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Ironman more “blessing” than “challenge” for Steamboater

Steamboat Pilot & Today
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— Lyndsay Richter was more than 98 percent of the way done with her race at the Ironman Boulder triathlon last weekend, running the marathon that is the race’s finale, when she made a unique decision.

She was well ahead of the time she had feared she’d be chasing, the 17-hour cutoff for the race, and even comfortably beating the time she’d hope to hit, 15 hours. And she was still cruising, speeding up even as the magnetic excitement of the finish line drew her in.

So, she slowed down.

“I was so excited,” she said, “I just didn’t want to burn out on the last couple of miles.”

She didn’t burn out and two miles later finished her first Ironman, coming across in 13 hours, 19 minutes and 3 seconds.

She found the feeling upon finishing overwhelming.

“It’s everything you’ve worked for and everything you’ve dreamed about,” she said. “You can’t take it all in fast enough. I was overcome by a really neat emotion, excitement and thankfulness. I thought, ‘I worked really hard to make it here, to this moment, and I did it.’”

Richter was one of several Steamboat Springs racers to take on the course, which featured 2.4 miles of swimming, 112 miles on a bicycle and a full 26.2-mile marathon.

She said she never really wore down or had specific low points during the race. Instead, she continually took encouragement from plowing through milestones.

She was thrilled after her swim, which she said “felt very easy.” She was thrilled again when she cross the 100-mile point during the bike race, something she never did during training.

Finally, she was thrilled as she approached that finish line.

She’s become a devotee to triathlons, she said, hitting up several in the Yampa Valley, as well as races all over the country. Only the expense of the sport — entry fees, bike parts and running shoes, not to mention the time of work and travel— slow her down.

“If I was rich,” she said, “I’d be doing one every month.”

Her father, Roger Haywood, helped introduce her to the sport, and he was there when she crossed the finish line in Boulder. She took her finisher’s medal to him, and he had the honor of draping it over her neck.

“It was just a really neat experience,” she said. “I loved it. The whole thing was more of a blessing than a challenge.”

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @JReich9


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