We caught up with some of the pros after this year’s Ford Ironman World Championship to get their view on what happened during one of the most exciting days of racing we’ve seen in Kona for a long time.
This day is always ridiculously tough. Earlier this year Andreas [Raelert] made us all look stupid in Frankfurt. Today I had 1:20 on him at 15 miles. I knew he was going to catch me, so I focused on my nutrition. When he caught me with three miles to go, I was feeling very good. I reached over and shook his hand and said: “No matter what happens, you’re a champion.”
I also want to thank Michael Raelert. I had a lead on his brother and all day long he gave me true splits. That’s a class act.
Towards the end I was having stomach cramps. I was pushing my hand right up under my diaphragm to try and hold them off. I didn’t want to blow it. Then, as we ran down Palani, I couldn’t believe he was going for the aid station. At that point in the race (less than a mile to go) you close your eyes, grit your teeth and go for it. I think it was his inexperience – he’ll look back at this race and see it as the one that got away. You don’t drink at the last aid station.
Over that last mile, I kept having images of Paula Newby-Fraser collapsing on Alii Drive with just a few hundred metres to go. I left it all out there. I was feeling so dizzy and my fingers were tingling. I didn’t make it to the press conference because I spent so much time in the medical tent.
At the bottom of the Energy Lab (21 miles) there was just 45 seconds between the three of us. Then I just overcooked on the way out. I got to see the race from the first row – it was unbelievable. At the end of the day, I lost to two superb athletes.
Last year I felt that my cycling was a huge weakness. I’ve spent a lot of time working on it, but I also think my new bike (she went from a 51 cm frame to a 47 cm model, and also rode 650 c wheels) made a huge difference. I was ready to get off the bike and hear that I was 20 minutes down. When I heard 11:45, I thought, that’s it.
As usual, I started off the marathon way too fast. I did the first two miles in 11:30 (5:45/ mile pace). I got through the half-marathon in 1:23 and was hoping to run under 2:50. (Her 2:53 marathon broke her own course record.)
Winning this race isa dream come true. There have been so many training sessions I’ve got through thinking of that moment, of crossing the line first in Hawaii.
I’ve had six wins this year, so my coach (Brett Sutton) told me to just go and enjoy the race. “You like dessert,” he said. “This race is the dessert part of your season.” My goal was to finish in the top 10. There was no pressure.
I did Hawaii years ago as an age grouper. I always dreamed of coming back and finish on the podium. Last year I didn’t have a coach. I swam like a swimmer, biked like a cyclist and ran like a swimmer. Brett changed everything. He taught me what it means to be a professional triathlete.
I’m getting used to it (losing to Carfrae). At Rev 3, she kicked my ass. Then she beat me in the swim off. (The two raced over 100 m in a pool, Dibens swimming backstroke, while Carfrae swam free style. Carfrae out-touched the former college swim star.)
I knew I was going to suffer out on the run. I figured I needed at least 15 to 20 minutes off the bike. The person who really impressed me on the bike was Caroline [Steffen] – she held me to three minutes for the longest time.
(Dibens won the final race of the year between the two – a race to see who could have more followers on Twitter by the awards ceremony in Kona.)
I didn’t even know if I was going to be able to start today. I’ve been dealing with an injury in my foot since last year. (When she came third.) It was the hardest year of my life. I didn’t think my foot was going to support me through the marathon. That’s why coming fourth this year feels like a victory.