Angela Naeth’s Unbelievable Eighth (8:57:34)
I can’t put it into words. My boyfriend [Tim Snow], who is also my coach, said, “You just have to have a strong race, you’re such a strong athlete.” Those words stuck with me. Right from the get-go in the swim I repeated, “Be strong, be strong.” The swim was really interesting; there was a big pack of us. I haven’t really been in a pool for the last four months. I’ve just been doing open-water swimming, and I think that’s really helped me to be strong in the water.
For the first few miles on the bike, there was a big group of girls. I descend really well, so I tried to get up to the front over the first three or four miles [up the first climb up Kuakini Highway]. The girls were riding so strong. I think Mirinda Carfrae passed me at mile 40. She had a really strong bike, too. Finally, there was a big group of us climbing up to Hawi, and I thought, “I have to go, I don’t know what I can do on the run.” I got up to Hawi and there was me, Kaisa [Sali] and Rachel McBride at the top and we all took turns at the front on the descent. [For the last]
30 miles, I was in front the whole way. People caught up, but I kept riding really strong.
On the run, I honestly had no idea what I could do. I got dropped pretty early, but I got stronger and stronger, and at mile 14, I started seeing people coming back to me.
I’m just overwhelmed. From where I’ve been – in April, I honestly couldn’t lift my legs – to come here and place eighth after five Ironmans this year is unbelievable to me. Not in my wildest dreams would I have expected to do what I did today. I am just so happy to be back and healthy.—ANGELA NAETH