Fear Of Missing Out on a good race result was impressing my thoughts with just over a mile to the finish line of the 10th Annual Ironman 70.3 Honu held June 1st in Kona, Hawaii. I was knee deep in the water watching Craig Alexander begin his victorious trek to win 4 hours and 5 minutes later.
The trance-breaking canon blast 3 minutes later marking the Men's AG start oddly came as a surprise. For a moment I just stared at the carnage and then joined in. One of the kicks and nicks must have reminded me to start my data-recording Garmin. I quickly enabled the start button but neglected to push the "straight and fast" switch on Gary Maxwell's borrowed legal swim skin. He promised it would relieve my wetsuit-or-drown disorder. For this will be the first time racing without my security wet blanket except for an embarrassing showing at Nite Moves, provoked by my good natured but sadistic coach.
OK, head down, remember to reach, pivot (or is it pivot and reach?), high elbow, catch, follow-thru, breathe, recover and again. WOW, look at all of Nemo's cousins. I watched two green 'honu' turtles gliding directly in front of me. They surfaced, I surfaced and noticed a paddle boarding official motioning toward the first buoy at right angles some 100 yards off my starboard bow. The Women AG (7 mins later) had caught and passed me by the time I corrected course. I have grown accustomed to starting in a crowd only to end in solitude, similar to my social skills. I finished the swim with another turtle on my left and 21 of 22 in my AG. I heard from a local kid that 'honu's' are fascinated with slow Haoles.
Race plan dictated; "forget about the past, be in the moment." So off to pass some swimmers on the bike on DRY land! The signature blustery and hot winds of Kona had us all anticipating head and crosswinds while climbing to the final turnaround at Hawi peak. Passing was sweet and seemed to erase the disappointing swim as I entered T2 in 5th in AG and 2nd off the bike.
The race was afoot. Still passing. Run leg race plan was to assess and evaluate what was left in the tank at mile 8. At which time I would gradually increase pace to the tape. As in a previous race (LA Marathon 2010) my body was fading but the message line to my 'logic and will' cortex was bone dry.
Garmin read 1.17 miles to go. I heard "I'm in your age group, we should run together." He was inverted and his name was Dave Mudd. Refocus: It was Dave MD age 68 and I was inverted. He said my transmission was two quarts low as he jammed in the dipstick. DNF hummm, my mind wondered oddly about transmission and ironically my 14 year old 200,000 mile car, presently in the shop, was the source of debate with spouse Helen just a week ago. She argued "throwing good money after bad!"
While hydrating from the inside out, I continued to ponder what would be my bluebook value? A 1946 model, burned out transmission, worn tuck-n-roll interior, in need of bondo body shaping and fresh paint. Helen thinks the newer cars are more efficient. Craig's list citing: "2000 Audi stuck in second gear, man with bib belt in trunk."
Doc Dave said my juices were topped off and ready to go. Despite the outcome, I enjoyed the race partly because of the astonishing beauty everywhere but mostly what I learned. I have reconciled by renaming it the IM 69.1! However, the most gratifying was to share the Hawaiian experience with my family. By almost a sure miracle brought my two globe trotting daughters there at the same time. Kelsey on her way to a new assignment in Japan and Karlyn returning to Florida.
It's time to dehydrate again with some Lava Flow Rum....Aloha ...Sandy
PS: Mahalo goes out to:
Joe Howell for his Honu notes. I wished I leaned in to listen better.
Gary Maxwell for the loan of his swim skin. It looked and felt good when dry.
Chris Latham for suggesting a night dive with the behemoth yet graceful Manta Rays. Bucket list must!
Kyle: "it's your 'B' race!" Next: IM Mont-Tremblant.