Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Kona bound...

Where to begin…. The race rocked! Really it did, well not that it is over and I qualified!

Weather was a concern all week- pending rain, dropping temperatures….

Race Day- Up at 3 and ready to roll. Arrived at Transiton when they opened at 5am- got a great parking spot, was body marked and bags dropped off by 5:30. Time to relax. Big mistake…no shoes, only flips and it was 55 degrees. I wish I had my swim park, big socks and I would have been a happy clam. I found shelter and settled against the wall and got into a good Zen state for about 30 minutes.

Hit the porta pottie and then jimmied on my wetsuit, dropped off my dry clothes bag and my heart rate was beginning to increase.

Holy cow….it’s almost show time!

6:25 Pros are off and the beach is open. I head down and take a moment and check out the water, choppy and a current, for sure. Find Mike and KP and that is a good distraction. Mikes wetsuit is leaking and we all laugh at that. The voice of Ironman is booming behind us, gotta love Mike Reilly. One thing you can control today is your attitude!” That was my mantra all day when it was tough out there.

The swim was choppy, choppy baby! Mass start was crazy as all IM’s are but this one had added waives and current. Heading out was tough – hard to see the buoys and never got in a rhythm as it felt like a washing machine. Round the buoy and then the current was pushing us towards shore but we had to get across so I headed way up and hit the buoy spot on. Coming back was great with the current but was rolling and hard to get in a good groove. Out on the beach for the turnaround and hit the mat and say 29min, oooh slow, wanted to be 27, headed back out and while there were less people it was still tough with all the chop. Finally heading back in and began to focus on T1 and the bike.

Out of the water headed for the wetsuit strippers, love them. They rock! Dropped on my back and whamo it was off. Grabbed my bag and jogged into the tent. The volunteers are awesome they dumped my bag and put my helmet on for me. I did not swim in my jersey as I was worried about the cold so that was tough to get on wet but with 2 helpers it was quick and I was out. My bike was 2nd from the end so easy to spot and off through the grass. Cross the mat and jump on and start to pedal and my chain falls off- On crap, total rookie move, left it in the big ring. Jump off and I am headed out. The bike goes through town with screaming fans and it is great.

My HR came down fast and that was good and I was sipping water to get my stomach settled and ready for some calories. As soon as we hit the lake I felt the wind, this is not going to be an easy day. I was chanting, “One thing you can control today is your attitude!” So I grounded myself and began to settle in. The course goes through town and on some busy streets until around 20 and then you hit Hayden Lake and here come the hills. My legs were tight and I was not feeling great. Girl with 40 on her leg passes me and I am bummed- already I am getting passed. Work through the hills and the wind. I am cold, wishing I had the arm warmers, but am fueling well and hydrating well so all is good. Loop one is ending and I am not sure how the day is going to pan out, negative thoughts are creeping in and I am in a dark space. I look at my time and lap 1 is 2:50, holy cow, 10+ minutes faster than last year. I feel better, I am sticking to my Power Plan from KP and am doing what we discussed, if I go harder, I may blow up on the run. #2 in my AG passes me, don’t panic, stick to my race. Loop 2 was much better, the hills I felt strong as many were starting to waiver and slow down. The course has 6000ft of elevation gain so the hills are not mere rollers. At 90 I am really feeling good- the PBHoney from my special needs was awesome! Chowed it down and was loving the energy. Guy passes me and says “ you f*&^ing rock” Gotta love that. As we are screaming back to town, a car pulls up and slows down and rolls down the window and says “ hey you are going 24mph, nice work, now go get those boys” . Rolling and feeling good and start to think about the run. Soon thereafter I pass #2 and am totally psyched now. 1st place is well ahead and not on my radar.

Left my shoes on the bike and jumped off and handed to bike to the T2 lady…wanted to say “oooh don’t touch the seat..” but was too focused and off to T2. In and out fast, I really dig the people helping us dress and well undress and clean up after I take off.

Legs felt good! Yes!!! Slow down, first 3 miles are to be really, really easy. It’s hard because my legs felt good and there are people everywhere shouting. I locked in my pace and started ticking off the miles. Soon I was at the turnaround and feeling good. Run has some rollers and they all felt fine. KP came up and let me know I was putting time on 3rd place so that is good. My miles are even and spot on and before I know it I am back in town and the crowds are awesome. Fueling is going well and I am having fun.

Some Tri Club has Viking hats on and they rocked- high 5’s and lots of yelling. Spiderman was on a bike and he was cheering me on. Elmo was out and about- it was hilarious. I was having a great time and the miles were clicking by. Volunteers rocked at the aid stations and soon I am mile 20. HS only 6 to go and I are feeling good. Start to pick it up and by 23 I knew I had it but just could not let myself believe it. I picked up to 8:20’s and was flying by everyone and people were screaming and it was just plain awesome. Pain and suffering yes, but it was so great. Cold, yes, rainy, yes…. But I realized I was about get my Kona slot. Last 400 yards is downhill and packed 10 people deep all screaming. And there it was 10:41:53!!! 2nd W40-44, 4th female (amateur)

What a day- so many tears and KP was there at the finish! Jen came in just under 11 hours and got a slot from the roll down Chuck got a slot at his first IM, Mike has his fastest run split….it was good despite the cold weather winds… Funny the conditions sucked but it was my day, my race and I was not going to let the weather dictate my success. All those rides when I rode in the rain, was cold and uncomfortable prepared me for this day. You never know what race day will bring-











  1. Congrats on an awesome race Julie! It was such fun to follow you on IronMan Live all day! Enjoy the recovery...

  2. Wow. You are so strong. It was so fun to track you on im.com. I was living vicariously through you, only with less pain and more exciting beverages. I can't wait to track you at Kona.

  3. Awesome race. Thanks for the race report. I was watching on Ironman live all day.

  4. Great job Julie!

    Congrats on the race!

    Doc John and the rest of the Coastal Sports and Wellness crew!