Mike exiting the swim.
Mike Collins Honeymooning and Racing in Honu.PRE-RACE
Alli and I headed over to the Big Island with Karen Mastro for a mini honeymoon after our wedding last week. We hung out near the pool the pool and were pretty lazy most of the time. We visited friends Tom & Julie McCue up in Hawi (a great little town to visit for lunch). On Friday I did a little open water clinic and practice swim on the course with my buddies at www.Multisports.com . The conditions were PERFECT - totally glassy clear water with no major current. I did the usual pre-race bike ride to check the shifting on the race wheels and that nothing was lose, but I had to make some adjustments to the cleats on my racing shoes which were set further out on the pedals from my training shoes and were giving me some foot cramps. I almost wished I had brought my training shoes to race in for that long of a distance. Did the race registration, turned in Bike/Run Transition gear, and then sat back to have a few cocktails and relax the afternoon before the race. After all, it was my honeymoon, and I wasn't concerned with getting an IM slot. I figured I would treat it like any Saturday evening at home where I would usually I knock back a few and still have a good Sunday morning training ride. Also got in a little hike over the lava rocks in my sandals (nearly killing myself) to write Alli & Mike with the white rocks
THE SWIM - 1.2 Miles
The swim was a big rectangle in Hapuna Bay. An absolutely beautiful setting. The water was pleasant temperature, not cold or hot. The water was clear enough to see the bottom for the entire race. I got a good start far to the left side to avoid major body contact with the 700+ people in the mass start. I got clear of eveyone quite easily with a few dolphins off the bottom and then swam in clear water the rest of the way. The lead pack was off to my right a bit so I could keep an eye on them with each breath I took in that direction. Since it was a half , I wasn't going to blow my doors on the swim. I haven't been doing much swim training, so I lost a little ground on the lead group and just missed making the back of the lead pack as we rounded the first set of turn bouys. I was happy to swim on my own at a comfortable pace and watch the fish in the reef below as I went over. I came out of the water 17th in 26:38 which was a bit off the 25+ I did in a wetsuit at CA Half last year. I moved through transition reasonably smoothly and picked up a few spots by the time I left onto the bike.
THE BIKE - 56 Miles
I got in my groove early and started picking off riders ahead. I wanted to ride strong in the first half to hopefully beat the headwinds up near Hawi. I moved up to as high as 7th place on the bike and then was bouncing between 8th and 12th with 4-5 other guys for most of the bike. I didn't get hit with the headwinds of Hawi until about 3 miles to the turnaround. The ride back was pretty fast although my back was beginning to ache and it was getting hotter. I got off the bike with a 2:32 bike split and started the run in 12th or 13th overall.
THE RUN - 13.1 (Death March)
I was not looking forward to this. Half Marathons are tough to do by themselves, when you're fresh, and it's not hot out. I was headed out into a furnace along these lava lined roads on the first half of the course. I was baking and starting to shut down. My pace, including walks through the aid stations to get enough fluids and ice, was over 8 minutes a mile. I came back through the transition area after the first 4.6 miles to go out on a separate longer twisty loop which included running on Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows golf course. Although the grass felt softer, it also sapped the spring and turnover out of my legs. Finally I got break when we got some cloud coverage from miles 6-9 which took the edge off the searing heat. Combined with a few good cups of ice water and some gel shots and suddenly I was flying. I started reeling in the next guy ahead and distancing myself from the people stalking me from behind. I had a solid last 5 miles and finished without throwing up or needing an IV. Still, I wasn't feeling great enough to consider taking an Ironman spot. I wished it had been an Olympic distance race, so I would have been back at the pool drinking Mai Tai's way before noon instead of after 3pm. Full results and splits for the race are available at:
Had beverages around the pool after the race with several of the Multisports folks and friends. There was plenty of entertainment with very little talk about the actual race.......more to come on this.
would highly recommend this race for anyone considering doing IM Hawaii as it includes some of the same bike course and the weather is exactly the same. The race will fill up very early so get on it if you are interested. http://www.honuhalfironman.com/
There is a good chance I will be back there next year to do a week long camp leading into the race with my friends at www.Multisports.com, so I hope to see some of you there.
Multisports Orange County....Practice with Purpose.