Into the T2 tent I had like 5 volunteer ladies around me. I was laughing in there with them, I think it kinda surprised them. I was in a great place, all was good. They put my Nathan fuel belt on me, and my HUUB race belt with my number. I threw my shoes on, grabbed my hat and glasses and said thank you as I headed out the door.
My goal was to keep to myself, stay within myself, stay relaxed, and just run. I get out there and people are yelling my name left and right. I had SO much love out there, and I just smiled and relaxed and let my hands be floppy and RAN. I looked up into the sky and WOW, it was overcast. OVERCAST. Do you understand….in KONA….OVERCAST!!! Like not hot. I shook my head, looked at the volcano again and said “Thank you Madame Pele.” A windy ride AND an overcast run, she really outdid herself in my favor.
Ali'i was very consistent for me. The miles ticked away and I just let them pass keeping gratitude in my heart. I felt good but stayed calm because I knew it would get hard soon enough. Muddy was checking in with me every now and again but he could tell I was just getting it done and he really said very little to me. The work was done, and I was good, so he just nodded every time. On the way back through town Annie came running up to me shouting “Mom, you are in third and you are gaining on second and she is 2 minutes up and you are doing great and I love you and you’re going to get a bowl!” Sheesh, I love that kid! Troy told me Gui, my brother from another mother was close and to go catch him.
I saw Michelle S and she let LOOSE for me. So did Hilary, and Jordan and Jess. SO MUCH LOVE! Up Palani, man that never gets easier. I had gotten passed by a lady who wasn’t in my AG and I tried to run up Palani like she was but it was impossible, she looked perfect.
And then the Queen K, oh the lovely Queen K. Those 6 miles to the Energy lab I don’t even remember. I tried to stay loose and calm and just repeat my mantras “loose hands, stand tall, look forward, go find Gui” and my mind got dragged off of them 1000 times, but I came back to them 1000 times. The ease of Ali'i was just poof gone. That Queen K is just so hard. I didn't even watch the Pros coming the other way. I was in the "stare straight ahead and just make it to the NEL" zone.
Down into the energy lab I enjoyed that mile. I saw Amy coming out of the energy lab and knew she was leading our AG and 2 miles ahead of me now. She’s an insane runner and I remember specifically thinking “girl is bad ass.” I hit the bottom and started to go from bad to really bad. I caught Gui and then pulled ahead of him after he gave me some great encouragement. I tried to count ladies in my age group at the turn around and thought I was in 3rd but honestly wasn't sure because I just wasn't feeling too well. After the turn around I got that “gotta poop” feeling and I started looking for the ladies behind me. This is a big no-no, I know I’m supposed to “look forward, not behind” but I just needed a little information. I thought I saw someone 1 minute back.
I saw the portapotty and I literally was saying to myself “Would you rather use the port-a-potty and get a smaller bowl, or not use it and run with poop in your pants?” Seriously, those were my options. Bowl…or poop….Ahhh!!!! So I decided on a compromise. I would use the loo, but I would make it the quickest pit stop ever, I would time myself. As I ran towards it I had my shorts down before I even opened the door, I sat and MADE IT HAPPEN, and ran out of there pulling up my shorts along the way….28 SECONDS FOLKS!!!! New PR!
I didn’t think I got passed so I tried to get back motoring along but I was not doing well. I felt okay for a few minutes but then, just ick. I ran out of the Energy lab and it took a lot out of me. I finally gave myself permission at the top of the NEL to go to Coke. I turned the corner on the Queen K, Haileys hubby Mark was there and was so good to see. I was hurting bad. The miles were 9:30s and I was thinking about the droves of ladies that were running me down, capitalizing on my melt down.
And then magic happened. Gui caught back up to me. He said “come on Sonja, let’s go” and I was like “I’m not doing good.” In my head I didn’t know if I was going to finish. I was in that spot where things are moving really slow, myself included, and I couldn’t come up with any ideas on what to do. He asked me “what do you need” and I was like “I don’t know.” I was seeing little firefly looking stars in my vision and had the “tunnel vision” thing going on. Gui was like “We are going to fix this, you are going to get your bowl”. At the next aid station, he took a baggie that he had and filled it with ice and shoved it down my bra top. That was AMAZING, it was so cold on my chest. Then he helped me get aid at the stations, forgoing aid for himself. He handed me coke and water, coke and water, coke and water.
Somewhere in here Caroline passed me, she's in my age group. I said to myself “I’m in 4th now” and I was scared that 5th was coming for me. Gui’s girlfriend Katie rode up on her bike and Gui was like “Go ride back and see where the next girl is and come tell us” and she goes “Okay baby, I love you” and he was like “I love you too.” And even though I was in a bad way, my brain was like Awwww, that's cute and I said to him in my tunnel vision stupor “I want a wedding invitation.” Haha! Gui must have told me 100 times, you’re going to get your bowl, and it helped so much.
Muddy checked in with us a few times, but said nothing, or at least nothing that I could remember, but that was probably just me. I barely could see straight and was so “in it” that I barely saw anyone around me. I remember Jess being there at one point and screaming “You’re going to get your bowl and it’s going to be a BIG ASS bowl” She actually screamed that, and it was the first time I though “She might be right.” Somewhere in there, I looked at Gui and said “I just pooped myself” and he said “It’s okay, you're going to get your bowl.”
After 3 or 4 aid stations of the coke and water bit with Gui I started to come around. I started picking it up barely and Gui was like, “be careful, just keep it under control” but I couldn’t. I just knew I had to use every bit I had at the moment I had it and I ignored him. Then he screamed “Go get your bowl” and I left him. He hadn’t taken any aid for all those aid stations because he handed it all to me, which as I type makes me well up with tears. I'm an only child, but I have picked up brothers and sisters during my time in this sport, and Gui is really a brother to me.
So I’m still in a raw place but I’m going faster and it’s the last hill, the Dave Scott, Mark Allen one. I see Caroline wayyyyy up there. I can see her, she’s far but I just focus on her back and I keep trying to bring myself to her. Another girl is there with me, not in my age group but I’m hanging onto her shoulder because she’s so strong, her name was Martina, and she was really strong! She’s doing the work, pulling me up that hill. Going down Palani suddenly Caroline is right there and my brain tells me “there is a certain way you should pass her so she doesn’t come with you” but I couldn't think of what that might be so I just slowly ran past her, like the slowest pass ever. And then at the bottom of Palani I started to get scared. She’s going to get me, she’s coming. Down Hulaiali I’m still shoulder to shoulder with Martina in the other AG and we talk a little. I tell her I just passed a girl, and she turns around and says “She’s not there” and I didn’t believe her. And she looks again and says “nope, not in sight” but I was still paranoid.
We turn onto Alii and I see uncle Norm…barely. I’m still thinking I’m going to get passed. My brain says, you should let Martina cross first, she’s done all the work, but then my brain was like “But what if you ease up and the other girl runs you down?” My brain also said “you don’t get to enjoy Ali'i this year, you need to run as fast as possible to the finish line.”
So that’s what I did, I sprinted to the line. I cried, and I sprinted. I really really cried while sprinting. And then I stopped at the top of the little ramp, right under the arch, and I did a little jump.
AND there were Pat and Tony!! They were volunteering at the finish line later in the evening but they came early to make sure they were the ones to put my lei on. And I CRIED!!! They hugged me and said ‘you did it” and Tony said “You are a champion” and I cried more. Then they handed me off to my catchers and I told them about the 5 times racing, and the 5 times trying for the bowl, and that I thought I was 3rd, and I was so happy, and 3rd was awesome, and then I cried some more, like lots more.
I found Troy and Annie and they told me I was 2nd. And they rehashed it with me and told me how it went down. And then I cried again, like really big fat tears. I told Troy not to touch me because I was hazmat and he was like “go get in the ocean and wash off.” So I did that and when the salt water hit my undercarriage where the poop had chaffed me to high heaven I cried again….this time tears of pain and my vision went fuzzy.
I got out of there, found the secret shower in the secret bathroom and washed for a long time, changed my clothes, sat on the bench in the bathroom and cried, and then collected myself and went and joined my family. We walked up and saw Michelle come down Palani, she looked great, and I was so proud of her. We met up with Muddy and hugged a lot and I cried again, twice. I was like “2nd muddy, we did it” and he was like “guess we come back next year.” He’s going to regret saying that when I hold him to it!! hahah!!!!
One last blog post tomorrow....maybe two...so much to say....