Saturday, October 20, 2007

2007 Hawaii Race Report

Kona was tough. That about sums it up. I learned a lot of things, and will hopefully take those lessons into next year.

The morning started off fine, with being up early, and some light breakfast with coffee. We headed down to the race about 5 AM, and found some parking. I went thru the long lines of body markings, special needs bag drops, chip pinning, transition set-up and every other little thing that needs to be done before the race.

After finally getting everything set, I left transition to relax and do the final preps for the race start. Before heading to the start, ran into Laurent Jalabert, which was pretty cool.

Got into the water about 6:30 AM, and did some easy swimming with some accelerations. As they rounded us up for the start, they had a bunch of race referees on longboards going back and forth in front of us to keep us from creeping forward.

I ge0 a spot on the front line next to Linda Gallo and Joanna Zieger, who I knew would be swimming fast, so I was happy to sneak in behind them. Suddenly, the cannon goes off, and one of the referees is right in front of me, and I end up nearly crawling over him. Oh well, lost a second maybe, no big deal.

I swim quick from the start, and see all the cameramen underwater, as we push forward. Looking up, I can see Laird Hamilton is close, standing on his surf board, and there isn't much body checking in the water. The swim seems to be going just great! I realize I'm probably not going to make the first pack, but I expect to be in one the first two chase packs, and if there is a strong current on the way back, who knows what can happen?

I get out to near the turnaround boat, and the pack has started to string out a little bit, but I can still see Laird, and I'm impressed with how the race is going. As we begin to make the turnaround though, things get really crowded again, as everyone wants to be moving on the inside, near the boat. We shift positions and get where we need to be. We get around the boat and turn buoy, and I settle onto someone's feet again. I notice I am not able to see much of a crowd anymore, and I look up and see the pack has put about 5 body lengths between us. DAMN IT! I glance behind me, and realize there is just 3 of us in a pack, and no one behind us that I can see, a big gap. The guy on my feet sees this as well, and decides to make a big move for the pack. I get on his feet as he goes by, and the other guy on my feet. A minute later, we've dropped the guy on my feet, and a few minutes after that, I get dropped. Now I'm all alone! I decide I just need to stay relaxed and tempo in. If I can just stay steady and focus on relaxed, long strokes, things should go well. I was wearing a new Zoot, full length speed suit, that was a prototype, (had been approved a week before the race), and I don't think I did it the justice it deserved.

I end up coming out of the water alone, about 56 mins and change, (not what I had hoped, but oh well). I run into transition, and get my bag. I grab my sunglasses and they break as I pull them out. I wasn't surprised by this, as I had accidently run them over earlier in the week, with my bike. I had put an extra pair in the bag, just in case. I get so excited, I just reach into the bag and grab the glasses, and head out to the bike. I get almost to the bike when I realize I forgot my number. DAMN IT! I say outloud, "I forgot my number!" Only to hear the volunteers tell me, "You're #139! Your bike is over here!" Thanks, but that's not what I meant. I had to run back to the tent, and find the bag, as the tent is now getting a bit more crowded. I find it, grab the number, and realize I am now in the thick of the women's race, with Sam McGlone, Kate Major, etc, right there with me.

I get to the bike, get out on the road, and reach down to turn on the PowerTap. DAMN IT! Forgot to put it on in the morning. At this point, I'm just laughing outloud. My relaxed attitude has either become more relaxed, or it back fired to begin with. If I didn't feel like a rookie before, I do now. Sorry Tom, especially since I had you overnight the computer for me.

Out on the road, and I'm just trying to ride steady and keep under control. Things are going fairly well, but the women's race continues to be in front of me. I ride under control and the climb to Hawi is tough. It's getting warm, the sun is intense, and the wind is picking up.

Come the turnaround, I don't feel horrible, but I don't feel great at all. I start down the descent and it's definitely windy. I am holding onto the brake hoods, leaning down, and my arms are tired from the swim and holding on tight.

Come the turn back onto the Queen K, Mac comes by, and I tell him his in about 25th place for amateurs. He's having a great race!

I am ready to try and focus the rest of the way, but I'm hurting. The heat is taking it's toll on me, and I'm starting to feel bloated. The protein in my drink was not a good idea for this heat. I am vomiting around mile 85, and continue to go backwards. I see Jalabert go by me, riding the same bike as me!

I roll into T2 with a 5:30+ bike split. I see Orlanda and give her a smile, as I am trying to still enjoy the race, and I am determined to finish. I meet Selstad in the tent and he gives me the 411 on the race, and how everyone's doing. I get some sunscreen on and begin to head out.

I get out on the road and I am running very conservative. First few miles are all about 6:40's, and I'm starting to feel good again. I get to mile 10 and I see Orlanda, but now I'm starting to slow. I walk with her for a 1/4 mile and talk. From here, things only got worse. There were many bouts of walking, jogging, walking, walking, walking. It was bad. The lowest point came when I looked up and saw the mile marker, and was thinking, "Thank God, mile 17!" Only it was 16. DAMN IT! You know you're in some trouble when you can count.

I get into the energy lab and run up on Desiree Ficker. She and I get going together, and she has me stop and get some sunscreen, because my back is getting bad she says. I would later be very thankful.

I did have one shinny moment out there, seeing Mac move up to third amateur, and running down the other guys in front of him. I was really proud of him, because he always works as hard as I do, but for this race he worked much harder than I did. More importantly, he's probably one of the most passionate athletes I've ever seen. His dedication is 2nd to none. He doesn't suffer the lows I tend to have, and this despite getting hit by a car at the LA Triathlon last month. He and I are planning to do a lot of work on his swim this off season, and if I can get him down to coming out with the chase packs, LOOK OUT!

I make it back to town, and I am stumble down Palani. I get to Kuikini, and when I should be so excited to be done, I am back to a walk. I come down to Alii, and see the Zoot gang. I'm so happy to be done. I see Orlanda just before the chute, and she gives me a hug. She decides to go thru to the finish with me. I cross the line, and I am so thankful to be done.

Post race, I am sick as a dog. Vomiting, weak, chills, all sorts of issues. It was not good. I will spare the details of this part!

So that's it. I will make a separate post of all the different things I learned on this trip and for the race. I will also have a lot more to announce in the coming days, but I am happy that the season is over. It's been quite a year, and quite a learning experience.

1 comment:

moonpie said...

Congrats for toughing and out and finishing, even with such a "sucky" time :P Look forward to reading the lessons learned!