Ironman Switzerland 70.3 was a long and hot slog fest. The mountainous terrain around Rapperswil-Jona in 96F heat is nothing to be scoffed at and I was humbled by how difficult I found the course. The average temp for the race is a high of 68F but there is currently a heat wave enveloping Europe and Switzerland was no exception. I’m grateful for my safari experience which helped me to handle the uncomfortable conditions, knowing that it only lasts for a while. Discomfort during a race is temporary whereas knowing that you didn’t push as hard as you could sticks with you. I pushed. My asthma flared up per usual on the run and it was really hard to get a good breath which is pretty disconcerting. I’ve learned to manage the panic created by this feeling but still…really crappy to deal with. I was not as trained up as I was hoping to be but I left everything I had out on that course. Because I started in the very last swim group, I was fighting to finish before the cutoff time. I managed to run through the chute with 2 minutes to spare and deliriously claimed my finisher’s medal. The run was a bit of a death march and I am very proud of myself for sticking with it.
I would never have made it to the starting line without the love and support of Max who poured so much into me throughout my training and especially during the days leading up to the race. He’s the strongest person I know and I’m incredibly lucky to have him on my team. My coach, John O’Donovan was an integral part in getting me prepped for this endeavor and I’m so grateful for the wisdom he imparted and the copious amounts of encouragement he gave.
Melinda and Verity flew up right before the race for a visit and were the best cheering squad/pre/post-race helpers. Amy and Jannis popped in and out the day before and after the race and were a huge source of encouragement! Sara drummed up support from my Nickel Chick Squadron ladies and I really felt the love from my girls. All of that combined with the support from family and friends all over the world made me feel like the luckiest of gals. I have a good crew of people in my corner and I’m always blown away by the support when I tackle big challenges like this.
Best moments to remember-
- Getting to hang out with three of my favorites before my swim group started. We got to watch the pros tackle the swim and it was so inspiring!
- Laughing with Minda and V as I fought to get my wetsuit on.
- As I was walking one of the steep climbs during the bike section, a German dude rode up behind me and said “Go, Rebekah!” which was just so well timed since I was feeling a bit discouraged.
- There was really good encouragement all over the course from fellow athletes as well as spectators. Lots of Swiss people were out in their yards on the run course to spray us down with their water hoses. So kind!
- Seeing Minda’s sign on the run which read, “Run like a Panther.”
- Having Maude, a Swiss athlete, come up behind me and say, “come on, let’s go,” when I really needed to keep running to beat the cut off time. We ran/walked together for awhile and she helped me make it!
- Running up to the time keepers right before the finish chute and hearing them say, “Rebekah Feaster, you’re good. You’ve got 2 minutes.” I “sprinted” the rest of the way which probably looked like some kind of wounded animal trying to run but I did the best I could! I was so happy to run over that red carpet just in time and be done!