Ford Ironman World Championship - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Kona, Hawaii
United States
World Triathlon Corporation
85?F / 0C
Total Time = 15h 51m 1s
Overall Rank = 1600/1778
Age Group = 18-24
Age Group Rank = 24/24
Pre-race routine:

Woke up at 3:30. So happy and looking forward to the excitement of the day, but not over-ly anxious. Tried to eat a ham and cheese bagel that I bought the day before, but my nerves couldn't take it all in (ham and cheese isn't the best thing on race day I think!), so I had a small PB and J on a bun, some yogurt, and 16oz of coffee (which is enormous for what I have been used to drinking lately, so that really jump started the engine!) Got my special food bag and foods to put on the bike, and started down to body-marking at 4:30a.
Event warmup:

Got body marked with huge number stamps - pretty cool! I thought I would have a load of time because body marking started at 4:45a compared to other Ironmans where it usually starts around 5:15a, but there was definitely enough to occupy your time when you forget to put certain things in the transition bags (which they said you can't access after Friday afternoon, but they were letting everyone in, so it wasn't a problem). Saw Craig Alexander fixing something on his bike, which was cool! There was a crown of athletes watching him...haha.
Ate a banana while getting ready. Had my ipod but listened to it for about 5 minutes because there was just so much going on to occupy and entertain my mind so I didn't really need it! Headed over to the water around 6:30am, and it took about 15 minutes to get about 100m because of all the athletes making their way over at the same time.

What a fantastic pre-race atmosphere!
  • 1h 25m 31s
  • 3862 meters
  • 02m 13s / 100 meters

I was just so pumped to be there!!! Waiting for this race to start was one of the best parts of my day. It was so beautiful, and I wasn't that nervous, because I had been injured for 4 months beforehand and that really put a dent in my training. So since my main focus was to just finish and to have fun, I wasn't that nervous. I went off almost all the way to the left to avoid the faster starters, because I decided to take it really easy on the swim to save evergy for the rest of the race.

I changed my swimming technique over the last 4 months with Total Immersion Swimming, so my heart rate was super low the whole time, other than sprinting to get out of a slower / poorly navigating group. I didn't hyperventilate (first Ironman where I didn't!!), and actually wasn't touched for the first 10 minutes, even though there were people around me. Definitely got some action after that, but only a few hits to the head and goggles, and other than that, pretty calm.

My drafting was better than it ever was, but I think I picked the wrong people to draft off of because they weren't going completely straight, so I ended up moving side to side a lot to get out of bad drafting zones. However, for the amount of energy I outputted, I think I had a pretty good swim.

Most importantly, the swim was BEAUTIFUL! Definitely most beautiful swim I have ever done. If I could have opted to swim one more mile in exchange for a mile on the bike or the run, I would have done it. I was sad to get out of the water! But excited to get on the bike :)
What would you do differently?:

Knowing everything I know now, I would have seeded myself a little higher. I was expecting between 75 to 80 minutes if everything went perfectly, and it pretty much did, other than being stuck in a group slower than I could have hung with at the same energy output. I expected in the World Championships that a time of 80 minutes would have put me wayyy in the back, but apparently that wasn't the case. But it was still a great swim, and I'm proud of it!
Transition 1
  • 06m 33s

This transition was a little long because I used compression socks. I actually didn't know what they did until after the race - I bought them to keep the sun away (I wore a long-sleeved white shirt because I got second degree burns in China in April and never want to experience that again) - and they take a little time to get on. But other than that, I didn't super rush it, so I think my time was ok.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing, really. Decent transition.
  • 8h 06m 31s
  • 180.25 kms
  • 22.23 km/hr

I actually rented a bike too, for financial reasons (my bike is in's a long story, but it ended up being much cheaper for me to leave my bike there and rent a bike in Kona), so it wasn't even my exact fit. Having gone through a 4 month overuse hip injury before the race, renting a bike probably wasn't the smartest thing to do, but it was the only way I could do the race, and the bike ended up working fine for me. However, after about an hour in the aero bars, my hip started to feel quite sore. That was NOT a good thing for me, because I expected to be between 7:30 and 8:30 (my biking STANKS right now, I know - my longest ride between China and Kona was only about 90k) - basically just surviving. So I had to ride without the aero bars for 7 hours, which created a whole other problem with the nerves in my hands being cut off and a really sore neck (I'm sure that was just from not practicing in the saddle enough).

But other than all of that, it was a fantastic bike - beautiful, and very enjoyable! Just hoping to finish without much pain, and I succeeded in that!
What would you do differently?:

Not be injured 4 months prior, have enough money to bring my own bike. But if you get an opportunity to go to Kona, you have to do whatever you can to do the race (in my opinion!) So while my time was horrific, it was still a decent ride for me considering everything.
Transition 2
  • 11m 10s

The one thing was was not first class at this race was the fact that they didn't have sunscreen on the bike. I was very surprised, only because in China they had sunscreen at every aid station. So when I looked down after about 7 hours and saw that my legs and hands were starting to get bubbles, I started to get really nervous. My sister's wedding is in a week and my mom would KILL me if I had second degree burns all over me, so I decided to visit the medical tent to see if they had any burn cream or something to treat the burns and perhaps make them heal faster.
However, that was really dumb of me in retrospect, becasue they had people overheating and dehydrated that they had to deal with and I'm here with mere burns which I'm sure many people got. They were kind of testy with me, justifiably so, especially since I couldn't make myself completely coherent because I was decently tired at this point. So basically I lost about 5 minutes running around the self-aid station trying to figure something out, with no luck, so I just went back to T2 to get ready for the run.
What would you do differently?:

Not be an idiot and pretend like minor burns can be treated in the middle of a race! Oh man. Also I would have worn pants, or 3/4 pants, for the race, knowing my predisposition to sun. Next Ironman I'm definitely investing in something like that!
  • 6h 01m 16s
  • 42.16 kms
  • 08m 34s  min/km

Was feel spectacular the first hour - now I know that it was most definitely from the compression socks! But was still walking / running. Pain from the burns, but a pain that I knew was not going to get any worse, so easy to ignore it. After about an hour, my knees started to hurt (I was expecting that), but it wasn't so bad.

After about 15 miles of walking and running, not only were my knees really feeling it, but my hips started to get super tight (which was what I was afraid of). I was on track to be able to break my PR of 15:48 (I know - how in the heck did I get to race at Hawaii with a PR like that? Being the only one in my age group in China and suffering through the 113 degree heat payed off, but my IM times are still super slow), but since my sis's wedding was so close, I had promised to not push myself to complete exhaustion, as I had to make a long trip back and needed to be able to walk and have a decent appearance as maid of honor at the wedding. Considering all of this, I decided to walk most of the rest of the way, because I hadn't felt tightness like this before, and I was worried about possible spasming since I didn't have a bathtub at home to prepare an icebath after the race. Anyhow, I made it through, close to the PR but no cigar, and finished with a huge smile of complete and utter happiness smacked all over my face.
What would you do differently?:

Realize the amazingness of compression socks...
Post race
Warm down:

Walked to get my finisher's medal, went to the bathroom to change out of my soaked clothes (I agreed ot having ice-water poured over me at the finish), and met the up-and-coming Queen of Kona in the bathroom...

After changing, the volunteers who had accompanied me to the bathroom to make sure everything was alright, asked me if I had any other burns that needed ice. I lifted up the back of my shirt and asked if I had a burn on my lower back, and they said, oh, that's no problem! As they were inspecting it, Chrissie Wellington emerges from a stall and says, 'Oh, I've got one of those too!' and showed me her back-tan from a raised-shirt on the bike. I was mezmerized to see her! She has been my athletic role-model ever since I started reading about her and watching her on videos, not because she is such an amazing athlete, but because her attitude is top notch. I think she is such a fantastic role-model and a great person in general, and an AMAZING athlete to boot.

But anyway, my face lit up and I said, '(Taking in a a breath of excitement) Hi! How was your race?' (I didn't want to ask if she had won) She gave me a huge smile said it went well. I shook her hand and congratulated her, and congratulated me on my race as well. I walked out of there feeling on top of the world. :)

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Long injury before the race! But at least I finished!

Event comments:

Best race of my life (as in most enjoyable). SO many volunteers, and I made an effort to thank every single one whom I saw. Without them, Ironman would never take place, and all athletes, whether they know it or not, appreciate the heck out of the volunteers.

Most beautiful race, too, I think. In pictures and on videos, I thought the lava fields would be really ugly and mentally challenging to ride 112 miles through, but they ended up being extremely aesthetic and so much fun to ride through. The white coral that people use instead of graffiti to wirte messages on the lava rock was really interesting and beautiful, and the climb up to Havi was also quite beautiful (and the ride down was SUPER fast and really fun!).

But the best thing about this race was the omnipresent magic. There is just something about Kona, and about Alii Drive, that reaches out to your triathlete heart and massages and cultivates the dreams that you have held there for so long. Even though I knew all of these athletes were 10x the athlete I am at this point in time, I wasn't intimidated - rather, I felt at home, a home where everyone makes you feel welcome, and everyone can feel the majesty and appreciate the beauty of one of the most beautiful places on earth. I can't wait to get home and start training to eventually make it back here someday. And while that day might be decades in the future, I know I will be back, because the feelings that I felt in Kona are too amazing to leave as memories.

The next day, I was expecting to wake up feeling twice as sore, but to my surprise, my hips had NO PAIN and my knees were virtually painless as well!!! (Aside from the burns, which were definitely painful, but like I said, a pain that is definitely endurable) My main limpage was from the burn on the side of the knee, which limited my ability to bend it without discomfort, but not too much of a problem. For a pretty steep price, they sell an amazing lotion (Oils of Aloha, Hawaii's Kukui Moisturizing Cream) which did WONDERS on my burns, and I really think helped them heal a WHOLE lot faster - that, combined with icing.

ANYWAY - (I got off track) - I am almost convinced that the reason I didn't feel pain was because of the compression socks. I went to the Ironman store on Sunday to ask about them (because on the outside, it didn't say compression socks), and asked if they were similar to actual compression socks, and the woman said that they were in fact the same. SO I read up about them and realized that they are in fact amazing, not just a sock to keep the sun away! I would recommend these socks to EVERYONE - I can't believe how much they helped prevent injury after the race.

All-in-all, definitely one of the best 3 days of my life (one of which was my first Ironman). I can't believe I lived my dream! I hope all of you who hope to race there get the chance someday :)

Profile Album

Last updated: 2009-05-17 12:00 AM
01:25:31 | 3862 meters | 02m 13s / 100meters
Age Group: 22/24
Overall: 1491/1778
Performance: Average
Suit: bathing suit
Course: up a little over a mile, turn right for about 100m, back a little over a mile.
Start type: Deep Water Plus:
Water temp: 0F / 0C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Average
Breathing: Good Drafting: Good
Waves: Good Navigation: Average
Rounding: Good
Time: 06:33
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed:
08:06:31 | 180.25 kms | 22.23 km/hr
Age Group: 24/24
Overall: 1686/1778
Performance: Below average
Wind: Headwind
Course: The infamous Queen K and ride up to Hawi. Actually, it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be! The cross winds were minimal compared to what I was preparing myself for. I could definitely feel them, but apparently they were nothing compared to last year. I heard from some people that the headwind was stronger this year, and the heat was worse, but again, I was just hoping to finish.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 11:10
Overall: Bad
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike Good
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal Good
06:01:16 | 42.16 kms | 08m 34s  min/km
Age Group: 24/24
Overall: 1600/1778
Performance: Bad
Course: out about 5.25 mi on Alii, back, then about 8 up on the Queen K (including the turn into the Energy lab, which is about 1.5 - 2 mi), and back.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 2
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
Good race? Ok
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5