Hubby, Kurt Stockton, flexing as he puts the hurt on his spouse, Wendy "Wingnut" Ingraham. Looking more healthy and fit than she has in years, watch for Wendy to break her string of 4th place finishes on the Kona Coast. As she says, "I'd rather finish anywhere other than 4th!"
Rain-O-Rama! This Isn't Europe . . . Is This Europe?No one I've talked to who's done this event over the past 15 to 20 years can remember a week like the one we're having. Today (actually Wednesday, Oct. 20th), after a stormy night and an overcast morning, the rain began to fall around 9a.m. and didn't let up all day. Heading out for a run at 10a.m., one didn't need to stop for water . . . at all. It was actually cool on Alii Drive all day today. While the wet weather probably wouldn't be conducive to blazing bike splits, it would certainly lend itself to some fast marathon times.
While everyone on the Big Island dreams of such a day, the fact remains that local forecasts call for the clouds and wet stuff to hang around 'til Friday and leave by Saturday. They're saying Saturday will be "partly cloudy and a high of 86 degrees". That might be but I've also heard that if this storm system blows out of the area, it will literally BLOW out of the area. We're talking wind. Also, if the sun does come out on Saturday, it will do nothing but evaporate all of the ground water causing a virtual steam room atmosphere for the race. In any case, Mother Nature will, once again, play a huge role in this year's race.
In the women's race, there are rumors of a couple of the women going off the front during the swim and bike because they won't be able to run due to injury. Liz Bulman, 2nd over all in 1985 and currently a top age-grouper has a stress fracture and won't be able to run . . . but intends to push the pace during the swim and bike. Also, Martha Sorensen, (7th overall in '97) is said to have very bad plantar fascitis and will also push the pace during the swim and ride but won't be running. The question remains to be answered as to whether either of these two women will be at the front to contribute to the racing strategies of other women at the front of the race.
While on the subject, it has to be mentioned that Wendy Ingraham looks extremely good this year. As her husband, Kurt Stockton, said to me during a ride this past Monday, "this is the first time since I've known Wingnut that she hasn't been either sick or injured coming into this event." When you've seen all of these athletes year-in and year-out for the past ten to fifteen years, you begin to recognize when someone looks good or looks a bit flat. Wendy definitely looks GOOD. She appears healthy, rested, and in good spirits. Well, ok, she's always in good spirits but this could be her year. There's no question that she'll be there after the swim and bike but it remains to be seen if the run training she's done with newly crowned World Duathlon Champion, Jackie Gallagher, will pay off during the marathon. Speaking with her today, Jackie said, "Wendy's capable of a 3:10 marathon." With her trademark strong swim and bike, that kind of run time would, without doubt, put her in contention to win.
The unknown in the women's mix this year is Joanna Zeiger. Showing immense potential with a 6th (or was it 7th) place finish in her rookie performance last year, Joanna should be capable of a big jump on the learning curve for this year's race. Known for her intensity in training and racing, Joanna was a close second (third overall) to Barb Lindquist in a gutsy sprint between the two at the Mrs. T's Chicago Triathlon National Pro Championship . . . ironman athletes aren't supposed to have that kind of speed. Joanna does and on Saturday, we'll find out if she's been able to attain the necessary strength and endurance for a similar performance on October 23rd. An interesting side note is the presence of both Barb Lindquist AND Jackie Gallagher in Kona to watch their first Hawaiian Ironman in person. Perhaps this is a sign of things to come AFTER the Olympics, of course.
Get ready for a complete report on Thursday's Underpants Run . . .