As I decided just two weeks before the race (on the day when registration closed) to sign up for Bintan 70.3, I had no specific preparation at all for the race. At the end of 2015 I moved to Singapore and since then I trained only by myself just to stay fit as my new life here was challenging enough without any races. I swam and run regularly but almost no bike riding. The more time passed, the more I missed the training with others, to be challenged and to race again. For me it was probably more the mental switch as life got better in Singapore that I felt ready to race again. But also starting recently to train again with some groups showed me that I was still able to swim, ride and run strong. So, I thought to give it a try and to see where I am at now.
Athlete Lab: How was the energy and atmosphere amongst the participants, race staff, and spectators during race weekend?
I really enjoyed the atmosphere in Bintan during the whole race weekend, it was a very relaxed atmosphere until race morning. As not only at the race area but also at the hotel everything was perfectly organized for us athletes, there was nothing you had to worry about and you were able to just focus on yourself. After the race, every athlete was very happy and relieved to conquer this race, that is was a very easy going atmosphere.
By far the most rewarding moment was crossing this finish line. As explained I had no idea what to expect form myself, my last big race was exactly one year ago and I never raced a 70.3 IRONMAN in such challenging hot and humid conditions. By completing this race I had the feeling to be back in life. Winning my age group, coming as 2nd fastest female age-grouper overall and also qualifying for the 70.3 Worlds next year is an unexpected addition which is giving me a massive motivation to get back into much more specific training and more racing.
Athlete Lab: Which parts of the event did you find the most challenging for yourself physically and/or mentally.
The bike course was quite tough with permanent rolling hills, except a more flat part in the middle of the course. It is almost impossible to get into a consistent rhythm. But I like courses like that, however half way through I was not sure if I can keep my speed until the end of the 90km because of my current fitness. My decision to take it slightly easier on the second half of the bike paid off as by far the most challenging part was the run. Even the run was dead flat the humidity and heat forced pretty much every athlete to run much slower as usual. This is not only physically but also mentally very hard and you have to race smart. At the end, to start the run slow and making sure that at every singly aid station I cooled my body down and got enough to drink even though I had to walk a few meters allowed me to run strong until the finish line.