It’s now 4 days since the IM World Championships in Kona, and I’m on a flight heading back to San Diego. This is the second time I have raced Kona (my first time was 2 years ago), and both times I have loved this race. The swim is in the ocean which gives a sinker like me some buoyancy, I can spend the whole bike in the aerobars time-trialing which is what I like best, and the weather is hot which I love.
The lead up for this race was a bit different than my training 2 years ago. Two months ago, leading into IM UK, I developed some tendonitis in my hip. Then by the end of August it had developed into a “stress injury” in my pelvis. I took the next 3 weeks off training, followed by 3 wks of easy running heading into Kona. The race would also be my first time swimming without a pull buoy in 6 wks….a nice little experiment to see what happens when you don’t kick for 6 wks.;-)
To sum up my race, out of 11 Ironmans to date, it was probably my best. Despite a not so great start in the water, I came out of the swim with the usual girls I have swum with in other races…’though I’ll give myself an F for running around looking for my transition bag and what can only be described as “grandma pace” in the transition tent.
For the first 90km of the bike there was a strong headwind and towards the turn-around there were stronger crosswinds than I remember from 2 years ago. At times, I was scared to stay in the aerobars, and prayed that I wouldn’t end up pedaling off across the sky. I felt stronger on the second half of the bike and passed 5 or 6 people, finishing with a bike split 15min faster than 2 years ago.
I wasn’t sure what to expect on the marathon since my run training hadn’t been what you’d call ideal. But surprisingly, I felt pretty good until about the last 10km of the run. With 5km left, Karen Smyers went past but I couldn’t stay with her. Then with 3km left, Kate Bevalaqua came by and we ran side by side up the last hill on the Queen K, down Palani, and along Kuakini. As we were about to turn on to Ali’i with 800m to go, I had memories of my previous sprint finishes at Wildflower and IM Brazil this year not being so successful. Ok, it’s now or never, I’m not making it a 200m “sprint” this time (I say “sprint” but this word is not usually part of my vocabulary). I came across the finish line ahead of Kate, and almost catching Karen, happy with a race that 6 wks ago I had doubts I would be starting.
The last 3 days have passed in a bit of a whirlwind with the awards party Sunday evening, followed by 2 days of snorkeling, beaching, coffee drinking and sushi eating. A big Congrats to Xena for finishing 2nd and for strong finishes from the rest of the team – Amy, Erika, Tez and Hiro. Also a big Thank-You to Brett, Alex and all of our team sponsors. And a huge Thanks to my super doc who volunteered at the medical tent and settled my hip down with a cortisone shot Monday eve, and to my super PT who works at the ART tent in Kona every year. Thank you Dr.Miller (TK) and Gino for getting me to the start and finish line.