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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

70.3 miles of KONA...

Saturday June 2, 2012 marked race day. A race I set my eyes on a few years ago. A race I registered and set my sites for last October, still pregnant with baby number 3.
November 7, 2011 was the day we welcomed our baby girl T into the world...and 2 weeks later, I was back at Method, sitting on the spin bike.
I was fortunate that delivery the third time round was nice to my body...and that the spin bike and running we not much of a problem so soon after.

Training for this race was a lot different than my first triathlon, which happened to also be my first 70.3 half iron distance.
Fitting in training with two children, somehow posed to be more do-able then when adding the third.
I was unable to find the same amount of time to get to the gym, or the pool, or on the road with my bike. In fact, I only found myself at the pool...4 times...and on my bike only the same amount. Yes, not the optimal amounts...at all. But thanks to my support at the gym and Method's amazing spin classes...oddly enough I felt ready. My average workout week held 2-3 spin classes; 4 runs; 1-2 longer rides (normally on my trainer and not outdoors due to our crappy weather); 2 strength training sessions...and the occasional swim ;)

This race was different for me. It was the first time I was going in to one without an expectation on time. I am not used to training in the heat. And likewise, I am not used to training in major wind. These two elements were major factors in the Honu Half-Ironman; and race day held no exception.

Thursday May 31 was travel day. Flying from Vancouver to Kona to arrive with a day to organize. There was no real time to test the roads with a ride in the wind...which did not help calm the nerves any...but hey, I was looking forward to the week of relaxation with my husband post race...sans kids!

Well, as life does, a curve ball was thrown in my direction the morning we were leaving for Kona; but with many tears, nerves...and maybe a few choice words, I boarded the plane to accomplish my goal on the Saturday. Although, a little unsure if i had it in me to get to that start line.

"The only one who can tell you 'you can't' is you. And you don't have to listen" - Nike

Friday brought a much more positive yet busy, day. Athlete check in, registration, athletes meeting and a carbo-load dinner brought the starting gun that much closer.
Early to bed...whatever that means! We all know that you don't sleep on race day eve...I was wide awake at 1:30am...in plenty of enough time to hear my 4:15am wake-up call go off.

I was doing it. Off to the race start by way of shuttle bus; leaving myself plenty of time to organize my bike, get numbered and try and "relax." ;) The morning was looking so promising...little wind, calm sea's and the sun was peeking through clouds...if only this weather would hold through the race...i think we all new better.

For those who are not familiar with triathlon...it is a multi sport consisting of swim, bike, run.
The 70.3, also known as a Half Ironman consists of a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike and 13.1 mile run.

race morning

The Swim:

I guess from learning to swim at a young age, I have never been too worried about the waters...more so the sharks! lol. However, adding 1800 athletes to the swim course, all starting at a mass start definitely started peeking my nerves. I guess another tidbit of info is that, I had never actually done an open water swim before...Oliver (the site of my first 70.3 is a lake...MUCH different than the ocean).
Well, the pros gun went off, and a few minutes later the cannon sounded for the start of the rest of the fields race.
Swimming to find your own free space in the water was not possible. All i was concentrating on was not being pulled under by all the hands trying to grab at my feet.  Tight fists and heavy kicks were my friends that day!
I have never had such an overwhelming feeling of quitting. Within the first few minutes, without free space, or any form of a regular swim stroke or breathe, the beach looked all to enticing. Yet I knew, I would be so mad at myself if I did this. I talked myself through it and continued forward.
apparently a few minutes after we began our swim, a small craft issue was warned. Our rescue boats were actually in need of rescuing themselves. The combination of rough seas, the sun rising into our goggles, and two race markers coming un-tied, the swim was the least desirable and the longest possible. I was hoping for a much better time; yet with almost quitting, just getting through became my ultimate accomplishment.

swim start
The Bike:

On to the bike. The cause of my stress all night long. With a 15mph wind going and gusts/headwinds large enough to knock you off your bike if you weren't ready...I was so proud of myself when i found my rhythm and burned through the bike. It is definitely a confidence booster when you are able to fly up hills with ease...into brutal headwinds. I felt strong and was happy my physical ability was conquering my mental one from the night before.
Lance Armstrong
And yes, I saw Lance on the course...aside from the start of the swim...this was the one place I saw the pro rip by. As I was headed out to Hawi, he was ripping back home.
bike transition

Lance Armstrong

The Run:

Off the bike and into transition. I threw on my runners, my hat and grabbed a gel for some fuel.
I began to run...then began to walk. I knew this was now a race of minds rather than body.

On a race like this, your mind takes over. It tells you whether you can or cant do this. It is what you hear that gets you through. By now, the sun was shining, the temperatures were close to 90...and wind was in and out. Running into headwinds when there was no fuel left in the tank left for an interesting movement forward.

I knew, this 13.1miles would consist of a run and walk. I did not have it in me to run the whole way...i honestly don't think i would have finished if i had attempted it. I am also not one to throw in the towel...and so, a run walk it was. It started with walking through every water stop...which was once every mile. Then quickly grew to walking 2-3 times per mile. Yet somehow, when I ran...my feet moved at a decent pace.

Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did
Newt Gingrich


It was finally in reach and the end was in site. I ran...and I completed it! The most satisfying feeling...the toughest race I have ever accomplished...I have to say, one of the hardest things I have ever done. And at the end of the day, would I do it again...YES.

This race, both the training and the race itself would not have been at all possible without some key people in my life. My husband. Ry, thank you for being there for me. I needed you there, and seeing your smiling and supportive face on the course kept me moving forward; reminding me why I was there. The real reward, not the medal...it was the time we had together. Thank you. And thank you for your support and help in the months lead up with my training. The few rides we did together were amazing...and your support with the kids meant the world.
And to our family for all of your encouragement as well as kids help! Without you all and our amazing Morgana, this race and our trip...would not have happened!
We are so fortunate. I am so fortunate. Thank you!

And to my kids. Kai, Si and T... This was more than just a race. To me, it gave me time to clear my mind and focus on something for myself. In doing so, I was able to be a better mommy. I was able to let out my stress on the road or bike and be the best mom I could when with you. I love that you guys all see us as active parents. I hope this keeps you motivated as you grow to see what an important part of life exercise is...on many levels. And to the baby weight... thank you for falling to the pavement ;)

And a big thank you for the amazing Method cheering squad and fellow Honu athletes! Having familiar faces both on the road on race day and on the side cheering was amazing. It definitely helped me get to the finish!

This race is one for my books. It truly defined that a goal with hard work, adversity and courage can be accomplished if you want it to be. But in saying that, I feel that its not the finish line that is the accomplishment, it is all you have overcome to get there.

"Win or lose you will never regret working hard, making sacrifices, being disciplined or focusing too much. Success is measured by what we have done to prepare for competition." ---John Smith

Set yourself a goal. The feeling you will have when you accomplish it is indescribable.

If you set a goal for yourself and are able to achieve it, you have won your race. Your goal can be to come in first, to improve your performance, or just finish the race its up to you.
-Dave Scott, Triathlete

Next goal...

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