Monday, June 2, 2014

Honu 3.0

What a day, what a race. Third time racing Honu and...third time's a charm! If I had to pick one word to sum up my day's experience, it would be unforgettable. Saturday was a day when everything came together in just the right way. I was finally able to truly believe in my training and preparedness and was ready to put it all together. What the mind believes, the body achieves.

A quick recap in case you don't want to read the long of my goals coming into this race was to have the fastest woman's swim of the day, continue pushing from there and whatever happens, happens. I knew it was not going to be easy as there are a lot of "fish" in Hawaii and Ocean swims tend to be quick! I ended up first woman out of the water including the pro women and third fastest of the day (pro men/women and age-group men/women). Secondly, I was able to lead the amateur race from start to finish. Totally surreal. WHAT!? REALLY!? I can't even really believe it actually happened (pardon my grammar). I put in the work and knew what I was capable of, but having all the pieces come together like that makes this race unforgettable. What the mind believes, the body achieves. My first major win and KONA! Stoked!!!

The long version....
Race morning started out just like any other race was filled with butterflies, forcing breakfast down, the usual. Pretty uneventful.
We got to transition early, early, early and had plenty of time to spare, just the way I like it, no rushing, not hectic, time to compose myself and get ready for what lies ahead. Tires pumped, transition area situated and organized, then right on down to the beach. I love racing here in Hawaii. It is paradise. 

The swim at Hapuna Beach is one of the most beautiful swims, possibly in the world. The gun went off and I was alone, I mean completely alone, um where is everyone?! am I going the right way?! These thoughts seriously crossed my mind. Then I hit the first turn buoy when I caught the back pack of men. Surprisingly, I did not get grumpy, I kept my head on straight and was able to hug the buoy and keep right on swimming past those men. The second turn buoy, same thing, no problems at all! This swim was going great. Then the final buoy, and the turn directly into the sun toward shore (you hope!), can't see a thing, hope you are going the right way. Exit out of the water, forget to look at the clock or my watch,swim felt strong, controlled and fast, no complaints, run up the steepest hill EVER, I think it gets steeper each year, it doesn't, I know, but it sure feels like it does, enter transition, swimskin off, glasses on, helmet on, shoes on and out. 

I was off and riding by 30 minutes...well, I guess my swim must have been pretty good considering we are 30:XX into the race and I'm already riding, nice! Now, the bike was a little bit of a dark horse for me, but I wasn't going to let any negativity get into my head during this ride, I've been riding a lot better lately and my confidence in my bike has increased, there's still plenty of work to be done, but I knew, and more importantly believed I could ride aggressively and still be able to run afterwards. If anyone passed me, I was going to try my hardest not to let them get out of my sights. I did get passed by one other girl, kept her in my sights and began to regain time on her as we started heading out to Hawi....she got caught up in a group of men and they all went down, I think/hope she's alright. I heard her bike suffered the worst of it and she is physically , but it's unfortunate she wasn't able to finish the race. The rest of the bike was fun, gasp, fun?! Climbing to Hawi still no one there, and still haven't glanced at my watch to check time of race or anything, just keep on doing what you're doing, it's obviously working. So far, so good, what the mind believes, the body achieves. Made the turn in Hawi, headed home. Some crosswinds, but nothing unmanageable...and then there were some aggro age group men that didn't like getting passed by a girl, I passed them, they passed me and slowed down, then I'd pass them, then they'd pass me and slow down, back and forth and back and forth all the way to the 3 hills in Kawihae, then they were no more! Small victory!! Back to the Fairmont and onto the run. 
the BOCA fam
The run course at this race is no joke. This is the most challenging part of the race, in my opinion, it's not just a half-marathon, it's a half-marathon off the bike, on one of the hardest, hilliest, humid-est (I know that's not a word), zigzagging, golf course, bike path, road to nowhere, hells kitchen run courses on the Ironman circuit. When I got off the bike, I knew I was having a great race and I just needed to hold it together for 13.1, I've run that distance many times, it's not that far. That's what I had to keep telling myself. What the mind believes, the body achieves, one step at a time. This course offers many out and back and opportunities to see everyone out on the course. I would like to apologize for not responding to many of you out there spectating and even competing, I kind of had blinders on during the run. I needed to stay focused and stay the course. It was great to see all the friendly faces out there on the course with encouraging and supportive words, I might not have responded back, but I heard and all those words of encouragement kept me moving forward and got me to that finish line. Special thanks to Aaron who ran by my side for a bit, even when he was struggling himself, he was able to talk to me and give me the support and encouragement that I needed to keep my head in a good place and focused on the goal. I'm not very good at responding, but thanks, I was listening and appreciated it all! The last two miles were pure torture, I didn't allow myself to focus on anything but getting to that finish line. Those 15 minutes took FOR-EV-ER. But I made it! I crossed the line in a new 70.3 PR, AG win, overall amateur win and a Kona slot...mission accomplished! 

Thanks for all YOU do!

Women 30-34
I couldn't have gotten here without the support of my parents, Aaron, Sherpa extraordinaire Michelle, Raul and the BOCAHawaii family, Planet Sun for your performance suncare and UV protection (Go Long, Go Strong, Go Protected), RokaSports for your amazing, swim skins, Dr. ZenBioAstin, REAP Hawaii, Recovery e21. Mahalo!!