Hi everyone! I survived Kona yet again, and I thought I’d share my race report with all of you who were wondering how I did. Thank you so much to everyone who tracked me and thought of me while I was racing. Here’s a summary of how the World Championships went for me this year!
The morning of the race went fantastic except for that as I was wiping on some sunscreen, I practically rubbed off my entire race number so I had to run back over for remarking. People get really confused that early in the morning when they see you moving backward against the herds of people who are waiting to get body marked.
I started the swim in the same place as last year, and nothing about the start was even remotely better than the previous year except that I had my friend Hallie right next to me to exchange words in between saltwater gulps. Eventually the cannon was off and the chaos began. I swam and swam and tried to sight and not once thought about making my stroke be fluid and strong — it was all about survival amongst flailing feet and whacks in the head for the entire duration of my 56 minute swim (a new Ironman PR for me, by the way!).
When I got to the bike I felt strong. I got passed by a few girls and passed a few that led me out of the water. By mile 15 I realized that my back water bottle was missing, but I didn’t think it would affect me much and ended up taking some extra Gatorade instead. I kept my nutrition the same and only added a little extra water. The trip out to Hawi was much nicer than the year before, and the little to no crosswind was super helpful. The climb up was a mental battle because the boys were passing like crazy. At the turnaround I did a quick stop for special needs and felt great on the way down. There were a few “lord help me” moments, but all in all, it was FUN. The headwind on the Queen K was enough to make me crazy; it felt like I was sitting on a bike trainer going nowhere, wondering if it would ever end. The only thing missing was an episode of “The Girls Next Door” sitting smack in front of my face and the cat trying to sit on the aerobars. I ended up coming off the bike in my goal time of 5:32-5:35.
By mile three on the run things decided to turn. My tri shorts felt as if I had eaten an entire Krispy Creme store. I was pulling my short away from my belly, feeling as if my stomach might make them bust open at the seams…good thing there are no buttons on spandex! By the turn around all I could do was think about when I would see the cheering section. Blurred vision and some slightly teary eyes forced me to take the sunglasses off, but I kept moving forward. Mark always reassures me that he will love me and not be mad at me for anything, so long as I finish the race. That became my new goal, no more worrying about pace, place, and goal times. Just FINISH.
I got on the Queen K (by Bike Works…love those guys), and after 5 big pukes in a row this girl had nothing in her. From then on it took every bit of effort to run 10-11 minute miles, but I kept moving. Orange slices and a little water for the next 14 miles was all I could take. By mile 24 I tried some Coke…YIPPEE, the bounce was back…a little too late in the game, but I ran with it? “How Many Peeps Can You Pass in the Last 2 Miles” was the game, and I played it with a passion, then had more Coke at mile 25. I averaged 10:30 during the entire run but managed to run the last two miles in 7:30s.
That was the race in numbers. I had so much support from all across the country, and that is what kept me going. By far this race was the most challenging to me, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. I never want to relive it in its entirety, but I wouldn’t change it. Being in the most competitive field of athletes, having an amazing swim and bike split, and knowing that I have trained to my ability at this time, I did what my body allowed me to on the day of October 10th, 2009.
The best in the world shined (by winning, by setting PR’s, by breaking records of all sorts), and too, the best in the world were also defeated. Defeated in terms of not reaching their established goals, by lowering places, by being forced to reevaluate what they were set out to do this day. I was behind athletes I never thought I would be behind, and there were athletes behind me I never thought I would be in front of, but this is what the Kona Ironman is about, the unpredictable. And in the end, we all learned, and learning is winning and all of us are one step further in making this event even better for ourselves and for others. We learn, we share, we grow and then we find a way to do it all over again.
It is an honor to be at Kona, a very special place, a place that you keep with you throughout the year and reminds you of the beauty of the sport. I will be back to show myself what I have learned on this journey and to inspire others. I will be ready to take on the day again, someday, someday soon.