Hawaii was my fourth Ironman start, with a bunch of firsts attached to it - first time attempting two in a six-week time frame, first time approaching the race with a huge chunk of volume and a very short taper, and first time racing against such a deep field - in most Ironman races, a sub 10 hour performance places you comfortably in the top 50-75 racers overall, in 2010 there were 458 racers under ten hours in Hawaii.
To deal with the quick turnaround, I'd arrived early in Hawaii to get acclimatized to the weather and to lay down some good training in a low-stress environment free of 'life' distractions. By race day I knew the course really well, was comfortable in the heat and humidity, and was excited to mix it up with some fast kids from around the globe.
The alarm was set for 4AM, but I was awake at 3:30, after sleeping pretty soundly through the night. Breakfast was the same as Louisville - two cans of Ensure, a bowl of granola with almond milk, a banana, a multivitamin and a SaltStick cap. Sipped 400ml of water and had a GU espresso love gel 30 minutes before race start.
Everything about the race in Hawaii is well organized and smooth - I arrived at 5:30, was body marked and had my bike loaded with food and tubes inflated by 5:50, final preps done and chatted with friends until the pro start at 6:30. Shortly after we were all ushered into the water for our 7AM start.
Swim - 57:23, 106th overall
This was my first deep-water mass swim start, and because of the quality of the field, I was nervous about fighting my way to the front and dealing with a fast pace off the start. It's not ideal to start a 9+ hour day with a few minutes of redlining your heart rate, but when battling the ocean currents and the chop in the bay on race morning, it was important to find a fast group and try to hang on for the duration. Treading water at the front of the line was OK until two minutes to go, then it was chaos - people everywhere, getting kicked and punched by other swimmers fighting their way to the front, topped off by an Aussie in the third or fourth row yelling 'these guys all better be fast because if they're not they're right in my f*&^ing way!'. The cannon fired at 7AM and the insanity began.
|I'm the one in the blue cap.|
About three minutes in I was close to having a panic attack...the pace was much higher than I wanted it to be, and quickly realized that I had no choice but to maintain the pace or I'd be run over from all sides. Things settled down slightly about 1500 metres into the swim, but there was contact the entire way. Also contact from my blueseventy distance tri suit against my chest and neck as I forgot to bodyglide those areas up...salt water in open wounds is not fun. Also no fun is swallowing a couple gallons of the salty pacific...
|So happy to be done swimming.|
T1 - 2:05, 48th overall
Smooth, shoes and helmet start on your bike here so my race bag had only my sunglasses, race belt, two gels and a flask of saltstick caps that I stuffed into my suit. Didn't stop in the tent, ran straight through. Downside to this was the sunscreen station was when you sat down, so headed out on the course with no SPF protection...
Bike - 4:56:43, 157th overall
There's two short, steep climbs with a steady climb thrown in the middle of them during the first 15K of the bike ride as you loop through town. Tons of spectators, everybody is excited to be on the bike, and I'd been warned ahead of time that guys just gun it on this section. I was holding around 260-300 watts going up the steep hills and closer to 240 on the steady one, and felt like I was walking my bike compared to everyone else. Guys out of the saddle, just hammering, only minutes into a 4+ hour ride...yikes. Couldn't possibly keep track of all of them, but I'm sure a bunch had trouble holding 200 watts on the way back into town at the end of the ride.
|Taking it easy up Palani early in the ride.|
|Bombing along on the Kohala Coast|
|Cruising along Alii Drive|
|Race hardware and the battered flippers that did most of the work.|
|Rockstar support crew.|