As I headed out on the bike I swore that the course was different than last year. I didn't remember going by Target and then up on Queen K before the out and back on Kuakini. But there we were, doing just that. There is no way to tell how your legs are doing just yet, I just focused on getting my heart rate under control from the mayhem that is "transition."
My plan this year was much the same as last year. Simmer the heck down until about mile 40 of the bike, then start to build my effort. Lastly come home strong, with my head down and my legs going hard. It worked well last year, why not do it again this year? I do realize that every year is different, what the day dishes out is different, but I had to have a plan, however, I do recognize that plans change with conditions.
The out and back on Kuakini I got to see where the various people I knew were, and how much time I had lost in the swim. I was pleased and felt like I had a leg up over last year. I also got to see ALL my family members screaming their heads off out there for me. I saw and heard their booming voices and I loved every second of it. Heading out on the Queen K, I settled into my effort and just started ticking off the miles. I remember feeling like it was a bit windy but nothing super bad. It felt a bit hotter. I wasn't nearly as excited and pumped, in fact, I went through a bit of a lull in those first miles. I just likened it to all the training rides I've done. Sometimes it takes me a little while to get going on those too. Also, I know that Chuckie does not train us for our best day, he trains us to excel on a less than ideal day. I wasn't too concerned.
The ride to Kawaihae was fairly uneventful. One guy made friends with me and he was really trying his hardest to strike up a conversation every time he passed me or I passed him. I was trying not to be snobby, but I'll admit I was a little cold in return. It's just that I know it's a long day and I try not to go out of my way to waste any additional energy. It takes enough focus to keep executing your plan without being social. I wasn't quite feeling 100% myself so I was trying to just focus on the task at hand.
I forgot that it was 20 miles from the turn to Kawaihae to Hawi, for some reason I thought it was like 11 or 16 or something. I saw Drew Scott at the side of the road during this section and I felt really bad for him. After all the wonderful juju the island has given his father, it was sad to see that the juju didn't carry on down the generations. He was on the side with what I believe was a flat, and he had full on puppy dog eyes going on.
The climb up to Hawi was easier this year, no cross gusts, but the last 3 or so miles to Hawi was insanity, worse than last year. I got a chance to see where the leaders in my age group were and it was awesome to see that they had already put 30+ minutes on me (ouch). I just continued doing my thing. I can only do what I can do with the cards I have in my hand. I spent a lot of time with my head down, uber focused.
I pulled into special needs, replaced my bottles and shoved a bag of gummies up my shorts. On the way down from Hawi was when I started to wonder why I was feeling a little off. I just felt a little ill, but was continuing to try to get my EFS down. I craved water and coke, which is a scary thing to be starting at mile 65 on the bike. I kept feeling my tummy to see if it was poochy... a clear sign that I put too much nutrition down the hatch. It wasn't and I was relieved, but I had that ill feeling. It wasn't too bad though, I have felt much much worse so I continued on with the plan as scheduled.
I came down from Hawi as hard as I could, I passed PIC in here and that was a freakin' godsend. I was at a point where I really needed the pick me up. She looked very strong, very steady, and consistent. I asked how she was and she said good and asked how I was. I told her I loved her and she said she loved me back (insert your own joke here). Just like that we separated and had to continue with our own plans. Mine involved staring at a solid white line.
The last 32 miles of the course is where I try to nail it home. I did just that, putting my head down whenever I could and just focusing on the Garmin and the white line. I tried to get the heart rate up as high as I could, which is never that high at that point in the day. I tried to tuck and be as small as possible. Last year I didn't get passed at all in this section, but this year I seemed to get passed quite a bit. My tummy was still off feeling but I was ignoring it and just focusing on going to my pain cave, executing my plan. I was grabbing coke and water, and trying to sip my EFS, but my focus was on riding hard over all else.
I really wanted to ride 7 minutes faster than last year. 4 in the swim, 7 on the bike, 7 on the run, and the 10 hour mark is mine. So all along I was doing the math and fighting for those 7 minutes...but it looked like 4..maybe 5 was going to be the reality. As I rode along the Queen K at 24 miles an hour, push push pushing my way back to the pier I gave it all I had until the very last moment. I think 4 minutes was all I got off last year. 5:26 I believe.
But I tried darn it, I tried. I remember thinking...4 won't do...that means you need to run 3:20. But I added the 4 to the previous 4 from the swim to make 8 and I filed that away.
I handed off my bike to a lovely volunteer (love that part) and I ran around through transition. It's quite the run in there. I felt my legs and thought they were doing pretty good. I was excited to get through transition and get the heck out of there. Once in transition I got a chair this time. Put on the compression socks and my shoes, grabbed my hat and race number and ran out of there. Socks, shoes, hat, number is all I put in my bag.
And now the real work begins.