Thursday, October 27, 2011

Ironman Hawaii - in hind site

This is a pic of a list I made in the mid 90's of stuff I wanted to do before I die. A life list. part 2 is of IM Hawaii is now checked off.

"just have fun, its your first time in Hawaii, don't expect much..."
you hear this a lot. and still, after having an inadequate race in my mind I call a huge bull shit!
IM Hawaii is 140.6 miles. the same as all the other full distance triathlons. Evey race has its own unique aspects that make the race challenging in different ways. That race is very hilly, it's always windy there. The salt water help you float better, but the water is rougher but no wet suit also... hmmm....

here's the deal. Hawaii is hot, humid and windy. done.
The bike course, despite the wind, is faster than most other races. IMC, lake placid, st. George, IMLO. and teh run a very flat. the hill going up palani is tough but thats it. As some one that doesn't do well in the heat this was a concern. I took care of this in 3 ways.
1. Arm coolers on the bike
2. Extra water bottle on my bike down tube. (2 bottles for straight water and 1 fuel bottle w/ Infinit. 3 total)
3. Simply being mentally prepared. Ever get stuck in traffic that wasn't expected. infuriating! but when your ready for it, plan for it, expect it. not so bad... same thing. get ready to be F'n hot. all in all, the heat wasn't bad. Ice down the shirt at ever aid station and I was fine.

Ok so why does it seem like so many people crack there? 2 main reasons.
1. They train to hard/ don't rest enough for the race. It's the world championships and athletes get supper amped! Rightfully so, but recovering from an IM takes time. lots of time, longer than most realize and many rush back into training from there qualifying race. "I got to train for KONA!" yeah you do but you have to recover first. Not recovering enough first is like getting new tires for your car before you take it to get junk yard. It's just dumb. everyone knows this yet very few actually do it.

2. They get over excited and execute the race poorly. This is easy to do. Its the world championships and as you hopefully read in my race report things don't play out like they do in your qualifying race. There are people all around you the ENTIRE time! my 10:10 race time was good for the to 500 something... yeah top 25%. i am normally in the top 5%. This issue can be exacerbated by the fact that almost everyone here is a qualifier. They are used to going fast. If people feel just a bit off and there going slow, lots of folks passing them, they get what I call the IM death gaze. you lave T2 feeling worse than ever before and you think 26 miles!?? no way thats impossible! and they implode.
Here's a little fact. You can't run 26.2 miles after riding 112 and swimming 2.4. its impossible. but you can run 1 mile. and then another, then maybe 2 and so on. I can't tell you how many people I saw on a sun 10hr pace (ahead of me) just stop and quit. 99% of these people's minds quit. not their body... when i left T2 i could see this place in my mind. I felt like death. one at a time, one mile at a time, one moment, one steep, one feeling one thought at a time. my first tip of race execution. focus on what yoru doing right "now". mistakes get made in the now. If your not in the now on race day where the F*** are you?!!?? can I run "right now" for just 1 minute? "yes", then do it.

So which one happened to you then? neither. of course, right...

Here is the other thing. Hawaii is a long way away. really long. Even from CO. A 2 hr. flight to AZ. then 6.5 hr's to kona makes for a long day. add 4 hr time change and 7 for you east coasters and you have a potentially serious jet lag issue headed your way.
What did happen to me was this.
Our planned 14 hour travel day turned out to be around 24 hours. A very simple delay in Denver had us in LAA instead of AZ. 5 hr lay over, before the over seas flight and kona arrival time was 7 pm local time instead of 2. not a big deal right? Thats what I thought, I wasn't feeling bad. That was wed. thur. I was fine again. Didn't do anything dumb, stayed out of the sun, hydrated and fueled well, etc. But Friday things caught up with me. I was just exhausted. And that the was I felt on race day. Just tired. muscles fine, but even a slow pace just had me pinned.
pretty lame excuse I know. but that's all I got.
my training was good. I felt great coming into the race. expectations were right on. My bike felt like it was right on with pre IMLP. Swimming felt great in training and if anything I had improved tech. The run, not as much but I adjusted and was prepared. I was going to "see how I felt" running no faster than 8'/miles and aim for a 8-8:30/mile pace. if I slowed a bit, fine. a 3:45 run would be fine.
As you read in the race report I handled it as best I could. I kept moving and avoided a huge disaster.
I have said before that people don't realize the best moments of their lives because they are so caught up in the moment. Which I think is pretty cool. But what happens when your somewhere that is supposed to be sooo great and its... not so great. Its important during these times you keep some perspective. I had two rules going into this race. don't stop, take it in.
I did both, success.

So what now? I seem to very content with my day, and fulfilling a life long dream...
I have gotta get back there and race at 100%. I can be "satisfied" but never "content".

IM Hawaii must Do's:
for racers and non-racers.

1. swim. its awesome! hit the coffee float the day or 2 before the race.
2. racers you have to have a iron Sherpa. for this race more than most.
3. take it in!! volcano nation park, snorkeling, local food, watch or participate in teh underwear run, do it all.
4. as long as possible after the race!
5. Get out there at least 4 days before the race. and sleep!
6. DO NOT stress about the heat. there isn't much you can do. if you want to move there, go ahead. 5 or 6 days is not gona help you acclimate.
7. Lu Lu's Sunday morning for football.
8. get as many friends and family as you can to go out. Watching this event and doing it are both very inspiring.
9. take it all in. don't forget where you are and what your doing.

1 comment:

JP Severin said...

Literally the same experience for me...10 hr finish on the button and the exact same sentiments.
I am racing the HITS series IM to get that mediocre taste out of my mouth.