With 6 miles to go in the Hawaii Ironman, I had a good feeling that I was going to finish. In this race you just never know and for me cramping is always a big issue. This can slow you down to a crawl if nor stop you on your tracks, but not this time. My nutrition was perfect, my pacing was perfect and when I got out of the energy lab I dropped my fuel belt and starting running as hard as I could. I was passing 130 pound Japanese guys all the way to the finish. That was fun! I came here to have a steady race and not make the same mistakes I did 10 years ago, and I did that. My times were slower of course but that was all age and weight. For the fitness level I have this is about as good as I can do. No questions about it. One can always sit there and count all the things that one will change to go faster. But in my case, I have gone faster already and I do not think I could go that fast again. For me, it was about executing my plan and not letting outside forces affect my performance. That I did.
The competition at this race is brutal. No US triathlete cracked my 45-49 age group podium. The best US guy was 7th. All the big US stars in my AG went around 10:15 somewhere near 20th position. It is the world championships after all.
The morning of the race I bumped into many of the guys and girls and we wished each other good luck. Mindy Houser who is one of our younger girls has had a tough year with her work and a new bike fit but I know she can run. She can run like a 3:20. So I told her. Come on Mindy, run my ass down. Look for me. Well I saw her at the first turn-around roughly at mile seven and she was way behind and did not look too spunky but I encouraged her. Then I saw her again at the Energy Lab turn around near mile 18 and she was only about a mile behind now and she was moving! I yelled “come on girl”, She responded “I am coming”. But a mile later is when I got on fire and I ran very hard. I thought there is no way her or any one is going to catch me. With ½ a mile to go I was trying to find a good spot to finish. If you finish alone then the announcer has time to say your name hometown etc. So I was hoping to have a lonely finish. I asked someone if there was anyone behind and they said not for 50 yards. I said cool! But I was now creeping up on a Japanese guy in front of me so I held back. But the problem was that the person behind me was now creeping up on me. So I then went hard again but I still got passed with a quarter mile to go. It was Mindy. She was on fire, passed me and the Japanese guy. So I stayed back and cross the line. I gave Mindy a hug at the finish. Later on she says “You gave me a rabbit to chase”. Good for her, finishing strong is always fun.
It was fun to see everyone out there. I saw many of our athletes, some ahead of me and some behind me. Kelly Lear-Kaul one of our girls from Denver who I did one long ride from my new house in Winter Park to my old house in Boulder, remember that blog post? She finished second in her age group. I am happy for her. I had a good feeling she would have a good race. We also placed other athletes in the top 10. But in Kona it is the top 5 that count as that is how many get on the podium here.
There is a whole bunch of other stories including a blow by blow of my race but that is going to be it for now. I’ll have more about the race tomorrow. See the video of my finish here. But before I finish this post I want to again thank you for all the many emails, calls and posts from you guys. All that energy that you guys sent was out there with me, really. I had a really great and fun day.