Well I am back from Hawaii and finally have turned my computer on, checked results and have got some photos from the race. It was a wonderful 2 weeks in Hawaii.
I wanted to write a quick race report from last week.
Leading up to Kona I was unsure how I was going to feel race day. My body had some nagging issues and I was not feeling very confident due to the lack of long training since before Louisville. Paulo had assured me that rest was the way to go and he was right. The week before Kona my body started to feel much better and I got some great workouts in. Riding out in the Lava Fields always pumps me up and I was fortunate to be there long enough to ride in some conditions alot like we had race day. Thus I was quite prepared for those gusts that came close to blowing me off my bike.
I had some good pool workouts and my swimming was really feeling solid. Everything seemed to be coming around and I was looking forward to racing!
I had picked up my family up at the airport the day before and they were all excited to be on the island. We had moved in to a hotel right on Palani at the race start which although very noisy proved very good for race morning and post race!
Race morning went very smoothly and I was not nervous at all but more excited to get it going! Once treading water I tried to find a good group to start with but I was getting so squished and could barely tread that I moved to the outside. I thus got a lousy start to the day. I was left way behind where I wanted to be after an all out effort. I was trapped in a slower group and fought my way out to where I could actually swim freely without getting hit. I swam hard to catch up to the group in front of me. I started to draft behind the last girl but could feel the effort was too easy. Paulo had suggested I just stay with the group and conserve energy as we were all going to be minutes apart but I knew I had to go on my own. So I pulled ahead of the group and swam a good effort. I could see two girls about 200 m ahead so I swam hard to catch them. All the while I was getting stung by something on my face and arms.Its really hard to keep focus when you are getting freaked out by something stinging you. At one point I took such a big gulp of salty water that I fought the urge to throw up. By the turn around I was 100 m away and then a few mintes later I had caught the girls. I rested for a few minutes then decided I needed to swim harder again. So I pulled ahead. It was right there that I lost site of the buoys. The current that had been in our face on the way out was now pushing us towards the wrong set of buoys and I sighted the wrong set and swam way off course. I was dissapointed that I wasted so much time. I was so far off course and I could not believe that it took the kayakers so long to point us in the right direction. I made the mistake which I will never do again of not using a land guide to direct me. By the time I had reached the pier three age groupers had caught me and I knew my time was going to be slow.
Once out of the water I regrouped and ran to the change tent. The first thing that happened was my timing chip came off as I peeled off my speedsuit. That was going to be a real pain. I pinned it back on with my safety pin as they were taking so long to get me a new one.I had come out the water with Natasha and she had already taken off.
It felt good to be on the bike. The first 20 miles I took very comfortably. Maybe too easy as a bunch of the girls that were behind me on the swim passed me. I tried to really ride within myself as I was worried about the last 20 miles of the bike. Normally I would have taken this out alot harder. The result was I felt great throughout the bike and never felt fatigued. The wind was mello until just after Mauna Lani about 35 miles in and then the head and cross winds started. It was like a light switch had been flicked and it became quite a slow and a little scary ride up to Hawi and back. I saw my friend Sergio who had been blown sideways and had hit a cateye while taking a drink. He was all scraped up and sitting on a curve.I felt awful for him. I knew I had to be really careful while drinking and descending. All the time I was wasting an incredible amount of time stopping at the timing mats as I was told to get a new chip. Mine fell off ten minutes into the ride as the pin did not hold. At each mat nobody new where to get a new chip and by the turn around I was quite frustrated as I knew I was losing to much time each stop. I decided to try pick up the effort on the way back. The wind was now just a crosswind and we were going fast but all over the road. I passed a few girls. I was sad to see Tara Norton on the side of the road crying. I learned today that she had hit a volunteer at an aid station and had gone over her bars and landed on her back breaking her wrist and a rib. She was in 4th place and having an awesome race. I hope she makes a quick recovery.
At mile 98 I got a very unjustly red card. A group of age groupers had passed me and an age group girl was biking with them. This blatant drafting is very annoying and I was thinking about this as they pulled right in front of me. I was just starting to brake as they were not biking any faster than me when a bike official pulled up and said I was drafting. I argued that they had not given me 20 seconds to drop back. He argued that they did not see the group just pass me they just pulled up and saw me there. I was so frustrated from arguing that I started to get asthma and really had to focus to regain my composure. I wish I could get out of the water earlier so I could bike without getting caught up with the groups. I find myself having to brake way to much in a race where you should not be braking at all!
Well I ran into transition,did my first penalty box ever. I made the best of it and I got to rest, use the potty, make some jokes, and it really got me fired up to run! My first two miles were 6.32 and 6.38 and my legs felt super. Running along Alii is always good and fast. The people cheering are so much fun and the miles went by really fast and I was enjoying seeing all the pros go by. My 5 mile split was 7.09 pace, I felt good and by mile 13 I was still on 3.10 marathon pace. Tracy Robertson, pro, friend and Kona training partner had gone by me and I tried to stay with her up Palani. This hill always gets to me and I wanted to walk, but today I felt great. It took another mile before Tracy started to pull away and my splits started to slow. I lost my focus and definitely started to bonk. By the energy lab my miles were extremely slow and the lab seemed very long. The thermometer that some evil person with a sick sense of humour had put there read 108 and that was just cruel! I was baking and very thirsty and dehydrated. I started to drink large amounts of coke and I started to feel more energized. My mind set changed and I wandered to myself why I was running so slow. I had no tummy troubles for once, my legs were not cramping, so I decided to push again. I was angry at myself for falling into a slow stride. I pushed hard for the next 6 miles back into town. Down Palani my legs did remind me that I had gone 138 miles and decided to do some minor cramping but I finished strong with a big smile on my face and a 4 minute run pr. That was my 11th ironman and 4th Kona. I am happy to say it was probably the best I have ever felt in an Ironman! I was so happy to high five my kids and come running down Alii Drive one more time. I cherish that feeling and hope to be there again!
I thank Paulo for once again understanding that racing in Kona was more than me just wanting a vacation in Hawaii and for getting me ready. I love this race more than any other. I thank my family too for coming out to watch me and being my number one fans! Congrads goes to my friends that always inspire me.Congrads goes to Danny, Sergio(who finished with all his skin left on the Queen K), my friend Linsey who finished 5th pro overall and just keeps getting better. Tracy who had a pr run and a great overall race. Will who just keeps getting better and better! Tom and Laura who finished her first Kona. Thanks to all those that cheered hard for us out there all day...it really helped alot!