Kims Kona Race Report
Race week began for me with a beautiful memorial service for my friend Barbara Warren. She passed away from complications from a bike crash while racing and we celebrated her life on Sunday before leaving for Kona. I had been pretty torn up and decided to dedicate my race to her as I couldn’t stop thinking about her beautiful smile and inspiring spirit. I made a white cross with her name to wear on my back race day and could feel her energy. Race week was the usual frenzy with 1800 athletes and even more volunteers and spectators filling up little Kailua town.
The swim was the usual nerve buster for me as it is my weakest event and the Kona start is just plain scary. I got trampled, kicked, run over and smacked so much I felt like I was in a washing machine. Even said, since it is my 4th Kona, I was ready for it and held my ground. I have worked hard on my swim this year and even though I did the same time as last year (a little disappointing), I have to say I was less fatigued than in the past. I also realize that I will probably never be a great swimmer.. Oh well…
I knew that I was going to have to bike out of my mind if I was to podium this year. I worked hard on the bike as well this year but work obligations prohibited me from doing alot of mileage. I stayed as aero as possible and paid close attention to nutrition and hydration. I felt strong but really pushed the pace harder than in the past. The turn around in Hawi was welcome but the wind was not. I was nearly blown off the bike more than once and struggled to stay aero. I tend to get nervous. I could hear Barbara’s encouragement to stay relaxed but keep pushing. About mile 90 I think I bonked a bit so I increased my salt and hydration. I managed to PR on the bike with a 5:52.
Finally….I am always so glad to get to the run. Unfortunately this year I learned what it means to leave your legs on the bike. I felt pretty horrible and had to spend an extra few minutes at the first aid station to get myself together. The important thing about Ironman is to "keep moving forward". There are always "bad patches" that you mentally and physically have to push through. I felt like I was running so slow and actually questioned whether I could finish but the runner in me argued back. Just after mile 22 my friend Eric Niellson (a volunteer on a motorcycle) yelled out the time of day-5:17. It took me a minute but I started calculating that if I really pushed it, I could break 11:00. Then I remembered that 11:00 was my goal this year. I dug deep. When I hit the downhill on Pilani Road I could hear Mike Reilly calling athletes in and then heard him start counting down for the 11:00 cutoff. When he brought me in I just stared at the clock and smiled. 10:59:52. It was a hard one and I am grateful for a personal best and completing my 4th Kona…..Barbara, this one was for you my friend.
I want to thank my sponsors, Zoot Sports, B@L Bike, Look, Easton, Giro and Oakley for all that you guys do for me.
And Mikey, my partner in crime and the love of my life.