Saturday, October 15, 2011
The thing about vacation is that you actually believe you will have more time than usual, as if the day expands and suddenly there will be more hours to do everything, including blogging. But alas, time doesn't expand like that, especially when you are vacationing in paradise and want to take advantage of every minute you are there.
This morning we went kayaking to a coral reef, tied up our boats, and snorkeled.
This is my favorite fish:
The kids are trashed now, and I think actually, Andy is taking a nap, too!
So I have a second to write about the race.
As I mentioned in my last post, I executed an incredible (because I remained happy and healthy), but very conservative race. It's easy, in retrospect, to wonder whether I should've approached the race differently. I had more in me, there is no doubt. But I also remember, even though retrospect has clouded my memory, that I needed to have a race in which I celebrated my making it to Hawaii. For me, celebrating came in the form of slowing myself down enough to I soak it in and enjoy it, and NOT end up in the medical tent.
I spent the morning of the race hovering. I hovered around Robin, around Ange, around my bike. At some point Robin and I headed to the medical tent to complete some Timex study requirements. We filled out a few questionnaires, listed what we had eaten for breakfast, were weighed, had a cheek swab taken, and were asked to pee in a cup.
As you all know, there is plenty of pee to be released race morning. And, of couse, peeing into a cup is easier if the stream isn't a torrent. I did my best, and came out of the porty john only slightly covered in pee, and with a very, very full cup. I believe I was cursing under my breath when I looked up, cup of pee in hand, and there, standing before me, was Craig Alexander.
I believe I said..... "Oh!" and then, "Oh Oh Oh!" and finally, "Hi!"
It took him a second to say hi-- a shy, amused smile lingering on his oh-so-unbelievaby cute face--and step around me. As the door clanged behind him I said, "Good luck today!" I then turned back to see Robin and the rest of the Timex study people snickering at me.
Anyway, I decided to view the sighting as an auspicious start to a great day.
When we finally headed out to the water, I was very ready to begin the race already. I had enough pre-race anxiety, and just wanted to START! My approach to the swim was to go to the far far far far left. I was so far left that I was literally alone, except for a lone kayak who kept telling me to get over to my right.
After treading water for what seemed like an hour the cannon suddenly, and without warning, went off. It is possible there was warning, of course, and I was just so far off course I couldn't hear it. Anyway! I swam and swam and swam. I could see the buoys about a quarter mile to my right. I saw fish, some coral, a few competitors, and a ton of kayaks, who kept pushing me toward the race and away from the left.
Here is a photo of the race start.
You may THINK I was stupid to stay to the left, but ummmm.... I beg to differ.
At one point I looked down, and I saw them. DOLPHINS! They were gently swimming... so soft and graceful. I thanked myself for swimming so far away. What an amazing thing! Dolphins! Obviously I did not take this picture during the race, but this is what it looked like:
But who cared! I saw dolphins! And I had loved my swim and couldn't wait to get on the bike. (I want to thank TriBike here for my super cool new Torque!--sorry I didn't swim fast in it. Next time!)
The first part of the bike on the Queen K is AWESOME--wind at your back, a lot of gradual down hill. It's fun! It's fast! You feel like a rock star! Well, except for the packs of cyclists streaming by you... that doesn't feel so great. But still, this part of the ride was FUN. Can you see me smiling? And look, Kat, the Pumpkinman bottle made it all the way to Hawaii!
Finally I made the turn to climb Hawi. Things stayed easy and calm until about 4-5 miles before the turn around. Gradually... gradually things got windier, and windier and windier, until finally I could barely ride. The palm trees were so bent and blown it appeared we were in the midst of a hurricane, minus the rain. It was insane! I was deliriously happy. Going 1 mph, but happy. How cool! THIS was Hawaii! This was it! This is what everyone meant by the insane winds! And OH BOY did they not disappoint! Finally we turned around, and then the wind was at our backs. I got in aero, tucked in and flew. Then I started to weave, I panicked, and I got up on my bars and prayed instead. Here I am heading back down...
I'm sweaty, but I'm headed home! (and still happy...)
I think I forgot to mention it was hot.
Yep. It was hot. Like a bottle of water every half hour, pour water over your head and on your legs, and still feel like you are boiling hot, hot.
Finally finally finally I got close to the end. I took my feet out of my shoes... yeah me! And hopped off my bike. 5:57:40. Okay. I'll take it, I guess! Then I tried to hop some more. ouch ouch ouch. It took a bit until I could stand upright, I admit. T2 passed in a blur. And then....
here I was... on the run.
I. WOULD. STAY. HAPPY. AND. HEALTHY.
I took it out slow. Then looked at my pace, and went a little slower. I didn't care if I ran nine minute+ pace, as long as I ran the whole thing, and finished strong. That was the plan!
I saw my family at the turn around on Alli' Drive and I was so excited to see them. Lara screamed as I headed off again, "Don't end up in the medical tent, Mommy!" and I smiled and shouted, "I won't! I promise!"
And then I just had seven left. As I ran on, slowly slowly slowly I thought of something Pat Wheeler said in a interview last week. He was talking about what motivated him on the final 10k, and it was the thought that he only had 6 miles until the off season. And that is what I thought during those last miles... Seven more miles til the off season. Six more miles til the off season... five more miles til the off season .....
When I got to mile 24, it hit me. I had only 2 miles until I would successfully finish this race--not sick, not unhappy--just totally happy and alive and thrilled to be in Hawaii. I picked up the pace... and then some more. By the time I turned on to Ali'i Drive I was sprinting.
An 11:21:18 is not my fastest IM. It is also not my slowest. But this was the first IM I completed in which I raced within myself and did not allow myself to make mistakes. I did not take risks, but I raced with joy, and I did it at Kona.
I will compete in my next IM in just over a year from now.
I guarantee I will race it, and I will race well and hard. And I will get back here. I will!
Love and huge thanks to my incredibly supportive family, my amazing friends (especially Ange and Alina and to Robin for spending the week with me!), to my parents, to my awesome sponsor, TriBike Transport, and of course, to my incredibly intelligent and supportive coach, Kurt.
And to all of you for your support too! Mahalo!