I realized yesterday that it had been six years since I had done a half ironman and not hated my life for 4+ hours. And finished vowing never to do such a “short” race again. So signing up for one that would fall just 6 days after an ironman was probably a recipe for disaster. While I have done some of my best ironmans a week after another one, believe me, I need every last hour of that week in between races; on day six I usually still feel like crap, and it’s the seventh day when things finally start to come around.
Pre-race interview with Welchie
Honu 70.3 was to fall on day 6 after Ironman Brasil and, obviously, required a trip halfway around the world to get here. I can only explain my decision to partake in this event by acknowledging the obvious: I am a glutton for punishment. And having just raced two ironmans in three weeks, the timing was perfect for a mid-season break at the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows, which is situated in the midst of the Honu 70.3 action.
What had all the makings of a really dumb decision actually resulted in a day that was both more fun and less disastrous than I had anticipated. I had two goals for this race: come out of the water first, and not finish last.
Photo credit: www.swimbikerunvideos.com
I managed to accomplish both. The swim in the aquarium of Hapuna Bay was one of many highlights of this awesome event. I love a warm ocean swim with no wetsuits needed; my new TYR Torque was so comfortable, and I felt right at home out there in that beautiful water. What a treat. We had our own pro start 3 minutes ahead of the masses, so it was quite friendly and uneventful. By the first turn buoy, which I think was 1/3 of the way through the swim, I was pretty sure that I was clear of the rest of the women; I looked up to see the group of the big boys not far ahead, and thought I might be able to bridge the gap.
“Okay, time for a surge . . . Head down, let’s go!” Aaaand then . . . nothing. Nope. No change of pace there.
Photo credit: www.ironmanlive.com
And that was pretty much how my whole day went: I felt strong and steady, but I wasn’t fast and didn’t have any gears. The race was an absolute blast, though, and I smiled my way through the whole thing knowing that everything could be so much worse.
My body didn’t feel amazing, but it didn’t feel terrible, in spite of setting myself up for just that.
The wind was gnarly, but it was not nearly as scary as at Leadman a couple months ago. It was not as strong; we could predict when the gusts would hit, and when they did, at least the roads were closed so we didn’t risk getting blown into a truck or something!
At times, the wind on the run created the effect of running into a wall, but at least it wasn’t blowing me backwards like it did at Leadman, and my legs had some feeling and strength in them.
As I have explained here before, I believe that crossing the finish line even in our “worst” or slowest races is a valuable exercise, and it took me ‘til yesterday to figure out why I put myself through Leadman when I couldn’t really even run. Yesterday morning in transition when we were nearly getting blown away at 6AM (which meant that 9AM on the bike would likely be far more crazy), the value of that experience in Vegas became very clear to me. The wind did not really scare me, and indeed I was able to make up time on stronger cyclists descending from Hawi with the wind because I could stay in my bars and ride it out. Also, having suffered through a race that was horrific from start to finish comes in handy when the odds are stacked against me—it gave me a recent experience to draw upon that reminded me that it’s all relative: it could be worse.
Hey, this is really not too bad.
Now back to my goals for the day: I ended up in 8th place after coming out of the water about 1:40 ahead of the next woman. Added bonus: I had a lot of fun . . . at a half ironman! Go figure.
I may just do another one someday. And it will probably be here on the Big Island.
GCM and I with our friends Gary and Tina post-race
Yep this one’s all about the afterparty: celebrating Beth’s podium & first professional paycheck, and with my athlete Julie who crushed it straight off of a week of Epic Camp here on the island.
Thanks so much to all of my fantastic sponsors for making this most recent racing binge possible: PowerBar, TYR, Recovery Pump, Rudy Project, Zipp, ISM, Vega, FSA, CycleOps, and the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows.
I don’t usually carry finisher’s medals around with me; I just didn’t really have time to unpack between trips!