In my humble opinion, there are very few redeeming qualities to the month of February. Possible exceptions are the skiing and the fact that it has fewer days than other months. I tend to find myself willing the days to lengthen and surfing the inter webs for last minute travel deals to warmer climes, despite knowing I’ll likely never book one. This winter has been particularly grey in pemberton, which isn’t helping my relationship with February.
This time last year I knew I had a are in Kona to work towards and look forward to. Thinking about this the other day, I realized I have never posted the race report…which I wrote on the place ride home from that race! I then considered posting it on the anniversary of the race but that seemed silly, even for me. So without further delay… Kona 2011!
We’d been planning this race for about a year… So to finally get on the plane and head to Kona was a bit of a relief. Training had been different from what I had hoped. I am generally pretty good about following a training plan to an 85% “t”: I do exactly what I am told 85% of the time and the next 15% I either blow the training off completely or do exactly what I feel like it, which is frequently nothing. This time, however, it was more like 60/40. A combination of life, kids and some pretty atrocious spring weather conspired to make it a little harder than I had anticipated to get everything done that I had hoped. That said, I know that when I race I pretty much never want to make a fool of myself or let myself down so I knew what I had to do come race day.
Our trip over was smooth and we were completely spoiled by the ultra fantastic accommodation thanks to Sarah allowing to share her beautiful Kona home. W arrived, settled in and rested up.
It was my first time in Kona and it was pretty great to see the infamous ironman sites that I had seen so many times in magazines and on tv. Lava Java did not disappoint! The days leading up to the race were spent getting race ready, getting in a few last minutes sessions, taking in some of the scenery, getting Sarah immersed in the world of triathlon and basically turning her into a tri nerd. 2 things during the lead up stand out: my most favorite was without a doubt swimming next to some dolphins at the pier ( this despite the fact that when I first saw them I thought they were sharks, oops. Swallowed a lot of water there). Next was attending the pro meeting which Chrissy convinced us we would enjoy and “blend right in!” Uh, yeah. We didn’t exactly blend in (hi, Chris Lieto! You’re pretty cute) or learn much but it was fun…
Race day morning came, as it always does, much too early for my taste. I always have to fight the desire to roll over and say ” meh, I’ll just race later”. We did eventually all pile into our sweet minivan and make our way to the transition in the dark.
A few last minute tweaks, load up nutrition and check the bike and it was finally down to the beach for body marking and the swim start.
I dazzled with my focus at the start. So much so, in fact, that I was so intent on looking at my watch that I didn’t even notice the big wave that rolled in and literally knocked me into a sweet backwards somersault! Awesome. That certainly took the edge off.
It’s no secret that I am not exactly Summer Sanders and I did not disappoint! I came out in a nice casual time of that which shall not be mentioned in print. If you care, you can google it. I certainly didn’t care, I was just so damn happy to be done (and see my friend Danny and his son Tyler!) That swim was rough! Crowded and messy. Oh well, I managed to run up the long hill to transition and get to my bike relatively quickly.
Once onto the bike I knew it was important to stay conservative until the turnaround and I did. I didn’t particularly enjoy the ride and found it hard to kick my own ass on the way to Hawi. I saw Sarah on her way home from Hawi and decided I should probably put my head down for a while to try to catch her. I finally caught her on the hill back to the Queen K and was happy for us to ride back to the transition together.
Handed off my bike in a rather disorganized fashion and put on my shoes and grabbed some sunscreen to start the hot-very-hot run. The first 2 miles felt amazing. I can do this! I am winning this thing! And then… Miles 3-7 not so much with the winning… I was hot, kind of over it, my mind was wandering. Saw Chrissy running just back of Bree and cheered her on, it was great to see her running strong. I was also quite jealous that she was almost done. By the time I hit mile 8 I got some energy back and had quite enjoyed weaving up and over and through the golf course. 5 miles? Pshh. I got this. So easy. And then, I went to what Danny affectionately calls “hell’s kitchen”. Yeah, pretty much the most miserable stretch of pavement anywhere. A brutal 2 or 3 mile out and back that seems to never end.
Well, end it finally did and I made it back out onto the golf course and could taste the finish line. However, not before a lovely little Japanese racer passes me whilst running in his crocs. Sigh. That was humbling.
Finish chute! So long! Such a teeny finish arch! So happy to take off my damn shoes! Race done and dusted. I was happy with my time but not ecstatic. Pleasantly satisfied?
I did thoroughly enjoy the post-race-beer-and-chips-lying-on-an-ocean-side-massage table. Doesn’t get much sweeter than that…
So there you have it. That was the last real race I did in 2011! That was a bit unusual for me, but I was ok with it. After several years of racing, it was time to give my mind and body a break and focus on doing sport for fun. Which isn’t to say I didn’t miss it somewhat because I’ll be back out there this summer… As tanned as ever!