Swim (.93 miles): 20.42.
My goal time was 18-20 minutes, so not terribly far off. I thought it was going to be much slower than it actually turned out to be. I’ve been practicing in the coves of Ko Olina to prepare for this race and I felt fairly confident in my swimming abilities (they’re not swim team good, but I’m not dog paddling out their, either). Boy was I in for a surprise. I’m still not used to swimming in the middle of a mass of bodies. I’m not used to all of the water splish-splashing around me, salt water in my throat and nose, goggles fogged up, hitting swimmers as they pass by me. I’m not yet adept at swimming in a straight line without the use of painted lines on the bottom of the pool. I’m not used to hitting someone’s foot/leg/arm and just moving on. I was constantly assessing and reassessing my position. I bobbed a lot and looked up and around. Honestly, the best part of the swim was running between the coves; that’s where I caught up with my competitors. I had a cheering section of friends and hearing them yell my name and words of encouragement made me push harder.
I dropped my goggles getting out of the last cove and on my run to my bike I saw a co-worker of Wes’, Ben, who just did the lagoon challenge. He started five minutes before me and finished about 5 minutes ahead of me. He was drinking water and relaxing and I wanted to punch him in the face for being done with his race while I still had about an hour to go. That said, my transition was fine. I rinsed my feet off, put on socks, shoes, glasses, watch, gloves and was out of there. The tri suit was a big improvement over all of the outfit changes I did at the Na Wahine super sprint – no struggling with putting on sports bra (there is nothing worse than putting on a sports bra while you’re wet) or getting into biking shorts only to get out of them again and put on running shorts.
Bike (13.12 miles): 53.32
My goal was 40 minutes. I wasn’t sure if that was even possible, but that’s what I was shooting for. It was a stab in the dark, as I didn’t take a look at any past rides to see what my average speed was or how far I went in what time. I passed plenty of people on the hills, and that made me feel awesome. Every time I felt myself slowing down or slacking off or just plain not caring about how much I gave, I silently chided myself and dug in and gave more. Coming back into the transition area I saw a man running back to the corral with his bike. I’m not sure what happened, but it was certainly inspiring to see how much he wanted to compete in this race, and as I passed him I made sure to push a little harder.
My legs were like jello when I dismounted my bike and I was feeling pretty wobbly. I grabbed my race belt and took off as quickly as I could.
Run (3.1 miles): 31:02
My goal here was 30 minutes, which is a pretty slow pace when I’m just running, but it seemed pretty reasonable for the third leg of the race. Every time I saw my pace drop I would pick it up a little. And every time I wanted to walk I would pick up the pace; there was no way I was going back to my cheering squad to tell them that I walked part of the run. I passed a woman I remembered from the start line, but who I hadn’t seen since, and it felt pretty great to watch her walk while I ran past – sure she bested me on two-thirds of the race, but I was going to beat her on this. Coming up on the last mile I saw another of Wes’ coworkers, who had run the 10k that morning, he told me to keep breathing and that I was almost there. In truth, the breathing wasn’t the hard part. My legs were feeling weak; the rest felt pretty good. Around the last curve everyone in my cheering section yelled out for me and I ran as fast as I could past them to the finish line.
Total time: 1:49:01
Overall, I felt pretty good. It definitely helped that I had people yelling for me at each transition and throughout the race. After the race, a woman came up to me and congratulated me on a good race. She said she’d been following me for most of it and was trying to catch up with me but just couldn’t. After she said it I was so excited that I could have run another mile. The entire time I was going through the race I felt good for me but I certainly didn’t think that someone would be using me as a benchmark. It completely erased all those times throughout the race when I swore I would never race again. (Erased it so much that I finally signed up for the Half Marathon on November 7th.)
Having a cheering crew throughout the race didn’t hurt either. They always seemed to be there just when I needed it. When I wanted to fall on the grass after each swim through a lagoon, they were there to give me the boost of energy to get through the next leg. And every time I wanted to slack off I remembered that I had people waiting for me at the end and I owed them – and me – a good race. And instead of just settling for mediocre I pushed myself.
It felt amazing.