LavaMan Triathlon. Redemption in the form of an Olympic Distance Triathlon. As the title says, like a Phoenix rising from the ashes, I triumphantly busted out an almost 50 minute Personal Record 🙂 My last Olympic distance was December 2014 with the less than stellar HITS Palm Springs Championships.
Lavaman has been on my list for a long time. I was registered last year but had to pull out after contracting that water borne illness at that fateful Palm Springs race. This was my year for redemption.
Honestly, who doesn’t secretly want to race on parts of the Ironman World Championship course? I know I will never qualify for Kona, so this is the next best thing. Me racing down the famous Queen K Highway, just like Chrissie Wellington.
I found myself in Waikoloa Village 4 days pre race. Found an amazing condo close to the start in Anaeho’omalu Bay (A-bay) I figured this would give me a few days to acclimate. Every morning I went for my 6am run before the sun came up. What a feeling! I did not swim much in the Bay before the race. Swimming is the best part for me. So I concentrated on getting my running feet underneath me in the heat.
Saturday before the race, I picked up my packet and attended the pre-race briefing. The briefing was a joke, but mandatory, so I went. Relaxed the rest of the day and prepared my race kit and bag. And turned in early.
Race morning, up at 5am. Transition opens at 5:30. Ride the half a mile over to A-Bay to rack my bike, set up shop, get numbered, and grab my timing chip. OK, so I went over super early and then had a lot of time to kill 🙂
Saw both Kinsey and Marcus, from home. These two are amazing athletes and incredibly nice people to boot. Got my pep talk from Kinsey and wished her well, as she was starting with the elites. Turns out Kinsey won the overall women’s title, with Marcus coming in 5th male. Amazing I tell you 🙂
I made it to my swim corral and waited as we swam out waist deep for our start wave. Boom, time to swim. So much congestion. I started out mid pack and quickly found myself in the “washing machine” I clawed my way out a bit past the worst of the congestion. I then after that first 500 yards, had the best swim I have had in months. Swim, slice, pull through the water with ease. I did not even have issues like I normally do with sighting my position.
Out of the water, whoops I feel waterlogged! Trudge up the sand and across the pavement to Transition #1. Get my feet clean and geared up for the ride. Considering the distance to T-1 I feel like I had a pretty good transition.
Whoomp, Whoomp, Whoomp go the wheels of my Cervelo P2 as I head South on the Queen K. Now here is where things get fun. Wind….check. Sun….check….Traffic….check. Ok girl, you got this. I get down in Aero and push through the wind. And then it happens, I, yes I, start passing people left and right. What a feeling. All these hours this winter spent on my trainer are paying off. I was able to hammer in a way I know I couldn’t have done this time last year. The turn around was sketchy. It was a no pass zone, but this one lady just had to cut me off and pass. She almost took out my front wheel doing it. But once we got back on the main highway, I quickly overtook her and in the distance she fell behind.
Transition 2 was quick. Just pull on the socks and a hat and off. Now the pavement is scorching hot. I can feel the heat from below and above. The course has limited shade the whole way, so I made sure to stop at each mile marker aide station for a quick drink and ice.
Here is where I struggled. My runs are always decent, but today that heat was just to much. I could feel myself struggling right out of the gate. So for the first 3 miles I did a run walk, until I felt better. At the mid-course turnaround a light breeze came and I was able to run until I hit the lava/coral/beach section. This was mostly single track at this point. It was narrow and hard to run on. This section was about 3/4 of a mile. I went with the flow of the group around me. So much of this was walked during the narrow sections.
This point we are all running adjacent to the beach. It was so hot all I could think of was jumping into the water, but not yet. I could see the finish line ahead. Okay Susie, you can do this. You can run through all this loose sand and finish strong. I dug down deep….to keep running even when I could barely keep my footing straight. Finish Line!
Celebrate……I crossed it 3:38. I beat my goal of coming in less than 3:45. The Phoenix has done it. Lavaman 2016 finisher. I couldn’t be happier.