This was my first time ever racing on the Big Island of Hawaii and it did not disappoint. The weather was fantastic and the winds were howling. I loved every single moment of it and I was so well taken care of choosing the Mauna Lani Bay Resort as my home for race week. With a lap pool, fitness center, location right on course and a stellar beach, the Mauna Lani is pure luxury for any athlete. Lucky me. No matter how many amazing experiences I have had in my career I definitely never stop appreciating how ridiculously fortunate I am to get these opportunities.
The race course itself includes the far end of the infamous Ironman World Championship bike course, so a field of Ironman types chose to race this as a tuneup and a qualifier (for age groupers) for the big show. I just did it because Hawaii seems like as good a venue as any to go try to gather some points to qualify for Vegas. In hindsight, the course was really great and I want another shot at it for sure. It was really exciting to have Mark Andrews there supporting myself and all of my Trek teammates and due to the location and the presence of Mr. Armstrong what was originally a fairly small race became a much bigger deal.
Trek had an absolutely spectacular weekend with Lance and LInsey taking top spots and Chris coming 3rd. I came in 5th. It is great to see both Linsey and Lance in such good form going into their Ironmans in a few weeks. My Rudy Project teammate Hilary Biscay had a spectacular swim after racing two Ironmans in a row to crush us coming out of the water. How does she do that? I mean, I am racing every two weeks and not loving it, she is a freak of nature. Way to go Hilary!
For me, I am continuing to not race as well as I had hoped/expected/prepared for. That is racing, sometimes you are in the zone and sometimes you are in the muck. I need to find the reset button and hopefully soon. No matter what I do in the 2 weeks between races, my body is just not cooperating. I swam in the pack and then I pretty much cracked early on the bike and went backwards as the stronger riders on the day took over. I thought I might rally for about two miles on the run then my stomach turned and I hit the bushes/lava/rocks at various spots on course instead for the first time ever in a race. Ever tried to hide pulling down a one piece in a lava field? Awesome. This despite not really changing anything nutritionally so my body just rejected whatever I had been feeding it. It was pretty much a miserable racing experience from that perspective but honestly, the views, the crowds and the beauty of the Kohala Coast really have my chalking it up to another great experience. I haven’t done that many 70.3s so in every one I learn something and this one is no exception. The half distance is a long way if you don’t feel good and I cannot imagine what the athletes in Kona go through on a bad day. Whoa. It wasn’t even hot!
I am still staying in contention on the bike even if I don’t have very good legs because of the Speed Concept. It really is all the bike right now and I can’t wait until I can actually apply more watts to it. Last year I would shake my head why I couldn’t get in the race at a 70.3 even when I seemed to be on fire at XTERRAs, this year I am riding well even if it isn’t my best day and I can still find the front at some point. I am so happy that I have that sorted out. On Saturday I was just holding on in the crosswinds while the Speed Concept quickly delivered me to T2 to run it in. I use my Polar heart rate monitor to evaluate the race after the fact and it shows I am fit, just not racing at the intensity I would like and that bike is keeping me in the game.
To say I am frustrated is an understatement but I have no real option right now but to stay the course until I go home for 5 weeks before Vineman and start to rebuild. For this last race, I am hoping maybe a 1 week break between races is better than these 2 week breaks that are not working at all. We’ll see what happens in Richmond. I am an optimist. It’s funny how sometimes it can be like a switch turning and suddenly, you feel great.
I am really excited about my new shoes from AVIA. The new 2013 Mantis is really comfortable and lightweight. The race at Honu with no socks and no blisters was confirmation this shoe is excellent for triathlon. I think I poured half of every aid station in those suckers with not even a chip in my pedi. Love it.
Thanks so much to all of my supporters. Thanks to all of my sponsors for helping me pursue my goals and to all of the race organizers and local supporters that give us professionals and amateurs alike the opportunity to test ourselves. See ya in Richmond.