Here is how the day unfolded—
The swim was uneventful and went pretty much the same as my last 3 swims in Kona. I completed it in 1:03. I was a tad disappointed but turned my focus to the task at hand, excelling in the bike and run, with a smooth transition.
At the start of the bike I felt OK. It is funny how in every Ironman something unexpected always happens and this one did not disappoint. About 40 miles into the bike the pad to my left aerobar ended up flying off which put me a bit off center and may have lead to some tightness on the right side of my back. When it happened I thought it would make things very uncomfortable, but in general things were going as planned and I didn’t really notice it too much. I remained patient and controlled in my riding and hit the half way mark at 2:30 and thought I might bike 5 hours or better. The ride back is usually a bit faster than the way out, once the climb to Hawi is out of the way, but this year that idea was soon crushed when the winds picked up after the climb out of Kawaihae. Lucky for me this is where I started to push the pace and it allowed me to move up through the field as the winds seemed to take a toll on other riders who may not have left as much in the tank.
On the run I felt OK heading out the first 5 miles on Alii drive and a bit better on the way back. I ran into fellow epic camper mike Montgomery and we chatted for a brief minute. When he told me he swam 58 this year I wanted to ask him for swim tips! The miles clicked off and the pace felt mellow however, I could feel my core temperature starting to rise a bit. I also knew I started the race a bit backed up without a good trip to the porta-potty in the am. This led to some stomach issues when I got onto the Queen K. I slowed my pace a bit and that helped, but eventually I found myself ducking into a couple of porto pottys to help relieve the situation.
As I was entering the famed Energy Lab I began to feel better. This changed pretty quickly when I reached an and grabbed a cup from one of the volunteers took a swig and found out it was a beer! In his defense he wasn’t really holding it out, but it was in my arms reach and I was desperate for any type of hydration. For the next mile I felt like I was going to throw up! On the way back out of the energy lab I had to wait for what felt like eternity for my special needs bag, but it was probably only a minute as the volunteers scrambled to find it.
Once back on the Queen K I started clicking off 7 minute miles around the 21 mile mark and just kept pushing literally from cone to cone and aid station to aid station trying to find people to pick off and give me the incentive I needed to go hard. By about mile 23 I was in no man’s land with no one really in striking distance ahead of me and no one really behind me. It was an odd place to be for a race that is this deep. As I pushed down Palani pounding my quads it reminded me of all my downhill runs on the Sugarloaf road and all the hard work I have put in this year. I also knew the pain would soon disappear as soon as I reached the magic of Alii drive where I would find world class fans and my own family. Allii delivered as usual and I was overcome with the joy that only this little road can bring.
While I know I had the fitness to run faster, a backed up stomach and a few porta-potty trips made for a slower run. Maybe I biked too hard for this type of heat even though the effort was right inline with all my previous Ironman bike rides or maybe I should take a page out of this years two world champions and ditch the aero helmet. However, I learn something from each race and few years ago I probably would have tried to run hard through the stomach problems leading to a really big blowup and lots of walking. I am happy that my in race adjustments are an indication that I have learned enough to listen to my body and make the best out of a tough situation. Like every race I learned a bit about myself both as a triathlete and a person and I look forward to taking that with me. I think I will need to focus on my beer drinking skills this off season so I am better prepared for anything that might come my way in Hawaii next year!
Thanks to everyone for all of their support.
- Ironman Arizona 2010
- Ironman Coeur d’Alene 2009
- More Kona Pictures
- Hawaii 2008 Race Report
- Ready for Kona