Back to the Ironman of Nelli Szanto

G4 opens its blog to Nelli Szanto to share her experience about preparing and running an IronMan.

I kept thinking about what could happen during the race, especially the day before the start. That’s why I decided to share with you my Ironman experience in Austria 1st july.

The Ironman race starts with 3800m of swimming. It’s the first discipline of the day it’s a very good warm-up. Fortunately, I avoided stampedes at the start of the race so I did not have any problems at respiratory level. I swam in the aspiration of a person in front of me, I saved a lot of energy (I produce less effort than if I was alone) and I traveled a good part of the distance behind him. A thought came to my mind : “Here I am, I started, I can do it !”. The last section of 1km took place in a water channel with fans on both sides of the channel who encouraged us, see so many people, really carried me I felt honored to be able to compete in this race. I finished swimming in 57 minutes, 1st in my age category, and 125th overall.

iron man nelli

Leaving the water the crowd was impressive, I ran to the transition zone for 300m I retrieved my 661 transition bag with all my bike equipement. I picked up my shoes, my bib and helmet, quickly drank a gel and ran for my bike in the transition park. I found my bike easily because it shined in the sun and I went for 180KM bike.

ironman nelli

The path was very beautiful and technical with a lot of up and downs, it made me anxious, I told myself how am I going to accomplish this alone? But with my bike we were one that was so less boring. This thought encouraged me. There were 3 climbs plus an exposed part with headwind that made me spend a lot of energy … The first 90 kilometers went very well I completed them in 2h45min I was strong. The second part I put 15 min more because at km 127 I had a soft blow I did not have a good pace, I had the information that I was in the 2nd position in girls but the 3rd was very close. I said I must not break down, I tried to analyze the situation, is it worth it to have a good time on bike or save energy for the marathon? So, I chose the 2nd option. I have recovered to the maximum to have no problem on the race. My first negative thought was at about km 150: “How am I going to run a marathon with such heavy legs?” I was trying to ignore this thought and tried to positive it by telling myself that I had already gone swimming and cycling and there was only the marathon left.

Ironman nelli

Have you ever seen people run a marathon after 180km of cycling ? It is pretty funny to see cyclists go from one sport to another because the coordination is not the same. I quickly recovered my racing bag I changed my shoes and I started to run. While turning on the path, I saw in the crowd Cico (my husband) and Anna, who gave me a big ovation. I kissed my husband and banged in Anna’s hand and started running again. I needed 500m to relax my legs and fully entered my race, I felt so good that I did not feel the first 8km, and I recommend long distance cyclists run 10km after the bike. I ran in a very good pace (5min to 5min15 / km), but unfortunately the 9th km I started to have a stomach ache because of the many gels, isotonic drinks and other not very natural. I preferred playing safety and stopping at the bathroom. I conceded two minutes, but after that stop I felt much better. I ran again on a beautiful path, we ran on the lakeside where we swam, in the city center but my favorite part was on the beach because there were a lot of people who pushed us and encouraged us. On the refueling points they watered us to better withstand the heat, but the weather was perfect with some clouds that filtered the sun’s rays. There were two 21-kilometer laps, but the hard part was to say that there was still one left when you cross the line. At 14km from the arrival my husband and Anna shouted to me that the battle for the 3rd place was launched because there was a girl not far behind me, I thought that I had to keep my rhythm, but knowing that I told myself that I did not want to lose my 3rd place, no time out I could do it ! At Km 23 I started to have a stomach ache again, I started to panic because I knew that I could not stop at the risk of losing my 3rd place so I clenched my teeth. At km 26 I felt that I was going into hypoglycemia, the symptoms appeared I had chills, I had to choose between eating gels to recover or give up! so I stopped at the toilet but unfortunately they were occupied I waited 1min but I left not to waste time, 4km after I stopped again and I lost 2min. After this stop I started to eat again and drink as if my life depended on it, I got back in my race I knew I was going to finish. At the last 3 refreshments points I drank RedBull to give me wings, I was extremely relieved on the finish line and I quickly calmed down when I knew I was 1min from the podium I finished 4th. I was frustrated to be beaten with such a small gap but I was happy with myself because I fought, I think that if I had properly managed my stress during the race I would have the podium. Overall I was happy because I gave everything, I finished in 10h40, 33rd of my category on 336 and 484 in the general out of 2315 participants. The feeling of adrenaline I felt during the competition allowed me to feel no pain, but when I received my medal all my concentration went away I relaxed and I collapsed from fatigue, I had a hard time getting out of the area so I was tired.

Ironman nelli

When I was little, I stopped the sport at high level, everyone thought that I was not able to become a sportswoman with results, even when I was in the Olympic selection. This time, however, they were very stressed for me, encouraged me, believed in me as if I was in an Olympic competition and it was a wonderful feeling.

I want to thank Saucony Hungary, who believed in me helped me to live this wonderful experience, as well as Dr. Lenart Agotanak and Lehoczky Peternek, who helped me mentally, at Runner’s World, G4 Dimension, Garmin, Bianchi Hungary, Bringaland, 575 factory, Viwa vitaminviz, Ensport, and Rudy Project, and all my friends who provided me with materials, and finally my husband and Anna who supported me all day.

I hope this article will be a source of inspiration for people, because if you are motivated to succeed in something you have to do everything to get it, not to give up when there are difficulties.

Nelli ambassadeur G4

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