Monday, December 8, 2008
Kona Final.. Race Day
Woke up at 4:45am...got picked up by Lisa and her family. Had my breakfast and my coffee...and, got ready to head to transition for body marking..
The transition area in Kona was really similar to any other, except it was much more organized and they had nice, fake green grass down on the ground around the bikes. Our T1 and T2 bags were hung neatly and our escorts were there in the morning handing out extra bike pumps to make sure we were perfect. No wetsuits to worry about in the swim, so got in line for the bathroom, and headed close to the water. I decided not to wear the skin suit- I will swim like I swim, with nothing on but my sports bra and shorts, and call it good. I was freshly shaven and I felt damn fast anyway..who needs a skinsuit...
The swim start is in the water, and it takes a few moments before they set off the canon. And, hopefully, I won't be right under it, or maybe I will.. Seriously, right under it. It was so loud, and all I could think about was, "this was going to be a long day...have fun". The last two words I said to myself- HAVE FUN.
The swim was very unique and almost calming. It was beautiful how clear it was, and all the fish I had seen the 4 days before were the same- they were not aware of us swimming around in their world. Or, maybe they were- no one noticed. I followed all of the feet to the big boat turnaround- just one turn, that was it. A very straight forward swim, actually. I had reached the turnaround, and had felt a few feet in front of me. I thought they were feet- but, in fact, it was one of the amputees. I was a bit shocked, but then a bit humbled all at the same time. It was pretty amazing to me to know that I was racing with these athletes, without equality in limbs, but with so much passion, drive, and spirit- it really made me happy to be alive and healthy.
I finished the swim, and was feeling great. I had swam a 1:10, which was about 10 minutes slower than my wetsuit time, but honestly, I was happy. I wanted to get changed and get on the bike. I have never really looked forward to this part of the race, and especially this one- I knew the wind was an obvious force and had no idea just how gnarly it was going to be. But, let's just say I was up for anything, and there was no turning back.
The first 30-40 miles were not too bad. Cyclists around me even after 30 miles had white rings around their pants where their sweat had run. I looked at me- same story. I had already started popping salt pills, and after 3 hours, had taken about 10 or so. I had planned to take 30 on the bike, and had enough to last me. I was confident in my nutrition that way. We headed up to Hawi- to the turnaround. It was a very pleasant STRONG SIDE-HEAD wind- not sure what the hell you wanted to call it. All I know was that you couldn't ride aero- no matter who you were. If you were 300 lbs, you couldn't. This wind was serious, but I was singing the whole time. No way was I going to get mad or fight it. I went with it, and knew..only 20 miles and then we can get a little help on the way back...just mind the nutrition.
Turnaround- it was great. People there cheering, and an instant downhill for a bit. The next 30 miles were a bit more of the same, but I kept my cadence high and didn't fight too much. I figured this was a bonus for me. Come mile 90-110 or so, I was in great shape and I actually passed a lot of people who were just dying. A bit too hard in the beginning and now people were in trouble. I actually ran into my friend Graham and he needed some more salt. So, I gave him a few pills- it was going to be a long marathon for him.
Come Mile 105, I had a interesting interruption- a guy in black and white stripes on a motorcycle wanted to bust me for drafting behind the Navy Seal champion guy...the big handsome black dude- do you know him? Anyway, I was only behind him 10 feet when the guy flashed me the red card. I was like, where is the next penalty tent- I am practically on the run.. He said, "In T2- you are probably tired and want a rest anyway- that will be 4 minutes". Funny- the only penalty I have ever gotten, and it was at the World Championships.
I got to the tent- peed, and had a chat with Kathy. Then, got to my T2 gear, changed up for the run, and then headed off to Ali'i drive. Yes, 26.2 miles to go. I don't remember too much about the run except for miles 12-20 out to the energy lab totally sucked- I mean, I was holding 8:45 pace, but that just slowed me down to a 9min mile pace...and I was feeling so tired. I was hoping I would find my 2nd wind...and praying to get out of the lab to the last 10K. You know you have done an IM or two when you start praying for mile 20 of the marathon and hoping to descend your last 10K.
I got out of the energy lab, and had my last solace in a bottle of vaseline, which I spread all over my underarms and thighs. I was greased perfectly, and I even ran by a bag of M&Ms- a huge bag, someone must have had in their special needs, but didn't need. I thought about taking a handful, but didn't have the energy to pick it up. I had 6 miles left, and I wanted to finish before dark. I WAS NOT GOING TO TAKE A GLOW STICK. HELL NO. So, I turned on all the adrenaline I could muster, and looked at my watch- I could definitely whip out a sub 12-hour Kona if I paced this just right and didn't blow. I was on my way...
Mile 23, great. 24, even better. Mile 25- the best sign in the world at this point. You should see me sprint the last mile of the IM Marathon. I look like I have the biggest diaper on that you have ever seen- not sure my hips moved that way. And, my poor feet! I was sprinting, though..and I crossed the line, felt great, and didn't need much help. I was a 2x Ironman and had the biggest smile on my face. I conquered Kona, like my mom said, and it was the most amazing feeling I have had in a long time.
1 more to go...Ironman Arizona...5 weeks...can she do it? Report to follow...
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