As most of you can remember, I completed Ironman Florida in 2014. The swim was cancelled for that race. Ever since then, I have wanted to take another stab at doing a full distance triathlon (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and 26.2 mile run). I never felt like a completed a full Ironman without doing the swim.
During Summer of 2015, I decided I wanted to experience a triathlon in Germany. Germans are known for being very supportive of triathlons. I first tried to register for Challenge Roth, which is the largest long distance triathlon in the world. After not getting into that race, I registered for Ironman Frankfurt. Looking back, I am glad things worked out the way they did. Challenge Roth was a hotter race (I do better in cold weather) and training was already difficult enough since I had to do my long bike rides and runs in May and June in the humid Florida weather. There were times I couldn’t even complete my training runs in Florida.
The swim was held in an old rock quarry. The water was in the mid 70s, which made the race wetsuit legal for the amateur athletes but not professionals. I expected the water to be much colder than it was. The swim was 3800 meters. After swimming a 1500 meter loop, there was a short beach run, then a 2300 meter loop.
I felt pretty good the entire swim. It was uneventful. My watch measured the course at 4200 meters, but maybe I did a little drifting out of the lane. I remember thinking several times “where is the finish?” In training, I never swam that long of a block non-stop. I completed the swim in 1:15.29. This was in the neighborhood of what I expected my time to be.
The bike course was amazing. We left the rock quarry (which was south of Frankfurt), headed
through Frankfurt, then went through several villages north of Frankfurt. Each village had its own personality. Many people would come out and make a day our of cheering us on. Unlike Ironman Florida, Ironman Frankfurt had several decent size hills. I found that I enjoyed the hills as it broke up the monotony of being on a bike for almost five hours. It started raining hard toward the end of the bike ride. My goal was to complete the bike course in under six hours. I finished in 5:58.48!
The bike portion of the race is what I was most nervous about. I was scared to death of having a mechanical issue and not be able to complete the race. I had a huge sigh of relief heading into transition two. I had a little more than seven hours to make it to the finish line. For some reasons Ironman races in Germany end after 15 hours (they are 17 hours in the U.S.). The run course was a four loop course that was along the Main River. There were tons of people everywhere cheering us on! I passed by the condo we stayed at eight times. Several times I saw people out having a beer and envied them. Maria, Susan, and Aaron were able to see me quite a bit. My goal for the run was 4:30. I knew this was aggressive, but isn’t that what goals are for?
I was on pace for my goal until about mile 18. Then the wheels fell off….lol. At that point, I went to a run/walk strategy. I would jog to each aid station, which were about a mile apart. Then I would walk through each of the aid stations. To make matters worse, my watch died around mile 22. I finished the marathon in 5:01.24. This gave me a total time of 12:26.18. Not too far off from my goal of 12 hours.
This by far was the most amazing triathlon I have done. The finish area was huge. In fact, I never was able to find Susan and Aaron after the race. I ended up riding my bike back to the condo and calling them from my iPad (Susan had my phone) to let them know I was okay. I think this will be my last iron distance triathlon. I still want to do some half ironmans or shorter distance races. It just takes so much time to train for the longer distances.
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