Dig Me Beach at 8:30am – little more crowded than yesterday.
Day 4 – A Final Day of PeaceToday was unusually warm as the clouds departed by mid morning and the steady trade winds that have been blowing over the past three days died down. It made for a day the race hasn’t seen in recent history – a hot one. It seems there’s been no shortage of horrible wind but a typical sunny, hot day with moderate trades has been missing in recent history. Maybe this year will return to the “norm” if there is such a thing in Hawaii.
No real news to report today. Huddle swam most of the course with Lori, Heather, Belinda Granger, and Roch and was reported to be hanging on for dear life all the way. Then, as the girls drove out to Kawaihae with their bikes to ride to Hawi and back, he was said to have passed out on the floor of his condo in a heap. Nice.
I want to know one thing – what’s up with tri-geeks? You’re out for a run and, by some miracle, happen to be running faster than someone. You start your pass and give a courteous, “How’s it going?” only to get a return volley of, “Ya. Halo. Did you ride the bicycle today?” Uh, what? Now you’re in a conversation you expected to end with, “Good, how are you?” You reply, “No, I didn’t ride.” And get, “Ah, zee pace is too fast if you ride the bike before but is ok for only run.” Ok pal, thanks for the info. No, now you have a running partner. You’re now out for a run with Verner, the 50-year old German pacing expert. He says, “So, is zis your first Havaii?” to which you reply, “No, I’ve been here a couple of times.” Then you get the line that makes you want to run away, “Ya, I am in triathlon for 9-years. I make Havaii for 8-years.” Ok, what am I supposed to do? Applaud? The gods smile on me and Verner turns off, “See you.” Hope not, I think to myself.
I don’t know. Maybe it’s just me but is that how we are? A bunch of insecure geeks who have to let everyone who’s within earshot know our athletic history? It reminds me of the “broken spoke”. There we all were back in the late 80’s slogging our way through another Ironman Hawaii. As you came upon friends who were running the other way from the various turn-arounds on the run course you always gave and got a greeting. “Nice job” was a common one along with, “keep it up, you’re doing good”. Sometimes it was just a grunt and wave to minimize the energy expenditure you were so desperately trying to save for your next step.
Then, after a half-dozen or so greetings and returned well-wishes, you spot another friend/acquaintence coming toward you. Whether or not this individual was a bit further back than their normal race performance couldn’t have been further away from your thoughts. You’re brain is registering a fellow comrade at arms who is suffering just like you and you know the deal. You send out a little energy and get a little in return. You don’t expect a return volley. Just seeing a friend can give you a little added boost toward the finish line.
Anyway, the time comes and as you’re giving your “Nice job so-and-so” greeting, you get a loud, very clearly spoken, “I broke a spoke!” What? Baffled (which isn’t hard to be at this point), you think about this exchange for the next mile when it dawns on you that this genius was giving his excuse as to why he/she wasn’t kicking your ass. “I broke a spoke.” In other words, “had I not broken a spoke, I’d be well ahead of you – or at least closer than I am right now.” I didn’t think much of this until the next day when I was in the middle of the 4th event. You know, the re-hash. This is the time when you get to relive every boring minute of your race with someone who you think cares (hopefully not a spouse) – probably a fellow racer. Before I know it, all of my re-hash buddies are discovering that the “Spoke breaker” has said exactly the same four words to everyone he/she saw. I was astounded. What could have been a one syllable grunt – like it was for most of us – was a during race excuse. Now, I’m the king of pre-race excuses but I can’t remember giving a during race excuse – at least not audibly to any of my fellow competitors. Classic.
So, I continue down Alii Drive after Verner turns off and I see another fellow runner running in the same direction. I take heart knowing that we’re not all so full of ourselves that we have to recite our athletic resume’s to every stranger we see. I can’t believe I’m going to actually pass another person (who’s also running) on the same run but it appears that it’s going to happen. I move to the right and, while passing, give a small wave and a “how’s it going?” The response smacks me across the head, “I’ve got shin splints!”
I can’t take it.
P.S. In the second picture, Sheila is on the RIGHT and her sister, Brenda is on the left - dyslexia is catching up with me.