Hawaii Ironman Race Report
Kupa’a: your strength to stand firm, to believe in and be loyal to yourself, and to your surroundings.
This was the theme for Kona Ironman World Champs 2016…And exactly how I planned to execute my race.
While the lead up week was fun, the real business started at 7:10am October 8.
The bit of a breeze that was up first thing in the morning signalled the bike was going to be tough, and the beautiful sunrise then gave way to some scorching sun. I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. To test and prove yourself in the conditions the race is made famous for…yes please.
The swim start wasn’t as daunting as the butterflies in my tummy made it out to be. I’d kept them at bay all week but I definitely felt them as I’d waited in the slow and lengthy numbering cue. Anyway as soon as the cannon went off they were left behind (only for my focus…not my swimming speed). Stuck on feet and hips, and caught amongst elbows to the first turn. Must have kept a reasonable line for a change because I pretty much swam under that turning bouy. The back section went on a lot longer than I was anticipating but eventually turned again and headed for home. Reassuringly I was overtaking the (super) slow age group men, yay, first win. Swam hard to the steps and had a smooth transition with everything already being with my bike.
Undoubtably glad to be on the bike and the lap through town allowed for time to settle before heading out on the famous Queen K. Tri Travel (who are awesome by the way!) had driven us over the course earlier in the week- and we’d ridden the last ~50km, so I had some idea what I was in for. Apparently the day we rode the conditions were a 7-8/10 for “toughness”…race day was definitely hotter and windier. Cross winds until Wykaloa and then head wind for the ~30km up hill towards Harve (the turn around point). The pros came through at around 80km into the course, which was just &$@#% amazing to watch and some distraction from the head wind. The turn around was hectic- an aid station followed by special needs, scooted around people and tried to stay out of trouble. And then a tail wind combined with several descents made for a very fun start to the ride back! Overtook a lot of people on the descents so I must have finally developed some nerve? Cross winds returned where we’d had them before but it didn’t matter, town in sight. Should also mention that I had previously ridden to heart rate, but unbeknown to Mark, my HR monitor died the day before- with no where in town selling Suunto so let’s say the ride was done to feel…and it worked just fine ?
Another smooth transition and onto the run. I was told the run doesn’t start until you hit the Queen K (16km in) and they were right. Running along Ali’i Drive felt fun and easy, even the ascent up Palani Road (running) felt ok, but that highway, with its long “gentle” hills is deceptively hard!! Was hanging out for the turn to the Energy Lab…felt like it took forever to get there! An aid station at the top with pumping music and totally the best “aid” – Cliff station at the bottom and the turn around point made the notoriously difficult section a lot of fun. Seeing Mark after the climb out of the Energy Lab was also uplifting but despite more coke than I’ve ever drunk, my legs wouldn’t move any quicker! And my average pace was slowly climbing which was ridiculously frustrating. Back along the highway, legged it down Palani rd to find there was still about a km to go. So happy to finally see the carpet! Lap up some of the insane energy of the finishing shoot and make a feeble attempt to jump over the line (I saw how steep the other side looked…I would have never stuck a tuck jump). Loved every minute but also a humbling experience and a reality check to race against so many amazing athletes.
21st female in my age group
2nd Aussie in my age group and beat the girls who finished in front of me at Cairns ?
Can’t wait to continue working with Mark Turner to come back faster and stronger!
…thanks again for all the messages of support. Appreciate every one of them, especially considering I’m just getting to do what I love x
#trination #tristhlonisateamsport #IMKona #swimbikerun #feltcycles #pacewheels #mizuno