On the heels of her recent victory at Ironman Austria, wherein she conquered a long list of competitive feats along with claiming the top podium spot, I caught up with pro Linsey Corbin to hear about the event that earned her major bragging rights and left her beaming from ear to ear.
Triathlete.com: Congratulations on your win in Austria! Let’s tally up all the milestones you achieved with your performance:
- The fastest Ironman time by an American female [8:42:42]
- A new course record
- Your second sub-nine Ironman finish [Corbin’s first was at Ironman Arizona in 2011 when she went 8:54:33]
- PR’s across the board in all three disciplines [53:02 swim, 4:47:02 bike, 2:56:52 run]
- A repeat race victory [Corbin also won Ironman Austria in 2012]
- Your second Ironman win this season [Corbin also won Ironman Los Cabos]
When did you realize the extent of your achievement, and did you have the goals of the course record, a sub-nine finish and the fastest American time in mind as you were racing?
Corbin: When you are racing everything is very “in the moment,” so the reality of my performance took a bit to soak in. I don’t think it really sunk in fully until the day after the race. And I keep having these moments of: Pinch me! Was that real? I actually was a bit shocked in my post-race interviews, so I didn’t appear that over the moon. I think I was super tired!
I knew the record was 8:43 as Mary Beth Ellis won the race and set the record in 2011. It was one of those ideas you throw around as a big dreamy goal, but leading into the race I didn’t really think it was achievable for me. However, I did want to break the nine-hour mark and I really wanted to break the three-hour marathon as I have been close on several occasions–eight times I have run 3:02-3:05.
Triathlete.com: Your finish was epic! Obviously anyone winning an Ironman is going to be pretty excited, but you looked off the charts ecstatic. There was the cowboy hat, a fist-pump, a massive smile, hopping and skipping around in the finish chute–you were stoked! Describe how the finish felt to you.
Corbin: I’m glad I looked happy–I was! In 2012 when I won, it was crazy hot–100 degrees–and Erika Csomor pushed me to incredible limits. I had nothing in the tank at the end of the race. Everyone had told me how amazing the finish line celebration at Austria would be. Unfortunately, in 2012 I don’t even remember the finish. I was certain I would have to be hauled off on a stretcher! This year, I wanted to ensure I was “with it” enough to soak up the amazing finish line experience and hopefully be in a position to celebrate a great performance. Europe sure knows how to throw a finish line party–look at Frankfurt, Roth, Austria and Nice–and you have to experience it to believe it. Plus, the beer shower is extra incentive!
Triathlete.com: I watched the live feed and the flower ceremony afterward. They put a huge wreath around your neck and handed you a giant beer stein and a bunch of flowers. Was it difficult to juggle all that, especially so soon after you had stopped racing?
Corbin: I was in a pretty good place physically at the finish. The cooler weather conditions helped. So no need to juggle–just celebrate. And mmmm, beer!
Triathlete.com: You started working with a new coach [Jesse Kropelnicki] following Kona last year. Although it can take time to get into a groove with a new coach and a new style of training, obviously your work with him is paying off. What are a couple of key things that you’ve focused on together?
Corbin: 1. Getting me to slow down. My easier sessions are stupid easy. Nobody believes it when I tell them I run 10-minute miles, but I do.
2. Getting me to go harder. My hard sessions are stupid hard. I often complete them alone on a trainer so I can crank up the music and nobody can hear me grunting, cursing or wanting to vomit.
3. Increasing the amount of strength training–in the gym with weights, swimming with a band only and riding over-gear–to make me durable enough to handle the training required for Ironman racing.
4. We have turned the dials on a few things from a nutrition standpoint, which has aided in my recovery process.
Triathlete.com: In light of the fact that tomorrow is the Fourth of July, how does the theme of independence tie into triathlon for you?
Corbin: Well, I really like a good BBQ! But really, I just feel thankful to live somewhere where I have the opportunity to have an unconventional career path as a female professional athlete. Having experienced racing overseas in other countries it makes me really proud of who I am and where I am from. When I crossed the finish line at Ironman Austria they were blaring Tom Petty’s “She’s An American Girl.” That’s pretty darn cool!
Triathlete.com: What are your plans for the rest of your time in Europe–and what do you like best over there: the chocolate, the baked goods or the beer?
Corbin: We are taking a trip to Italy. I told Chris I’d like to eat pizza and gelato and crush espresso until I turn blue in the face. Let’s see if I can make it happen! I plan on taking a wee bit of a break and hitting the reset button before I turn my attention towards Kona preparations.