Winning an Ironman is a huge thing, but winning an Ironman 4 times in a row is just outstanding. After a disappointing race at the World Championships in Hawaii, where Diana was not able to finish due to an allergic reaction, she decided together with her coach, Joseph Spindler, to race Ironman Malaysia for a proper end-of-season wrap up. She reports:
Since the decision was made so close to the race, we could not do the proper build-up in the climatic-optimal environment of Phuket, where we normally (for the past 3 years) would have done my preparation for this hot and humid race. Instead, we decided to stay on my favourite place, Mallorca, and go to Malaysia only 3 days before race day. Preparation and travel went well. While I know the climate in Malaysia very well, I pulled all tricks for heat adaption; sitting for hours on my turbo, in a room with a closed window, and running with warm winter clothes in 20 degrees and sunshine.
I felt a huge amount of pressure going into the race. If you win a race 3 times, of course everybody expects another win from you. Also, the DNF in Kona because of respiratory distress from algae in the water did not exactly boost my confidence, but I desperately wanted to keep my throne as the “Queen of Ironman Malaysia”! Fortunately, the kindness of the athletes and Malaysian people, and the atmosphere of magic island Langkawi itself, always gives me confidence. When I exited the plane and put my foot on the ground on Langkawi, I could feel the vibes and I knew that it is going to be a good race.
The start line was filled up with 2 former Ironman winners plus Mareen Hufe – who just finished 11th in Hawaii. She desperately wanted to go for her first Ironman win, and so defending my title would not be easy. However, I was up to my game and all went well: 4th consecutive win, new course record, and 9th place overall. The fact that I had the fastest bike split on my Fuji bike for sure had a lot to do with its flying DT Swiss ARC 1100 DICUT wheels!
My coach has a saying:
“If it is not happy, it’s not the end.”
I’m very proud that I could turn it around after Hawaii and pull off such a fantastic race to finish my 2017 racing season in-style.