Kona 2018 Race Report:
Brief race recap of the IRONMAN World Championship in Kona, Hawaii, Oct. 13, 2018. Being on the start line in Kailua Bay when the cannon goes off is a feeling like no other race start. The opportunity race and be healthy gives me full motivation to prepare to the best of my ability and control. I had a few minor obstacles come my way when my training ramped up with a bike crash in a pro criterium and getting sick 5 weeks out. I came across a fantastic quote that I reflected on daily, that I believe holds true for this often very challenging event. "Seek opportunity in the difficulty. NOT difficulty in the opportunity."
2.4mile swim, mass women's AG start, 660+ starters. A bit hectic, even though I had a good line up. I started working on a better technique withKarlyn Pipes and was happy to integrate this with less effort for the overall swim. However my "persons" to draft off was a little questionable, as the women start to round the Body Glove (halfway) boat, we start overtaking the back of the mens field, this is always chaotic and frustrating so I decided the 2 male athletes going my pace that were tied together at the waist (one blind and the guide) would be perfect for making headway for me...except when they continued to veer left away from the buoys. Regardless, I came out a minute or 2 slower than hoped and rushed through the overcrowded transition. As I mounted my bike and was off, the plan was riding controlled, consistent and to fuel as best as possible for the 180km/112mi. For the first 1/3 it was difficult to find long stretches where I could motor at my pace, rather dropping back or accelerating past others became slightly frustrating but didn't let it affect my positive mental state, especially when I thought "WHERE THE HECK IS THE WIND?" AND it was slightly cloudy and overcast. Hawi, no side gusts, no extreme heat, this is gonna be fast. I genuinely think we will never see conditions like this again on race day in Kona. Grabbed my special needs (ie. mussette bag) Only major snafu I had was my emergency Base Salt in my bento box opened up to spill on all of my Honey Stinger chews...so the next 50+ miles everything I ate was salt covered....you may think that would be good but actually not so much for digestion later. The way home flew by and I negative split my bike effort and was starting to visualize the run. T2 had lots of volunteers to help and I was off making sure to eat banana and have a some non-salted energy food to eat. It's often hard to control your own momentum and energy starting the Ironman marathon run down Alii drive. Amazing friends were there cheering and motivating me. I was faster than my starting goal pace and really had to slow down because I knew what is out there on the Queen K and energy lab...it's usually not pretty if you implode. I just stayed focused on myself and used the energy of my biggest supporter and husband Jono Coulter smiling and encouraging me to do what I've done in training, run steady, eat and drink. All was ok until about half way when a small sh*t storm happened, I had sort of experienced this before and was not going to stop. I walked the aid stations, smelled awful and that was definitely motivation to run past people. The marathon was hot without the wind, but nothing like years past. I pushed on as best I could, those final miles out of the energy lab are always mind over physical deterioration, lower leg cramps started just 500m from the finish but somehow I was able to run it in.
I am thrilled to finish 4th in my AG in 9:53, in a world class field that has stepped up another level the last few years. The Ironman race organization put on an amazing show for the 40th anniversary. The energy from the locals to volunteers to staff was incredible. I was actually able to take in some wonderful post race moments because I was FINALLY not in the medical tent but actually went to dinner.
Many Mahalos to my friends surrounding me racing or cheering this week. Janice and Jim Gustin Kathy Harris Carla Mott Cherie Zeiler, Mark, Rebecca McKee, Margaret Hepworth, Jeff Mutchie, Clifton Duhon Melissa McCormack Amy Rappaport Moira Easton Horan T Dale Jackson Monica Moreno Jessica Cerra Julia Hawley. Also my family and friends at home supporting from afar, thankful I could feel your energy!
A massive thanks to sponsors and partners Revolutions In Fitness ROTOR Bike Components Veo Strip Breakthrough Nutrition JoJe Bar AminoripOakley Bike SCOTT BIKES FFWD USA Donnelly Cycling, LLC SELLE SMP 💯 % ITALY Vie ƐƖ Kustom Apparel Arm Local Terun Tazzina Coffee Isa Hashim Stacy Sims and coach Craig Upton for keeping my body and equipment running smooth all day! Also, thank you for the support of myHagens Berman Supermint Pro Cycling Team for being flexible with race calendar so I could prepare for Kona. THANK YOU and ALOHA.
Blog March 24 2018: Supermint Team Camp #2 and Tucson Bicycle Classic
The season begins. A blog. A story. A glimpse into 9 days with Team Supermint | Hagens Berman.
Travel-logistics is always a big one. A majority of the team arrived on a Saturday into Phoenix to gather, drive with staff and equipment to Tucson where our host house and base would be for training and Tucson Bicycle Classic.
Setting the tone. Spending 9 days together in one home while sharing meals, stories, experiences and emotions is a quick course in getting to know your teammates. During the season we will spend more time off the bike recovering and preparing for the upcoming races. This time is important in creating a positive and supportive environment to perform at our best. Often the most underappreciated jobs is behind the scenes of our Team Owner, Director and Mechanic. These individuals all work hands on overtime to keep the wheels turning. They have the ability to make on the fly adjustments to travel, racing and season planning.
Training and riding and practicing together. One of my favorite things. When I started out racing I was so green, anxious to learn from the greats, early teammates like Laura Van Gilder, Kristen Armstrong, Polikeviciute twins, Kori Seehafer, Gail Longnecker and Alessandra Cappellotto. I often forget that I am now the experienced rider, who made significant changes in her life for this sport.
Defending yellow. A different type of racing. Early in my career I was part of a team defending yellow often and I’ll always remember the feeling and constant protecting at the front of the peloton. In most recent years I have raced a more aggressive style of attacking on the offense with teams, so this past weekend my legs and mind were up for the defense of yellow.
Sponsors and Media. We had 2 video interviews from Tour of the Gila and USA Crits during the week. Each athlete provided answers and background information for the interviewees.
Community Relations with Homestretch Foundation. During the week we visited Bicycle Ranch, a local shop that connected us with our host family and also was a distributor of GQ6 our drink product. After our last day of training we were treated to lunch at the Homestretch to meet the residents and learn more from Katheryn Bertine about the project. If I could dream of giving back to the sport, this would be the best way to do it! http://www.homestretchfoundation.org/
My appreciation these days is for everything. Racing on St Paddy’s Day with Mint Green. I was reminded of my luck. Lucky to still be racing. Lucky to be healthy. Lucky to have longevity in this sport. The longer I am racing, the more important I realize the .25% that I make in my decisions each day affect the ability for me to race at my best. Fortunately most decisions are within my control and others are not, however that is the catch- not letting those out of control decisions affect you too much and rolling with the punches. The question was asked to me a few days ago, “are you harming your joints or body?”? This is in reference to my auto-immune disease I was diagnosed with in 2007. I raced for over a year in pain, struggling to find any kind of real form or fitness, however not ever feeling “sick”. I had a type of Rheumatoid Arthritis that would eventually do irreversible damage to my joints and cause painful flare ups for the next decade. Ice packs, tigerbalm and rocktape were just as important to travel with as my cycling kit. I bring this up because a recent teammate has been diagnosed with an Autoimmune disease and it has not deterred her from racing. Adjustments in life sometimes have to be made to reach our goals and live our passions. My gratuity goes deep of my appreciate to train at race at the professional level, because one day I won’t be able to. I will have my cycling stories and memories, along with knowing I lived life to the fullest.