Saturday, October 16, 2010

Kona (Part II - Race Day)

I woke up at 4AM, drank 2 Boosts, then went back to sleep. We headed out the door at 5:30AM. It was a little chilly so I grabbed my lucky Green Lantern sweatshirt. First stop was body marking. They stamp your race number on each arm. Second stop was special needs drop off. Third stop, I added my run drink to the run bag. You are not allowed to just walk up to the bag. A volunteer must be with you. Fourth stop, I added my nutrition to the bike and pumped up my tires. I found Elizabeth and she was ready to go. We met up with Josh with about 15 minutes till the pro start. It was enough time to stop and wait in line at the port-a-potty. I donned my XTERRA SPEEDSUIT. I made sure to apply body glide thoroughly. The gun went off for the Pros. We started 30 minutes later.

SWIM - 1:04.24

Swim Start

We walked over to the water entrance. I got in to warm up a little. I stayed near the front treading. They announced there will be no countdown. After several minutes of treading the cannon sends us on our way. It was mad chaos from the beginning. There were swimmers everywhere. I got elbowed in the goggle in the first few minutes. I treaded water to clear the goggle. A few minutes later and elbow to the jaw. A quarter of the way done and I get hit in the other goggle. I didn't need to stop and adjust since it didn't fill up with water. Every time I saw a lane to swim through, it closed up within a few seconds. I had a guy try to swim over me. I didn't let him. I made both turns figuring it was going to thin out. No such luck. This was the hardest swim I have done. It was simply brutal.

Swim Exit
T-1 - 2:50
I finally hit land, jumped up and started to unzip the XTERRA. I ran under the hoses and stayed there for a few seconds making sure I got all the salt off my body. This was a long transition. I grabbed my bike bag and ran into the changing tent. I grabbed SUCCEED! S-CAPS and my OAKLEY JAMES CONDUCT SUNGLASSES. I ran to my trusty LYNSKEY. I put on my road helmet and then headed out. I did a flying mount and was off.

BIKE - 5:15.37

Bike on Queen K
My hydration plan was to drink often and never let my mouth get dry. The aid stations were every 7 miles. This was great. I drank a lot. I grabbed a water bottle at every aid station. I drank a lot of water. I also started with S-CAPS every 30 minutes for the first hour then switched to every 20 minutes for the rest of the ride. All of my calories came from my INFINIT-CUSTOM FORMULA. The first part of the ride is through town going up then turning around and heading out to the Queen K. I knew to hold back on this section. It was really tough with all of the riders passing me. Once onto the Queen K, I settled into my race pace. There were packs of riders everywhere. I would pass people only to be passed right back. At one point I was stuck with a group of 20+. I dropped back and it seemed to be the same thing with groups riding up and passing me. It was good to see at least 20 people in the first penalty box.  We turned left toward Hawi. We started into a wind and a gradual climb. This was the hardest part of the ride. The cross winds were inconsistent. First I would be leaning to the right, almost at a 45 degree angle. Then I would straighten up as the wind faded. All of a sudden a burst of wind would hit again. (The coolest part was watching the Professionals riding in the opposite direction. I saw Chris Lieto and another pro in the lead, followed by Macca and a few other guys. Then I saw Julie Dibens leading the women.) It was like that riding up to the turn around and back. Totally Nuts!!! I heard Elizabeth riding toward the turn around. I was glad to be out of Hawi. We turned right back onto the Queen K into a headwind. I noticed my toes were in a lot of pain. I couldn't figure out why. Later I came to find out the road temp was 120-130 degrees. The pain was getting to me. I really wanted to get off the bike. I tried to ride on the balls of my feet while lifting my toes off the insole. It didn't help. UGH!!! At around the 95 mile marker I decided to spray my legs down with water before ditching and grabbing a new bottle. My toes felt a little better. Why didn't I think of that 40 miles ago? As I rolled back into town, I was mentally preparing for the run.

T-2 - 5:42
I pulled out of my shoes with less than a mile to go. I jumped off the LYNSKEY and handed it to a volunteer. I stopped at a port-a-potty before grabbing my run bag. In the tent, I dropped my helmet and OAKLEYS. I sat down to put on my CEP compression socks. It is a little challenging to pull long socks all the way up to your knees. I grabbed my NEWTON VISOR & RACERS, more SUCCEED! S-CAPS, my water bottle filled with POWERBAR ENDURANCE, and headed out of transition. I even took an order for a cup of cold water from the volunteer. As you can tell I was in no hurry to start the run.

RUN - 3:42.11

Run along Alii Dr

I felt okay at the beginning. My plan was to walk through every aid station. I figured this would keep my core temperature down. As for hydration, I drank water, coke, water at each aid station. I also took an S-CAP every 2 miles. There were lots of people lined up along the roads running through town and down Alii Drive. I heard a familiar voice yell for me near the start. I saw Beth and Ross along Alii Drive.I started to feel stronger at the turn around and started picking up the pace. I saw Elizabeth looking strong as she was running toward the turn around. I got to the bottom of Palani hill and decided to walk all the way up. I knew there was still 17 miles to go and wanted to be smart. I felt like the Queen K was never ending. I saw Macca leading the pro men and Julie leading the women running back. I hit the Energy Lab. There seemed to be no wind. I now understand the "energy zap" that occurs there. It felt like there was a machine making us weaker. Luckily this section was less than 3 miles. I turned right back on to the Queen K with about 11k to go. I felt a second wind, so I started to pick up the pace. I think I may have frustrated a lot of people. I would pass several people running then hit the aid station and walk all the way through. It was like the tortoise and hare. I was the hare. I saw Elizabeth again and was looking strong. What an amazing athlete. (She had her appendix removed five days earlier. She rode 5 miles on Thursday and felt horrible. She decided to start knowing that if her body wasn't up for it that she would call it a day. Every time I saw her, she looked great with a big smile. I was shocked each time.) I finally made it to the top of the last hill and turned off the Queen K with a couple miles left. There were people every where. I knew the day was about to come to an end. I had so much left in the tank. I started to speed up and later discovered my last mile was my fastest mile (7:13) of the race. I turned right onto Alii with 400 meters to go. I tried to pass as many people as I could until I finally crossed the finish line.

As you walk through the finish area, a volunteer puts a lei over your shoulders. I proceeded to the the medal area. They verify your number and that you finished. The medal is heavy. Next stop was a finisher picture then pizza. The last stop was a nice long massage. I lucked out and got a nice 15 minute massage. I waited for Elizabeth to finish. I congratulated her. We all wandered over to medals and took a group picture. Then back to pizza. They actually ran out of pizza. Elizabeth walked over to get her massage while Josh and I sat down.

I was done. I achieved a goal that I set five years ago, to qualify and race at Kona. This had been a long journey with many highs and lows. What next?


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