Pre-race: Woke up 3:45am at our hostel in Kealakekua Bay, had to break into the kitchen because the door was locked and the girl that worked at the hostel didn't have they key, grabbed breakfast, changed, and drove the 1hr drive to Hapuna Beach State Park. Upon arriving at Hapuna Beach, all you could really notice or pay attention to was that there were some serious off-shore winds happening. Wind was swooping off the Kohala mountains and the volcano and aiming for the ocean. It was WINDY. Hard to open car doors kind of windy. At 5am. Ouch, it's going to be a cracker of a day.
|Thoroughly unimpressed, but ready to race.|
|The madness begins!|
|Coming out of the water|
|In T1 putting on helmet.|
Bike: The one day where I wish I was one of those heavy-set chick triathletes that just big gear mashes the bike. I'm 110lbs and I barely made it out of that ride alive. The crosswinds were constant, epic, and I was blown off my bike. I couldn't switch gears except in the few and far between somewhat sheltered sections. I could eat and drink at few spots. I wasn't even really pedalling, more coasting, the entire ride as I physically pushed my bike into the ground. The time spent in aero was minimal because I kept getting blown around. I couldn't believe how lucky the guys were for just staying in aero and leaning a bit into it. I had blisters on my hands and my forearm muscles cramped from hanging on. It was fucking brutal. At no time, however, did I hate my life. I honestly felt awesome, and was exceedingly frustrated that I couldn't bike to my ability. I was gunning for a 2:45 bike split, and watts of about 135-140. I just couldn't put the power down, I couldn't really ride, because I was clinging on for dear life. My average watts were, what, 109? I MEAN, COME ON! I just want to ride!! I did get off the bike ready to run people down, but my sporadic nutrition and hydration intake on the ride came to bite me in the ass, big time.
I think the most frustrating thing is that I felt better than what my ride produced. In the one calm section of the course (right in Kawaihae harbor), I could just get in aero and work hard. I was passing people all over the place. Again, right at the top near Hawi where it's more headwind than anything, I hunkered down and worked. Again, I passed people, FAST. How frustrating. It was a 3:15:xx?? bike time.
Run: Into T1 and my partner told me I was 6th in my AG. I think I just laughed and looked surprised. The girls that could have stayed aero would have been at least 15-30 minutes ahead, then. If they were able to stay aero, a 2:45 ride is a piece of piss on this smooth course. Never mind, I do love trying to run people down. Out of T2 and onto the run:
The run itself went smoothly for the first 5k. I was running decently well for this heat, and passing people. But, the inability to take in nutrition properly on the bike really affected me. After about 5k, my stomach felt so bloated/distended. I ended up getting blisters all over my stomach from the kit rubbing against my bloated tummy. Everything that I took (Clif bloks and Coke) just wasn't getting digested. I was peeing a lot. I was SLOW, and people started passing me again. In the end, I had to stop at a portapottie and decide if I wanted to puke or poop. My body chose the latter. The half marathon ended up being 5k at approximately half-marathon pace, and then 16.1k of jogging/walking the aid stations/pooping. I was frustrated, but also, I felt as if my GI system had gone through an Ironman rather than just a half. It felt wrecked, more than anything else in my body. At first, I was incredibly disappointed with my time (6:03:xx), about 45-55 minutes slower than expected. EVERYONE had these conditions to face, why should I be any different? Then again, everyone has a minimum of 10 lbs on me, and most have far more (with the guys an extra 30-50 pounds minimum). I didn't see any girl around my size out there, and it is all about the weight on the bike in ferocious crosswinds. In the end, I am still disappointed that this should be one race out of so few this season, and I didn't do as well as I wanted to at it. Then again, I am happy to have finished despite things heading so far south. This was definitely the worst (physically, and somewhat mentally) I've ever felt in a half-ironman. It was just brutal. 2:08:xx half marathon... sigh, did I walk it all? 6th AG (out of 12).
|There's that one-sided grimace I do...|
The grimace of unhappiness!!!
|I felt like I was about to puke!! A good sign, perhps|
|And then, I proceeded to pee every 10 minutes.|
TrainingPeaks swim-bike-run files of the race are here: swim bike run
Now I have to decide if I can afford heading to the States to race while it is winter here in NZ, or go to Australia to do Yeppoon 70.3 in August, or stay in NZ for the winter because I am poor and can't afford to fly anywhere. It'll most likely be Yeppoon in August, but even if I qualify for Vegas 70.3 Worlds, I'll have to pass it by b/c of cost and NZ visa worries. I do have to sort out my next visa for New Zealand (this one expires in October), and that requires shit loads of proof of partnership (it's a partner visa), and going away for 2+ months doesn't look too good for immigration. I'll figure it out!!
I would like to thank my partner, Christian, for finding the money to come out to Hawaii (he hasn't left NZ in 8 years, since his arrival as a fresh-off-the-boat German), and for taking care of me on the Big Island, AND for pulling onto the side of the road to a beach whenever I wanted to take a nap in the days post-race.
I'd also like to thank TrainingPeaks, not only do I love rockin' the kit, but they are THE #1 TOOL I use to train, data-geek out on, communicate with my coach and race-file analyze with. Rock the TP!!!!
Now, time to regroup back in New Zealand. I took one week casually off (I went running once and swimming 4 times, only one of those was a proper "get some km's in" type of swims), this week is all about "training by choice" and "figuring out my next move", and back at it next week!! I honestly wish I could be the States training and racing my face off in the summertime but I so can't afford the 2.5k $$$ flight, nor being away for so long. I'll have to plan next NZ winter (CAN/US summer) really well in advance. I spent most of my traveling money on Hawaii, not staying there long enough, and only doing 1 race.
My Hawaii and 70.3 Honu verdict: I would do this race again in a heartbeat. If this is the worst they've seen, then the IM World Champs, and any other Honu race will be a piece of cake wind-wise (well, maybe). The course is beautiful, it's challenging, and the roads are so smooth they make me want to cry. As for an awesome place to train? Hawaii is so NOT one of them. There are too many cars and big scary trucks on the roads and by GOD people run on. the. roads/highways!! NO TRAILS!! That's blasphemy, honestly. I could never get over it. The swimming is amazing, though. What an ocean! And the Kona Aquatics pool is free, yo!