Yesterday was an eventful day and I learned more about myself than I ever have before. I also learned that Kona is legit and was earned the reputation for being the hardest single day race in the world.
The swim was about an hour of underwater boxing. I had a great start, got on fast feet and was maybe 10 people back from the lead SUP, but about 5 minutes in I realized I was going way to hard and would not be able to hold that pace for the entire time so I backed off and got swam over and on top of for the next hour. It's true that everyone swims fast and the pack never broke up at all. I was literally still getting kicked and hit 50 meters from the finish.
Bike started out great. I came out of the water pleased with my swim and got on the bike happy and was going to execute to plan. I hit 56 miles in about 2:28 and was under my power and HR targets feeling awesome and passed a ton of people. I was actually averaging 23.1 mph until the Hawi climb into a cross/head wind but I was ok with the head wind thinking I was earlier enough to get a tail wind on the way back.
At around mile 58, the crazy gusts and other cyclist caused me to hit the reflectors in the middle of the road. My back tire blew out and went flat instantly even though it didn't feel like that hard of an impact. To make a long story short the tire had a good sized hole in it were it hit the reflector and the brake track was dented and now hard a sharp edge. A combination of a new tube, fix a flat, a bunch of patches on the tube/rim and CO2 got me back on the road. Thank You to the wonderful spectators that came to keep me clam and help me out.
So only about 16 to 18 minutes of down time as the tire was really low again and I had to make a second stop to refill it, but that's not the worse part. While I was there a quick rain storm moved in and the winds shifted directions. This meant that I missed the tail wind out of Hawi that I go earlier in the week and had a cross/head wind again. The even worse part was my wheel was thumping with every rotation thanks to the dented wheel, multiple patches, and my rear brakes barely worked because of the patches...and bike tech was no where to be found. I was the most scared I have ever been on a bike going down hill out of Hawi. With a head/crosswind pushing me all over the road, basically no rear brake, the thumping and a wonderful speed wobble if I went over 30 mph. So I sat up with a death grip on the bars and my front brake on the entire way down. It was the slowest I have even gone down hill but I was just in survival mode. I made it and the rest of the ride was just hot and windy.
I felt great on the run, probably because I was finally off the bike and didn't crash. However after the bike mess and all the time I lost I decide I just wanted to enjoy the day and not suffer on the run. I jogged the entire marathon, stopped to hug and talk to Theresa, Abigail, and my Mom twice. Thanked every volunteer, and smiled about 22 miles of the marathon. The energy lab was direct sun and really hot, so it got hard there and I just slowed down and took it easy. After that I just didn't have the desire to push myself and jogged it in on the Queen K and back to town.
I have mixed emotions and need to think a few things through over the next few days before I share my thoughts and a full report. That said, it could have been so much worse and I am thankful I was not injured and enjoyed most of the day. The finish was truly magical and I am glad I was able to smile and enjoy it.
The good news is once again I didn't actually run the marathon so my legs feel fine and I can now enjoy a week of vacation without limping around. Some day I will actually run an ironman marathon.
Thank you for following me and for your support throughout the year!