Some days in an athlete's life are just perfect. You can deliver what you have trained for in many years, several hours on every single day. Unfortunately these days are not often race days... For long distance triathletes its often not more than 2-4 Ironman races a year. To find the key for a great result takes some attempts for some, even more for others and some will never find that key. From my point of view my last really perfect race day was the first Sunday in August 2010, when I could win the Ostseeman Triathlon for the first time with a new race record of 8hrs27min. Since that day I have done a lot of training, sometimes even too much. Even that limit had to be found. I lost my passion for the sport and regained it. I changed a lot of things and tried new things on race day and in training. A lot went wrong but I have learned a lot from my mistakes. Most about myself of course. I don't want to be to philosophical now. Jo, my coach, is better in that field. At least he has a degree in that ;-).
On 1st September 2013, three years and one month later everything came together once again and I could improve my personal best with about ten minutes to 8hrs17min. From one day to the next many doubts vanished. At least I could not have got everything wrong during the past three years ;-). But obviously I did not get everything right at once. But that's necessary to not only have a good, but a perfect day.
Finally my race on Sunday September 1st wasn´t just a good but maybe a near perfect race. A day that does not come very often. I could keep the swim group for the first time ever and just some guys could escape from that first big group which exited the water 4 min after the lead and more than a minute faster than last year. Orientation was easy since the swim took place on a rowing regatta course. Already on the bike I torpedoed all my plans. Originally I planned to have a controlled bike ride and to rely on my strength in the marathon. But on that day I actually believed that anything is possible. I tried to stay with Jens Kaiser as long as possible. Some of his attacks nearly killed me but somehow I could stay with him the entire 180K! I guess I have to consider bike riding as a strength of mine now... I always said that I probably will never ride the 180K under 4:30 and rather run the marathon in 2:45, but on that day we ended up with a 4:22 bike split (I still can´t believe it, and yes I admit that it only was 177K due to a building site. But many of the M-Dot or Challenge races do not care about shortened courses either). After that self-destruction bike ride I just hoped for that my legs are not the most destroyed ones. Encouraged by that fast bike ride and with the hope of a new personal best in my mind, the marathon with "wooden" legs went really well and I could extend my lead to nearly 10 minutes. I like runs that are not too easy and this one has a lot of bridges, zick-zack descents and even a circular stairway on each loop. The crowd was amazing and made it a little bit easier to push myself through the end of the run. It was a great feeling to be sure to have left everything out there on the course! It was a really overwhelming finish after 8hrs17min. This time still sounds strange to me, but I will get used to it.
I want to thank Jens Kaiser, because without him pushing so hard I would not have found the courage to push myself that hard on the bike! Thanks a lot to Uwe Jeschke and his team for organizing a great Triathlon race every year! Of course I want to thank the best supporter on this planet, Stephan Reis. I have never been supported that good/professional/emotional before. Of course I want to thank the entire teamTBB and its sponsors for making that possible. And a special thanks to my cervelo bike, which surely never thought to be that fast on a bike course when it was delivered to me ;-). Right now I enjoy some days in Norway.