What an opportunity/blessing to “play” race and train with some of the best triathletes in the world. Feeling lucky to be there I had one goal, finish by sun down. My heart was full and thankful for all the friends I met and have who encouraged me every stroke, peddle and step of the way.
Nerves hit fast within hours of being on Kona…seeing gear, bike bags and the caliber of athletes brought me back to my skating days. Although, this time I am not seeing a young pair team pull off a split triple twist. I was walking through crowds of athletes that have trained for years to have their turn at the Kona World Championship competition, with personal/professional goals to achieve.
Traveling with gear is the first of many challenges I embarked on. After upgrading to a bright orange mustang I was able to transport my bike to the hotel. With the top down it was liberating… I yelled Kona! And my prayers started…
Thankfully I ran into Ryan & Ian from Roka, and Yo from Newton Running at the expo and who got me sorted for the days coming! Thanks Again! Taking Ian’s advice I watched the underwear run from the sidelines. Glad I didn’t miss it. A quick swim in my new Roka swim-skin and a run along Ali’I drive put my head in the game. My ride along the Queen K to the donkey crossing sign kept me smiling.
Race day started around 4am, after setting up my only thought was " enjoy this experience". With no strategy in place I went out into the water early thinking I would head to the far end. I kept getting pushed way out to the left. Mistake! Treading water and looking at the clock I kept telling myself enjoy the moment, while watching the sunrise, helicopters and drones overhead.
Coming out of the water I knew I had a tough swim, 2.4 miles is a long swim! Again, reminding myself to enjoy the experience and truthfully trying not to freak out. Ironman Kona was turning into a head game.
The ride up to Hawi didn’t disappoint. I just kept my head down and kept going. The head game started again, hearing tires blow, and sensing panic it started to rain hard. Praying and again reminding myself to enjoy the moment, I did just that. As the ride came to an end I could see runners on the course and excitement settled in as I looked forward to the next challenge and getting off my bike.
My next beginner’s mistake was not applying enough sun block. I actually felt pretty good on the run. There were lots of people cheering and spraying water, and once I saw Ian and Katie at the bottom of Palani they gave me another boost. Upon getting onto the Queen K it was all business, and I was looking forward to the turnaround at the Energy Lab. The run going down Palani was painful and fun as the crowds were out and cheering everyone through. I made my way back to Ali’I and again, I tried to really enjoy the whole experience of the finish.
Ali’i was packed with people and I could hear Mike Riley yelling out finisher names. It was a great experience running down the finisher shoot and to the line. I’m honored to have had this opportunity and raced in Kona and I did what I prayed for, I finished and enjoyed it.
Ironman World Championship 11:41:36