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Ironman Kalmar, Sweden - Reflection

Wow.

In the finish chute. Happy, elated I was received by a nice young lady who was my catcher for today. I do like the concept of the catchers, because it really takes a moment to get from 100 to zero. So she walked me through the finishing area, showed me the showers, the photograph, the food, everything I needed.The massage, too, but they had discouraged from massage in an unshowered mode, so I refrained from this. I got one of those thin metallic blankets which I curled into. I got a heavy medal, too, putting the iron into ironman.  I really was amazed by this audience and the announcer. I have no clue if the Swedish announcer was as good in activating the audience - but it sure sounded like it. It really was an amazing athmosphere and it took a moment till my tears were gone.

My family was close by, welcoming me, too, they had been standing in the finish area, in the crowd, I wondered why they weren't hoarse.

Next thing was, I had a glass of coke in my hands - again. I'd really thought I couldn't see that stuff after the race but oh, it was good. Pictures taken - before the finisher's wall. Donning my medal.

Then I got to the food. Two minutes before I'd not have eaten a teeny bit anymore - but now I greedily slurped down a bowl of soup. And another one contemplating a third. Well, water melon it was, instead. Got to get my potassium and salt levels up and it really felt tasty as houte cuisine - in this moment. I chatted a bit with fellow competitors who already had finished and relaxed in the food tent. Then I grabbed anothe rpiece of melon, and went out to Martin and the boys. Not without getting me a finisher shirt. Beautiful designed polo shirt telling the world "Sylvia Zinser, ironman"...OK, my name is not on there...

We picked up bags and bike, by now the finish had about closed and then we made our way to the hostel. On Oeland, we saw the finish line fireworks over at the other side of the bridge -

Unfortunately we weren't fast enough to take pictures of the fireworks, but we could observe from the parking lot we had stopped.

And back to the hostel, fast and deep sleep to wake up to a nice, Swedish breakfast - this time I also tried the fish. (Need protein after the race...)

Then we  left back home for Germany - but not without stopping at the expo to get some more finisher's wear.

All together this was a super race. A couple of things different from the US-races (no volunteers to strip the wet suit, or to help in the tents) but this did not bother me. The atmosphere is the main asset of this race - everywhere people are out, patiently standing and waiting also for the latecoming athletes. Lots of noise, all over the place. Probably a town of hoarse people the next day. Barely a spot without attention. There is no Solarer Berg hotspot - the hills aren't tough enough for this, but instead of hotspots it is a steady stream of spectators.

The announcing team at the finish was amazing. Unfortunately my Swedish wasn't enough to listen to the Swedish announcer but both seemed to get the audience tremendously agitated. It really was surfing the sound wave for me. It carried into the finish. And this audience - all over the course they were there, clapping, ringing bike bells, shouting "heja,heja", - I wish I had memorized a list of Swedish cheers in beforehand. My fault. Should have learned some Swedish. 

This is a race I only can recommend to anyone interested in racing in Europe. Flat is not easier - I almost think it is tougher, for one can't recover on-course. The bike-against-the-wind really sucks at the end, but this is by design and an Ironman is supposed to be tough. I had always though the hilly ones are the nasty ones but now I can't decide.

Got to do a couple more, maybe then I know...

...

Next year.

And maybe next year I crack that 15-hour mark. This one was a personal best for me - cutting 4 Minutes of my 2009 IM-Cozumel. But still I took longer than 15 hours.

Fun Race!!!