Bri is writing a play by play of our vacation in Kailua-Kona, so if you want details on what to do and where to go, check her report. I'll summarize by telling you that the trip doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg if you want to make it happen and it was a lot of fun. Here's an approximate breakdown of the cost:
Airfare (1 stop) 1560 Condo (8 nights pretty nice) 1150 Car (8 days) 350 Food/booze 600 Snorkeling/parasailing 240 Irongeek momentos 120 Total 4020 Entry fee (sponsored by RA) 450 Racing with heroes priceless
I was pretty strict during the run-up to Ironman Arizona. It paid off and I qualified by the skin of my teeth. My approach to Kona was a little different. Getting here had been the goal; once I qualified hardcore dedication to triathlon training fell to fifth on my list of life priorities. After eternal worship of Bri and all things Bri, excellent service to my coaching clients was priority number 1, sticking out the MBA program was number 2, showing up to my day job and at least trying to care was number 3, and hanging out with friends and family was number 4. Not exactly what Ironman champions are made of, I know, but that's the way the chips fell this summer.
I averaged about 18hrs per week in the last 12 weeks of training with avg mileage of 9k swim, 165m on the bike and 33m on the run. You can check the gory details of my log here. The training was for the most part easy-moderate (low Z2) or upper steady state (high Z2) with the occasional higher effort at a race or group workout. I had absolutely no mental interest in "hard" training, and if training by myself, kept it pretty comfortable. I have done Ironman races both with much better training (IM Cali 01) and much worse (Duke BD 02).
We stayed relaxed and had some fun but kept off the legs. I swam a little, ran a little, and rode a little. Ignored the maniacs working out all day on Ali'i Drive.
Coffee and doughnuts
I went down to Digme beach around 6:30 then sat on the side for ten minutes. Entered the water just before the pros went off, no problem with crowds etc. Lined up near the boat on the left side. Gun went off and I was happy to find myself clear of the crowds in less than a couple minutes. Latched onto a dude's feet and he took a sharp veer to join up with a pack that had formed near the buoy line. Drafted this pack to the halfway point at which point the guy who's feet I was on fell off the group as they accelerated around the boat turnaround. I put in a few surges to catch up, but after holding a 10 yd gap for about five minutes and not making up any ground decided to swim my own pace. Never got uncomfortable and finished in 55. Would have liked to have gone a couple minutes faster, but this was pretty effortless, which was the point.
Had to fiddle with my HR monitor out of the transition trying to get the watch to pick up my HR since I hadn't swum with the strap. Took maybe 30 seconds. Started riding and got the HR to drop under 150 pretty quickly. My goal on the ride was to keep the avg 150-155 and ignore everyone going mach speed around me. Felt good and had a nice tailwind at the start. At mile 20 a pack of about 60 passed me with many of them sucking wheel. After that it was a steady flow of smaller groups or individuals. I kept the HR as planned and went through the 25 mile at about 1:05, and the halfway point about 2:36. Came back in almost even splits. I started to get pretty hot at about the halfway point and ran through more fluid and salt than originally planned. At about mile 80 I would have been happy to stop riding, the heat was already getting to me. My HR stayed under control however, which I took as a good sign.
T2 - uneventful, lathered up with sunscreen
I ran out of transition and the muscles felt fine. First mile was about 7:40. But the heat and humidity! I historically have suffered on hot or humid days, and struggled in training on the days where I ran in these conditions. This was no different. Began to have difficulty breathing and was sopping wet by mile 3. The water stops were also more than 1 mile apart, and while I walked through them starting at mile 3 in order to get down as much fluid, I was getting dry mouth in between stations very early on the run. Basically I leak like a rusty faucet, which creates a number of different challenges: keep up with fluid loss, keep up with electrolyte loss, and cooling through evaporation in a humid environment. To an extent I could have trained more specifically for these conditions (by running at 12pm, flagellating myself, and sending burnt offerings to Neptune), but decided against it.
The run turned into a run-walk-shuffle by mile 6, and I began calculating average mile paces that would yield certain times. My competitive goal had been to break 10; that was possible out of T2 (requiring a 3:43 marathon) but off the table by mile 7; my realistic goal had been to break 11; that stayed possible for the rest of the run except for a few torturous moments when I thought I might just collapse.
Now, all this being said, I enjoyed the run and the race. My legs never got that beat up feeling, even in the late stages of the run. Despite everything, I felt strong, just unable to deal with the conditions.
Anyway, ran/jogged/powerwalked/Gallowalked/shuffled/hobbled along the road, mostly uneventfully. At mile 19, just out of the Energy lab, I drank a little chicken broth. Had hoped it would kick in some sodium, but unfortunately it had the opposite effect, and shut my stomach down completely. I loaded up at 2 more waterstops until we got to mile 23, when it all decided to come back up. Yumm! Nothing like puking your guts out on the Queen K during the Ironman World Championships. I wish someone had captured the moment on film. Ah well.
At 24, I tried to get down a little water, to no avail, and hurled all over myself a few times for good measure. Then my calves and hamstrings started cramping. I didn't feel particularly happy here.
No more waterstops capable for me, I shuffled to the finish, and found the energy to run down the finishing chute, slapping hands and smiling. Run time was about 4:36, total time - under 11, in 10:53.18. This got me about 863rd. There are some seriously dedicated athletes out there!
At the finish, all I wanted to do was find a place to sit down, but the staff forced me to walk over to the medical tent, which was about 1/2 mile away. That sucked. When I got in there, they were jammed with people in much worse shape then me, and I found a chair in which to wait. I knew I could have used an IV or 3. After a few minutes of putting my feet up, I felt better and didn't want to wait an hour for a drip, so we took off. Got a bottle of water and took a few sips while waiting in line with Bri for the medal and finisher t-shirt.
Started throwing up again. Good times.
I started the race weighing just about 160 with all my breakfast and fluids in me without shoes; finished weighing just over 150 sopping wet with shoes. Figure an 11-lb loss with 1lb being stored fat: this winds up being about 6.2% bodyweight loss in fluid. I drank about 12 bottles on the bike and 10-12oz or more fluid at each water stop; took in 9 thermolyte tabs (total 1450mg) over the course of the day, had extra salt in my Gatorade/Carbo Pro mix (1000 mg on top of Gatorade), and salted my food heavily for two days prior. I just sweat too much.
Having realistic expectations of what might happen, I was happy to be there and happy to finish. If and when I go back (maybe 3-5 years), I'll train much more seriously for the event. It should help that my job title at that point may only read, "triathlon coach" and/or "best selling author and underwear supermodel."
Thanks for reading, see you on the roads,