Ironman 70.3 World Championship 2018
It all started a year ago when I podiumed at Santa Cruz 70.3. Right after awards, we had a decision to make. Should we take the spot to go to South Africa or not. I say “we” because this is a decision that my wife, Christelle, and I had to make together. South Africa is not an easy place to get to and if we took the spot, it would be our big trip of the year. It didn’t take much time for her to decide, she really wanted to go, so when they called my name, I immediately raced my hand, and said YES! The trip felt so far out that I really didn’t think about it until after my crash in April.
Getting to Nelson Mandela Bay (Port Elizabeth)
Saturday (Women's race, day before my race)
Since I slept in I didn’t get to watch the women swimming, not from up close at least, I could see them for very far out from my bedroom window though. The bike course is completely closed, so spectating on the bike course is not really an option. It was a lot of fun watching the women, mostly during the run.
Below you can see some pictures of the women that not only I was cheering for, but also that did an amazing job during a pretty hot run. Ok, just a quick shout out to the six of them. From left to right top to bottom: Ana Valeria Prado, from Guatemala, fun fact, I went to the Austrian School and she went to the German School in Guatemala. We’ve known each other for a very long time and we just now reconnected, through Instagram. She is a fellow Guatemalan in South Africa. Heidi Hattenberg, we didn’t know each other before this picture, we had also connected through Instagram through a mutual friend that lives in Louisville, KY. I swam with him at Lakeside, and he coached her years later. He found out that we both were going to be racing and made the connection. Flaca Guerrero, I don’t think I need to introduce her, I think she is the most instafamous person I know. I first met her in Austria for World Championships there, she needed a pump, and I happened to have one. I recognized her from her account, and we introduced each other. Flor Fraga, we also met in Austria, at Zell Am See, she is an amazing Argentinian triathlete, who lives in Panama. Christina Ekonomi, this is the second time we meet each other, the first time was at Santa Cruz 70.3, I just happened to see her walking by and introduced myself, we followed each other in Instagram also. Kimberly Von During is also another person I follow on IG, what is funny is that we know so many of the same people, we had just never met. We still have not really “met” other than this quick interaction while I was cheering and taking bad pictures simultaneously. Cheering for all these women, really got me excited to race the next day.(clicking on any of the pictures below will give you a slideshow)
After the race I took a nap, got everything ready and went to drop off my bike and transition bags. T1 and T2 were at different places, so I dropped off my run bag first, which I couldn’t access race morning and then rode my bike to T1.
I came out of the water, ran towards T1, saw my parents, Emma and Sophie, said hi to them and made it to my T1 bag. I ended up swimming 24:52, good enough for 5th out of the water in my AG. The volunteers at T1 helped me get my stuff out of my bag and the swim stuff that I was left behind in the bag, this was so nice. Grabbed my bike and headed out.
I ended up biking a 2:25, which was still top 20 on the bike. I was pretty happy with that but take a look at the difference between the elevation change from Ironman and the actual elevation change map that I got from my Garmin. It says that it’s only 2100 feet of gain, but it was closer to 2500. It was a pretty technical course, with speed bumps and steep hills with turns.
My legs felt surprisingly good as soon as I started running. Looked down at my watch and was running 6:15 min/mile…way to fast, slow down Conrad, I told myself. I saw my parents and the girls as I was coming out of T2, I could hear my dad from a mile out. Waved at them and started to really run. I was feeling pretty good, but it’s incredible how many people were passing me running much faster. I kept looking down at my watch to make sure that I was holding my planned pace. Also when I got to the mile markers, I was calculating to see if my watch was accurate. It was, these guys were merely much better runners. Pretty amazing to see actually. The run was relatively flat, except for the 2 turns they were uphill, which got me out of my rhythm but the downhills felt terrific on my legs. It was weird, I know it was cold, and it was raining, but to me, the run felt hot, I guess because of the humidity. I always grabbed a sponge with cold water, and each time it felt so refreshing. I saw my family 4 times on the run, which was awesome. The volunteers were so good, I never felt like I missed anything I needed. I always grabbed a bag of water and some ISO. The plastic bag of water is incredible, you can see me holding one in the picture on the right. I know it’s not great for the environment but for the race is absolutely amazing. When you grab it, it’s cold, you don’t have to drink it right there, you can carry it for a little bit and drink it little by little.