It's Monday, and I fly back to the mainland a little later. On one hand, I wish I could stay & train through every inch of the Ironman course until I can see, taste, feel, & smell it only by closing my eyes....but, I'm very much looking forward to an awesome summer with my little brother, some time with my mom, & of course logging lots of miles with all my SD buds that will also be gearing up for Kona in Oct.
This was my 6th trip to the Big Island, & my 5th time racing- the other was a training camp. Three times the 70.3, twice the Ironman. Now, considering this Island is known for its variable weather, you would think that before Saturday, I'd have at least experienced some rough conditions on the 4 prior races. No. 2007 no wind, heat was eh, just the 80's. 2009 the half was really hot but again no wind, and in the fall there was some headwind on the bike, but run had plenty of cloud cover.
...Saturday, however, I was finally presented with some wind! I don't mind it, because it's not like I'm in some isolated chamber, everyone gets the same dose of Pele's medicine. It was none other than great practice for what could be a windy Ironman this fall.
Anyway...onto the trip...
I got to rent a cool blue PT cruiser, which is actually a very smooth ride and really gas efficient. Wednesday night I slept over at Cassie's, my homestay. She lives ALL the way up Palani at like 4,000+ft in a gorgeous house with a beautiful view of the coastline. Thursday morning I went ahead and headed up to the Fairmont as lava Java didn't open until 630 & it was 530. I needeed coffee asap, & better to drive up than sit in the car waiting. Kristin was up so we headed to Hapuna for a nice swim & as usual (for me) the water was super calm. Then we rode a bit and spent the day laying out by the pool- perfection! After dinner, I drove back to town for a good night's sleep and to prep my stuff as Friday (night before race) I was going to stay the night at the Fairmont.
So Friday morning I check in & am greeted with the awesome news that I was upgraded to "Fairmont Gold" haha sweet! I got a cool room on the 6th floor that required a special elevator key card. As it was only one night I wouldn't get to enjoy the extra ammenitites: lounge, free hors d'oeuvres, etc....but it was cool nonetheless!
Friday night I went to dinner with Mike, Laura, Kristin, & Luke at Macaronni Grill- really yummy!
Finally....Saturday!! I was soooo ready to race. I could not believe I was in Hawaii without injury & at my fittest. Laura was nice enough to drive us to Hapuna so we avoided the shuttles. The winds were BLOWING!!! I set everything up, headed down to warm up in the water, and right away it was clear- it's gonna be a slow swim, chop, chop, chop.
However, it was all good because mentally I wouldn't be phased. I wasn't racing with HR, power, Garmin...nothing...just my watch that would tell me how close I was to noon so I could hurry to be able to shower & check out before 1pm hehe.
OK so the quick play by play before I bore anyone to death:
Great- didn't get beat up, drafted the whole time, came out in a good position. Not my fastest swim here time wise, but definitely relative to the field and for the conditions it was my best swim. Got out feeling completely unphased- good sign of fitness.
Absolutely no complaints, felt excellent the whole time, fueled great, and it was my indeed my fastest bike here on top of the fact that it was the windiest of the 3 times I've done this race :)! The only bummer for me was the slightly cooler temps and drizzle we experienced climbing up to Hawi because the hotter, more humid, the better I do (when I'm not fat haha), and the more most other people drop like flies :D
Well, first T2- took a bit of time to sit down and pull my short slightly compressed socks on- scientific benefit or not I don't care, I like the slight tightness and that they're also very thin so my feet can breathe. Ok so outta transition I went with only a quick stop to pee.
Right away "Oh F*&%K!!!" my legs felt incredible- like I had not ridden my bike at all (again, sign of good fitness yay!)...however, my stomach or I guess you could say both obliques cuz it was on the sides, hurt like hell!! It was sooo frustrating because my legs were saying "I wanna run, let's gooooo!!!" and my stomach would barely let me jog. So in the first 2 miles I stopped a few times, to bend over and try and dig my hands in to work out the stitch, I swallowed 4 salt tabs at once thinking maybe it was dehydration, I walked 2 aid stations to slowly drink coke thinking that would settle it. No no no. At one point, I thought I cannot continue to even try to jog, so I might either have to walk for quite a while or perhaps the whole half- great c'mon Hawaii cut me a freakin break!!
AHHHH....finally at like mile 5 after continuing at a very frustrating jog, the stiches/cramps started to go away. I think what it was is my stomach shut down and didn't assimilate the last gel and about half a bottle of my liquid cals I took in the last few miles of the bike. Luke told me after the race it was probably the heat/humidity that I haven't been exposed to yet in San diego screwing with my body's ability to assimilate calories while racing. Whatever, it still pissed me off.
At least it started to go away, & I was slowly able to increase my pace and satisfy my legs that were getting extremely bored. Nearing the 10k mark I began to pick people off, and had a good run to the finish.
Still managed to cross in 4:58, and run my fastest run here of 1:37 despite the pedestrian first 5miles. 1st in 20-24 AG, 11th F. Plus, at best, I think my run could've gone down to the low 1:30's so in the grand scheme of the 70.3 miles, I can only say it was a good solid day for me :) That in itself gave me huuuuge confidence for the rest of the season. With some more big training days where I'm taking in calories at high efforts, & now in summer temperatures, the stomach issue should be gone & I will be able to have my best RUNS. My fitness is SOOO there and I could not be happier. There's an insane amount of time and work to be done before October & coming to Hawaii now once again offered priceless lessons for the fall.
After the race we had some lunch by the pool, then I enjoyed an awesome sushi dinner with Janna & Blake- who despite a flat & a hand me down replacement wheel from sag, finished 8th overall & won his 25-29 AG for a ticket back in Oct!!
What's even better is that along with fitness and multiple Ironmans and 70.3's comes the beautiful short recovery window :D!!! I have ZERO SIP ZILCH soreness and am only a little tired overall, partly due to not being able to CRANK that half marathon. I think what will require most of the downtime this week will be the effects of travel.
Alright that's it- back to work tomorrow! Cannot wait to see my mom & brother!!!!