Underpants run this year was huge!
Heather's 2004 Ironman Hawaii and Maui Xterra race report2004 Ironman Hawaii Post Race Recap
Well another year has come and gone and the Ironman World Championships is over. I must say that I am very happy that the race is over. Although I felt really relaxed leading into the race, there is still more stress associated with this race because of the importance of the race and the extremely competitive field.
Race morning came with what looked like it was going to be typical Kona weather –whatever that might mean. To be honest, you can never really tell – what is happening as far as the weather conditions in Kona is no indication as to what we might encounter as we head out towards Hawi.
I was excited about the swim start this year with the professionals having a separate start 15 minutes ahead. This would make for a cleaner race all round. One of the hardest moments of Ironman is those few minutes before the gun goes off. Once the race starts then you settle in, but the waiting is hard. I headed into the water about 20 minutes before the start with Lori and Belinda. Hawaii is one of the places that I don’t really worry about getting in a good swim warm-up. I paddled around a bit and just waited for the gun to go off. Bang and we were on our way – the start wasn’t too rough but definitely not “friendly”. It was really hard to see where we were and I just followed the feet in front. From all accounts afterwards, all the pros went way off course. I guess it didn’t really matter, as we all did the same thing. I am always glad to get the swim out of the way. I exited the water near all the people that were going to be the major players for the day – well except for Nina but she was really out racing on her own, well ahead of everyone else.
Next it was out on the bike. I felt pretty good from the start. I can usually tell how the bike ride will go based on the first few pedal strokes – and things looked promising. I rode the majority of the bike ride with Lisa Bentley, so it was nice to have someone to pace off of. It was also clear that the 15 min head start was working well and we were pretty much having our own race. The start of the bike was enjoyable but it wasn’t too long before the winds started to blow. They definitely were not the worst winds that we have had in Kona but they were the most persistent. From basically the Four Seasons Resort all the way out to Hawi there was a strong head/cross wind. This should mean that on the way back, there would be a cross/tailwind – not so. We turned around at Hawi and enjoyed a short time where there was a tailwind and then bam, back into a headwind. It just seamed like there was never a long stretch where we weren’t fighting the wind. This is very apparent with the bike times – probably conservatively 20 mins slower than they should have been. Despite the wind, I felt great on my bike. The new K2 T-Nine frame was awesome and I was able to stay focused and ride strong the whole way home. I will tell you that I was very glad to be getting off the bike however.
As was the case last year, I started the run feeling less than chipper. I find it hard to get into a groove for the first few miles down Alii drive. While I was running a decent pace, it took about 5 or so miles before I could comfortably run without feeling like I might have to stop at any second. As we headed through town I started to get into my groove and it certainly was nice to have the crowds cheering. I was slowly picking off people and making a bit of time on Natascha who was in second – Nina was in another zip code so unless something very bad happened to her – she was going to claim her first IM World Championships. Natascha was a manageable 8 or 9 minutes ahead which was possible to chip away at assuming nothing went wrong. Well at about 13 miles things started to head south (literally) and it appeared that I was going to be running from porta-potty to porta-potty rather than gain time on Natascha. Luckily my running was not affected, I just had to make some very frequent stops – when you stop for a min of 30 secs each mile, it starts to add up. I started to focus my attention behind, was I going to be able to maintain my lead on the fleet feet people behind?? Fortunately I was able to do so, and could enjoy my run down the final stretch of Alii drive knowing that I would hold on to 3rd place. It was a great feeling to be on the podium again, while the last couple of years placing 4th have been great – top 3 is really awesome. When I looked at the start list, there were so many fast & talented athletes that a top ten was going to mean having a great day. So to place top 3 was a bonus.
So now it is time for some R&R – well maybe not immediately. Like last year, Roch and I planned to head to Maui for the Xterra race. I wasn’t sure if I would compete in the race and attempt to win the “Double”, but I would just see how I felt a few days after IM. My body felt reasonably good when we headed over to Maui on Thursday – so I decided to give the race a go. It looked like the closest competition for the Double would be Erika Csomor from Hungary – I had about 33 mins on her from the IM. While this may sound like a lot of time – when you are talking about me and mountain biking, no amount of time is truly enough. Needless to say, I kept the rubber side down and ended up finishing the race about 7 mins behind Erika so I was able to capture the Hawaiian Airlines Double competition for the second year. I must say that I was pretty tired during the race – I certainly could tell that I had done an Ironman the week before, but I just did what I could do. Now we head home for a couple of days before heading to Arizona for the ½ Ironman in Tempe on Oct 31st. I will be “participating” in the race – what exactly that will mean will have to wait for race day. For sure after that race, it will be time to do NOTHING for a while.