Wow was it windy on Thursday when I went for a ride. The headwinds (both directions) and the cross winds were crazy. The normally glassy Hapuna was really choppy too. Friday was no different. I watched them set a buoy then decided to swim to it. As I got there they were dragging it in. Apparently I was 200 M further out then I was supposed to be because the buoy was being sucked out by the current and pushed out by the wind. I swam back to shore and watched them drag the buoys back in to the correct position about 5 times. They eventually went with smaller buoys. In the past couple weeks I had been hoping for some wind to clear the VOG. Oops, didn't need that much wind. But at least the air was clear!
Race morning everything seems to be going well. I get my run warm up in and then start talking to people and almost forget about my swim warmup. About 15 min before the start I decided my 10 min swim warmup will be shortened to 5 min. Then I head to the start line. I find a couple friends at the start line and about 30 sec later we are about 25 yards in front of the buoy, we swim back. There's a current pushing us towards the first buoy, this means for most of the swim we'll be swimming against it and also into the ocean chop. One of the guys decides he's not going to start where we are, huh, does he know somethig we don't. About 2 minutes later he's back saying it's just as crazy everywhere on the start line. We start querying everyone about their expected swim times and a couple guys get a bit pissy because we are suggesting they shouldn't start right in front of us. Oh well, we'll swim over them. Gun goes off and I swim hard for the first few minutes. It wasn't as ugly as most my race starts, I'm getting better at swimming hard and fast. I'm hanging with a group of guys and they are playing nice. I have three guys in front, three to left and two to my right. At least one guy tickling my feet. I have a great line right to the buoy. As we near it I am right in line to go to the left of it (to the outside of the buoy, like you are supposed to). The three guys on my left decide to go inside the buoy. For some reason I can't accept this decision and still swim to the outside of it. I get kicked, pushed under, swam over, kicked some more and my goggles are now down almost around my neck and my swim cap is 90% off my head, but I'm all alone on the outside of the buoy. Everyone else it seems is on the inside of the buoy. I finally make my way around the buoy and cut far inside to some nice clean open water where I can tread water, gasp for air and adjust my swimcap and goggles. I'm coughing up some ocean water and the life guard is heading my way. He said he saw what happened and didn't see me surface for a while (I was really just hidden on the other side of the buoy). I get everything adjusted and see a friend go by, knowing she'd have a nice steady pace I could draft for a while and catch my breath, I jumped on her feet. My goggles still weren't right and one eye filled with water. I just trusted her navigation and checked from time to time and we were middle of the pack of swimmers on course. My swim cap started to scooch off my head a few times and tried to adjust my goggles on the go, but mostly swam blind, following the bubbles in front of me. I was out of the water in 31 something. A swim PR for me, but not what I had hoped to do.
On the bike everything seemed okay. A handful of people passed me who should have been ahead of me out of the swim, so I figured everyone had a bad swim, and it turns out a lot of people did. I played leap frog with a training parnter of mine, we passed each other every 10 min or so going up to Hawi. There were no mile marker signs since the wind would have blown them over. The cross winds were crazy and shifty, but there wasn't much of a head wind. I made it to the final climb to Hawi and there was almost no head wind. I have ridden the course a lot, but the lack of the head wind through me for a loop, I wasn't sure if I was really on the final climb or not. I had no bike computer or Garmin (forgot my charger) so all I had was my watch. I asked someone what the mileage was and then saw the turn around. I was making good time. About then I realized I was out of Perpetuem. Something was up. I had some cliff shot blocks I'd packed incase the ride turned out longer than planned, but I wasn't expecting to use them. I couldn't figure out why I was out of Perpetuem. I didn't have enough blocks to keep me going all the way down, just 200 calories worth, so I grabbed 2 powerbars from the aid station. I also grabbed a gatorade and decided I would also get gatorade instead of water at the next aid station. I ate a powerbar and drank the gatorade. Next aid station I did the same thing. Since I was drinking gatorade I decided I didn't need my salt tablets, my stomach wasn't happy with the powerbars, so more salt wouldn't be a good idea. I couldn't wait to get off the bike and find a bathroom, the powerbar wasn't a good thing for my digestive track. I got off the bike in 2:45. I wanted a few minutes faster, but was happy with that time.
In and out of transition and out on the run. I needed to find a bathroom fast. I saw one at the first turn around, but my hamstrings cramped before I got there. I stopped to stretch and decided the quickest way to stretch both hamstrings was to just bend over and let my head/arms hand down. I saw a friend coming up and yelled for her from my upside down position. She and two other women passed me. My hamstrings felt okay so I headed to the bathroom, in the bathroom I was passed by another woman. I needed to keep a steady pace since this was only mile 1. But I wanted to reel them in. Slowly I caught them and got some water at an aid station to take some salt tablets. I had my ice cold perpetuem and my stomach was settling down. But the second powerbar had come back up (and I apologize to any of the tourists who where slightly grossed out that I puked in the sand, but the puking made me feel soo much better), so I was low on calories and bonking. I told myself to just keep moving forward. I drank half the perpeteum to get some energy and told myself I'd grab a gel if I needed something later. I saw a mile marker coming up and looked at my watch to try to figure out what mile it was. I couldn't do the math and figured it was mile 5. It was mile 4. Damn this sucks. I headed out on the dreaded golf course and was suprised how much it didn't suck like the last time I ran this course. My hamstring cramped again, and I assumed my stretching position and watched the 4 women go by me as I was hanging upside down. One was kind enough to tell me to take my time stretching...thanks (I did catch her again though). I took some more salt tablets and started running again, catching the 4 women. I saw a mile marker up ahead and again, couldn't do the math, so I figured it was mile 8. It was mile 9. Hot damn, I was almost done. Off the golf course onto the dreaded out and back in the lava. I don't mind this stretch so much, I was almost done and was able to see a lot of friends. On this stretch my achilles started to hurt. Not bad, but I was aware something was happening. I saw a friend who yelled at me to pick it up and catch him and my lower calf went crazy and man did it hurt. I pulled something down there. I stopped dead in my tracks and it hurt. I told myself I just needed to keep moving forward. I limped forward, running as fast as I could while not putting a lot of weight on my right leg. At the final turn around I tried to pick it up, only 2.5 miles left. I was passed by a woman in my age group and I tried to give chase, but my calf said no. The rest of my legs were fine and the sun was behind the clouds so I felt great. I limped it on in, trying a couple more times to pick it up, but it hurt and I didn't want to do any more damage, I was worried about the damage I'd already done. I fnished the run in 1:50, a PR for the run, but not the 1:40 I was shooting for.
5:13:16, I PRd the course by 45 minutes and the distance by over 30 minutes, so I was happy. I ended up 2nd in my age group which I was thrilled about. The swim and the bike seemed harder than in previous years, but the run felt okay. Race day I was a little bummed about my run, but I'm feeling better about it now, still limping a bit though, but confident it was just a minor strain. On the drive back to my condo I realized I wanted to use Perpetuem and shot blocks on the bike so I only mixed my Perpetuem for 440 calories, but when I was packing the night before I only grabbed 1 bag of shot blocks, not the 3 that I needed. I'm taking a 7-10 day hiatus from training starting Friday and really looking forward to it. A lot of my friends and training partners qualified for Kona so I'm really looking forward to that now.