Ironman World Championship Race Report
Friday! The day before the big race-
Starting this report with the pre day festivities!
We slept in a bit and Tim and I went up to the Energy lab to do my final shake out workouts. A bunch of other athletes had the same idea and saw some friends and teammates out there wrapping up their last workouts! I rode for about 30 minutes and then did a quick shake out run. Everything felt great and I was ready to check in my bike!
I walked into transition and all of the volunteers were lined up clapping. They announced my name, and I had tears in my eyes. I found my bike spot and racked my bike with my helmet. Dropped off my run and bike gear bags and got my timing chip. Everything was done and the only thing left to do was race!
Saturday – Race Morning
My alarm was set for 4am for a 7am race start. But I was up at 3:30am due to the upstairs neighbors getting ready for their big day as well! I had an English muffin with peanut butter with water. We were out the door by 4:30am. I tried to eat a banana in the car, but my stomach really wasn’t having it. The nerves were high but the excitement for the big day was even higher. I started on my hyper hydration electrolyte drink on the way to the race.
I was in transition by 5am. This was the first race I have done where backpacks and bike pumps were not allowed in transition. The pier was tight enough with all of the people, there just wasn’t any room for extra stuff. I was worried about finding a bike pump, I even flew mine all the way from home so I wouldn’t have to worry about finding one race morning. But it ended up not being an issue at all. As I walked up to my bike a volunteer was holding a bike pump and I asked if I could use it. She even offered to hold up a light so I could see what I was doing as the sun hadn’t come up yet. After I pumped my tires I saw my teammate Victoria, and asked if she wanted to use the pump, and handed it off to her. There wasn’t too much to do in transition after I got my bottles on my bike, it was time to head out of there. My run and bike gear bags were turned in the day before and we did not have access to them race morning.
I headed out of transition, went to the bathroom one more time and headed to the swim corral. As I was walking to my corral, the Pros were about to go off. The helicopters were above us and the Polynesian drums were banging. It was a type of energy that I have never experienced before. It was electrifying. The work was done, there was nothing left to do but race now, and I was ready for the day ahead.
I got to my swim corral and found Vic again. She was in my age group, so we hung out until our wave got close to entering the water. I ran into Cassie and Caitlin in the corral as well. We walked down the famous steps and swam about 200 yards to the start line. There we met 6-8 surfers that paddled in a circle which they called the “chain saw” to prevent us from inching closer. We treaded in the water. I looked around and took in every moment. I listened to the athletes around me speaking in all different languages. This was truly a World Championship race. Then the countdown began with 30 seconds to go. Then the announcer said, “And they are off!”
160th age group
I lined up on the left side of the start line closer to Ali’i drive and further away from the buoys. The plan was to aim for the 2nd or 3rd buoy to avoid too much congestion. Even with that plan, it was complete chaos. I was moving my arms as fast as I could. Trying to get some open water and follow some fast feet. I got over to the 1st buoy a little earlier than I intended too and was in the mess of some crazy fast swimmers. It didn’t break up until about 1K in where I got a little bit more room to swim. The way out to the turnaround felt like forever. I finally made it to the BodyGlove boat for the right turn, and it was mayhem again. The waves really picked up out there and we bobbed up and down. A couple of times I swallowed a bunch of sea water. My tongue tingled with salt water and my nose burned as well. About 3K into the swim I had caught the age group in front of me. About 500 yards to the shore, it was pretty congested again. I swam over people and people swam over me. One lady was doing a wide leg breaststroke and I had to swim completely around her to avoid being kicked. I finally reached the stairs and was greeted by some awesome volunteers that helped assist us out of the water. I checked my time and was pleased that it was faster than the practice swim but my slowest Ironman swim to date. With a non-wet suit legal ocean swim, I knew it would be slow but was hoping to get closer to 1:15. I wasn’t too far off though. Another special note to add here – this was the first time at an Ironman World Championship race that everyone finished the swim before the time cut off!!
I ran out of the water and followed the maze of people. They had hoses hanging from a tent to wash off the salt water. The water was cold and very refreshing. My goal for T1 was to take my time and make sure I had everything I needed. Unlike at Texas when every second mattered. An extra minute in here could save me 5 on the bike. My gear bag was hard to find and took a little bit of extra time to locate. The changing tent was insane! Almost all of the seats were taken, and all of the volunteers were busy helping athletes. I finally found a seat and got situated. They had towels to dry off with and I grabbed some sunscreen to reapply. I fumbled to open all my nutrition but was able to get it done with slippery sunscreen hands. I ran out of the tent and people were just everywhere trying to get situated for the next leg of the race. I got to my bike and put my helmet on. Then I ran out of T1 and was ready to go!
188th place age group
The first part of the bike course is located in downtown Kona with the streets full of people. I knew that in order to survive this long day I had to stay on top of my nutrition. So, I started on my Maurten Solid bar and bottle of electrolytes right away. I took a salt tab every 30 minutes no matter what. I ended up finishing my first bottle around the 45-minute mark. It was hot out there! We headed up Palani (Super big but short climb) I saw my family mid-way up the hill and was so happy to see them! I think they got some good pictures of me climbing while trying to eat the rest of my bar 😊We got to the Queen K and headed to Hawi! I thought about 2 things a lot 1. Hydration and nutrition. I knew that this was going to make or break my day. 2. I am here! That was my theme for the day. I worked so hard to get here! And it was now a reality. To get to the start line healthy was already a huge win. Now I just got to enjoy the day! I took time to look at the Ocean, lava fields, and flowering trees on the road.
I grabbed something at each aid station. The first aid station came up and I grabbed a water bottle. I dowsed my helmet, tri kit, and drank some as well. The aid stations were really congested so you had to be really carful merging back in with traffic. I like to break up all my long rides into quarters to help break up the long day. The first 25 miles of the race flew by, and I was already in the 2nd quarter!
At mile 38 I could hear the helicopters chopping and knew the first Pro lady was about to come down the Queen K! Then there she was! Lucy was hauling down the road on a mission. It wasn’t for 3-4 minutes that we saw the next pro, Taylor Knibb! I shouted along with others around me cheering them on! I usually watch this race on TV so to be here in person was just unreal.
We headed up to Hawi and did a little bit of climbing. I had done so much climbing this training block, that it honestly didn’t feel that bad. At around mile 60 we finally got up to Hawi. The aid station came right before special needs, and I stopped to fill up all of my water bottles. When I got special needs, I dumped the premade baggies of nutrition into my bottles. Easier said than done, the nutrition didn’t all make it into my bottles. It got all over my hands, bike, hydration bottles, and my legs. It was so sticky! The special needs station didn’t have any extra water and only 1 bathroom with a long line, so I decided to keep going. I also forgot to put on the sunscreen I put in my bag…
Miles 65-75 were the hardest. I was covered nutrition and had to go to the bathroom so bad! I thought I would really enjoy the decent from Hawi, but I didn’t. I finally got to an aid station where there was 1 bathroom. There was a 3-person line, but I had to go so bad, I waited. We all unified on how we were going to go at special needs but there was only 1 bathroom there too… I grabbed another water bottle and was on my way again, forgetting to ask for sunscreen.
The next stretch was hard as well. It was around 1pm and the sun was blazing! I started to develop a heat rash on my right leg. Mile 85 came along, and we reached another aid station. Luckily, they had sunscreen and I lathered up. I grabbed another water that I used to cool off with and headed out.
I stayed on top of my nutrition all day long and for that I had no cramping! I was thrilled! The final turns into town came and I knew that I was going to finish this race!
I hopped off my bike and was actually able to run to rack my bike! Usually, I am hobbling at this point. I got to my transition row and could not find my bike rack! There were no bike catchers at this race. Luckily a nice volunteer helped me locate my spot. I left my helmet with my bike and took my bike shoes off. I was already wearing my socks and ran around transition to find my run gear bag. The carpet around transition had some big wet spots that I stepped in, and my socks were soaked. I got my run gear bag and found the closest seat I could so that I could get my socks off the wet carpet. I got everything I needed and headed out for the marathon!
153rd place age group
I started the run and grabbed a cold wet towel and a Maurten gel. I saw Tim right away and told him I was feeling good! I held on to the pace as long as I could as I was feeling strong! The run down Ali’I drive and the Ocean was so beautiful. I grabbed ice at every aid station to stay cool and got sprayed my locals holding their hoses out. At mile 10 we went up Palani. again and I hiked up it. I turned onto the Queen K and the sun was beating on the HWY. I ran/walked a big portion of the stretch but tried to make it to each aid station jogging as much as possible.
I hit the Energy Lab, and the sun was about to set. The Energy Lab is known for breaking your heart or making your dreams come true. It was my most memorable part of the race as it was so beautiful. At mile 15 I switched from electrolytes to Coke, and it felt amazing. The last 4 miles were in the dark. The HWY was poorly lit, and my mind was pretty out of it at that time. I got a glow stick so other people could see me. At mile 23 I could start to see some streetlights. I saw Mirinda Carfrae (3X Ironman Champion and soon to be mother of 3!) at the corner. I remember thinking WOW, I am in Kona! I ran down Palani, trying not to fall down the steep hill. I knew the end was near and I had to just give it everything I had left (I was ready to be done). At mile 26 I ran my fastest mile of the day and a sub-9-minute mile at that! I saw my MIL and Ryan at the finish shoot and I was just so happy to see them! Then I saw Tim at the finish line, I blew him a kiss. Then I got the moment I had waited all day long for. I got to walk through the finish line! I soak it all up, blinded by all the lights and cameras.
My Coeur teammates Christa and Danielle caught me, draped a towel around me, and walked me to the next volunteer who would bring me to my finisher medal, Hawaiian lei, and shirt!
The whole finisher area was roped off to only athletes. I got my finisher photo and found some food. I was so hungry after only eating gels all day long. But nothing sounded good. I ate some cold fries and a sprite. I sat on a lawn chair next to some other athletes that were speaking French. I listened to the announcer call in some more finishers as I watched the waves roll in and soaked in the moment; I was done.
Then I stood up and hobbled over to find my family! We walked up Palani (again) and drove to McDonalds. We finished the day laying in bed eating French fries and drinking a vanilla milkshake. Ryan fell asleep holding the fries 😊
173rd place age group/ 237
982 Overall/ 2037