Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Medium Kahuna 2009: Roll with the Punches

I have been very delinquent in writing this post which is unfortunate since most of what I was feeling during this race has long been forgotten. However, I will try to recap what I remember.

Let's go back shall we! On Thursday night Audrey and I left town to start the long drive and we almost lost my bike off the car roof when pulling out of the parking lot. After a night in Medford, we made our way to the gorgeous city that is Santa Cruz, CA. I was feeling pretty crappy and was trying to mentally tell myself I wasn't sick (even though I was). I had stayed in 4 different cities the last 4 nights (Phoenix, Portland, Medford, Santa Cruz) and had a pretty nasty cold.

On Saturday morning Keith, Aud and I headed into the ocean for a practice swim which lasted about 20 min. We maybe would have stayed in a little longer if we had known it would be our only swim of the weekend. It was freezing but we warmed up quickly and got used to the sound of sea lions, being a buoy in the waves and feeling like you had just ate a salt lick. The rest of Saturday consisted of picking the boys up from the airport, registering, watching the Duck game at a local bar (while not having beer) and dinner with Erin and Ted out on the Pier.

Race day started with your typical 4:30am wake up. We checked our bikes into T1 and set up our transitions. At that point we had time to kill so we all went back to our respective rooms for a 30 min cat nap. Around 6:30am we all met in the hotel parking lot decked out in our finest wetsuits and neon caps (so the sharks can differentiate us from the seals) and headed down to the beach. My dad and Todd found us quickly and we all nervously paced while we waited for the race to start. Aud and I both decided it was too cold to get in the water and "warm up", Keith on the other had decided to splash around - a decision he would soon regret.

Swim - Or Lack There Of
At one point I remember thinking, wow it's really foggy out there, how are we going to see the buoys? However, it never crossed my mind that they would cancel the swim. Sure enough at 7:30 (race was supposed to start at 7:00) it was announced that the swim was going to be cancelled and the Big Kahuna Triathlon was now going to be the Medium Kahuna Duathlon. I had a rush of feelings at this point. First off, relief that I didn't have to swim in the dark ocean, second, anger because I paid a lot of money to do a triathlon not a duathlon and the swim is my best event( if I am going to gain any time in my age group it's on the swim) and finally sympathy because I knew legally they couldn't send us out there (you couldn't see 5 ft. out nonetheless the pier) and they were going to have some pissed off athletes...especially those doing the swim portion of a relay. Oh well! That's part of the game and when you choose to race out in the crazy elements of nature there are no guarantees.

So needless to say the start to our race was a little weird and you could tell people already felt defeated. They lined us up in age groups near the water and had us start as if we were running out of the water. Some people took their wetsuits off (me), some kept them on, while others had actually gone back to transition and put on their biking gear (cheaters). Anyway the gun went off and we ran the .5 miles to transition. Aud and I were laughing at how weird it was and we took our sweet time in transition.

Bike - 3:25 (avg 16.4 mph)
The bike was gorgeous all along Hwy 101 on ocean cliffs. Seriously most beautiful ride I've ever done. There were rolling hills and I pushed it. I got passed a lot more then I passed people but I knew I was keeping good time for me. I tried to keep my avg. mph above 15. I got into aero position a few times but got nervous anytime I started descending which was a lot. Aud dropped me about 30 seconds in because she is damn fast and she ended up killing that bike course. Our fans drove out on the course to cheer us on, it was awesome! I tried not to think about the run because it's my weakness and makes me really nervous so I just concentrated on the bike. I probably didn't eat or drink nearly enough since it's usually the swim that gets you so hungry but I rolled into transition feeling pretty good about my ride.

Run - 2:31 (avg 11:35 min mile)
After the worlds longest transition, literally I took 8 mins, I ran up the hill and past our cheering fans. I always assume I am going to do horrible on the run. Let's be honest I walked the entire 13.1 miles during my last half iron. Therefore, anytime I do better then horrible it's a nice surprise. I told myself, just run pass the crowd so they don't see you walk. Once I did that I realized I was actually feeling okay and I saw the Mile 1 sign so I told myself to run to Mile 2 before walking. I played this game all the way until Mile 5. After mile 5 I only would walk if there was a hill....and there were a few of those:). Again the run was gorgeous, all along sea cliffs and it was an out and back so you got to see other runners the entire time.

Probably around mile 5.5 I ran into Audrey and stopped to chat for awhile and I handed her water. Then right at the turnaround, which was a giant Tiki structure, I saw Keith (he started much later then us because of age grouping and he kicks ass on the bike so I knew he would catch up eventually). He was probably .5 miles behind me. At this point I also saw another Sugoi Brand Champ who I yelled at and who looked at me like I was crazy:). Miles 6 -10 I kept an okay pace, walking on the hills. After mile 10 I was walking more then just the hills but I was proud of myself since I could still hold down a run/jog for 5 min at a time. The walking was becoming a lot more frequent but I knew I was close. I kept looking back for Keith and at mile 12.5 I saw him running up. That was the motivation I needed and we ran the last half mile onto the beach and through the finish line together.

Total Time: 6:11:02
All in all this was a great race and I definitely want to do it again! They have once again moved the race back to September for next year - most likely to avoid the fog problem. I felt good with my time and I think I would have finished in under 7 hours with the swim and that was my goal. I pushed on the bike but could have pushed more on the run - standard. However, even with the swim I would have taken 1:48 off my last half-iron so I would call that an improvement! This race showed me that I am capable of more than I thought but I still have a long way to go before a June Ironman. It also showed me that I am that I need to step it up in transition. Let the training begin - again!

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