On the 13th October 2012 Christina Smith started her 2nd ever Ironman event competing in the 2012 Ironman World Championship in Kona Hawaii.
Back in the UK Christina's family and friends including Celtic Tri club members watched and tracked Christina progress online, and we all cheered when we found out one of our own completed the infamous Kona course in a fantastic time of 14hr 10min 14s.
Now for the first time since returning from Hawaii Chrisntina gives her first interview to Celtic Tri
Q1. How did you feel in 2011 when you knew you had qualified for Kona?
Christina ~ Shocked!! It couldn't have been further from my mind! Tenby was my first (and intentionally my only!) attempt at Ironman distance and I was just glad to be able to finish it let alone anything else.
Q2. How did you prepare for Kona?
Christina ~ I did as I had done for Tenby and basically followed the Fink programme but with longer bike rides as it seemed a bit 'light' on the cycling. I also did quite a few more long rides (100 miles plus)
Q3. 2012 has been an amazing year for the UK, did the achievements of our athletes at the London 2012 Olympic Games help in any way?
Christina ~ I can't say that it helped me personally in my training - I'm pretty self motivated anyway, but it certainly focussed people on sport and made what I was doing more of a talking point amongst friends /family /colleagues
Q4. How long was the flight to Kona?
Christina ~ Too long!! On the way the flight from Heathrow to San Francisco was 11hrs 30 and then another 5hr 30 flight from San Francicso to Kona. The return was 3 flights - Kona to San Francisco, San Francisco to new York, New York to Heathrow (18 hours in total!). This was the longest journey I have ever made!
Q5. How many days did you stay in Hawaii prior to the start in order to prepare?
Christina ~ I was there just 2 days before the race. This was the shortest time I could have been there as there was no registration the day before the race
Q6. Did you meet any of the stars of Ironman?
Christina ~ I saw a number of the pros on race morning getting ready but didn't actually meet them. I also saw Chrissie Wellington out about in town, and she was swimming / snorkelling at the same time as us when we visited the Cook monument a couple of days after the race.
Q7. Can you describe the atmosphere on the morning of the race?
Christina ~ In my race report I said that it was 'buzzing with a quiet air of excitement and anticiaption'.
Q8. What were the key moments from the race that you’ll always remember?
- Stepping over the timing mat at the start and hearing the 'bleep' and thinking - 'no turning back now!'
- Hearing the drums beating and the cannon going off at the start
- Running up the carpeted finish chute
- Cheering on the last competitor - a 77 year old woman who finished with 20 sec to cut-off. I had tears in my eyes, and still do when I think about it. Awesome!
Q9 Can you describe how you felt when you finished?
Christina ~ Elated, a bit numb! But not tired! It was hard to take it all in!
Q10. Would you do it all again?
Christina ~ I said 'never again' the day after, but I would jump at the chance if it ever came my way again - but that's highly unlikely. It was an incredible day! I've done what I thought was way out of my league. I've lived the dream of many and I'm honoured and thrilled to have had the opportunity to do so, especially when I know that there are some amazing athletes out there in our club who are far more deserving than me. The support I've had from club members has been amazing and has made the experience all the more exciting. Thank you!