Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Heleen bij de Vaate wins Dutch National Championships

" What a race! I felt very excited to race, this morning before the start of the National Championships Long Distance Triathlon. It was only 3 weeks ago that I decided to start here because of not finishing in New York. The weather was perfect: no wind, no rain and a mild temperature. It was clear that a very nice day was coming up.
The 3,8 km swim was to be done in 2 laps in a small lake in the center of Almere. When I came out of the water I had lost 1 minute to my biggest opponent Irene Kinnegim. So I had to bike very hard which is also her strongest discipline. But sometimes you have days where the pain in your legs is there from the very first moment you hit the pedals. And this day was one of them. Luckily I had a very good mindset, so I could motivate myself positively all the time. Despite, Irene was another 4 minutes faster on the bike, so I had to make up a gap of 5 minutes on the run. But I didn't give up. We had to run 4 laps and every lap I closed a bit of the gap. At the end of the third lap I was running 20 meters behind her. And then I passed her, luckily the hard work payed off!
It was a race where I tested my mental skills in this sport. Of course it helps when there are a lot of people you know supporting you, but still you have to do it yourself. When I look back I have mixed feelings. As an athlete you have to be critical, and I know for myself that it was not a top race. On a good day, another sub-9 would definitely have been possible. But with the result I'm very happy. It is my third time that I'm Dutch champion and also my third time that I win an Ironman distance race."
The last important race for Heleen this year will be the Ironman in Florida on November 3rd where she will be wearing her new triathlon suit.