Thursday, November 1, 2012

Kona 2012, Round 2 at the Big Dance

13 Oct 12-

If you missed the previous blogs leading into Kona below are the links:

A Look into the '12 Training Season Part 1

A Look into the '12 Training Season Part 2

Tis the Night Before Kona '12

It seemed like just yesterday I was treading water next to the Kona pier.  It does not seem like it has been a whole year since I was ready to start the biggest triathlon in the world, the one that put IRONMAN on the map.  I was in a unique situation this year not having to qualify to race Kona.  Being in the Air Force it gives me a unique opportunity to apply for the one male slot that we have as a military service branch.  Each branch gets one male and one female slot to send athletes to the big race. 

WTC has a military category for the military athletes to compete in for a male winner, female winner and combined service winner.  After last years race and finishing quite a ways behind the male winner but being the second military finisher I was aiming for the win this year.  I wanted to lay it all on the line and see what could happen, I put in the focus on my weak points and just wanted to lay it all on the line.

Swim- 1:03:17

I had a pretty solid swim at Superfrog and felt good in the water coming into Kona.  I knew I had put in more time in the pool and was happy with the times I was seeing in the pool and in my races.  I tried to start in a similar position to last year once I got out into the water which was a little left of the middle.  I had talked to my dad on the phone while I was in transition area prior to the race and they had got a spot on the pier.  He had explained where they were so I swam down the pier and found them and waved and smiled and then headed out to the starting area.  I ended up on the front row and was happy with where I was.  As it closed in on 7 the line kept moving forward and everyone was getting antsy.  Then all of the sudden something unusual happened, we were waiting for the cannon but instead we got a "GO GO GO".  Wasn't expecting that one but we all went, and the washing machine effect began.  I would have to say this year the swim was a lot worse than last year and I probably got hit in the face and goggles 5-6 times.  Things never really cleared up seemed to be in a group most of the time, but I didn't mind help me stay on peoples feet and not work near as hard.  When I came out of the water and saw the time on the clock I was happy to see that I was about a minute faster than last year.

T1- 2:23

Quick transition with no issues.  Everything went as planned, other than the mount line being extremely congested.  I have been running by everyone at the mount line the past couple of races and then mounting further down the road by about 15-30ft and that seems to work out a lot better and get me on the road faster and by all of the craziness.

Bike- 5:13:46

The focus of the off season was the bike, I was looking to bike 15-20 minutes faster than last year but that would not be the case.  The winds picked up and some other factors played into the 5:13 bike split.  I got out of town and got into a rhythm on the Queen K.  I was with a pretty big "group" of athletes and we were all trying to ride legal it was just hard with so many of us.  I was riding primarily on the left continuously passing people, I guess that is what happens when you come out of the water 380th.  At mile 9 my front tire went flat and off to the side of the road I went to repair the flat.  I had the front tire off and tube out pretty quickly.  By that time tech support was pulling up and I was getting out my spare tube and CO2.  They offered me a clincher training wheel, but with it being so early in the race I opted to change the flat.  They then offered me a Shimano Dura Ace C50 wheel, but I still figured the time savings over a FC808 would be a better value this early in the race.  The mechanic ended up putting the tube on and inflating it with CO2 and I was back on the road right around 3 minutes later.

I got back into a groove and stayed calm and under control.  There were race marshals everywhere on the course which was nice to see.  They were handing out penalties left and right and at mile 30 the penalty tent looked like there was a tailgate party going on.  I swore they had free hot dogs, hamburgers and beer because it looked like a party.  I caught up to my buddy Cam around mile 45-50 and we exchanged a few words and then I kept pushing along.  Coming back down from Hawi, Rob Hilton, the Marine came by me on the bike.  We exchanged a few words and honestly I was surprised to see him that early in the ride, but knew with my flat I would be seeing him.  Ideally I had planned on coming off the bike a few minutes ahead of him due to his slower swim time and then trying to run with him when he caught me on the run.  Well that didn't happen and off he went on the bike.  He ended up putting 4 minutes into me by the time we both left T2.  I caught the Coast Guard and Navy guys, towards the bottom of Hawi and we talked for a bit as well.  Scott Jones was the Navy rep and is a great guy, even better mentor, and great ambassador for the military triathlon program.  He is someone that I look up to and strive to be like. The Coast Guard guy and myself passed each other back and forth a few times and then he pulled away.  I was happy with where my power was and didn't try to go with him.

The Coast Guard guy steadily road away over the last 45 miles and he ended up about 1 minute 30 seconds ahead of me out of T2.  Big thanks to Ryan and Donna for giving me those splits as it was nice to know how much ground I had to make up trying to run the guys down in the military category.  Overall I was happy with my bike split and power, other than having to deal with the flat.  The conditions were much worse this year than last and that is something that was out of my control.

 Out on the Queen K smiling and having a good time.
The power #'s from this year and last year.  I used a wired SRM last year and a Quarq this year.

T2- 3:24

Uneventful and just tried to make it quick as possible.  Turned on my watch and out of T2 I headed.


The one area that I was a little worried about going into the race when I looked back at my season.  I didn't have nearly as many run miles over the year but I was feeling confident after having a great run at Superfrog where I felt very comfortable holding 6:52 pace.  I ran Superfrog just a touch under where I planned on running here.  Well it is IRONMAN and anything can happen.  I came off the bike feeling great.  I started off and ran a first mile at 6:55 which was a touch to fast.  I was aiming to run 7:05 and once I got into a groove was sitting around that pace.  I felt great all the way to Palani, which is where my first drop in my mile time came, but that thing is a beast.  By mile 14-15 is where it really hit me.  I didn't expect to hit the "wall" this early, but sure enough that is where it happened.  I just kept plugging away and hoping the body would come back around after some cola, ice and sponges.  But it never did, I just felt hot, the legs weren't moving like they should have and I couldn't overcome it.

Coming out of the energy lab I was walking and Joneser (Scott Jones) saw me and told me to at least jog and walk the aid stations.  I went with that and that is what I did for the rest of the run.  Around mile 22-23 I was really hurting again.  A group of spectators were riding down the Queen K in the opposite direction of us and one of them gave me a "go Brad", and I looked up and it was Jason Patrick Lester.  The guy is an amazing inspiration and great motivator.  He turned around and rode next to me for a few seconds and was reminding me to try and cool down and take in some calories and I would come around.  It was great to have him encourage me and give me some great advice at that point in the race.

I just continued to put one foot in front of the other and just remembered that Ryan and Donna were waiting at the finish chute with Old Glory for me to take through the finish line.  Once I hit Ali'i it is one of the best feelings in the world.  The street is lined with people, everyone is going crazy and it is something that those of you dream of doing Kona can someday feel.  I can't really describe it other than I know I want to continue to experience it year after year.  I flew Old Glory proudly down the finishing chute and couldn't of asked for a better way to finish the race.
 Trying to stay cool with my crazy hat.  I think it worked great although it wasn't the greatest fashion statement.

Old Glory fly's high across the Kona finish line again.

Swim- 1:03:17
T1- 2:23
Bike- 5:13:46
Strava Link:
T2- 3:24
Run- 3:24:53
Strava Links:
Mile 1-9:
Mile 9-26:
 Overall- 9:47:40

All the details about Kona, if you are a number person. (click to enlarge)

Overall I feel like I had another solid year at Kona but was a little disappointed with the outcome.  I thought I had a lot better fitness going into the race and felt like I was in better shape, which by the swim time and bike numbers I was, however I blew up on the run.  The conditions were a lot tougher this year than last and that is something that was out of my control.  I finished 11 spots back overall from last year which shows that everyone struggled this year.

Like I said last year I will not be doing another full IM unless it is Kona.  I am fortunate enough to have a way to get out there via the Air Force and until I am into my early 30's don't plan on doing any other full IM's other than Kona if I am still given the opportunity.  I am, in my opinion, still very young for long course and want to continue to focus on 70.3's and under to try and get faster.

I would like to thank everyone for their continued support as this year has been truly amazing.  I have such a great support network and some of the greatest people to train with.  I feel so blessed and fortunate to be surrounded by not only a great family but an amazing group of friends.  I was also very fortunate over the past 2 years to have a great chain of command while stationed in Korea and they were very supportive with allowing me to travel to many races and represent the US Military and Air Force.  I would also have to say that this year has been a stepping stone in terms of reaching out to sponsors.  Kona was great for this and I made some great connections.  But more importantly the sponsorship and support that I received from Honey Stinger this year was great and they provided some amazing nutritional products to fuel me through the year.  Then in terms of support, HED Cycling was great and FRS Healthy Performance really stepped up and provided some awesome drinks and chews to keep me going when the going got rough.

Below is a picture of what keeps me going everyday.  I finally got a "umeke" bowl from Kona, it is not the one I want but it will suffice for now.  I want to get one of my own from my Age Group category one day, hopefully in the near future.  Myself and Jolene, who was my teammate both received "umeke's" for our combined military division win and then Jolene also won Overall Military Female, so she got two bowls.  It was amazing to have such a great teammate and to know that we won the title for not only ourselves but for the AF.

Well I guess that is it for the 2012, season.................or is it?

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