Swim:The start of the Hawaii 70.3 is stupid. It’s a mass in-water start where everyone battles for position, lined up between two buoys while the current keeps pushing people out to sea. Basically, you’re tired before the race even starts. When the cannon goes off, you bolt 300-400 meters to the first buoy, then everyone makes a hard rightto the second buoy to complete a clockwise circle back around to the beach. This start is a problem, because there are 1,600 athletes that don’t have much separation in 300-400 meters and all collide at the first buoy at once. Chaos. I’m really upset at the swim that I had for two reasons. One, I pride myself on being a decent swimmer, and two, I’ve been working really hard this past month on myswim and actually made some decent progress. Anyways, I got stuck in a fat pack at the first buoy and got the usual kicks to the head and nose as well as taking in unwanted water. I tried to get around the slow moving pack which I realized was a mistake because as I moved outside I just ended up swimming in chop (it was quite windy as well). I later came to the realization that I hardly sighted the course buoys at all, which might have been part of the problem. When I did look up I was around 50-100 meters out to sea of the buoys paralleling the beach.
When I got out of this dumb swim, Ilooked at my watch and saw 30 minutes had gone by. Good heavens! A 30 minute 2k swim??? Wow, it was choppy and there were currents but I’m not that bad. Frustrating to look at the people coming out of the water with you and see overweight ladies. I was so angry I bolted thru the first transition (probably knocking a few people over
that were struggling to run up the hill to T1) and hopped on my bike with serious frustration. I noticed Marc’s bike had already gone and that made me even more upset because I’m always around, if not a little ahead of Marc’s swim times and he can freaking kill it on the bike course so I knew I had some serious work to do.
I believe I was in the top 100 out of the swim and within the first 4.2 miles I had made up more than 40 places. I cooled it a bit, relaxed and found a good pace after the first 10 miles. Battled through some wind and hills and passed even more people on the climb up to Hawi. At the turnaround in Hawi, I saw Marc about a minute or two a head of me, and I had actually gained some time in the first 30 miles. I was happy about that and the fact that we had 5-6 miles of downhill with a tailwind coming up too. As I tucked into the most aero position I could get, flooring it for 6 miles, the lower back cramps came on pretty strong. My speed dropped way
down and I just tried to take salts and water. I had to get out of the aero position for a wile and this probably cost me a few minutes, at least. The cramps went away on the last 6 or 7 miles in to T2. I passed a good sized group of around 10 people, all drafting off each other like d-bags, and flew into T2 feeling pretty good (and hydrated).
Came out of a 1 minute transition dreading the next 13.1 miles. It beat me up so bad last year that I was determined to beat it up this year. This course consists of grass, hills, cart paths, asphalt, more grass, and a 3 mile road going thru a lava field that leaves you mentally and physically drained. I really regret starting off so dang slow on the first 5k. I wanted to make sure I didn’t bonk (like I always do) after 5k, so I played it really conservative and paced easy 7 minute miles. I saw marc a bit after the 5k turnaround and knew he had some serious time on me, maybe 4+ minutes. He didn’t look too hot though (or just the opposite, looked like the heat was getting to him). I know Marc and he’ll push through it though. So I kept my head
down and just focused on my pacing. I went down a big slopping hill and had a little laugh, because this was the place where I threw in the towel last year and started walking. I felt great actually. I got to the bottom and as I turned to head up the hill, picked up the pace greatly. In fact, I’m pretty sure I ran up this .5 mile hill faster than I ran down it. I found my rhythm and passed a guy in my age division that bolted past me just before the 5k marker like he was running a 5k. I hit the zone and started running low 6 minute miles, concentrating only on my stride (and stuffing as much ice into my shirt as possible). As I ran onto the asphalt road splitting a lava field, that for whatever reason was pure humidity and heat, I saw Marc again, looking like he was about to pass out. He was still a good minute or two ahead of me, with 5k to go. I knew I probably wasn’t going to catch him but there were a ton of dudes that I knew I could. So I booked it, and took out everything left in the tank on the last 5k. I passed three guys at the next aid station, then two guys on the golf course on the last mile. When I saw I couldn’t catch the next 4 guys running a head of me I slowed down and soaked in my finish. I realized that Marc had just finished 30 seconds before me in that group of guys. Bummer ;) 3 more miles and I’d have passed 15 more people at least, I felt so good.
All in all it was an awesome race and an always amazing time in Hawaii. Marc and I went out the next day motoscootering around. Definitely a highlight. Can’t wait to go back again. I’m looking forward to racing Vineman 70.3 next month. It should be fun… and word on the street is that a few of the west coast collegiate guys are competing. Gonna be a fun time for sure! Back to training.