Wednesday, October 25, 2006

On to the real vacation!

Kauai is not just for the birds!

After a short couple of hops on a small plane we made it to our second destination - Kauai. Talk about a really cool island! Lots of mountain peaks just outside the door, ocean only a bit away, and if I was a surfer I probably would be in heaven. But seeing as I'm just a big chicken...

First day we took a bit of a hike up some trail that was unbelievably challenging considering most of the trails we run on are pretty tame. Of course the destroyed big toes of my feet weren't happy with me, and my body was still trashed from Saturday's race, it was a great way to get the excess lactic acid and the adrenaline flowing. (see pictures)

Sunday, October 22, 2006

I paid the photographer for this one ;>)

Race Day
Got up early.
Ate breakfast (oatmeal, coffee and juice)
Got the race site at 5am
Took all of 5 minutes to get body marked.
Sat around for 90 min waiting for the start.

I wish all races were that uneventful leading up the the event. We got in the water with about 12 minutes until race time. Tread water for a bit, talk to a few of the other swimmers, and then the cannon goes off!

I thought I had seeded myself appropriately, but it turns out I probably could have moved up further in the pack, as I got stuck behind a lot of slower people for quite a bit. But I stayed patient, worked my way around them when I could, and just stay relaxed and smooth. I have to say that this was one of the best IM swims I've ever had in terms of having space to swim (probably 40% of the race), and was able to set my rhythm to suit my desire. In hindsight I could have gone faster with not much more effort, but hey I had fun on the swim. No Ruth...I did not use your joke, although I thought about it while swimming (Hey...does this ocean make my butt look big?).

Swim time 1:06 (from what I've read it was the same as Natascha Badmann's), T-1 was quick and uneventful with the exception that I never knew that pier was so LOOONNNNGGG. Seems to take forever to run around, get your bike, and then run out.

The Bike - Best time for the Kona course for me. Roughly 20 min faster than three years ago, and mentally 20 times easier.

I get on the bike, and right away I start to get passed by what literally seemed like 100's of riders (Jack informed me that it was 500). So this made me even happier....really! It meant that I had a REALLY GOOD swim.

First 65 miles were in a mild headwind. All the way to the turnaround point. We start climbing to Hawi, and the wind really starts to come at us. Which made it for some fun times. One guy passed me, and I turned to him and said, "My friend told me that this was a FLAT course"....he laughs and tells me my friend must have been lying.

We get to the turnaround point where I pick up my Frozen bottle of Endurox (which was no slush, but tasted really great) and my Red Bull. I joke to the volunteers that I was hoping that it would give me 'Wings'. Which it sort of did because then we get to leave Hawi with a great tailwind. We literaly flew down the hill. And then when the hill ended, yep......the wind changed.

We now had a headwind again. Nothing really bad mind you, but enough to slow you down by about 1 mph (or for a rider like me). So it was back to grinding away.

I now had the opportunity to share my jokes (thanks Trevor) with some of my rider friends, as at this point of the race I was continually trading places with Meredith (from New Jersy) and Caitlin (from Kaiula-Kona) for the last 35 miles.

Then at the 100 mile mark we start to get our tailwind back. Yee-haw! Right away I was up 2 mph+ faster. I felt great that last 12 miles of the ride, but I was ready to get off the bike as my feet had been killing me off and on during the ride, and I felt like my bike shorts were carrying heating pads in the sensitive locations.

T-2 was fairly quick. This time I felt like I was ready to run. I was actually smiling in the changing tents as I was putting my shoes on, and getting catered to by the volunteers. Cold wet towel? Sure! Sunscreen? You bet...oh missed a spot! Thanks! Off I go for my run.

The run: Right away I felt the humidity and heat in the town. First we climb up Palani for a block (which stunk), then down a side road for about 1/2 mile, then left down another road and we're back on Alii Drive heading out of town. Alii Drive runs right along the ocean which of course means that it will be a bit warmer and humid. It's sort of like running in Virginia at 3:00 in the afternoon in the middle of July. much fun!

We have several hills to climb over, and down, and then we get to do it all again on the way back in before heading out on the Queen K highway (which has no trees). I really dislike running along Alii Drive. Sure there are lot's of people to cheer you on, but the conditions don't make it enjoyable. At this point I am walking 20-30 steps, and running for a few minutes. When my heart feels like it's about to climb out of my throat I walk. Once it goes back into it's proper location I pick up and run again. I can't wait to get on the Queen K.

Of course first we get to climb for another block on Palani - which for those of you who live in the Burg is like running up Fall Hill Avenue to Silverland. of those hills that you're better off walking up than running up. So I do the smart thing, I walk. Otherwise I think my heart would have left my body.

Once on the Queen K it is walk through the aid stations grabbing either Coke or Gatorade, pouring water all over my body, putting ice down my pants or race top (good to put in shorts, but it does get a bit cold), and then at mile 16 they start bringing out the Magic Elixir, Chicken Broth. I know that just by taking this alone will help clear up any heartrate issues and cramping issues. Up to this point I haven't had any problems with the cramps, but I needed the extra protein and sodium for the remainder of the race.

I get to the Energy Lab - did some more walk breaks here as my heart was again going a bit faster than I needed it to. I still had 9 miles to go, and I wanted to be able to run the last 6 miles versus walking my way home.

Once I get out of the Energy Lab my energy is much better. It's still light out, and I can see that if I really work it I can get a course PR. But I would have to run. So since all systems were a go I started to develop a good pace. First aid station I came to (mile 20) I ran through, but grabbed some drink stuff/ice. Mile 21 walked through and got some broth. I only had 5 miles to go, and I knew that I could make it, but my right calf was starting to threaten to knot up on me so I walked for 5-10 seconds to relax my feet (usually works with this type of cramp), then picked it right back up.

Next stop coke/ice, and only 4 miles to go. At the aid station after that I picked up my last chicken broth. I only had 3 miles to go, and I had already stopped twice to visit the port-john. I knew that I didn't need much else for the remainder of the run. It was only 3.2 miles away, and I knew that just running through the aids stations was an good option. It was sort of amazing to me that during the entire run my quadriceps felt good the entire race. The only issues I really had was keeping my HR at marathon pace effort.

With two miles to go we approached Palani....which of course means that now I get to go straight downhill for 2 blocks. Right as I turn I feel my right toenail feel like it's just been separated from the toe (no, it's still their, but bruised/swollen), but I knew that I only had a little more to go.

I could hear the finisher announcer's voice in the distance, and could see some of the lights. I see Jack right after I turn my first left with less than a mile to go. I ask him how much further before I get to turn right (then have another right to get onto Alii Drive where the finish line is) and he says it's the next turn. Well....he was wrong! It was more like 4 more blocks. Man those were hard blocks to run. It was at this point that another woman passed me, but this was o.k. because all during the last 8 miles we had been encouraging each other whenever one of us stopped. I made sure that she had some distance between me and her at the finish line so that we would both have great finish pictures.

I remembered to 'blow a kiss' to all those who would never get a chance to do this race (thanks John Faith for this idea), and for all of you who made this a really special race for me. Because if it wasn't for all the love and support from everyone it would never have been as much fun or as motivating for me.

Once I crossed the line me and the other girl hugged and went our separate ways!

Then it was time go back to the condo and have that Beer that Dave Denied Me in 2003!