When I qualified for the 2016 Ironman World Championships in Hawaii, my goal was to finish amongst the top 5 competitors in my age bracket. When I reached the transition zone after cycling in 19th place, the chances of making that top 5 seemed far from possible. That said, I shifted my thinking to positive thoughts as I knew so much can happen during the marathon. I ran relaxed and with confidence and ended up having an very good race, finishing the marathon in 3:03h. This meant I ended up 2nd and far exceeding my own expectations. When, after a few weeks, I looked back at the race and all I had achieved, I thought to myself that I could push myself even further and wanted to see how far I could go, so came in to 2017 with that in mind.
When I sat with my coach, Reto Brändli, for our annual season planning for 2017, we looked in to which Ironman races I would need to compete in with the goal of qualifying for Hawaii. We decided Ironman Austria on July 2, 2017 as the main qualifying race to aim for. This race seemed perfect as it meant at the start of the year I would be able to attend a training camp in Thailand, focusing on swimming and cycling. In February I started with an Olympic distance triathlon in India (Goa), and in May and June, I competed in 3 half-Ironman races (amongst some others). I also took part in the Ironman 70.3 European Championships in Elsinore (Denmark) where I was the fastest amateur athlete for age class (30-34).
At this point, I was really looking forward to and felt ready for Ironman Austria when it arrived.
I was able to train well leading up to it and remained injury-free during all of my training. With my husband Pablo at my side, I had the best support team I could hope for during the race. He was able to give me my split times during the cycling leg, as well as during the run, which helped me maintain a controlled race when pitted against the professional athletes competing. I came home as the first amateur on the day and thus qualified for the Ironman World Championship in 2017.