I am not sure where to begin writing another race report, so my goal is to keep this one short! I have been thinking about this all year knowing it was my 20th Kona Hawaii Ironman World Championship race. I never imagined this would happen when I began racing here in 1987. So much has changed, yet again, it is really the same. Race day for an ironman never changes, it is you, the course, the day, the conditions, and most important your outlook all day long.
I woke up to a glorious cloudless morning, light winds in Kona, and a body that was ready to race.
I absolutely loved the ironman swim this year. I started more to the left of the pier, found pretty clear water and swam on faster feet. There was little if any hitting me, banging me, or being swum over top of. It was crowded at the turnaround boat and then I found fast feet again, exiting the water in 1:06:18, two minutes quicker than 2009, which I attribute to my new Kiwami Amphibian Speed Suit. It was terrific, comfortable, and FAST.
This continues to be my favorite part of triathlons, I love the bike section. I enjoy working hard, fighting the tough cross winds from mile 50-70, and smiling all the way back home. I even sing ☺ I should have been a bit concerned as I had to “pee” copious amounts of liquid, not to mention barfing again…Yikes, way too many bodily functions happening on the bike all at once!!! I have no idea why that happened, but it was not the part I “love” while on a bike. I was lucky the bike chain did not freeze up! I finished the bike in 5:35:36 averaging just over 20mph. Once off the bike, I found it difficult to run through to the transition tent as evidence by over 5:00 in T-2. I felt like my body wanted to be in the ocean and not getting ready for a marathon. Once in the tent, there was ice, cold towels, Lolly, Dr. Ann, and Pua watching over me. Pua’s last words as I excited the T-2 tent was to take my endurolytes (sodium) as I had more than likely washed them out of me during the bike ride. I did not listen very well ☹
When you begin the run there are hundreds of people lining the run up Palani and you almost (almost) forget you are climbing straight up! I felt awesome in the beginning parts of the run, through town, on Alii where I saw Kaitlin, Wendy, Sam, and others cheering us on. Then at the Lyman’s aid station I was able to get my water from Finn, our friends’ 3 year old…he was ALL smiles! Next up, the first turnaround and I was running at an 8:30 pace…YES! Back through town and to the 10 mile mat, even running a bit quicker…I still felt good, sticking with my water, sponges, Hammer gels and more water. Once up on the highway the heat and sun are pretty brutal as we head out to the Energy Lab. All of a sudden I began to feel awful…slowing down by almost a minute per mile but still able to keep going through the 17 mile timing mat. I had 9 miles left to the best finish line in the world. On the way back, I would every so often check my Garmin GPS…once I saw my 11:00 pace I decided never to look at the watch again! I continue my slow run/shuffle/coke stops/ back into town. Once on Alii Drive you realize that it is the BEST place to be on this day. I am not sure what compares in sports to the Hawaii Ironman finish line. Throngs of people cheering, screaming your name (on my race bib), and more speed back in my legs than the last hour. I continue to be in awe of this finish line especially knowing it was my 20th time crossing this same finish line. I hope to be here for 20 more! It is truly a magical experience–very, very humbling, challenging, and oh so rewarding.
The Med Tent
I truly was not planning to visit the med tent this year. However, my body let me know this was my only option. Pizza and massage would have to wait! I finished the race having GAINED 7 lbs and thus becoming hyponatremic due to very low electrolytes in my body. I believe the sodium was washed out on the bike, and ingesting Endurolytes (salt tablets) while running could not rectify this problem. They took my sodium levels and did not like what they saw, so I was an invited guest for about 90 min. Usually I am begging for an IV to rehydrate and speed my recovery. This year the docs kept sending me to the bathroom to pee in hopes of reducing the bloating. When discharged, I was told to go home and eat potato chips… Sounded like a plan, however there is nothing like that in the house!! So I had pizza and milk in the middle of the night instead! Now three days later, I am still looking for my ankles and calves! I am sure they will return soon ☺
Editor’s Note: With this result, Laura broke the W55-59 AG Kona record by 50 minutes!! She is now the holder of two Age Group records, W50-54 and W55-59! Congratulations Laura on an amazing race!!