Saturday, October 15, 2011

Kona 2011 Race Report--Experience Like NO Other

8 Oct 2011-

I made it to the big dance, injury free, in one piece and with more support than I have ever had at a race.  It seemed surreal, to be at the start line of the biggest race in triathlon in such a short time period.  It hasn't been because I am "talented", or "athletic" or have "good genetics", it is because of multiple things, but I think this quote which was the first post after the race is why I got there so fast "You don't become good on your own, you become good by the people you surround yourself with!!".  I have surrounded myself with some amazing people, and that is why I made it to that start line.  I have not chosen these people, they have not chosen me, we have just crossed paths at the right times or have been forced to be involved in each others lives.  I have been truly blessed to be surrounded by such a great group of people along this journey, and I cannot be thankful enough for that.  So onto how the race went............

We all know this is my "weak" point.  I had heard horror stories of this swim as it is non wetsuit and it is the true washing machine effect.  Well after about the first 3 minutes I didn't think it was all that bad.  I think I spotted some dolphins on the bottom of the ocean floor as we were swimming along.  I just tried to stay on peoples feet and was somewhat successful the first half of the swim.  The second half of the swim I stayed on the same feet the whole time and I believe I was able to save quite a bit of injury this way.  I wanted to swim 1 hour to 1:05, I barely made that mark and came out of the water in: 1:04:24


Just another day in the changing tent, trying to get out of there as quick as possible! T1- 2:49/T2- 3:21

Well I thought I was a stronger biker than most.  Well my cycling ego got put in check real quick, there were guys and girls blowing by me left and right.  I swear up Palani (a small climb up to the Queen K (the big highway which most of the ride is on) ) there was King of the Mountain Points at the top, because people were blowing by me mashing some serious watts.  This was all part of the plan, let a bunch of people out ride me to T2, because that is not where the race ends.  I kept an eye on my watts, focused on my nutrition and just took it easy.  Slowly building throughout the ride and just staying focused, never looking 30 minutes or more down the road.  I felt good on the bike till mile 85.  This is when my stomach started to give me problems, similar to Korea but not quite the same.  I learned in Korea I had taken in too much so was trying not to over do it.  I heard horror stories about Perform(the on course electrolyte drink), so I stopped drinking it at mile 85 and just went to water and ate a little more of my cliff blocks to compensate for no electrolyte drink. My stomach settled down and I ensured to get in the rest of my liquid Perpetum/EFS bottle about 30 minutes out from T2.  Below is a comparison from the Korea IM Bike to Kona IM Bike.  I would like to say by the numbers I rode it smarter and more effective.

(Click to enlarge)

GPS Bike File
 Just Enjoying the Bike

So I went into this race feeling that my run had really made some big improvements since Korea.  I am not sure why, did a lot of similar stuff as before, but I was just feeling really strong.  I got off the bike and felt good.  I set my watch to go off if I ran faster than 6:50 miles, knowing damn well I wasn't going to be running that fast.  Sure enough I got soaked up in all the cheering on Ali'i drive and it went off during the first mile.  I thought to myself wow this 6:50 pace doesn't feel all that bad, then reality hit and I was at mile 1, settle down buddy!  I set back in and just kept holding a steady pace.

I wouldn't admit to this before the race, but I got caught up in running with Chris McCormick (Macca) on Friday and ran a little longer than expected.  I asked him a simple question during our "group" run of a total of 6 people.  I asked him "Do you have any advice for the Energy Lab?, and then right after I answered with "It is just another piece of road?".  He agreed that it was just another piece of road.  It is at mile 20 which is where all races get tough in a marathon or IM.  His advice to me was simple, and it was advice he had given a friend of his who was struggling to have a good marathon split in an IRONMAN.  He told me that I have 6 times to walk and that is it.  He advised at the aid station at the top of Palani and special needs in the Energy Lab.  The other 4 were up to me........Well I used those "walks" wisely and only used 5 of them, never knew when I was going to need that 6th one.  That was some of the best advice that I have received in regards to the marathon of an IM, I don't think there is a better person to get it from.

I kept waiting for that "wall" to pop up that comes up and bites almost everyone in a marathon, that mile 18-24 point where the wheels fall off and all goes south.  The wall was out there but just kept running with me, right in front of me.  I never hit it, not sure why.  It could be because I was not dreading the run, I was out there having a good time, why dread something that is so amazing.  I would make jokes, talk with people and they would all look at me like I was crazy.  I guess when you pass 271 people on the run you get a lot of people that are "struggling" and don't think you being all happy go lucky is that funny.  The miles just ticked away and in no time I was back an Ali'i.  Then the emotions hit, well they didn't hit till I picked up the American Flag.  It wasn't in the plan by any means, I got it from a random stranger. Not sure who he was but I owe him big time, it was awesome to run down the finishing chute caring that flag high and being a proud american.  This day was for the troops and there wasn't a better way to honor all of them that have not come home or that are currently deployed then by flying that flag high and proud to the finish line.  I have been able to hold my emotions in in the past, but this day they flooded out, tears of joy, tears of accomplishment, I had made it to the finish line in a time that was in no ones radar.  Not even my own, not even my coaches, not even my biggest supporters, I shocked myself.
So that was it, just another race, another course, just a bunch of fast athletes!

Run Splits, really ran a 3:11:16, but didn't stop my watch when I crossed the line.  I think the last mile was around sub 7 pace :) (click to enlarge)
The amazing feeling of accomplishment, Thanks Jen Loos for the Picture!
Thanks to Slowtwitch's enhanced results here are some in depth numbers of the race:
Click to englarge

Once again I just want to THANK everyone, especially my Family who was so supportive during this trip.  It was amazing having some great friends there, with Ryan and Amy taking great care of me.  Amy has raced Kona twice, and was a great source of knowledge.  Then Ryan took some awesome photos and was an awesome post race party animal.  He busted out some dance moves and started a dance off with a good friend of mine.  Truly an awesome post race party.  Thanks again everyone.  Some BIG NEWS coming in the next couple of weeks, looking forward to what is coming next season and what I will be representing and racing for!


Dad and Brenda said...

you are such an inspiration to all Brad. Dad & I are so happy we were able to experience this event with you!! Love you babe.

Berlin Aniciete said...

Congrats BAD BRAD! I wanna be like you when I grow up. -FLASH