“Hooray! I did my first ever half Ironman last Sunday at Challenge Kraichgau. It was really tough but amazingly fun too!
I really enjoyed the swim completing it in 45min, which is a good time for me. It also helped that the water was a temperate twenty degrees and surprisingly clean! I was really impressed that I wasn’t the last one out of my wave to exit the water!
The bike route was incredible. Undulating hills through quaint little villages and a huge amount of support from lines of spectators. The High-5 drinks and gels that Beate had given me made me a lot happier during this part but I almost cried every time I saw someone cheering – especially my parents! It started to get pretty hot towards the end of my ride and I lost power during the last 20 k which was made up of three evil hill climbs. The other big problem was that my bike shoes started to hurt on both feet a lot, so pedaling was really painful. I finished the bike in 3 hours and 40 minutes, which I was pleased with as it put me ahead of my 7 hour target time.
My hope at that point was that once I got into my running shoes my feet would be fine. Sadly, not the case. The first 7 k lap was pure agony and I really thought I had incurred a stress fracture in my left foot. Plus I felt a bit sick from all the energy gels and drinks – I had to walk on and off for 2k! Somehow the pain subsided at the end of the lap and I was able to run, well… lets say jog. It was a sweltering 32 degrees by this point and there was hardly any shade. Fortunately there were lots of drinks and cold water sponges provided by the organisers and many locals sat outside their houses with hosepipes to spray the runners, so I never felt the heat too much, although numerous people collapsed. Lap two and three were almost enjoyable as I wasn’t in any pain, just very tired. I knew that the run was going to be very tough due to lack of running training because of a foot injury earlier in the year, but I finished the run in 2 h 40 and just made my 7 hour target!
It was a great experience thanks to a great location, great organisation and 40,000 spectators supporting the athletes all the way through the day. I really recommend this event! Other athletes told me that it’s quite a tough bike course, with 650m vertical climbs and some tight corners compared to some other events, but I think it’s worth it!”