Ups and downs, taking risks, hoping and fighting: all this is the Ironman Hawaii. Boris Stein himself reports at first-hand how he experienced the race…
In sports, there are days when everything runs almost automatically. You surpass your own expectation, come into a flow and grow beyond yourself. When I was able to keep up with the swim group around Sebastian Kienle for the first time, my legs felt good on the bike, worked together managed to catch up with the guys in the front; I thought I had caught the day I was dreaming of.
However, halfway through the bike I had to recognize that I couldn’t keep up with the pace of the others. I didn’t want to risk finishing the race. Unfortunately, I positioned myself badly in the decomposing former top group, so that I was among those who got dropped at the end of the ascent to Hawi. Together with Frederik van Lierde, I did my utmost to minimize the gap to the front group and make it difficult for the fast runners to catch up.
My average performance was comparable to last year. But this year I pushed a little too hard at the beginning of the bike course, while I went constantly last year. In retrospect, the decision to stay with the others and starting the bike course that fast was wrong, but that was the decision I had made when I was thinking about my race tactics. I was hoping this could give me the chance to take one of the top spots. When I started the run, I felt really bad right from the beginning, struggled to find any rhythm, but was able to go the pace I was hoping for. But in further course of the run I just dragged myself from one aid station to the next under the relentlessly burning sun. On the highway, dramatic scenes unfolded among the other pro athletes. I couldn’t believe that these are the best triathletes in the world on the road. Actually I’ve never thought of quitting a race that often. But there was no reason to drop out of the race, because I didn’t had any serious health problems and just suffered from the extreme conditions. Especially the documentary about this race shown on the German TV channel ZDF days before, presenting all the finishers, strongly motivated me at that point. If there are no beaten, there can’t be any winners.
A “usual Boris day” seems to be enough to reach a top 10 position in Hawaii. But since my Hawaii-qualification for 2018 is quite safe, I’ve got one year working towards a “special Boris day”.