Last weekend, double Olympian Rebecca Romero added to her impressive sporting profile with a spectacular result at her first IRONMAN World Championships in Kona, Hawaii. Renowned as being one of the toughest races in the IRONMAN calendar, Kona challenges even the most accomplished athletes with its excruciating heat and unrelenting winds. Despite this, Romero clocked an impressive finishing time of 11:39:08, placing 46th in the female 30-34 category and finishing well in the highly competitive field.
This is an achievement for any athlete, especially for one that only started competing this year, and is so new to the ultra endurance sport.
So how did she do it? And how is she feeling now it is all over? Upon finishing Rebecca commented: “Wow, that was the biggest day of suffering of my life, but was made well worth it with the wonderful atmosphere, and incredible sense of elation at the finishing line. The bike section was awesome, but those Kona winds were very angry today. It was nothing like I’ve ever felt before. It was relentless the whole way.”
“In my training over the past year I have had to work really hard to build from scratch two new sports of swimming and running. I recognized from the beginning that nutrition was fundamental in order for me to achieve the results that I wanted, so I made sure I trialed and tested my nutrition regime within my training.”
“I took SiS GO Electrolyte and SiS GO Gels on the bike, which was vital in this race, as the challenging temperatures and general racing conditions proved to be a far cry from the conditions of my training rides and racing experience at IRONMAN UK. I saw a lot of people suffering out on the bike and the run, it is not an environment that you can easily train to race in.”
“I was fortunate to go out to Hawaii eleven days before the race to acclimatize to the time zone change and the hot humid conditions. This also gave me valuable time to practice my nutritional strategy and ensure that I was familiar with the roads that I would be racing on. The day before race day I went out for one last little spin on the bike with a quick transition into a short run to loosen my legs.”
When asked if she was pleased with her result, Rebecca said, “Absolutely! I am over the moon and am chuffed to have completed such a challenging course. It hurt a lot and I really had to work hard – It was tough, really tough. The swim was horrific, I nearly drowned twice and my leg cramped the whole way. My arms blew big time. It was on par with rowing a five-minute bench pull test for 40 minutes! I was pleased with my bike performance but disappointed that my run section didn’t go to plan. My knees, hips and ankles were really hurting from the start and I suffered a great deal managing the discomfort and lack of biomechanical form. As for the heat, my trainers were melting! I definitely felt the effects of the heat slowing me down big time – it was a slog the whole way. The Kona Ironman is by far one of the hardest things I have ever done.”
So, would she go back and do it all over again? “Never say never, I have thoroughly enjoyed my IRONMAN journey and have learnt so much about myself in the process, along with how to train and fuel for endurance events. My focus is now on my new Sports Performance Consultancy business where I will be passing on my knowledge, expertise and experience within sport performance to others to help them achieve their potential too.”
SiS are proud sports nutrition sponsors of Rebecca Romero, fuelling her yet again to another successful IRONMAN and her first IRONMAN World Championships.
For more information about Science in Sport and their full range of sports nutrition products, visit www.scienceinsport.com.