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another Kona race report (sorry!)


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Gathering by some of the comments, a number of you are probably sick of hearing about Kona so if so, stop reading here! I just wanted to put my thoughts down on paper so I could capture this experience and thought I’d share it with the few that might be interested. However, having just read Reefy’s story, I feel somewhat trivial but having come this far, I will put it out there anyway. This is special to me and also to my friends and family who came out to support me – it was so important that they enjoy the experience too which I’m glad to say they did and this is something that we will always share. I’m still here in Hawaii with them all and we’re so enjoying sharing memories over many beers!!

 

Well, couldn’t believe that THE day was finally upon us. An early night even though knew I wouldn’t sleep – left the support crew (SC) finishing their wine and hoped they would also get an early night as it would be a long day. Set the alarm for 3.45am but woke at 3.15am and then worried that I might sleep in so got up at 3.30am. Butterflies in stomach. Had the usual ritual shower then some bananas and toast which I really didn’t feel like it but needed to get as much energy in me as possible! Wondered how mum and dad were going and was hoping that they would make the trip in time to walk down to the start with them but had no idea how bad the traffic would be (they were staying in Waikaloa, 40km away). Both relieved and thrilled when they arrived at 4.30am – they had an even earlier start than me!! I was not really up for talking as race was consuming my thoughts…left apt then met Donna and Dave (Moore) and the “Snap printing family” and all walked down to the start together. Heaps of people heading down the road and tried to take everything in including the masses of signs that people had made which were now lining the street. Didn’t see the ones that the SC had made but reassured them I’d be looking out for them on the day….Got to the start area and even though we were early, there were just so many people and the queue for numbering was pretty long and moving slowly – was glad that we hadn’t left any later. Finally got my number marked on my arms then instead of having age group on your calf, they actually put your age- strange! Moved through to find my bike and started to get ready. Noticed that the front tyre was down and had a sudden panic that something was wrong but knew that I’d put on new tyres and tubes so shouldn’t be – pumped up the tyres and everything seemed ok …heard a few bangs as several peoples tyres blew – what a horrible sound and you could feel the tension in the air. Looked up to see mum and dad and Christine at the fence – was a nice surprise as I didn’t think I’d see them until I was out on the course – missed Dianne as she was over perving at the pros! Checked things for the tenth time and figured I was ready and they were calling people to move down to the start – my poor wee stomach was churning like you wouldn’t believe. Went through towards the pier and stopped to get some sun lotion put on and have yet more Gatorade – it wasn’t even 6.30am yet lots of people were already in the water or at least at the edge – made my way there to join them then bumped into Donna and Tattoo Dave – we all swam out to near the starting boat, Donna telling us that this was where she started last year and it was a good spot. However, not being the gun swimmer that Donna is, I stayed further back and we all wished each other a good race – again! Unreal and I must have had the biggest smile on my face. Looked around me and to see all the people on the wall around the pier, the boats and paddlers and the helicopters circling above and of course the sea of competitors all with their bright orange/green caps. Having seen this sight on video so many times and here I was in the middle of it – I was actually competing in the Hawaiian ironman world championships, something I had only dreampt of. Then the ceremonial beating of the drums/singing started and the air was charged. The countdown was beginning and my usual fear of the swim start abated and I just told myself to enjoy this, this was one in a lifetime opportunity. The gun went off and the thrashing of legs and arms began and I still had that smile. Got the compulsory bit of bashing around but nothing like Forster – the water was so clear and you could see everyone around you, including the ages on their calves which made me laugh. We then got to the halfway boat and that was great to look up and see all these people in the boat waving and clapping though it was like being in silent movie as I could see it all but couldn’t hear anything. We were then on the home stretch back to the pier, what a blast this was, though my back was starting to sieze up as it tends to do swimming in the morning, and I just hoped it would sort itself out on the bike. I was out the water, looked up at the clock to see 1.12, great, I had thought around 1.15 so pretty good start to the day. Ran through showers and got rid of some of the salt then the long run into the chaos of the change tents – volunteers were excellent and assisted me in getting ready for the bike – despite not having to get rid of a wetsuit my transition time was still slow but comfort was important as this was going to be a long hot day. Found my bike, on with sunnies and helmet and I was off. The crowd was wild, what a buzz – legs felt heavy but knew it would take me a while to get into it, headed up Palani Road and saw mum and dad and the support crew, gave them the thumbs up, brilliant to see them, they were dead excited and I could hear their cheers a long way up the hill, again a big smile on my face. Grabbed a gu and drank full water bottle as this was a good time to get some fluids and food into me. We then looped round the town and came back down Palani road, again to see the SC then it was off into the long Queen K h’ghway. People were speeding like there was no tomorrow but I knew that I had to start at my pace and find my legs and kept telling myself that I would pass a lot of them later on – which I did! It was so hot, was worried that I wouldn’t be able to drink enough so told myself that I would get drinks at each aid station which were every 5 miles. Got a system going, grabbed a Gatorade, then a water which I’d drink a little of then pour it over me to try and keep cool – that worked well until one person gave me a coke unknowingly but apart from that little glitch the voluntreers were fantastic. Great to wear the Aussie colours as got lots of cheers and “Ozzie, Ozzie, Ozzies”. Made sure I thanked all the volunteers as I passed by the aids stations and that was great fun as you got so much back – “you guys are awesome”, “great job” and other very American phrases. Started to really get my bike legs about 50km and began overtaking lots of others esp when we headed up to Hawi. It was nothing like the conditions we had ridden in early in the week which was a nice surprise in some ways though I was actually hoping it would be really windy as it just seemed more appropriate. I felt as if I was constantly pinching myself during the ride not really believing that I was here racing in Hawaii! I was determined that I was going to have a fun day and really enjoy it and mentally I felt really positive. I knew I was strong and had done the training, this was something I’d wanted to do for years and I wanted to savour it. Hit the half way mark at 2hours 45mins though knew the return trip would be slower but it was weird, time didn’t matter any more. I’d gone into the race with some thoughts as to what possible time I could do etc but that went out the window once we started – as long as I finished knowing I’d done my best, and had a smile on my face, that was all that mattered. Coming down from Hawi probably felt harder than the climb up as there was a headwind and psychologically it didn’t seem right not going as fast when you’re going downhill. The headwind then got stronger and speed dropped quite a lot though still seemed to be overtaking a lot of people and I still felt good (everythings relative!), apart for needing the loo but that’s another story! Was starting to get majorly sick of Gatorade and gus and had to try and force myself to drink and eat as I knew that if I didn’t, I’d be out, esp on run. A couple of time I almost vomited and I just kept hoping that I could keep things down. Just seemed to get hotter and hotter and was sweating so much that hands were slipping off the aero bars and sweat was running into my eyes. I kept telling myself though that this was a good sign. Started to think about coming off the bike and dying to see the SC and was glad that we’d prearranged meeting spots as there were so many spectators out on the course that it would be hard to see anyone you knew. Unreal coming back on bike as you could see all the pros heading out on the run – so many faces that I previously had only ever seen in magazines! Last few kms on bike seemed to take forever but was wonderful sight seeing the transition area and hearing all the cheers. Got off the bike and wondered where my legs were, felt like Bambi only 10 x worse! Wobbled into transition, straight to the loo and a volunteer had emptied my bag out. Shaking (probably with both nerves and excitement/relief), put on running shoes, picked up more gus and water bottle and headed off. What an atmosphere! Realised that in my haste I’d forgotten to take out the tyre levers from back pocket and still had gus and powerbars there from the bike – threw the food to someone in the crowd and thought I’d give the other stuff to the SC when I saw them. Couldn’t wait to see everyone and it was only a few kms before I saw them (or should I say heard them). Hi fived them and ran past with the biggest smile on my face even though I was feeling like shit! The heat was unbelievable! Like the bike, lots of people seemed to be sprinting at the start but again I just stuck to my race plan and thought I’d catch them later, which I did. Saw Donna coming back and worked out she was about ½ an hour in front of me – wondered where Dave and Liz were though knew Liz had bike problems as I saw her at the side of the road at bottom of Hawi Great course as you could see the other competitors either in front or behind you so gave you something to focus on apart from the SC. It was a long way down Alii drive before turnaround and was glad the aids stations were every mile – I was suffering big time but kept telling myself I‘d start to feel better later on. Coming back I was looking forward to seeing the SC again and it really kept me going – lots of cheering and loved it - tried my best to look as if I was feeling great! Wondered how I was going to take in enough fluids as was just grabbing cups of water as I ran through aids stations – was well and truly over Gatorade by now! The run up Palani hill was a shocker and felt as if it was a steep mountain – had to walk through next aid station and grab a proper drink and ice and a gu – paid off as started to feel better and seemed to get my running legs back though not exactly speeding – smooth and strong was my mantra, courtesy of John! Up to the Queen K and this was a long stretch of nothing except other competitors and aids stations – next time I’d see SC would be at the end. Tried to break the run down into smaller sections and entertained myself by looking at the competitors coming back down on the homeward stretch. Was surprised to see Macca coming back as had been hoping (like many others) that he’d be in the front. Lots of people walking by this stage and even several of the pros who, to their credit, encouraged people as they went past. Several also either vomiting at side of road or lying their trying to stretch out cramps – felt very relieved to still be able to run even though pace was slowing. Saw an Aussie in front of me then realised it was Dave from Cronulla so had a quick word then went past him. Had to walk through several aids stations as just couldn’t get enough to drink otherwise – the cold sponges and cups of ice were a godsend! It was then down into the Energy lab and saw Donna coming out, not looking as strong but still smiling and asking me if I was having fun yet!! Yes and no, I was hurting big time and it was a case of one foot in front of the other but was so cool to be nearly at the halfway mark – I was going to make it, no matter what! Hit 10km to go and got a new lease of life and picked up the pace but it only lasted a couple of kms then legs just didn’t seem to work but kept pushing as best as I could. I was nearly there, I could smell it, I could taste it – these last few miles seemed to take forever. Could see heaps of people coming out and felt glad it wasn’t me as they would have several hours to go – they had glow sticks and it struck me that I was going to get to the finish without a glow stick – yee hah. Coming back into town, the spectators started to appear and I almost had tears in my eyes as I knew that the finish was just round the corner. Kept waiting to get to the “Janus” corner as SC had said they’d be there – of course, being as blind as a bat without my sunnies, I just hoped I could spot them. Saw Christine there and was a blast – she screamed and handed me the Aussie flag and I started to run down the end of Alii drive. It was everything I’d imagined it to be, and more, then I came into the finish shoot and saw mum and dad in the stand - they were ecstatic and were screaming and I felt like that too – then saw Dianne as I crossed the finish line. Exciting is such an understatement. Couldn’t have been a better finish and there was no way that my finish photo wouldn’t have me smiling. I was on cloud 9. I had done it. Iwas a Hawaiian ironman!!

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Rhona, a hearty Congratulations... you rock girl! I hope we meet one day.

 

It sounds like you really squeezed the essense out of the day!

 

Also, you're very lucky to have such support. Please tell me, do your parents 'get it'? ... As in, the whole Ironman/triathlon thing, or were they there to show respect to you... or... did they finally 'get it' on Saturday? I'm really interested.

 

Bernie

 

PS Don't you ever apologise for writing your race reports on this site ever again. stop.

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valium

Outstanding race report, I never tire of reading these great stories.

 

bernie

Interested to read your question about parents 'getting it' as mine certainly do not. They are supportive, lovely people who have come to Canberra to watch me race long course, but they don't 'get' triathlon, much less Ironman. Glad to see there are other parents around like this!

 

PB :-)

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Rhonda,

 

No apologies needed. Thanks for sharing such a great story. Like Reefy you seem to put ideas into my head. But Forster must be done first before the Hawaii Ironamn could be considered.

 

Anyway congratulations on finishing the Hawaii Ironman, and thanks again for your story.

 

Tru-Stu

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valium, thanks for sharing your race experiences - your report together with the photos on IronmanLive really gives a sense of being there. Good stuff !

Congratulations on becoming a Hawaiian Ironman.

Rocket

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Vallium - that was awesome! I had tears in my eyes as I was reading it! The funny thing was, I was reading it in your accent!!!!! :dolphin:

 

We're so pleased for you - what a fantastic race!!! :lol::D

 

See you at the pool sometime!!!

 

Cya

;)

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Well done Valium :lol: Don't think that we are sick of these stories, it's what the vast majority of us dream and hope for, it just makes our dreams a little bit more 'real' with sucj great race reports. Once again, an AWESOME effort.

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Felt like i was there reading that report. Well done it was a great read. One day i hope to get there myself. Watching the live web broadcast was cool, but yeah the run looked sooo hot i think Rockets computer screen was almost melting. :lol:

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Race reports: bringe 'em on. I lap that stuff up. Be proud of what you have achieved and enjoy the process of describing it in words for us to enjoy.

 

I especially like storys of sufferring and overcoming the worst to succeed. The two I've read here have been terrible examples of that, everything seems to have gone relatively smoothly and to plan. I'm sure I'll be able to provide some reports in the future about wheels falling off.

 

Well done Valium!!

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Valium. Don't ever stop doing race reports - they are always great, especially when we all have an electronic connection to them. Every single report I have read on this site (and OzChat) allows me to visualise the race. It is weird. I guess most of us can think back to our own races or spectating and try to be part of the writer's race.

 

Passion, pain, joy, euphoria, low points, high points. The only difference is the percentage.

 

FM

 

:lol:

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Certainly dont be sorry, You have had an experience others can only dream about, and to be able to experience it through someone else is still better than not knowing about it.

 

Congratulations and enjoy your rest and recovery.......well done

 

Stephen White

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Wow, thanks for your nice comments everyone.

 

Bernie, likewise and you ask an interesting question re did my parents get it. My dad I think did to a certain degree, and was always interested in what training I did and how I was feeling etc - if I hadn’t sent him my weekly training programs, he would ask me where it was! He used to be a keen cyclist, rugby player etc so could relate to the commitment needed. My mum on the other hand, didn’t get it at all and thought I was mad though always tried to appear interested. Coming to support me in Hawaii, I knew they were both a little aprehensive and wasn’t expecting mum to even enjoy it as to say she’s not into exercise is an understatement! However, the day changed all that and I think they got it – I have never heard them so enthusiastic about anything before – in fact, my mums comment after the race was that she had one of the best days of her life and one of her proudest – and she said that she now was looking forward to being able to talk to me about triathlon and at least relate to it, albeit in a small way. She even got excited about seeing my medal and wants a copy of my finishers photo, something she’s never been into before. Strange but she seems to have had a new lease of life since the race. So, that was really the icing on the cake – I wanted to enjoy and savour the day but to have friends and family to share the memories with is what this is all about. Likewise, why I like this forum and what makes it such a special sport/lifestyle. Now, where’s that other beer???

 

Reefy, Kanangra, congrats to you guys, sounds like you both had excellent races – and it was fun meeting you Reefy! Kanangra, I wasn’t on Tri Travel tour so must have been some other gorgoeus chick (??) you met going up to Hawi! :lol: Enjoy your rest time guys – I know I will!! Dolphy, only chance I’ve got of seeing you at the pool in the near future is with a cocktail in my hand!!

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