Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Ironman CDA 2004

CDA Race Report
The road to Ironman CDA was anything but normal for me. Three weeks prior to Race Day I was lying in a hospital bed after a bad bike crash just praying that nothing was broken. God was watching out for me and fortunately I escaped with only a severe case of road rash. Problem was, how could I complete my training.

For the next week I did very little but let the scars heal. Two weeks out I needed to make a decision, I knew if I kept healing at the current rate my body could make it through an Ironman. I also knew that I wouldn’t want to be sitting home on race day knowing inside I could have pushed through, so the decision was made, I would compete and try to defend my title.

The days leading up to the race were filled with Ironman and press obligations, and an autograph signing for Inside Out Sports. Fellow Timex Team members and friends were there to race and I enjoyed some time doing some pre-race prep with them along with some carbo loading. It left little time to worry about my healing body and whether or not it would be ready.
Race day came with the normal race day concerns and jitters, and the hope that I could get some food down in the morning. I made my way to the swim start not really knowing what to expect on the first leg of the race, after all I had been in a lake once since the accident. The Pro men and women start ahead in the swim, I usually get beat up a little trying to stay with the pack. It was funny (at first), I was thinking how great it was I wasn’t getting clobbered in the swim then I realized it was because I was alone and in back (not funny.) My swim turned out to be average, a few minutes slower than last year. I entered the first transition in eighth place.

I was happy to be out on the bike, I love the course and was counting on making up some time on those in front of me. It always takes a bit for me to get warmed up, but once I did, I settled into a grove and had what I felt was a decent bike split. I would have liked to have closed the gap between Linley and myself but it wasn’t to be, she was having a phenomenal bike ride. I headed into transition in second place behind Linley and was planning for a quick run.

The day was heating up and I knew right away that I didn’t quite have that normal spring in my step but regardless I was going to give it my best effort. Frequent stops due to stomach problems made it difficult to close the gap between myself and Linley as she was having a career day. By the second loop I just wasn’t feeling right and in all honesty wanted it to end. The last 13 miles was a mental struggle but there was no way I was going to stop, it’s just not in my nature. I finished the day one minute faster than last year and second to Linley. I would like to congratulate her on a fantastic day. I remember that 1st Ironman win and what a feeling it is!

Fortunately there were so many spectators and fans out on the course. Many whom remembered me from last year or the local race week articles and were cheering my name. In those low spots they were a great source of encouragement, along with all the other Ironman athletes that were cheering during the run, thank you and congratulations.

I want to thank my sponsors, Timex, Inside-Out Sports, Clif Bar and Nabisco. Your constant support and belief in my abilities is so important to my success. To the Coeur d’ Alene Chamber of Commerce, the thousands of volunteers, Terry and Connie Williams and the people of Coeur d’ Alene thanks once again for a wonderful experience and I’ll see you at the races.

Heather Gollnick
3x Ironman Champ

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