How many times have I watched this on TV. So surreal to be standing here. The volunteers are incredible and yep - shed a few tears here.
While waiting to line up, I got to get a hug from the great Julie Moss and Heather Fuhr. What an honor and certainly must be good mojo. While in transition, I saw so many friend racing and was reminded of that while we are competitors, we all know that this only happens because we are all here, so there is an amazing camaraderie as well. I have met so many great people in this sport and am proud to call them my friends. I got to line up with my friend, Rachelle Jorgensen. This woman is a bad ass athlete and broke the record for our age group in Arizona when we competed together.
Race Report -
We all got in the water and had to tread water for what felt like eternity. My friend Michele Simmons had told me to take a moment and listen to the drums beating, look around and take it all in.. I did but had to be careful to keep tears out of my goggles. The energy was like none other. The swells were big and I was concerned as to how the swim would go but this is Kona! I'd like to say the gun went off, but seems there was a problem so we were sent off by the Voice of Ironman yelling "go, go, go". We were off. The mass start doesn't bother me, but this one is special. It was a "washing machine" but everyone was on their best behavior. The water was clear at times and the view under was awesome. The water was rough and while I normally swim very straight, there were times that I was on one side of the buoys and then the next I would be on the other side. When you swim with 2000 other people at the same time at roughly the same effort, you get sucked along. We were all - all over the place. We made the turn around and I was tempted to look at my watch, but for fear of holding up the line I didn't. I was pretty sure it had taken us a long time. Heading back in was great as a few times I got clear water and was able to stretch out. Soon I was on the feet of "guy in green race kit". He provided awesome bubbles to chase and if I tried to get around him, he sped up so I just sat on the ride. Before I knew it, I was hearing Mike Reilly's voice and knew we were almost back. My first World Championship swim all most done - Focus Dawn. The view underwater as I swam up to the steps was just like on TV. How cool!!
Swim time 1:07 - not my slowest, but close.
Before the race started I noticed the flags. We had calm winds leading up to the race, but this morning I noticed the flags were quite busy. We have a short loop in town before heading out to the Queen K highway. Once out on the highway, we were all flying. Yep, that means a head wind coming back. Still I had no idea how hard the wind was pushing us as my heart rate had yet to settle down. Let me say this: on the NBC coverage the course looks flat. It is NOT! Not even a little bit. I had been warned so it wasn't a big surprise - yet! Once we get closer to Waikoloa, thinks get a bit more serious. Earlier someone had reminded me that we want the hardest day and that this was shaping up to be that - ok I'm all in now. I recall watching one year on TV where all the bikes were at a lean. This is what we were getting. I see coach on the side of the road and giver her the look of "Oh my!". Coach has an amazing way to get the message across - "winds are narly and you are doing great...". Sometimes I wonder what she sees.
We make the turn to head up towards Hawi and then, well... like nothing I have experienced. If I loosened my grip on the handle bars - I was in the middle of the lane. We were up hill (8 mile-ish climb) in to a headwind with cross gusts. There were times where some cycling machines would blast right past me and I just thought how cool is that to be able to ride your bike like that. I aspire to that one day. My mantra at this point was to relax and avoid fighting the bike. I admit that I failed on this more than a few times. I was not positive happy thinker the whole time. I did not appreciate the view the whole time. I did cuss at the sky a few times (and some of you know I can do that with the best of them). I did look around some of the time and marvel at the beauty. I did remind myself that I was now in the lava fields just like I had seen so many times. I did appreciate the fact that I was able to just be here and that so many still hold the dream. Back on to the Queen K - last 40 miles. This hurt. There were times when I would push and my right knee was letting me know that now is a good time to be done. At this point, I was using all my mental resources and figured all I could do was stay focused and get done as soon as possible. That seemed to be a long time. I did take the time to realize that more than half of my day was nearly finished and that what I have dreamed about and worked for for such a long time was on the back end. Back into transition, and once again wonderful volunteers take care of me and help me get my run gear on and out the "door".
Bike time: 6:00
It should be noted that my foot has been a bit of a problem for the past 4 weeks. Once again I have been training using alternative measures for the run. I wasn't sure how things would feel but I was certain that my mind would take over. Right away, I felt the effects of the effort on the bike. Get nutrition in and keep moving. Our "home" here is at the 2 mile mark on the run and I was beyond thrilled to see my family there. Something about being reminded that there is more to you than the current place you are experiencing makes it better. Down to the turnaround at mile 5. This is where I got to see so many of my friends competing. That is just the best feeling and the shared energy is moving. The foot was hurting but manageable. This is my dream after all. Back to the house and see the kids and Jesse again. Here is where things got special. Two of my kids ran with me for a few miles. Their words of encouragement are some that will stay with me forever. I am a blessed woman. Up Palani Hill - this hurt. Out on the Queen K - hot. Like crazy hot. Like not San Antonio hot, but like cooking from the inside hot. I had heard about it, but experiencing it was something else. And - this was my dream. I wanted to see what I could do. I wanted to be put to the test. I had made some mistakes on my race day preparation and so was low on my nutrition. That was on me - next time read where the special needs bags are going to be. The usual 13 - 14 mile mark is not the same at all races. While I was prepared to get my extra nutrition at mile 13, it was actually at mile 18. Again, this was on me and I dug a hole that I couldn't get out of. The energy lab is all that it is cracked up to be and still it is another great time to make connections with those going through this with me. I made a point to do just that. This is really such an amazing experience. The bottom of the lab is mile 18 and there I got my supplies. A bit too late, but we are in single digits now so I know I can gut it out. I saw Coach and Cat at mile 22 and again that visual connection does wonders and gave me a bit of energy to keep the legs moving. Once I hit Palani at mile 25 I knew it was done. Snot bawling was almost happening. By the way - it is really hard to snot bawl and run at the same time so I resorted to the "ugly cry". Where you try not to cry but can't help it so your face twists up. So I just smiled and snot bawled. When I turned on to Ali'i, the crowds were amazing. Then out of the crowds I saw my friend Michelle going crazy. Like not a little crazy but straight jacket crazy (having just read her blog I understand why) - more ugly cry. Down the shoot - I took it all it. I remember most of it. I saw my family. Then the ramp to the finish line - beyond words. Take it all in. Look up at the big screen. Know that all your loved ones are watching and try to convey with a single look the gratitude and love that you have for them because you know that they ALL helped make this a reality.
Run: 4:11 - not my slowest but close
Total 11:27 (same time as my first Ironman!)
It has just begun....