Sunday, October 12, 2008

Clobbering, wind and fun times: Kona Report '08

So here it is: all the nitty gritty details - first off, my friends rock - they are the best cheering crew ever!!

Entering the water I saw a big huge turtle - soooo cool. I thought it was a sign I'd have an awesome swim. Oops! So I've done 5 IMs now and never been in such a full contact clobbering match as Kona was for me yesterday. It was one of my slowest swim times ever. And the clobbering just didn't end - I was still getting whacked in the head when I got back to the pier. I lost my swim cap completely after the turn around, lost my goggles (but saved them), was sure I'd have a black eye, but thankfully don't. So 1:09 just made me laugh when I got out. Oh well, it's a small part of the race.

I felt good on the bike yesterday. I actually got my heart rate up for once and kept it there. And it was windy. Last year I thought it was windy and it wasn't - it was just because I'd never done Hawaii before. Yesterday, it was windy. And I was happy because I wasn't scared like last year. I was pushed across the road and had to lean sideways, but it was kind of an adventure. 

I got up to Hawi and saw my friends (best cheering crew ever!), threw my bottles (because I get new ones at special needs) and go to get my special needs: And no special needs bag. "#1587" I yelled this lots as if it would made my bag appear. Volunteers scrambled "sorry, it's not here." OH NO (except replace "no" with swear words). I do NOT like Gatorade Endurance, it makes my stomach feel sick. 

Plus I was really looking forward to this PBJ sandwich I'd put in the bag. I leave special needs area with nothing but a little water on my bike. I envision my entire race falling apart and then decide that won't happen and I'll make gatorade work.

Back on the bike screaming down from Hawi (didn't use the breaks the whole way down like I did last year - YEAH!!) First aid station I get a power bar and 2 bottles of gatorade. I am dumping water on my head and then toss the bottle and the power bar flies out of my hand as well. AWESOME! I think for a second about going back, but don't. Next aid station: some guy has crashed in front of it and there is an ambulance - they are handing out gatorade and water but no power bars. I start scraping the remaining power bar out of my bento box (NOTE: power bar mixed with pretzels actually tastes good!) I finally get a power bar right around the time I turn back toward town into the massive head wind. My HR will not stay up now. UGHHHHHH. I'm at mile 90 and I am thinking: I hate Ironman, I'm DONE with Ironman. This of course always goes away once I start running.

So I did some very elementary math in my head and determined I was going to be close to breaking 6 hrs on the bike - that had been my goal. After the race I found out my bike split: 6:00:01. REALLY!? How does this happen? Oh well, 23 minutes faster than last year and in a windier year, so I'm happy with this.

Out on the run - it was HOT when I started. But ice at all the aid stations helped and I felt good. But I am hungry. The type of hungry where a big pizza sounds good. So I grabbed some saltines. NOTE: when eating saltines in a race, make sure you have water to wash them down. I ate 3 and then had the feeling I had chalk in my mouth for the next mile. Also - saltines w/ GU is GOOD! It's the whole salty/sweet thing - nice combo!

Up Palani and out onto the Queen K and my stomach starts to feel sloshy. Oh joy! I take some coke - my stomach is more unhappy. I stop at the bathroom then down some TUMS. Mmmm, much better. Right around this time the clouds rolled in and it started to cool off - OH SO NICE!

Running out to the energy lab is just boring - nobody really wants to talk at this point and it's just lava to look at. I kept looking at the sun. NO SUNSET this year while running! A couple people had my same cool Alii shoes on, so I chatted with them "Hey nice shoes." "Oh thanks," then they would laugh when they realize I have the same ones. My run special needs bag did make it and I grabbed my GU - oh fun, new flavors! Back out the energy lab, stomach gets upset again - dangit! I stop at the bathroom and this time have to wait for someone. Feel much better, and back out to repass everyone that just passed me while waiting for bathroom. My marathon split of 3:31 was an IM PR for me and I accomplished my "qualify for Boston" goal.

So my other goal had been to come in around 10:45 (well, that was a 
secondary goal to trying to PR and go sub 10:35, but I figured in Kona that might be a long shot depending on the wind - so after the bike I figured that might not happen.) And I got really close once again: 10:46:03. REALLY?! 3 seconds?! haha!

It was a great race. This picture at the right kind of shows it all - I am HAPPY with all of it. I learned if your bike special needs bag isn't there it'll still work out. TUMS rock when you start to feel sick. And I really do love this sport.