On Saturday, Oct. 21, almost 2,000 athletes will converge on Kona, Hawaii for the 2006 Ironman World Championships. Only a handful of athletes from 33 qualifier events held around the globe make the cut to compete in the race, which consists of a 3.8 km swim, a 180 km bike leg, and a full 42.2 km marathon.
This year five athletes from the corridor qualified for the championships at different Ironman events. Paul Suter, Marie-Anne Prevost and Mike Edwards will be competing in Kona, while Christine Suter had to pull out because of a foot injury and Squamish’s Mae Palm elected not to go this year.
Paul Suter also sustained an injury recently, tearing a ligament in his ankle in the Rubble Creek Classic trail run on Sept. 24. He also hasn’t had much time to train since Ironman Canada because of work commitments. Still, he’s chalking up the Hawaii race as a learning experience.
“(My ankle) will be fine, but it may slow me down a bit,” he said. “In the end that might be a good thing. I’m really going to Hawaii just to compete again and be part of it, and get some experience for racing there — I’m sure I’ll be back someday to actually race it, it just won’t be this year.”
One thing that Suter hopes to practice in Hawaii is getting proper nutrition through the race, something that worked well for him at Ironman Canada this year.
“I’m going to see if I can improve on that a bit, because it’s something that I can control and change without much effort. If I’m successful with nutrition again I think I’ll have the strength to complete the event — it just comes down to how good my plan is and how it carries me through.”
Nutrition is even more important given the heat and humidity of Hawaii. To train for those conditions Suter has been riding his stationary bike at home with the heater cranked up and a few extra layers of clothing.
He nearly cramped up and had some stomach problems this week, which only reminded him how important it was to eat and drink properly through the race. “I nearly bonked in my basement,” he said.
“(The heat) is a slight concern, I’m only going about three days in advance so there’s no time to acclimatize, so I have to try acclimatizing at home. That’s definitely given me some benefit, I find my heart is going about 20 beats per minute faster than it should be because of the heat. That’s not something you want to experience for the first time on race day.”