A brief race report from the Hawaii Ironman this past Saturday on the Big Island of Hawaii:
Looking at swim times my swim was definitely slower than it should have been vs. those I'm used to coming out with who actually had speed suits but wasn’t about to spend $275 for one—budget man! (Besides the swim was only an hour long.) But it is what it is.
Summary here...the swim was "okay" but slow for me. Bike—at mile 40 got bloated, tossed cookies around mile 70, then 80 & so on. No nutrition absorbing to the body (salt level imbalance). Run...tossed cookies several times until mile 6 THEN felt great, bloating went away (a few gallons in your gut can do that). Sorry for the “graphic images” here but that is what the sport involves—not for the faint of heart. Started picking off dozens of athletes then got to Max Lawler at mile 12 (a guy I coach), who was walking. It was a simple decision to shut down my race & encourage/walk with him and finally get him going again from mile to mile, to the finish. He was just walking and told me to go on ahead-- but he needed some help & since I'm his coach, I wasn’t about to leave him to walk 15-16 miles home alone (miserable). It seemed my coaching duties were not quite done that day. This was my ninth Kona, his first. The first goal was to get him to the line AND in before dark which we did. It was setting up to be a decent run with my run cooking along starting from mile 6, but in reality, Max needed help more than I needed another "finish" or "time" or "place" so my good running lasted for about five or six miles. To top it off, my plan was for him to hit the line a few inches ahead of me so that he could get to the line first. That's my story & I'm glad to have made the decision. Sometimes sport is a little more than just competition.
Sure there have been a lot of sacrifices with training time, money & family time to get to the World Championships, and likely my placing would be much higher had I run by my “student” with just a “good-job-keep-going” encouragement (even though he clearly out-swam & out-biked me). After all I just beat him 3 weeks ago in a half ironman here in Colorado after running an additional mile from being sent off course by a lone volunteer (I was leading the Age Group race there). This year Hawaii just didn’t go well from the get-go for me. In hindsight, I'd do the same thing all over again even though competition mentality says NO. Max’s goal five plus years ago was the hardest thing to do in triathlon—qualify for the Hawaii Ironman World Championships. We started this journey together, it was only fitting to see him through to the very finish line along side of him.
I was so proud and happy for him, he finished what he started. All in all, because of what transpired, it was my second most satisfying memory of Hawaii Ironman, with the first being my original finish way back in 1995.
2011 plans involve only short course at this point, with more family time. I’ll take next year off & be right back at it in 2012!