Saturday, October 31, 2009

Kona World Championships 2009

Here we go! This is gonna be detailed so first the overview: Total time was 10:09, Swim - 59, T1- 6:30, Bike 5:20, T2-5:30, Run - 3:37. That was good enough for 43rd in 25-29AG and 344th Overall.

The history that must be given before I get into the report is that this was my first year of training with some ridiculously talented athletes, my first year of masters swim and my first real effort to try and elevate myself to the next level. That being said... I couldnt have done it without the help and support of my partners, Nick you have no idea buddy!

This years plan/ goal was to raise my base fitness significantly to give myself a shot at qualifying for Kona next year... little did I know that christmas was to come in June 2009 instead of 2010.

My family jumped at the opportunity to go to Hawaii and watch me race as soon as they found out. Dad, Mom, Brother, 3 Uncles, 1 Aunt and a cousin were in attendence. The house we rented on Alii drive was about 4 miles south of the pier. It was really nice to be away from the chaos down by the pier, well as much as you could be (if I had a dollar for every runner and biker that passed our house the week before the race I wouldnt have to work anymore).

The first night on the island my brother and I went for a nice hour long tempo run and I ran into a fellow tri clubber, Phillipe Krebs, who is a very strong and balanced triathlete running the other way. We chatted a bit and wished eachother well. Rory and I got back totally drenched in sweat, and with a new apprecation for the climatic adjustment we were going to have to make.

Sunday- The Golden boys headed down to the pier for the first Kailua swim. It was incredible to see how many euros were over there, and they love wearing their speedos. Swimming in 79 degree water filled with fish and 50ft of visibility was almost like cheating, it was so enjoyable. After we finished up there I got dropped off at the pool to go for round 2 with Kate to do another 2500m. Around 1pm we jump in Rochs car for a run in the energy lab. It felt ok until I got to about mile 7 on the way back to Kailua and thats when I started to understand the magnitude of what you must endure on race day coming back from the energy lab. Roch was driving the sag wagon which really makes you feel like youre a big deal :) So 14 miles later I got back to my front door and jumped straight into the sweet little lagoon pool we had at our house. Then it was off to the shorebreak to bodysurf with Rory for the rest of the day.

Monday-Wednesday - Was pretty much a combonation of AM swims midday runs and afternoon snorkeling and bodysurfing. Oh I almost forgot, tuesday I rode with Kate and one of her training partners from Waikoloa to Hawi and back. It was a great little sneak preview, however the weather on tuesday was cool and calm so it was a bit misleading.

Wednesday night I had the enitre SD training crew over for Opah, Chicken and Salad dinner. It was really nice finally getting everyone together for a dinner that I had been promising them since probably May. Needless to say everyone scarfed down the good food and I was left drinking beers by myself as everyone else was on their good behavior. Patrick was extremely tempted but restrained himself. (Great self-control Pat, wish I had more) Once everyone was stuffed they headed off to get some much needed rest.

Thursday morning was the underpants run and I must say there were all shapes and sizes present. I hung out with Bob Babbit, Brian Long and ran into Ian and Tawnee along the way around Kailoa. What a fun way to keep the mind loose and see a few outfits that wont be leaving my memory anytime soon. I headed over to the race registration and saw my good friend and now mechanical efficiency coach Jessie doing some film work. She and I talked a bit, I definately have to thank her for some of the balancing exercises, my body is feeling much stronger during all three events. The remainer of the day was spent chillin in the water with the fish and hangin at magic sands watching the tourists lose their bathing suits in the shorebreak. Not a bad day!

Friday -Today is the last little rust remover before the big dance. AM swim, diving 60ft down at the expresso boat for free goggles, 60min bike ride with Pat talking about his year, expectations and some race strategy. The afternoon i went for a short run and then took my bike to check-in. Kona Brewery was dinner and it was top-notch! Black sand Porter Float, Pipeline IPA and a Coconut Ale followed by some tasty pizza and fish. With a kick ass week in the bank its time to go to bed and see what its like to mix it up with the best.

Race day - 330 AM - Pops has my blueberry pancakes and cheese, onion, bell pepper, and chicken omlette ready to go. Thanks G! Just what I needed to get this day rollin. My family is just nuts, my brother and one of my uncles volunteered to be paddle boarders for the swim portion of the race and my other uncle volunteered to be in transition all day! Mom, Dad, Suzy, Dave and Connor would be spectating the first portions.

I got into transition around 530am and pumped up my tires. As I was doing this I noticed tons of people blowing their tires due to pumping them up too high. Weird. I ran into Nick in transition and we talked a bit. I saw Brian, Charissa, a fellow Bear Naked athlete and then watched Pat put his game face on and prepare for battle. I really respect the way he can turn it on like a switch. I walked with Nick over to his wife, Pat getting lubed up and Paula as they dropped para troopers out of a plane over the transition area.

At that point we gave each other some encouragement and hugs and it was off to get busy. As we all made our way into the water I could feel this energy building inside of me, it was like nothing Ive every felt before. I saw Pat halfway down the steps and he gave me a handshake wishing me goodluck. As I dove into the water and started swimming towards the swim start I could feel my adrenaline just raging.

THE SWIM - (59 MIN.) I positioned myself front and center for the swim start and figured I could pull off a 55 without too much trouble. After a cannon blast and about 1500m of the most physical, high contact swimming Ive ever done I began to realize 55 was just not gonna happen, no open water, no room to stroke, just bumping, hitting, pulling, pushing. I got to the turn around bouy and decided to just take the outside clean water and not even bother with the BS going on at the bouy line. I got into a rhythm finally and started passing alot of swimmers on the way in and some ding dong locked onto my feet for the whole thing, not even polite, just hitting my feet with about every 4th or 5th stroke. LAME! But part of the job title. I got to the steps and felt relatively good. Part one over and we are not all that far off the plan.

T1 - (6:30) - I know what youre thinking... did I order a steak while in there? NO but I did get tons of sunscreen, redbull, gas-x, 2 gu rocktanes, a nice huge handfull of vasoline for the unit and my armpits. I saw pat in T1 and he heckled me for taking my sweet time... haha I had to laugh. He definately keeps me on my toes. I got over to my bike and as I hit the mount line I saw Pat just pedaling. Maybe I can catch up to him... Hah good joke, he was off like a rocket.

THE BIKE - (5:20) - 200W avg. VI - 1.06. Out on the Queen K and I felt pretty fresh, I was holding 205 Watts avg. and a VI of 1.07. on my way up to Hawi. The downhills were where I was making most of my progress on the field. The uphills I took pretty conservatively. I was getting all my nutrition down and feeling level. I saw all the pros coming back as I got near the turnaround, and the chopper was following them overhead. As I entered the special needs station I called out my number and I was met empty handed. NO bag. BUMMER! The volunteer offered someone elses and I had to decline, it was just an unfortunate event. On the way back I really started to fly, small tailwind and slight downhill = 35-40MPH, love it. I saw Paula and Karla twice on the bike and they were cheering like mad. I also saw Nick getting near the turn around and I yelled at him. Up until this point I was proud of my fluid intake and I didnt even spring a leak till mile 90. At this point I was in a full tilt head wind going 13 MPH and thats when the heat really started taking effect. The mental battle had begun and all I could focus on was keeping the crank turning. The crowds back in town were nuts, cowbells, cheering, screaming, you name it. I saw my support crew at the four corners and then I was at the dismount line, happily not bricking at all. 2nd leg of the bike 195 Watt avg. and a VI of 1.05.

T2- (5:30) - Again taking my sweet time, I got all my redbull, gas-x, gu and some lube for the tube. So far so good, no Mechanical, no GI issues and still absorbing nutrition.

THE RUN - (3:33) - 1st half 1:45:09, 2nd Half 1:48:26. The first few miles were pretty darn good I felt ok and I was getting a good turnover and wasnt super hot. Brian passed me at mile 3 and gave me a pat on back, he looked really strong. I was about a half mile past the turn around when I saw this 6 foot 7 giant coming the other way, Nick asked how far away the turn around was and I said Im less than a mile from you. By the time I got to the hill at Palani (appx mile 10) I saw my whole family and my brother ran along side me for a few paces to give me encouragement and tell me what position i was in. The run out to the energy lab was pretty average. I felt tired and just held onto the 8 min pace that I was going. The chopper was headed toward me which meant that Chrissy was probably on her way to a three-peat. I saw her coming and yelled to her, she smiled as usual. Just before the energy lab I saw Kate and Pat coming the other way, they both looked pretty composed and were STILL looking great, even if they didnt feel that way. On my way into the energy lab I felt the temp rise a bit and just focused on keeping good form. When got to the special needs station, I parked it, leisurely drank my redbull as Nick came by the other way reporting he was having nutrition issues. With the tank full and just over 6 miles to go it was time to finish this thing. I got out of the bathroom at mile 21 to be greeted by non-other than the great Brian Scott. He was really battling and not having any luck with his nutrition. We ran together for a few miles and then he let me loose. I told him I needed to get off the road. The last 2 miles went by so fast, and the run from Palani down to the finish was like nothing else. The streets were lined with people 5 rows deep and the finishing chute was so loud. I was fist pumping, high fiving and then saw my whole crew to the right on my way to the arch. When I got to the arch my whole body when numb and I was overwhelmed with emotion as I made my way through. Almost a years worth of hard work and sacrafice was down being paid with interest as I got medaled and leid.

I met up with my family in the finishers area and we all hugged and talked. Ian, Karla, Nick and a few other racers that I bonded with out on the course. Upon meeting up with Nick he let me in on the great news that he was the proud owner of a brand new P2C frame. It couldnt have happened to a better more deserving guy.

This may sound like a broken record but I just have to thank my family, training partners and friends. You have all contributed to my success and I can only repay you by sharing it with you and letting you know that without it I wouldnt be where I am today. To be continued...

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