by Cherie Gruenfeld
Last weekend I competed in the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii.
It was a successful day for me, winning the W70-74 age group. I also broke the course record which I set last year, and, although it counts for nothing except bragging rights, I beat the age group below me as well.
This race was a real nail-biter for family and friends watching. I was second out of the water. I jockeyed with two other ladies during the bike and eventually came off the bike in third place. By mile one of the run, I dropped second place and proceeded to chase down first place who was ahead by several minutes – a gap she held through most of the run.
With 1.3 miles to the finish line, still running in second place, I sighted my competitor just seconds ahead. I kicked it into another gear, made the pass and sprinted to the finish line to take the win. It was a tough loss for my very worthy competitor and a very special win for me.
This was my 27th Ironman, which includes twenty-one Ironman World Championship races. I have 18 wins, thirteen of which are Ironman World titles. At 71 years of age, this year I had the dubious distinction of being the oldest female finisher in the race.
At this age, most folks have moved to physical endeavors that are not quite so strenuous. Why have I been able to continue participating in Ironman racing into my 70s? I think there are several important factors at play, including good genes and a competitive spirit. But these things alone aren’t enough. For many years I’ve relied on a healthy diet and supplements to aid me in recovery. For twenty-three years, I’ve been putting my body through great stress, but have thrived, and a great deal of the thanks for that goes to PerfectAmino, which allows me to work hard and recover fast.
I planned to retire from Ironman racing following this 2015 Ironman race – if I had a race that I was completely happy with. This race met that require ment, so I have announced my Ironman retirement.
I do this, not because I feel that my body can no longer handle it. In fact, I believe I still have some game.
I am walking away from Ironman racing because I no longer enjoy the long training in the harsh desert summer climate where I live and train.
I’ll still be doing plenty of racing. My next phase includes focusing on Ironman 70.3 (Half Ironman) racing and my goals will be the same – World Championships. I currently have two 70.3 World titles and I hope to rack up a few more. And, as always, PerfectAmino will be my weapon of choice!
Thanks for all the support I get from the PA Team.