Cornelia Stähli had an outstanding Ironman debut at Ironman Klagenfurt.
She is an excellent example of how dedication and consistent training over several years gets rewarded with excellent results. We started to work together over two and a half years ago when she began the preparation for her first 70.3 race.
After her second place in her age group at 70.3 Rapperswil this June, I was very excited to see how she is doing in her first full Ironman.
The race started with a non-wetsuit swim due to water temperatures above 26°C. I was not worried as she had improved a lot in the first discipline. The only difference is that a non-wetsuit swim craves a lot more energy, which might lack later on in the race if one is not aware of it. Cornelia did very well and exited the water after 72min in touch with the top 10 of her age group. For the 180km bike ride, we choose a conservative pacing strategy to make sure that she has a great run off the bike, which is her biggest strength. Cornelia felt strong during the entire 180km bike ride without a week phase at any point. The "conservative pacing strategy" was good enough for the 4th fastest bike split in her age group. She was even in 4th place of her age group at the beginning of the Marathon. Fortunately, she rode fast enough to avoid a thunderstorm on the bike ;-)! Rain, storm, thunder and lightning, it all started during her first km of the Marathon. At that point, the rain had a nice cooling effect as it began to get warm at the end of the bike ride. As mentioned, the run is her greatest strength, and she started the Marathon very well at a sub 5min pace. During the entire 42,2km, her position went back and forth between 3rd and 4th place. After a short phase of weakness between km 20 and 30, her engaged Felix (who will be racing Ironman Zürich next week) told her that she was only 2 min behind the podium. Cornelia had a surprisingly strong finish of her first Ironman and even increased the pace during the last kilometres. In the end, she finished her first Ironman only 60s behind the age group podium in 4th place of the 30-34 age group after 10hrs29min. She gave everything she had and got rewarded with a wonderful result!