Sunday, June 9, 2013

Honu 70.3 Race Report

Well let's just get to the down and dirty business of writing a race report I'd rather writing this I noticed lots of words that I wouldn't want my kiddos to read so I substituted!!!

I signed up for this race back in December with high hopes of a possible Kona slot.  At that point I knew it would be better for me to KQ (kona qualify) in a half rather than a full.  See, I'm not bomb-proof - Ironman training really takes its toll on me.  I love the distance and everything about it but I've had a hard time staying healthy in previous Ironman build-up training.  I hate to admit this but apparently I'm getting older.  It pucks writing that:)

And, since it's Hawaii - it's hot.  A good place to test my nutrition before hopefully heading back to try the full in October.  Of course, I had a back-up plan.  See, I signed up for Placid last year.  If I didn't qualify at Honu, I'd give Placid a go. More on that later.

The days leading up to the race were incredibly chill.  My original lodging and travel plans had blown up a few months ago but a friend at my club (and swimming buddy) was going and had a  room in the house he was staying at next to the pier.  Not in Waikoloa but sounded pretty good to me!  I traveled out on Wednesday and met up with the other house guests that night.  The house is incredible....this was my view every morning for coffee.  The caretakers are the most incredible people - they took care of all of us, cooked for us, told stories about the island, and made me feel like I was right at home.  Awesome.
I could sit in that chair
Anyway, I was relaxed and confident leading up to the race although I had some nagging in the back of my head that my bike training was still not up to par.  My ocean swims were feeling spectacular and I was happy with my run.  The weather was also perfect on Friday!!  Could it be that we would have a relatively wind-free day on the Big Island?  Would we have a bit of cloud cover?  (optimism at its finest)  I knew the competition was going to be fierce but was ready to give it a go
Hapuna Beach for the swim......could it get any better than this?

Race morning I was nervous.  What is this all about? Race breaky went down OK and all I can say is I'm really happy I have switched to green tea extract for my caffeine.  Coffee was a no-go.  On the drive out it initially appeared that there was NO wind.  Could it be???  Yea.  No.  Once we hit the heli-pad I could see the winds were a-blowing.  Kind of hard.  Ok, we all have to deal with the same conditions so I put a smile on my face and was looking forward to the bike and trying to stay aero with what promised to be difficult conditions.

This year, pros went off at 6:50, men at 6:53 and women at 7:00.  I liked this!!!  My goal before the swim was to find fast feet and hold on.  Several local girls were racing and I knew that they were much better spotters than me.  If I could get on some fast feet, I would have excellent pacing and also not have to sight as much. The canon went off and I was right next to Michelle S.  This was good, exactly where I wanted to be because I knew she was trying to hold onto a really fast girl.  Girls are so much nicer than boys.  I really liked the start - yes, we were aggressive with positioning but no one ever clawed at me or tried to take my legs down or clobber me in the head.  Great start.
I'm the one with the pink cap up near the front....see me??
The swim was essentially a big rectangle.  On the way down, it was protected in the bay.  Ham I felt good!! I lost my feet but hopped on another girls.  My breathing was bomber.  I was relaxed and strong.  All of a sudden we encountered a little bit of man-traffic and I popped my head up to see that we were already at the turn.  I was pretty sure I was in for a record-setting swim.  The way back takes you out of the protection of the bay and into some open water.  It was bit rough - every time I breathed to the left I got a mouthful of water and an eyeful of sun.  And, I had lost my feet, again.  Some girls had taken an inside line but I decided I wanted to be just bit closer on the inside of the buoys heading to the final turn.  These buoys were going by pretty fast too and I made a fantastic line to the turn!!!  Dang - nice relatively straight swmming me!!  At the turn though, the man-traffic was unbelievable.  Basically, we hit all the guys swimming in the 37-42 range.  That's a lot of men.  I had to stop completely and when I looked up all I could see was a sea of blue caps.  No clear water and it was really choppy.  Another pink cap was right next to me and we looked at each other and I said "holy stir-fry"!!!  She said something along the same lines and I started swimming trying to not run over these guys.  Of course, now the men were trying to take me down.  Pulling on my legs and sinking them.  Ugh.  I found a bit of clear water but noticed I was too far on the outside so I went in a bit.  Then I thought to myself..."self, keep your eyes open - you might see a Honu or something really cool below you".  sure enough, about a minute later and 20 feet down a HUGE manta ray swam beneath me.  It was the most unbelievably beautiful creature I had ever seen.  I didn't freak out, I just smiled and figured that was a good omen for the day since I was clearly having the swim of my life.

Leaving the water I was almost sorry the swim was over! Michelle was right next to me and we had a nice little chat up to T1.
Running out of the water with Michelle S. We were definitely not as serious as we look here!
Swim time: 30:37.  I thought for sure I was 27.  Not so.  I was 10th fastest woman (including pros) and only 5 minutes off the fastest men so I'm calling it a good swim.  Plus I saw a manta ray.  Awesome swim.

It is a long haul up from the beach to the shower to the bikes.  But other than that, totally uneventful.

It was windy but I wanted to give this thing my all and see where the chips would fall.  I was happy, smiling and passing people.  We were supposed to stay on the inside of the white line since the road wasn't closed.  But there was a rumble strip so that made passing really interesing. I basically had to swing my bike out hard to the left in between strips but not sharp enough to go to the middle of the road.  Immediately I noticed that people (mainly men) were passing me on the uphills and I was re-passing on the downhills.  Ummmm......I'm on the smaller side so that scenario should actually be quite the opposite.  But not today....and that nagging little fear in my head became a bit louder.  You are not fit enough for this bike.  Shut up HEAD.  I managed to stay in aero even with the crosses and felt strong that way.  I just didn't feel strong climbing.  And the winds were brutal.  And this course pretty much climbs both ways (there may have been snow in addition to the incredible heat and wind).
Climbing out of T1
The eventual winner of my age group passed me like I was standing still (maybe even going backwards a bit) at only 46 minutes into the ride.  Are you fluffing kidding me?  That voice in my head got a bit louder.  You are NOT fit enough for this bike.  SHUT THE *FUN* UP HEAD.  I put my head down and tried to be's not over till it's over.  Anything can happen.  Anything is possible.  My nutrition was not working as I'd hoped - my tummy was just being cranky but I tried stuffing as much in as I could.  At least I was on top of my hydration.

At the turnaround in Hawi, I picked up a water bottle and doused myself.  The only problem with that, is the water I put on my head eventually made its way into my eyes.  With all the salt and sun screen.  Ouch.  Plus I was on the downhill and my eyes were tearing up anyways - everything was a bit blurry.  Ouch.  And then there was a fudgsicle semi truck coming right towards me as I'm going about 40mph.  rumble strip and riders to my right.  Oh dear.  I held on for dear life and that truck was, no joke, 3 feet on my left.  I made it through but that scared me.

Some ladies were passing me and I noticed the same thing.  I was just getting dropped on the uphills.  The head wind was fierce.  And it was getting hot.  At 2:20 in I calculated my calories and I was maybe at 500.  Oops.  When I took drinks of water, I'd burp and it would come back up and out.  Not good.  My shorts were white with salt (as was everyone else's).  I was watching my watch and my watts and realized that my first 58 miles at IM Kona the previous two years were going to be faster than my 56 miles today.  Bratty voice in head:  You are NOT FIT.

Ride time: 2:51.  I think I was sitting in 4th coming off bike.

Off my bike.  Found my bag.  Sat down and got my shoes on.  Put my race belt on and the number was hanging down.  Dang....need to fix that.  So I walked out and got it fixed.

Clearly I was in a calorie deficit.  Clearly I was already feeling defeated.  And it was flipping hot.  Not only is the bike course legit......this run course is no walk on the golf course.  It takes you on the golf course where you feel like you are in a steam room with the humidity coming off the grass.  It takes you on the golf cart path which is incredibly turny with quick and steep ups and downs.  Really hard to get a rythym . And then there are a couple of out and backs on the asphalt where you feel like you are running in an oven next to the lava.

I couldn't even make it to the first aid station without stopping.  Sinkhole beotch in head:  You shouldn't be here. You are not fit.  And I couldn't help but listen to her now.  I started making deals.....just run to the aid station and then walk through. Just run to the next turn.  Just try to run.  I had lost my fight.  Every aid station water over the head, in my mouth.  Ice down my bra and shorts.  coke in my mouth. Burp up said coke.  Try again.  And another woman from my age group passed me.  And another.  Evil sinkhole beotch in head:  You should just drop out.  Me:  No farting way.

So I had just a little bit of fight left.  I ran to each aid station and made little goals along the way.  Just run up this hill - aid station is on the other side.  Just 2 miles left.  You can do this.  1 mile left.  Come on.  A quarter mile left.......and all of a sudden you can see the ocean and the finish line and it is the most spectacular view ever.  Over the bridge and finish.
Managed a semi-smile and a shaka:)

Run time.  I'm not even going there.
Finish time:  slowest half ironman ever.
That wasn't my time and I look pretty miserable (I was)  but check out the sweet finish line!!

The volunteers were, of course, amazing.  I was light-headed and so a couple of guys helped me out - poured water on my head and laid me down and put my feet up.  A few tears later I was OK to move on.

Best part of this race?? The after party!! Tough to feel bad when you are drinking Longboards next to the ocean and talking to friends. So it wasn't my day.  Shlitz happens.  I just wish I hadn't traveled so far for this performance:)  But then again, I traveled far and was in Hawaii!

Placid?  Ummmm.  No.  there will be no more attempts at KQ for me this year.  There is too much stuff going on in my life right now for me to even think about Ironman training (maybe an upcoming post on this but don't count on it).  My focus now will be to just get through the next couple of months and to try to build my fitness to where I can consider "racing" Boulder 70.3 and hopefully get my stuff together to compete in Vegas.  There will still be an Ironman though.....Arizona is still in the cards.

And I disappointed?  Yes and no.  This is just what its going to be right now.  I'll take a deep breath every morning, put a smile on my face and remember this view:)


Veronica B. said...

Wow, sounds like a *flipping* rough day out there! Way to hang tough through it and finish!

Sorry to hear you won't be coming up to Lake Placid. If you want to come spectate, you have a place to stay. I'll even buy you an Ubu Ale at the Lake Placid Pub.

Jen Small said...

keep fighting the fight Michelle. YOU ROCK regardless of how Honu know, you could always come out to Maine in August for a fun Rev3 race :)

Keep smiling and loved the edits. Too cute