Compte rendu de Chris Lieto.

Chris Lieto competes during the bike portion of the 2010 Ford Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. Lieto finished the competition as the top American.The day is done, the fight is over, some would say I lost, but the battle was won. I fought hard out there all day, took the risks to try and win and the day did not go as planned. I may have lost the ultimate prize of becoming world champion, but I pushed through some of the most difficult times in my professional career and came home with the prize of top American.

I arrived here to win this race, not to finish 2nd or 3rd so I took the risk early on the 112-mile bike portion and pulled away from the rest of the field. Riding under my own pace and energy in the gusty and hot conditions, I separated myself from the main group of contenders by almost 8 minutes as I began the 26.2-mile run. I was in the perfect place and feeling great, or at least as good as you can feel after riding 112 miles.

Through the first 8 miles of the run I was feeling great rolling along and holding my lead. At that point my body started to tighten up and I went from running smooth and free to locking down and my legs were not responding to what my mind was asking for. The heat started to increase my core temperature and I felt like I had entered an oven. The radiant heat on the road was reaching 120 degrees and my body started to shut down. I remember running on the highway at around mile 13 and having to stop at an aid station as I felt my body about to completely shut down.

Once I stopped, my body could not balance itself as I wobbled from side to side; I was shaking my head trying to wake up my body. My eyes and focus started to get very narrow and dark and I felt as if I was about to fall over and pass out. I stood there in front of a table full of water, Coke, and Ironman Perform and started drinking as much as I could. I must have put down a Big Gulp amount of fluid. I stood there taking ice-cold sponges and drenched my body trying to get my core temperature to drop.

After a few minutes of doing this, I finally felt my body responding and I had to try and push through. At this point I lost my lead and was looking at the new leader in front of me. All I could tell myself is that it is not over yet and never give up. I made myself push on and push hard, anything can happen and there is still a long way to the finish. I was running well and holding my place, but that painful cycle kept creeping in as I fought through the marathon. Dealing with the repetitive routine of keeping my body awake and moving I finished the day in 11th place and top American.

I lost the victory I was searching for, but I fought through some of the most difficult times in my career. I pushed through the challenges and stretched my body beyond what I thought I could pick myself up from and still finished well. Chris McCormack took the 2010 Ford Ironman World Championship title and battled well as always. He is an amazing talent and I congratulate him.

I am doing well now and my body is starting to come around. My legs are still sore and it is difficult at times to even step down off a curb or bend down to pick something up off the ground. In the next day or so my legs and body will feel back to normal, but it takes many weeks for the body to fully recover from that kind of effort. When you put everything out there and ask so much of the body it takes a long time for it to rebuild. You have to repair the muscle damage and get your mineral balance and body reserves back up.

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