The week prior to the race was great and well exceeded my expectations. It was awesome to be able to get up, jog down Ali’i drive and go for a swim each morning. Everything and everyone was focused on the race. Ali’i was filled with athletes from sunrise to sunset and all of the major triathlon companies had a presence there. Zoot had both a booth at the expo with 2011 gear available to try as well as a store on Ali’i where current and some future product could be purchased.
The race was equally as exciting and everything it is hyped up to be.
There was something special about floating in bay waiting for the start with the helicopters overhead and camera crews everywhere. After the cannon went off the normal mass start mayhem began however in this race it never really broke up as everyone seemed to swim about the same speed. I came out of the water in 1:08, while being slightly slower then I wanted I was pleased with my improvement in the last year (1:12 with a wetsuit was my previous best).
The bike started out well like usual. I felt great and hit 56 miles ahead of my plan and under my target watts/hr. Around mile 58 I had to swerve to avoid being hit by someone and I hit a reflector in the road. To make a long story short the cut in my tire was actually worse then I though as it put a dent (with a sharp edge toward the tire bead) in my wheel as well. With about 6 inner tube patches wrapped around the brake track and 14 minutes wasted on the side of the road I was back on my way. Riding out of Hawi at high speeds in the cross winds with all those patches made me pretty nervous and I took it very cautiously. I ended up with a 5:18 bike split and at that point didn’t care about the time and was just happy my bike and I both survived the rest of the ride.
Starting the run I went out very slow pre my plan. I was bummed about the mechanical on the bike and decided to just enjoy the day and make the best of the situation. I ran easy and smiled for most of the marathon. For the first time I stopped to talk to my wife during the race and really took the time to soak in the experience. It’s an ironman and even at my relaxed pace it got tough around the energy lab. I was able to push through and then jog in slowly and really enjoy the finish on Ali’i drive. With a 3:33 run my total time was 10:08.
Part of me is very happy that I was able to really enjoy the experience, finish comfortably and take everything in. However part of me is also disappointed that I did not push myself on the run and see what I could have done, which may have lead me to the medical tent or to a PR, I’ll never know. Now that I have first hand experience with this race, I want to go back even more then I wanted to get there in the first place.
Thank you to Zoot, the Ultra Team Sponsors, and my teammates it has been a great year and I look forward to next year.