Hawaii IM 2008
You are at Hawaii Ironman. You are about to race Hawaii Ironman. Tomorrow you will be racing Hawaii Ironman! Breathe... As we dropped off the bikes the day before THE race, it hit me. And because I'm a bit of a spaz, I nearly had a breakdown right there! Tim put his arm around me, turned me toward the water, and said, "It's just another race."
We spent the rest of the day eating, hydrating, and sitting around the condo. Hit the sack at 7:30, and up for a gourmet, 3am breakfast of applesauce and sports drink.
Sherpa Chrissie drove Jesse, Tim, and me down to as close to the swim start as she could at 5:15. We got our numbers stamped on and headed toward transition, where I found my lovely new bike with a not-so-lovely flat tire. Breathe... I called over to Tim, "I think I have a flat." He dropped what he was doing (as in getting his transition area ready for Hawaii Ironman!), and came over to help. He gave the wheel a quick once-over and concurred - the tire was indeed flat. Breathe... Another athlete, who neither of us knew at all, grabbed the wheel and had the tube out before I could even get the flat-pack unzipped. Between this guy and Tim, all I had to do was spectate and eat my PowerBar.
Tim gave me his spare (you should see how many CO2 cartridges he brings on training rides!). We put the final touches on our transition areas, gave hugs to our parents, watched two paratroopers who would be competing in the race jump out of C-150's, and made our way toward the swim start. On the way, we saw Natasha Badmann. Holy crap! Maybe I could get an auto- no, now's not the time!
This is going to sound ridiculous, but the water was actually a bit cool when we first got in, something I would certainly not be complaining about a few hours later. There was no count-down before the swim start, not even a 5-minute warning. Just the National Anthem, then Boom! We were off! This is it! You're racing Hawaii Ironman! You're now on the other side of those underwater shots! Breathe... Immediately Tim and I were next to each other. We swam together the entire time. We both thought we'd dropped the other on the way back and Tim was right. But only by eight seconds! After tripping up the stairs and making my way through the hoses and changing tent, I executed an exceptionally graceful feet-first slide that would have had me dismounting the pier were it not for a well-placed row of porta-potties. Somehow I found my bike and hit the road before my other half.
I stormed Palani like a madman - Ergomo read 8,439 watts! I'm going to crush this course! I tried resetting it a couple times, but its season was over. Breathe... Luckily I had heart rate, cadence, and time. I used these three indicators to pace the bike, which I was trying to push harder than at Lake Placid, without blowing myself up. Based on some cycling-specific training sessions, I was shooting for a 5:32 - 42 split. As we moved down the Queen K it was shaping up to be a beautiful beach day. I took down two water bottles and peed by 45 minutes in. Good! Just keep drinking, just keep drinking... (a spin-off of "Just Keep Swimming" from the classic 'Finding Nemo').
Making my way toward Hawi, I noticed a bit of a breeze. I noticed it because it nearly blew me right off the inhabited volcano that is Hawaii! It was all I could do to keep the bike on the right-hand side of the road. At one point I was involuntarily engaged in a game of chicken with the lead vehicle. NOT my favorite part of the race! Also not my favorite? Trying to maintain 90+ rpm in the small ring while riding downhill! Why didn't anyone tell me this place was hot and windy?!
Descending out of Hawi was intense! The wind was now at our back/right. I knew if I wanted to make up any of the time I'd lost on the crawl to the turn-around I needed to take advantage of this insanity. Somehow I made it back to the Queen K without catching air on any of the numerous reflectors lining the road. When I got back to town I knew I was in a good spot because Jesse, who'd gone off 14 minutes behind us, had not passed me yet and I had maintained a top 30 position. This also made me very nervous. I really wanted to place in the top 20, but I wasn't sure how my running legs were going to react to the increased effort on the bike.
T2 was clean - stayed on my feet, and headed out at 6:45 pace. Immediately I was unsure about being able to maintain this effort. It did not feel as comfortable as Placid had, and there was not a cloud in the sky.
The first group of my family members that I passed, at about half a mile in, gave me the count - 25th woman. Ok, if you're going to get top 20 it's not going to be by passing 5 people over the next mile. It's a race of attrition - be patient. Saw Chrissie over by Lava Java, jumping up and down and taking pictures. Heard my sister before I saw her! She, my mother, my grandmother, my aunt, and mom's beau were up at the Bali Kai recruiting a quarter mile of spectators. Before I saw them, my pace was 6:48. After I passed them, 6:18! Wow, wow, wow! Chill out! Saw Tim and Jesse after the turn-around, and maintained 6:49 pace to the bottom of Palani, which I probably could have walked up faster than I ran it. Made my way over the Queen K, and turned into the energy lab, expecting the worst. I was waiting for the moment to come when I'd be gasping for air and forced to crawl back to the highway. Luckily I made it through on my feet. On my way out, I passed Kate Major. Holy crap! That's Kate Major. You just passed Kate Major! Breathe... Shortly after that I ran by a thermometer that read 108º! Whaaat?! No way! Heading back to town, I passed Belinda Granger, who cheered, "Good girl! Just like Placid!" Oh, wow! Belinda Granger knows who I am!! Breathe...
Around mile 22 I noticed that my fingers were tingling. Just keep running. You can take care of it after you finish. Even though the aid stations came up nearly every mile and lasted about a half mile, they couldn't come soon enough. It was as though I was ripping off a buffet every time I went through one! Water on the head, sip Gatorade, ice down the race top, more water, sponges! I feel bad for whoever was going through behind me.
The energy around the finish area was so intense! I could feel it up on Kuakini, a block away! I turned onto Alii, and when I saw my mom it was all I could do to keep running. You are finishing Hawaii Ironman! Breathe!
Thank you, mom, Mikaela, gram, Karen, Mike, Mr. & Mrs. Snow, Bob & Roxanne, Desi, and Annaka for coming out to cheer us on!
Thank you, Chrissie for driving us around, running our errands, and handing us the remote so that we didn't have to leave the couch on Friday!
Thank you, Guru, for my sweet new bike. She's beautiful and quick!
Thank you, PowerBar, for a great fueling and hydration system.
Thank you, Blue Seventy, for the speedy new speed suit and goggles.
Thank you, Brian, for setting up my bike, picking us up on minimal notice.
Thank you, Fast Splits, for taking care of us all season.
Thank you, Jesse, for your guidance.
Thank you, Tim, for everything.
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