Race reports are something I do not do too often at least not on a public
form. I do think it is important to reflect and think about pros and cons,
but usually have a hard time thinking that anyone wants to know what TV
shows I was watching the night before. HA HA.
This year Hawaii went very well for me, I have received several requests of
"what happened?" So here it goes, without the local broadcasting included.
The day before the race at Hawaii is always the same. You are assigned a
time to check in your bike. The volunteers are amazing and you receive a
personal escort to the transition area with detailed instructions with how
to do the entire process. As you get to transition you are walked through a
coral, much like race horses where reporters write down everything about you
and your bike and equipment. It is a bit surreal and the first time you
realize the stage on which we are all about to perform. It is a very cool
Beyond that, I do everything the same for every race I do the day before and
morning of the race. This was no different. Pasta or something similar,
protein, light veggies if any, simple, consistent, usually effective.
Morning of the race I woke up, had my breakfast and caught a ride from Yuri
and Lindsay down to the start line. The numbering process was nothing less
then professional and efficient and I was through it quickly. Got my bike
situated, realized that I had left my Garmin on in my bag the entire night
before and was just hoping it had enough juice to get me through the ride.
Nothing I could do about that now I thought.
I went and hung out with some friends Heather and Keith, then Danny. Keith
and Joe (two of the best friends a guy could have) volunteered to help in
transition and were there to take my items in the am, the pump I had, etc.
Talk about eliminating a lot of pre race stress knowing those guys have you
back! Heather had a toe injury I helped her navigate. She and I found an
awesome fix and it was a nice distraction to have anyway.
I found Danny at the swim start. We discussed heading down to the water when
the pros started at 6:30 and to tread out to the deep water start soon after
to get our spot. I had warned him this was in my opinion the worst part of
the race. This swim start is SO BRUTAL with contact. The area is tight, the
athletes are all fit, and everyone thinks they are going to win in the first
10 min so they are willing to fight hard for position. It is the most
contact I suffer in a swim every year, and that is BEFORE the start!
This year was no different. As Dan and I fought to keep our front line
positions and tried to stay back from the paddle boarders trying to hold us
back it was so intense. Then BOOM, we were off! I was POUNDED. I was
eventually relegated to an inside lane which honestly was a relief. I was
trying so hard to not swim close enough to someone's elbow to catch one in
the face. When I got to clear water it was so nice to just have that that I
was reluctant to fight back into the pack. I could tell I had missed the
first group selection about 600 into the swim. I saw a gap of clear water
between my group and the front group, told myself to relax; it is a long day
and just follow the fastest feet I could. Honestly I thought I was in sub 55
shape. To see the 58 swim was disappointing (I didn't know it at the time)
but could tell on the bike right away it was just average. I told myself
Ironman for me is not about the swim, it never has been to just relax and
let the day come. I also reminded myself my Ironman training partner Scott
Iott went over an hour here the year before and still broke 9:30, a time I
could only dream of.
In Ironman I transition slowly. In years past this has been a tactical
decision to calm myself down, get ready for the next segment, then go. This
year I went much faster, it was one of my pre race goals. However I was
still about 2-3 min total time slower then the guys in my AG I raced
against. I need to get faster here still. Not much else to say about this
My plan for myself and my athletes was to use the power meter, but to also
use speed. I have tried it in training several times with my athletes as
well as myself. It had worked perfectly. I told everyone who asked I felt I
could ride 4:50- 5:10 pretty comfortably depending on conditions.
Keeping an eye on my power I also used 15 min increments to check to see if
I was averaging 22.5 mph or more. If I was, and could do so letting my power
drop, I decided I would. I had speeds in mind that I felt if I could do with
very little effort, I would take the speed with the rest instead of trying
to maintain a certain power and also a faster speed.
Going out the first 40 miles guys were passing me pretty good. I was passed
by like 10-20 guys in total. I was going well over 27mph pushing like 140
watts and those guys felt the easy effort and decided to ride to their
fitness instead of goal time. It is an interesting debate which I can get
into later, another post perhaps. My philosophy on this day though was if
this island was going to give me any gifts, I was going to take them. So if
I could easily go 27 mph hour, I took it.
At mile 40 you make a turn up to Hawi which is like an 18 mile climb. I
remember thinking "I'm almost half way into this and feel so fresh still, I
am going to make a move here and see if I can crack a few guys." It worked.
It was windy, hot there, and hardest part of the course. I had a smile from
ear to ear! I was LOVING it. I felt so good and strong and didn't think
about racing, more just how well I had ridden that summer at races and
camps, and just had fun with the 18 miles like I would in training. I passed
heaps of guys going up that hill that were starting to realize they had gone
When I got to special needs I stood down to get my stuff. This year it was
too windy to risk the ride and mess with bag option. It took me a min, but I
got situated then was off again. There is a 10 min or so descent which is
more like a false flat (little steeper) but you get some tailwind and it is
so motivating to see athletes coming up the hill at you. I was JAMING going
downhill, but again, didn't push. 33mph without pedaling!? Sure, I'll take
that! It took me 18 miles to catch a couple guys who skipped special needs
because I was not pushing too hard here.
When we got to the bottom I saw Tim who I have never been by at Ironman and
we exchanged good lucks and talked about the wind heading back. I told him I
was holding back till now, and was absolutely ready for this. At that point
someone pointed at us and informed us we were 24th, and 25th amateur
overall. OK that was SO COOL! I was at the WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS holding back
in the top 25 70 miles into the race. This was the only time I started to
focus on things outside of my control. I wanted to be top 20, so dialed it
up a bit. When I was into the top 20, I wanted top 15. When I got to 15, I
wanted top 10! I had to have a conversation with myself to let that go, it
was never the pre race plan, and it didn't matter. No sooner did I have that
conversation, my garmin computer mount broke off!
So here I am, 40 miles to go, holding my compute in my hand. SHIT. I didn't
feel I "needed" it except to keep me in check, but I wanted the file from
the race. If I held it, I could do bottle exchanges, If I tucked it into my
shorts I may not get the file... OK this garmin and I were not getting a
long this day. I remembered I had a zip lock in my pocket! I put the garmin
in the bag, then poked a hole in it and stuck my aero bar extension through
it flipping the garmin up and over my crossbar. Problem - SOLVED (at 24-26
mph!) Rolling again.
When I was in the last mile of the bike I remember thinking to myself that I
could ride like this another couple hours. I felt pretty good. Maybe too
good, should have gone faster?? I just knew I wanted to run the marathon.
Off the bike 16th OVERALL AMATUER! 4th in age group.
OK, sorry Jim, I had to take a leak so I did. And yes it cost me a few
What also cost me some time was wrestling on the plastic glove I promised I
would wear. Whatever, need to get a bit quicker here. Will do so.
I started the run with my garmin on, but no settings turned on.
Traditionally I would see mile splits, etc. I don't want that this time. I
wanted to run on feel, occasionally checking in on myself and pace. First
mile was sub 6 min, maybe too fast, but SOO easy. I told myself to not judge
it and just keep the pace very easy, and not to panic when the paces became
realistic. I would check in with 5 mile splits on the watch. My first 10
miles were so consistent. I felt great.
I saw my friends and then eventually athletes I coach on the course starting
as I was coming back from the first 9 mile out and back. I definitely used
them as motivation and inspiration. I wanted to have good form and send the
message all was good each time I saw them. A few I high five'd so hard I
thought I broke my hand. I couldn't help it, I was feeling awesome.
Mile 10 is Palani. This is a long steep uphill I have always walked. I
wanted to run it this year and I did. This was the first time I felt really
hot and out of breath. Over half way up is an aide station I decided to
walk, drink, and recover a second, then run again.
Doing the 5 mile splits was awesome because it helps circumvent the obvious
mile stones such as half way, etc. When I went through mile 13 for example
it occurred to me I was half way and might want to check my time. 1:32! Holy
shit, I have had 70.3 at that pace.
To be honest I started to get a little teary. Over 10 years I have chased
this feeling at Ironman, today was shaping up to be my day! Holy crap! I
immediately checked myself and thought I have a LONG way to go. Focus on
form. Lindsay was out cheering for me which was cool. I told her I felt good
and was going well. While talking to her I was running through the women's
pro field which is still surreal.
Mile 16 you turn into the Energy lab which is a 4 mile out and back. My plan
was to capitalize on the downhill momentum to drive pace down. I had been
looking at my watch pace a lot more in the last few miles willing the next 5
mile interval to be over. I could tell I was starting to fade a bit. When I
turned on the downhill and my pace remained at about 7:20 I knew I was
starting to see chips in the armor. I told myself I was running into wind,
but I still knew the pace should be faster for the effort. Damn...
Ok I go to the energy lab mile 17 and 18 were dark miles for me. I saw guys
closing on me I had never beaten before in my life and my legs were getting
pretty tired. Running up and out was hard. There is no other way to put
this. The love affair with the day was about over and I started to do the
"What if I run walk" talk with myself. So I stopped and walked for the first
time. I had no idea what my total time on the day was. I just knew my
marathon split was going well and that if I struggled through the last 9
miles I still had a shot to break 10 hours, something I had not done yet.
I walked 1 min, told myself to stop feeling sorry for myself, got to the top
where there was an aide station. Walked through that saw Lindsay and told
her it's make or break time. You don't bring your family and wife to battle
and I had to go to war with the last 6 -7 miles of this course. I told her
to please go wait for me at the finish line. She understood and was off.
For the first time in all my long distance life I recovered! Lotus and Trev
were out cheering me on from time to time, but O rand 4-5 of those mile at a
sub 7:25 pace. With 2 miles left I asked Trev if I had a shot to break 9:45.
He laughed and said if I run 8's I was going 9:18! OMG!!! That was all the
motivation I needed for the last 2 miles. I wanted 9:15.
I go to the finish line and couldn't believe it. I don't know how else to
say it. So many times I thought about how emotional I would be if I could
ever go 9:30. I was getting teary running down Alii, the crowd was awesome.
I slapped hands with every little kid that wanted to and just soaked it in.
8th 35-39 AG (12 min off the win)
32nd overall Amateur
What changed? Nutrition was a big one in the race and daily living.
Training, well kind of, I always train hard. Mental - ABSOLUTELY! This
combined with nutrition which needed to be there for me to change my mental
game I think were the two largest. Jim and I talked the a couple days before
and after. He said for the first time he felt I was "ready". I no longer
seemed to fear failure. Once you make that leap, you can accomplish awesome
things. I didn't. I knew I could blow up. I also knew that I had done
everything I could to be ready for this race and needed to just go do it. I
didn't care what my doubters thought. I had confidence in my ability no
matter what the outcome was that day. Of course I am happier that I went
9:16, but honestly would have been proud of myself if I went 12 hours. I did
everything I could have done this year. I will have bad races for sure in
the future, and I hope to have great ones again, but either way I'm going to
just do the best I can.
Director of Coaching