keep the pace up without eating by only drinking water and coke? A look at my garmin also told me that things were getting worse as I was running 5min 30sek per k and my legs started to hurt. Ok that’s it, this is where the race really starts. I have told myself so many times hat the whole thing is just a warm up fort the last 20k on the run and now I was right there and going through a very dark patch! I was thinking of Rawlie who told himself to harden the fuck up and get myself together again. I decided to run from aid station to aid station and break the last 15k into little bits and pieces. I managed to shuffle through the next 10k and was really glad to have Martina and a lot of other family members and friends along the course who supported me during the whole day but especially now. I went on the last lap and passed Chris Mc Cormack fort he last time, he shouted something to me which I did not understand but I got somehow out of my dark place and managed to push it again. Made it to the last turnaround and had 2.5k to go. I put myself together for a last time and pushed it as hard as I possible could. That last stretch seemed to go on for ever. When I thought everything was over on the last 200m I got myself involved in a sprint finish against a chick but decided to let her go first because I wanted to have my own finisher pick (yes it’s true I was real gentleman on those last few meters). Eventually I crossed the line checked my Garmin and was just happy as a little kid at Christmas!
To do an Ironman I needs a lot of commitment and as we all know it’s not possible without the support from your environment. My wife Martina was not only never complaining about all the training, but she was also my private coach on many little things and I could not have had anybody better on the whole journey with me.
It was also great to be surrounded by such an inspiring bunch of people for all the training sessions on the weekends and yes it does keep you going on race day when your body starts to fatigue but you know the team is watching you and even running a chat room. Absolutely awesome and thank you guys very much.
Of course there is Jason whom i met only 2 years ago when i had no idea about triathlon and here we are now with 10h 8min and some seconds which is more than I could ever expect. Thanks Jason!!!
Ok that’s it. Next stop Roth 2012 just have to think about a time goal now….

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