I guess I will start on Friday - registration and check-in day. We started out the day by putting the rest of the crews bikes back together - then we had to go to a bike store in Kona to get CO2 cartages and a few other things before we registered and checked in our run stuff. I felt good till we were getting in the car to go check-in and then I started getting nervous. I made it through registration and got my bike to run transition stuff checked in. Then we headed back got are numbers on our bikes for check-in and then road our bikes to the mandatory pre-race meeting. Afterwards we road our bikes out on Highway 19 to the bike check-in area at the Hapuna Beach State Park. I put my bike in its slot, cleared my bike computer, made sure my tires were not over filled, found the rest of the crew and headed down to the beach to see the swim course.
Saturday was an early morning (4am wake up call) - I got all dressed in my tri suit, grabbed my swim to bike transition gear and we headed out the door at 5am to catch the shuttle to the start. It was so warm out already that I did not need to wear anything other than my tri top and shorts. We hopped on one shuttle at event parking which took us to the hotel, then caught another one to the beach. The coolest thing was that Chris McCorack (who won the race) was in a the seat behind us.
We got to the start and I set up my bike stuff, checked my tires, and just got myself ready. Once I finished with my bike stuff I went and got body marked - with the longest number (#1088) - it went all the way into my elbow. I found the rest of the crew and headed down to the beach for the swim start, figured out where the actual start line was, tested the water and waited for the start cannon to go off.
I never even heard the cannon go off I just saw everyone else head into the water - so I fallowed Steph into the water. I walked a little way into the water till I was in far enough to swim, then it was about finding some room to actually swim. It felt like it took forever to get to the first buoy but once I made that first right turn things kind of thinned out, I also realized that no one else wanted to get kicked or anything the rest of my swim felt good. The best part was being able to see all the people around so that I could see the feet and hands around me and was able to avoid getting kicked or hit which made the swim much more enjoyable. The rest of the swim went really well I just kept going and tried not to go to far off course. I would say that the last 100-200 yrds was the hardest part of the swim, the waves would pull me back out so I had to swim harder just to stay in place , then try and catch the wave back in to move forward - it seemed to take forever. But finally it got shallow enough and I stood up and ran up the beach to enter T1 and crossed over the timing mat.
They had a shower type system set up so you could rinse off and wash out your mouth - I made sure to also rinse out my hair so that salt water did not drip into my eyes. Then they made us run up a hill (which at least they covered in astroturf) before getting to my bike. I got all my bike stuff on - the only thing was I planned on wearing a pair of arm coolers to help keep me cool and I tore a hole in them as I tied to pull them on so I gave up on them and headed out on to the bike course.
The bike course was hot and there always seemed to be either a head or side wind. It took me about 15-20 miles to figure out how to get my salt tabs out of my ziplock baggy and then how to get water to swallow the pills and stay stable on my bike all at the same time. I also had a hard time with my gel bottle - it did not really fit in my aero pocket so I had to keep closing the lid and keeping it closed. Since it was such a hassle and rather scary at times to take a hand off of my handle bars in the wind to get to it so I tended not to mess with it unless I totally felt like I needed salt or knew I needed to eat some gel. The saving grace was that I had two high concentrated bottles of accelerade that I sipped on through out the entire ride. - well once I finished the first bottle I tossed it and started grabbing the Gatorade they had on course to supplement. To help with the heat at all the aid/water stops I grabbed a water bottle and proceeded to pour it all on my head and back. Ok more about the actual bike course - the elevation profile had the whole group a bit worried but once out on the roads the hills are mostly rollers and long gradual climbs nothing super steep on really great pavement. This in no way means that it was easy. By far the hardest part was the 8 mile climb up to Hawi/turn around - there was ahead wind the entire way up and the climb never seemed to end. Luckily there was an aid station at the top and then it was all downhill - well till I hit the rollers again - which were twice as hard the second time. The last 10 miles I made sure to spin my legs as much as possible to loosen up for the run. The last little bit of road sucked - it was very bumpy and just bad. The best part of the bike had to be seeing everyone else in the crew along the way.
I came into the 2nd transition and changed my shoes, grabbed my visor and got some sun block put on my shoulders. As I headed out of T2 I felt great - my legs felt good, I had energy and I was having fun. I saw Steph (she was having a hard time with the heat) with in the first 100yrs or so and walked a bit with her and took some salt then felt like good so I started to run/jog. My first mile took about 9:30ish - I slowed through the aid station and grabbed some sponges and ice which felt sooo good. I saw Kyle, Bryan (they were at mile 4ish) and then Col who always the coach told me to walk if I needed to. I ran about another half mile then my left lower leg and knee started to hurt - he same sharp pulling pain as the last time I ran... So I started to do a run/walk thing - run two cones then walk two.. At the next aid station I tried to tape my knee how Col had showed me but the tape just would not stick. The pain continued to grow worse the more I ran - at this point I was averaging sub 14 min miles. I was not having fun anymore - it was hot - make that very hot and I could not run/jog more than a minute with out the pain getting really bad. The weirdest part was that it did not hurt to run up the hills so I did - it did however hurt twice as bad to go down hills and it defiantly hurt to run the flats. I wore my newton shoes and they feel great to run in but they actually hurt to walk in - which just made it worse. Around mile 5ish I started to get down on my situation - I was very frustrated and getting more and more disappointed. My stomach was starting to shut down - every time I drank anything I would get a stomach cramp and I had no idea what to eat since I was walking not running. The course went through some very loose sand which got in my shoes and started to rub the skin off the bottoms of my feet and between my toes. I was sooo luckily that Steph caught up with me and we stayed together the rest of the run (walk in our case). We talked and distracted each other from how uncomfortable we were and we both knew we could finish if we just kept going. The hardest part was mile 9-11 which was on this long out an back in the middle of a lava field - it was just soo hot it was hard to think - we just poured ice water on our heads and tried to keep going - mile 10-11 took us over 17 min. But once we made it back we knew we were getting closure to finishing. My leg/knee hurt so much that even though I really wanted to run the last bit to the finish I put it off till we reached the very last little bit. I would love to say I ran it but I think it was more of a hobble while I gritted my teeth in pure pain. The crew was all there cheering us in and we finished together. As soon as I made it past the mats I stopped dead and just grabbed at my knee and the catchers asked if I was ok. I pulled myself together and walked over got my chip taken off and then made it over to get my finisher medal and t-shirt where I took my shoes off. As soon as Kyle made it over to me I started to cry my eyes out.
In the end my total time was 07:35:06, the 843rd finisher and I came in 40th out of 41st in my age group.
Swim age group # 39/41 - overall place 804 - Time 45:45 - 2:18/100m pace
Bike 35/41 - 778 - Time 3:27:42 - 16.2 mph pace
Run 39/41 - 871 - Time 3:11:19 - 14:37/mile pace
I not to upset about my times considering that I have never done anything close to this before - it was all new and I finished which was my main goal. I learned a lot and there is still time to incorporate this experience into better preparing for Canada.
Well this has taken forever to write and is plenty long so maybe tomorrow I will recap what I have learned, what I need to work on, ect.