Yesterday's Hawaii 70.3 was the toughest racing conditions I've faced on the island- that's 5x this race and 4x Kona full. I finally got a dose of Madam Pele waking up on the wrong side of the bed. So, hats off to everyone that finished!
After spending roughly 6 weeks training in Kona and pouring all my heart and energy into the prep, I can't say I'm not disappointed in my result yesterday. I had such great training leading in, I was feeling amazing the few days before the race, and had such a blast in the mellow atmosphere of Hawaii- training with some amazing but chill athletes (local and international). So to not have that reflected in my performance hurt deeply.
It hurts the most when you really care- this race means so much to me for various reasons. Aside from the fact that it is in Kona, it was my first ever 70.3 when I was 19 and my qualifying race for that year's World Championship. I have so many memories here since then, and after all the trips to Hawaii for training and racing, Kona now feels like a second home.
I am proud of my effort the entire day- that is what has held me together the past 24hrs- that I never gave up mentally and that I felt really fit- I did exactly what I came here for and got myself in the shape I wanted to be in.
In the water I felt super strong- aided by the pool closing on us 2 weeks ago, I got in more open water swimming than ever before and felt very comfortable about where I would be heading onto the bike. Beth and I found each other at the rear of the lead pack that went out HARD and never seemed to settle after the 3/4-1mi or so to the first bouy. I expected/wanted to be more cushioned in the middle of the front bunch vs straggling at the tail end, but I have zero complaints about how the swim played out. It made for a very motivating start to the day.
Onto the bike, all was going fantastic until I hit the turnaround at the Mauna Lani at about mile 6ish before the long stretch toward Hawi. Shortly after turning around, I rode over one of the reflectors and onto a bump/divet in the road and felt my seat go down a smidge. Of course when you've been riding in a position for so many miles a smidge can mean a world of difference. But at that point I could still see the field on the bike and there was no way I was going to flag down bike support to fix that "tiny" issue. BIG MISTAKE. Once we passed Hapuna before Kawaihae, my low back was starting to get tense- even more so with a death grip that would only get stronger as the winds picked up.
By the time I hit the turn and climb up to Kawaihae that "smidge" had my back/QLs on FIRE. It especially hurt on climbs. So the only relief I got was the initial descent after the Hawi turnaround.
It got to the point of wanting to stop and stretch- if it had been a training ride I would've absoltely stopped riding.
I am not sure why/how just a simple bump led to that as I had the shop check my bolts and I rechecked them the day before the race. But maybe my idea of tight was not tight enough.
Anyway, what's done is done. I was only relieved to find that running was not painful. I was scared I'd get off the bike and have to hobble.
The run was actually fantastic. It was by far the best I've felt on this run course (turnover/physically), and only 1 or 2 dudes ever passed me so it was great to keep ticking off people- though it would've been nice to tick off girls in front or have come off the bike with a lead on more!! haha.
Even with feeling the best on that run course, I didn't run my fastest time- the winds were gnarly!!!!! Although when we were getting tailwind it was awesome! I ddidn't mind the wind on the bike as much as the run because I wanted to PR this run course damnit! :)
Despite the rough day on the bike, I know my fitness is absolutely there and things can only continue to go up. I did PR my overall time for this race with the toughest day so that helps me not be so hard on myself.
When you have big aspirations and a huge drive, and know you are capable of achieving what you desire it is frustrating to not be able to put things together ASAP, but I also will never ever stop fighting and my year will be filled with more racing than probably any year prior. There will be bad races (hopefully all behind me now haha)and great ones.
I am now looking forward to getting to San Diego, settling into my old routine and on to Buffalo Springs 70.3. After that will be REV3 Portand, which I am stoked about because I've yet to do a REV3 event and have heard nothing but wonderful things about their races, and a week later Vineman 70.3
Much more after that but not exactly sure what. As of now I'll need a streak of great performances to even have a shot at Vegas. But my priority has shifted to just wanting to put things together and get myself to another level this season rather than having that qualifying goal be the marker- many years left for that.
I just need to race, race, race!!! Given that it's the thing I love most, it'll be a fun year.