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Ironman World Championship - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Kona, Hawaii
United States
World Triathlon Corporation
85F / 29C
Total Time = 15h 47m 49s
Overall Rank = 1823/1886*
Age Group = F 30-34
Age Group Rank = 64/70
Pre-race routine:

I woke up at 0400 went straight downstairs to have a banana then back upstairs for my shower. Yes, I know the shower seems silly, but it helps wake me and my muscles up and clears the oil off my skin for body marking and such. After my shower I went downstairs to eat my PB and oatmeal. I wasn't hungry but I forced it down. I used the bathroom at the condo for the pre-race necessities and put my sports bra and bathing suit on then some clothes to cover them up. We walked to the start, leaving a little later than planned but still pulled up to the site by 0545 I think. I left Lara and Dina to make the long trek to body marking and transition (it was way around the back of the hotel). Stopped by body marking. My four-digit number meant that the marks went all the way to my elbows and would be covered up most of the day because I don't do sleeveless. :D It was rather disorganized at this point...I guess if you were familiar with the race it probably made sense, but I had to keep asking people where body marking was and where to go next. I finally manage to get into transition and over to my bike. I was glad I decided to bring my own pump even though poor Dina had to carry it around for a few hours after that. I was able to pump up my tires immediately, throw the bike nutrition onto the bike, and get the Garmin set up. I debated whether to power up the Garmin before I left transition or not until after the swim...I went back and forth all week. I knew that if I pushed the midnight cutoff I would be pushing the battery life of the Garmin. I looked at my watch when I was done with my bike and it was already 0600 so I decided to turn it on. I did the static calibration and then went over to my gear bags.

I thought of a few last minute things I wanted in the gear bags so I got my escort and went to each bag. Yes, in this transition you have to be escorted. This is kind of weird, because the day before for bike drop off you had to have someone with you the whole time...including racking your bike. But day OF you could wander in and around the bikes all you wanted and you only needed an escort to go to your gear bags. Weird. I dropped my forgotten items into the bags, went back by the bike to take a picture, then decided to go back to find Dina and Lara. I was glad I didn't need a bathroom because the lines for those in transition were long.

Used my phone to find Dina and Lara. They were right by bike out. I stood with them giving them my remaining gear in stages as I stripped down to be ready for the swim. They did the national anthem then the male pro start and we parted ways right after that. As I walked towards the swim entry I was able to stop along the bike out rails and get a GREAT view of the women pro start. While watching I finished up my bottle of UCAN (with one NUUN I think). Then I got into the cattle corral to get in the water. It seemed to take forever because no one wanted to leave the beach! It was backing everyone up. I decided I float pretty well so I immediately got in the water, got my swim cap and goggles on and swam out to the start line.

Once out at the start line it was just a matter of floating around for 10 minutes and trying to stay somewhere in position. The swells were dragging you towards the line and several times I backed myself up. I wanted nothing to do with the front of this race. I'd been walking around Kona for 3 days seeing this crazy uptight Type-A personalities and no way no how did I want to be up there in the crazy. I probably seeded myself about 6 or 7 rows back. Every time I looked back there were still people on the beach until about 2 minutes prior then they all just disappeared. Didn't look like too many more in the water so I have no idea how that worked!

It was a pretty wide start area and the buoys angled left from the shore, so I went as far to the left of the start line as I could. There were people even farther left and a whole lot of people to the right.

I tried to take the time to just look around and enjoy the fact that I was treading water at Dig Me Beach getting ready to start Ironman!
Event warmup:

No real warmup unless you count the walking to the race, the walking through transition, the swim to the start line, and the treading water before the start.
  • 1h 16m 30s
  • 3862 meters
  • 01m 59s / 100 meters

So, I was expecting complete insanity in this swim and was pleasantly surprised that the insanity was only minor. As the cannon went off there was some predictable moshing while everyone took off but I quickly found my own little space and swam on. I really couldn't see the buoys yet but just went with the crowd. The buoys were spaced well, once the initial crazy part I was able to see them quite clearly in the distance and it definitely felt like we were making progress towards/past them. The whole way outbound I just tried to swim steady and straight.

A few times on the outbound leg we went from nice calm/peaceful crowd to moshpit for about thirty seconds. I still have no idea what caused these mosh pits but I suspect we maybe came up on a pod of slow swimmers for each of them. Because honestly, as long as there wasn't anyone to worry about passing, this was a great swim. Granted, I was MUCH farther back in the pack than I normally am at an Ironman...and that could have been why I felt like it wasn't very crowded. But it was nice to swim fairly unmolested.

I had a tendency all day to squeeze in towards the buoy line. I picture this swim in my head as going OUTBOUND from the shore when really it sort of parallels the shore. So I think that's why I kept sneaking away from the shore (on the left) and creeping towards the buoy line. But every time I saw a buoy it was rather easy to straighten myself back out and keep moving forward.

The outbound leg felt like it took a very long time. It has been four years since I did a one loop Ironman swim. When I finally saw the boat out at the turnaround I was pretty excited. Even the turn around the boat wasn't as crazy as the turn buoys at most Ironmans. Bonus! On the short top part I spotted one diver in the water. He wasn't very deep and startled me at first.

As we turned inbound I knew my outbound split was 37-38 minutes and I thought that was rather slow. I hoped the waves on the way in would help push us to shore, but apparently not! I did pick up my effort a little bit on the inbound and tried to find some folks to draft off of as people passed me. But no really good candidates wandered by. I drafted for a minute or two here and there but the people would inevitably start zig zagging and become too difficult to follow. After catching myself working too hard to fight someone else off the set of feet I was established on I realized I was really wasting a lot of energy trying to draft and just did my own thing. It was kind of nice to be able to swim my nice "heads down" style that I use in long distance OWS instead of the typically lots of sighting I have to use in most heavily crowded Ironmans.

About the hour point I decided I had to pee, so I did. Shortly after that I kept feeling hands hit me so I knew someone was drafting off me. They were back there quite some time and I have no idea if they were back there when I was peeing. If they were, well...tough luck for them! I kicked a bit more on the way back in and concentrated on swimming well.

We could see the finish area much sooner than it felt like we could see the turn boat on the way out. For a minute I thought I might be able to negative split the swim, but it was deceptively far. I finally reached the beach and stood up. I was grateful for the volunteers helping me up onto the stairs as I was a bit wobbly from so much time horizontal. I knew my time was around 1:15ish but couldn't be sure because my watch had stopped at one point and I had restarted it. Never did see a race clock on my way out of transition, but I had a running time going on my watch all day.
What would you do differently?:

Swim more aggressively. This is my area to shine.

Not sure I would wear the tinted goggles again. It probably was easier on my eyes anytime I breathed to the east, but they limited my visibility of the fun stuff! I didn't see much of the water below me and only caught a glimpse of one diver. Without the tinted goggles I would have seen so much more!
Transition 1
  • 08m 10s

Okay, you come up the stairs and the first thing you hit is some running hoses to get the salt off. Not a spray, actual garden hoses spitting out water, but hanging above your heads. So I stopped there and rinsed off a bit and rinsed out my mouth (very salty!).

Next you run through the bags and here is where I got really confused. Still not exactly sure what I did in my head, but I think I got myself turned around and went to the wrong end of the racks...when my bag wasn't there I thought I was in the wrong aisle, so I went back out and had to look a few times before I found my bag. Love the racks/hooks concept, just wish they would have given us more time during bike drop off to run through in the correct direction that we'd be coming out. The whole needing an escort thing meant that you didn't have a lot of time.

After finally finding my bag I enter the tent and immediately have a volunteer helping. I dump my bag and she sees a lot of clothes in a ziploc and asks if I am changing, I say yes and hand her the ziploc of what I'm about to put on. As I'm stripping my suit off I see her digging through it and pulling out things like the shorts and jersey and all of a sudden she asks me "where is the sports bra"? And I point to my chest and say it's already on. :D I'm not crazy enough to try to put that on in transition!

Once that little problem was sorted out I got dressed fairly quickly. I used my towel to quickly wipe the crap off my feet before trying to put shoes on (I should have sat down for that shoes went flying at least once). I also had my deodorant cap go flying. Yes, deodorant. It was going to be a long need to offend myself all day by not stopping for 30" for deodorant! :D I almost didn't bother going after the cap, but since this was the only deodorant I brought on the trip I had to go over to the next row and retrieve it.

My volunteer had started helping someone else so I started to roll my arm coolers on by myself. I got them about 3/4 up and got stuck so I had another volunteer help me. I think we stretched them too far up my arms. I spent much of the bike ride trying to wiggle them down a bit.

Once I'm dressed there wasn't much to do except put on the saddle lube and stuff my pockets. I grabbed my pocket stuffing ziplocs and filled up. Put on my sunglasses and left the volunteer with my bag. On the way out I tried to hit up some sunblock. I was still so wet that it wasn't sticking and I made a bit of a critical error in not reapplying to my legs. I had made a good pre-race application so I thought I might be OK.

Then I began the LONG walk out of transition. First we had to go ALL the way to the end of the transition area (everyone had to, but my bike was down there). The girl right next to me showed up at the same time. I got my helmet on and bike out first, but she liked to run so she ended up passing me anyway. I tried to kinda jog the long route out, but eventually just walked. No need to tick off my calves or some weird muscle in my legs by trying to make the long run in bike shoes.

Finally got to the end of the transition area and across the mount line. I had to scooch over for a handcycle coming out and then I got on my bike.
What would you do differently?:

Dry off better and try to get more sunblock on. I was deliberately not hurrying because I learned that lesson at IMFL...comfort trumps speed when you're in it for the long haul. But I relied too much on my pre-race sunblock and it wasn't going to be enough.
  • 7h 51m 50s
  • 112 miles
  • 14.24 mile/hr

Ah, the Kona bike. Let's see how much I can remember.

So, I headed out of transition and it seems to go fairly immediately uphill. Not a huge hill, but a hill nonetheless. It takes you up to Kuakini and you ride out and back for a few miles on that road. It's uphill out and I was feeling very slow. People were passing me and I already started to worry about how slow I was going to be.

But, we turned around at the top of the hill and I sped back down the other massive self passing several people that had passed me on the way up the hill. A right on Palani brought one more short steep (aka slow) uphill to the Queen K. Once on the Queen K we had a pretty decent tailwind. I positively FLEW for the next hour or so. I have to admit I had secret hopes that the wind would at least move around to a crosswind before I came back through this section.

I'd started on my nutrition plan right away. I had two bottles each containing 1.5 UCAN packets and 2xNUUN that I sipped on for the first 3:20. At the 1 hour point into the ride I started in on my Sharkies...I alternated half packet of sharkies and half Bonk Breaker (mmm...Fig!) every 45' from that point on. I also was supposed to grab some banana every now and then from aid stations. I followed this plan almost exactly...ended up having about 1.5 bananas in addition to the 2.5 packs of Sharkies, 2 BB's and aforementioned UCAN/NUUN combos. I also had a small bit of coke but more on that later.

Okay, so I don't remember much in the first two hours other than that awesome tailwind that was allowing me to FLY. About 2 hours in I suddenly noticed that the wind was coming from an entirely different direction...and mostly a headwind. I thought that was odd, but went with it. 2:12 into my bike ride I spotted the male pros coming at me. Well, ONE male pro...dressed all in white...I wasn't able to recognize him. But it was just one. It was 2:15 by my Garmin before I saw another male pro coming, so that guy had a helluva lead.

I was now rather entertained watching bikes fly by in the other direction. I tried to keep an eye out for the female pros, but when the first one went by I either didn't notice or it wasn't obvious. After a long time I just started to see trickles of women mixed in with the fast AG men. There were race marshals all OVER the place on that side of the road. I saw a few blatant drafters, but not much. Of course, the other side of the road was going by very fast!

I finally reached Kawaihae and made the turn to Hawi. There is a steep downhill here that is rather fun, but then you make the second turn out towards Hawi and it's generally a long uphill...and today was into a headwind. I had not seen this part of the course so I didn't have a good idea of how far we had to go, but there was a sign saying Hawi was 18 miles away. That seemed far.

I tried to keep a steady effort going outbound, but this was the first time I started to feel like I was maybe working too hard. Between the uphill grade and the wind, I was out of gears so I had to work hard. Then, after many miles, the craziest thing happened. The sun went behind some clouds and I started to think maybe I felt some misty precip. I thought I was maybe imagining it. But then it started to drizzle more. And then it turned into a HEAVY drizzle. If I tilted my head down towards my handlebars lots of water fell off. I was FLOORED. Of all the weather I expected to encounter during IM Kona, rain was NOT on the list. It was honestly a welcome surprise. I was almost cold. It was glorious. It lasted for nearly 30 minutes...almost all of the rest of my way out of Hawi. The headwind had enough of a crosswind component that I spent a LOT of time in the horns. I had no intention of getting blown off the road and having my day end over something stupid. So, the horns it was.

During the climb out to Hawi I started to feel like I had to pee. But it wasn't horrible and the smooth roads were really helping. However, my body had decided to be a girl on Friday and thus by this point in the race on Saturday morning (about 3.5 hours into the bike) I became acutely aware that I had to stop and take care of my girlieness. I'd hoped to make it past the turnaround first, but that was not to be. So when I rolled up to the next aid station and saw a porta potty on the lead end I stopped. There was no line so I popped right inside...peed and took care of other business. That made a mess of my hands though but luckily there was a guy giving out water right outside the porta potty. I used some of the water to clean off my hands and refilled my Speedfil Torpedo with the rest. I also ditched some trash. I think this stop took me 3-4 minutes at least.

By the time I crested the hill in Hawi the rain had stopped but the road was still wet. I had to be very careful going around the turn. I had really hoped to hit Hawi by 4 hours to stay on 15 mph pace, but I was there a few minutes after 4 hours probably because of my porta potty stop. But the whole last 30 minutes of struggling into the wind and the ever increasing grade had me simply wishing for the turnaround.

After my careful trek around the turnaround I was SO happy to be going downhill into a tailwind...and it was downright FUN. I even switched my Garmin to see how fast I was going...about 30 mph! I probably held that for about 15 minutes before the grade leveled out a bit and I was just going "somewhat fast" for the rest of the descent out. I'd just about scraped back up to 15 mph by the time I hit Kawaihae again. The previously fun descent was now a nasty ascent to the Queen K. That was slow and not very fun. Almost all of this was spent in the hoods...the winds were occasionally gusty in an unpredictable fashion and it scared me enough that I avoided aero some.

I turned back onto the Queen K and quickly realized that the wind hadn't gone away...and it was going to be a nasty headwind for the next 30 miles. Bummer. It wasn't a horrible headwind. Certainly less than what Texas throws at me on a daily basis. I found out later this was considered a hot and windy day even by Kona standards. Um, that makes them a bunch of whiners. Seriously, I've love to have a chat with all the pros and tell them to move to Abilene. Because Kona ain't got NOTHIN' on Abilene. Really.

What made this hard was just that it was 30 miles with no turns and a constant headwind. My usual routes in Texas involve more turns so you get a break from the headwind every now and then as you zig zag through county roads. This was 30 miles in one direction...and you knew it was all in one direction. At miles 80-110 that really isn't fun. At some point I went past the "time" of my longest ride (7 hours) and I definitely saw my secret hope for a 7:30 bike split rapidly fading. I started to worry that I was working too hard. But again, out of gears...had to keep pedaling! I swear this entire section was uphill, and I realize that is impossible. But I think I had that feeling because you never got a break. Even on the few mild downhills you had to pedal because of the wind. It just went on forever.

I started to feel like my legs were getting awfully warm...this would be the lack of sunblock in T1 coming back to bite me. I don't remember what aid station I stopped at but I kept asking everyone for sunblock and they looked at me like I was crazy. But I finally spotted some on a table and had a volunteer hand it to me. I applied it to my legs and hoped some would stick.

By 90 miles I needed a pick me up and decided to let myself have a little coke. I was looking for any emotional boost at this point. They were handing out coke in bike bottles, but to keep myself from having too much I just grabbed one of the bottles and had a few sips before tossing it aside. I don't think it helped.

The only real "pain" I had on the bike was my neck. It picked this ride to be peskier than usual. I spent a lot of time trying to crack my own neck by suddenly dropping my head or twisting it. It worked a few times, but not as much as I would have liked. It was limiting my aero as well, this would be a theme obviously...not nearly as much aero as I would have liked today.

I finally approached what I THOUGHT was the 100 mile marker and that was a nice boost (though seeing it at the time I was passing it made me realize that 7:30 was DEFINITELY not happening). However, five minutes later I saw ANOTHER 100 mile marker. I thought I was hallucinating and asked the biker passing me at the time if this was the second 100 mile marker. She just said something about how her bike computer said 99.something but it was a bit off. That prompted me to check mine and sure enough I was at 99.something. WTF? Figured out later that my brain probably tricked me...the first one was probably the 160 km marker but my brain saw what it wanted to see. Stupid brain. I have to say, seeing the "second" 100 mile marker was a huge emotional blow. I was getting mad at how slow I am and how long this was taking me. I was having arguments with myself...cursing the headwind for slowing me down...but then trying to stay cheerful and remind myself how awesome it was I was doing Kona. Then back to cursing the wind...then back to trying to enjoy the moment and remember how COOL Kona is...stupid wind...awesome get the idea. Yes, I was literally having this argument with myself out on the bike.

My next pick me up came when I started to see familiar landmarks like the airport. And then finally the energy lab and OTHER IRONMAN COMPETITORS! It had been getting rather lonely out there, not many bikers left (um, I think only about 10 people had slower bike times than me...insane). So, seeing age groupers running on the Queen K was quite awesome. And they were all still running at this point...not many walkers. I spotted Bryancd and was excited I recognized him so I gave him a shout out and he cheered for me too.

I think I increased my effort a little knowing that I was almost done. I was still worried I was working too hard...that headwind had taken a decent chunk out of my legs and I really feared I had blown out my legs for the run...really.

Crested the last hill by Bike Works and knew it was mostly a nice downhill glide to the transition area. Unclipped, retrieved my Garmin, and handed my bike to a volunteer telling him I really didn't want to see it again for awhile.

Nearest we can tell I had roughly 1310 calories on the bike for 165/hr.
What would you do differently?:

Not suck at biking. Seriously, I hate to be so harsh, but it's really hard to have the nearly slowest bike split OF THE DAY at Kona. That's BAD...really bad. Only 1886 people finished the would mean only 12 people biked slower than me. Um, wow. Supposedly 1979 started the bike, 1934 finished. So....still...I'm slow.
Transition 2
  • 09m 56s

SO glad to be off the bike, and feeling pretty low about my sub-par biking ability. Worried to death that I'd blown out my legs on that final 30 miles.

I made the loooooooooooong trek through transition to the far end then got to come back around towards the front and the bags. I ran into a lot of traffic trying to get my bags. Three volunteers were blocking the aisles putting other athletes used bags BACK. But I finally got my bag and went into the change tent.

I had every intention of going slow, but well meaning volunteers pushed the pace. They asked if I wanted coke or water and I have to admit, coke sounded fabulous. And I was a pissy mood, so I had some. I drank it down competely forgetting I was supposed to take 4 advil and 2 salt stick capsules in transition. Mistake #1.

I told the volunteers I was doing a complete change (other than the sports bra) and she got out my ziploc with the clean clothes. I'd just gotten my jersey off when someone threw a REALLY cold towel over my shoulders which nearly gave me a freaking heart attack. I guess some people like that, but damn...shocked the crap out of me! And besides, I couldn't get dressed with it on there, so it didn't last long.

Put my new comfy shorts and shirt on and the volunteers started asking me about everything in my bag and totally out of order. They asked if I needed the bag of pills...yes...and I guess I'll need something to take them with eventually. They asked if I had a towel to clean off my feet. I handed it to them and sat down and this volunteer grabbed my foot and my aquaphor and went to town. Um, okay. She even tried to put my sock on but it wasn't going well so I put the sock on then grabbed a shoe so I wouldn't be putting my clean sock down on dirty pavement. Foot #2 went somewhat similarly and again I had to help with the sock. I put my feet into my shoes and I only have memory of tying the one on the right...I think maybe the volunteer tied the left? It was loose when I left transition. Mistake #2.

Anyway...finally got shoes and hat on and sunglasses on top and they went to start handing me my race belt and "fanny pack" but I wanted to pee first and check on my girlieness. Thankfully the tent was VERY empty and I was able to have them watch my bag and not take it away before I came out of the porta potty. TMI alert, I wear a Diva Cup. I knew I should empty it here in T2 (it's what I did on that rest stop heading out to Hawi too), but this CAN be a tricky operation and I had this crazy fear that I would drop the darn thing into the porta potty. If I had a successful emptying I wouldn't have to carry any tampons on the run, but if this went poorly I would need my emergency tampon in the T2 bag. So, I was very glad they were willing to leave my bag out while I took care of business. Everything came out okay and I emerged from the porta potty to find my stuff all packed up except for my belt and fanny pack and the pill package and they even had water waiting for me.

I slammed down my advil and salt stick capsules and then realized that I had forgotten to lube "the girls". Mistake #3. Poor volunteer had to unpack my entire bag to find my aquaphor so I could lube my boobs. They may be smaller now, but they still need lube!

Finally with that taken care of I put on my fanny pack (this is really a gel flask pack that has a zippered's a good size to carry essentials on long runs) and the volunteer put on my race belt. I straightened everything out and once satisfied with my appearance headed out the door. I think they put some more sunblock on my face...I must have looked quite red.
What would you do differently?:

Fix my own shoes. Felt a bit rushed by the volunteers and they were trying to be so helpful, but I think if I'd taken more time to put my socks and shoes on and done it myself then I may not have lost my toenail after the race.

Normally I'd say "go faster" but honestly, I am okay with this being slow. I knew I was going to be out on the road for the long haul so being comfortable and "right" was FAR more important than a few minutes of time. Plus it includes Porta Potty Stop #2 of the day! That's a few minutes easy!
  • 6h 21m 33s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 14m 34s  min/mile

Leaving T2 my legs felt good. WAY too good. Like CRAZY good. I was floored. I had convinced myself I'd trashed my legs and they were FAR from trashed. My first mile was in the 10-something minute range. My next mile was in the low 11-something minute range. I felt GOOD. Dina was waiting for me somewhere in that first two miles (close to the 2 mile point I think...almost out at our condo). It was so nice to see a friendly face. I think I mentioned the headwind. And then I told her that I felt okay, but I was reserving further judgment until I saw her on my way back into town (I felt THAT good that I refused to say I felt good). One thing was worrying me and that was my right knee. It felt...odd. It felt like it was weak and painful and wanted to give out on me. That freaked me out a bit because it wasn't something that had happened in training. This was totally different from the bit of pain I still had in this knee from BSLT...totally different spot. But it was holding up so I went with it.

Shortly past Dina I ran past our condo and Lara was there cheering. Yay for more friendly faces! These miles absolutely FLEW by. I was ticking off splits I thought I would only dream of after that bike ride. I was also sticking to the nutrition plan. The PLAN was to take a bite of banana, a few sharkies, some perform, or a bite of bonk breaker at every aid station. If I kept the pace we thought I might keep that would be about 140 calories/hr. So, I did exactly that. I had sharkies at the first aid station (the last of what I had left from the bike...I must have eaten more than half a package on the bike near the end), a banana at the second aid station, then I picked up a PBJ bonk breaker and worked on that for the next several aid stations. I was about halfway through it at the turn around.

I will admit that the turn around felt farther than I thought it would be. And Ali'i drive was fairly desolate. It's obvious that it had been a HUGE party earlier in the day. Most of the gear houses still had tents out and whatnot, but no spectators in them. There were a few random spectators still standing around, but they were mostly cheering things like, "You still have 6.5 hours...plenty of time!". Um, that isn't exactly motivational at this point...sorry.

Anyway, I was glad to make the turn around still feeling good and head back down into town. However, a few miles past the turnaround I started to feel...bad. I'd just finished my bonk breaker and I was feeling very tired...and shuffly. I thought it was WAY too early to be this tired and I got worried. I took some peform at the next aid station (7 maybe?) because I was sick of water and that didn't help but it was a nice change from the constant water. I started to get worried and decided to have coke at the 8 mile aid station. I was still hurting a bit when I passed the condo again and Lara. I must have told her three times that I was getting tired but still moving. She ran with me for a few hundred yards. Shortly after the condo (maybe it was a slight downhill helping) the coke kicked in. I immediately perked up and felt good again. I was a bit freaked out and happy to see Dina again a few minutes later. I told her about what I thought might have been a bonk a few miles back and asked what I should do, because coke wasn't in our plan until at least halfway through the run. She pondered it for a second and told me that if it wasn't bothering my stomach to just go with it. Okay, coke it is! I'd also had two more salt stick tablets (Dina had pressed these on me pre-race...she was so persistent I finally agreed) at the 1 hour point.

I had my last few good miles headed into town then you can see that my pace really did take a decent hit. I was still moving, but not as fast. After all, this was uncharted territory at this point. My longest run had been 9 miles!!!! My knee threatened to give out a few times but always came around. I was running between aid stations and walking the aid stations and every time I started back into my run after an aid station it would really hurt for the first 20-25 steps then it would be mostly fine. But I really feared it would give out sooner than I wanted it to.

I turned up Palani and made the decision to walk that hill. Seriously NO NEED to pretend to run up it. I waited to start running again until the crest. I took two more salt stick tablets at 2 hours. Actually, I accidentally only took one...the other pill I grabbed out of the bag was one of my emergency advil. I realized my mistake and took the second salt stick capsule.

Now on the Queen K, and it got dark. Very dark. I was so very happy for little bouncing green light. Most of the aid stations were lit up so I would turn it off approaching an aid station, but between aid stations it was super dark. There wasn't much to trip on, but the light just gave me some awesome comfort. I saw a few other people with headlamps and several carrying flashlights.

I started to make my walk breaks slightly longer. These aid stations were SHORT and I wasn't able to get all the fluids in that I wanted within the confines of the aid stations, so I had to start doing a bit of walking post-aid station in order to finish my water and coke. Details get rather fuzzy in here, but at least once I took sponges to try to cool off my face (which felt hot). When they stopped having sponges I got volunteers to put ice into my hat to try to cool my head. I wasn't REALLY face just felt hot and that worried me. It did get better as the evening wore on and the ice in the hat really helped. It lasted quite awhile and didn't drip super bad.

I started to wonder when I would finally get to the Energy Lab. I'd gotten slightly inaccurate information about the location. I had heard the Energy Lab was 3 miles long and the turnaround was at the end at 18 miles. So, of course at mile 15 I expected to see the energy lab. And didn't. Then at 16 and 17...still no energy lab. Instead of getting sad I got a bit motivated actually...that meant the energy lab wasn't as long as I'd been told (I think the confusion was that it's about 3 miles ROUND TRIP) and that there was no way the turn around could be at 18. So, believe it or not this cheered me up. I meant to take another salt stick at 3 hours but I kept forgetting. I'd remember right after an aid station so I didn't have access to fluids anymore. After this happened two aid stations in a row I got fed up with myself and I decided to take them out of my fanny pack and held them in my hands so I couldn't forget at the next aid station. I also felt like I had to pee and decided I would do that at the next aid station.

Somewhere in here my stomach started to cramp a bit when I would drink coke or water at the aid stations. I took a break from some coke for at least one aid station seeing if I could figure out what was going on. It just felt like gas turning over in my stomach and GI GI distress, just cramping and then nothing. To be honest, I didn't expect to get through the whole race without a #2 stop...I mean, I had oatmeal more than 12 hours ago...surely that had digested by now? But, no sign of anything coming out, so...just walked a bit when the stomach/GI cramps got bad and ran again once each one passed. There was a great aid station with awesome music somewhere in here. They were very motivational. As I left that aid station the "Call me Maybe" song started playing and I couldn't help but dance a little bit on my way out. It was dark. No one could see me. :D

As I finally approached the Energy Lab a nagging toenail on my left foot started to bother me even more than it had been. I spotted porta potties at the top and beelined for them (they were on the wrong side of the road but I didn't want to wait). Emptied the bladder and got back out of the porta potty. There was an aid station right there so I shotgunned my remaining advil (three at this point since I'd accidentally taken one already) and a salt stick capsule.

My toenail REALLY started bugging me on this downhill into the Energy Lab. So when I spotted a series of four chairs on the side of the road I decided to use them to put my foot up on so I could readjust my sock. As I approached the chairs I asked the volunteers if I could borrow one. So I had an audience for my sock adjustment. As I got my foot out of the shoe and started to adjust the sock, blood started soaking through my sock. Oops, I don't think just adjusting this sock is going to work. I busted out my bandaids and took the sock off and almost wished I hadn't. My middle toe had a big blood blister forming and the one next to it was oozing a bit of blood too. I wrapped both toes up and put my shoe back on. I had apparently stopped across from special needs and the volunteers had gone to get my bag while I was there. They said I could have it now or when I came back around. I just decided to take it now. I carried it in my hand to the next aid station then pulled out the potato chips (mmm...salt and vinegar) and ate about half of them in and around that aid station. Aid stations seemed close together gets fuzzy...but I think there was also an aid station near the turn around.

The turn around was a HUGE mental boost....especially since I knew it was closer to the finish than I originally thought! I ran into another lottery winner here and we ran together for a bit...until the next aid station where I walked and ate some more of my potato chips. My stomach still hurt so I didn't eat them all...and ditched the bag at that aid station.

I approached the hill out of the Energy Lab and it looked like a I walked it. :D I got to the aid station near the end of the Energy Lab and continued to walk (through some more stomach/GI cramps) until I crested the hill up onto Queen K.

I think it was at this point that I KNEW I could finish the race. I still had a TON of time and not that far to go. I started walking even farther after each aid station. It really seemed like every sip of liquid I took made my stomach cramp and it took me about a quarter mile after the aid stations to muster up the energy to run. For the first few miles after the Energy Lab I saw people still heading outbound...then suddenly there wasn't anyone heading outbound anymore and I realized how far back in the pack I was. It got pretty lonely and desolate and for at least 10 minutes I swear I ran/walked without seeing ANYONE...not even in the distance ahead of me. That creeped me out a bit but I could hear that loud music-playing aid station and that kept me going.

Around mile 23 you can start hearing the finish line and it really feels close. I know I walked a lot during 23/24/25, including one BIG uphill right before you turn off Queen K. It was just getting "too long" between aid stations for me to run the whole way.

I remember turning onto Palani and thinking that such a steep downhill at that point in the race was actually rather cruel. :D I walked the downhill aid station (only had water here to get rid of some coke cotton mouth) and then shuffled down the rest. Once on Kuakini I knew I was really close but also knew I probably couldn't run the whole rest of the way in, so I took a strategic walk break. Then I geared up for my final run effort.

I made the second to last right turn and then the right turn onto Ali'i and I started to get pretty excited. I was so proud of my run, and my porta potty PR (only 3! and only to pee!) and I just tried to take in the moment. The crowds weren't huge anymore, but the chute was still packed with very very very loud fans. I held my hands out and people slapped them with those noise sticks. I got excited enough to resurrect the cartwheel. I had about a ten second conversation with myself wondering whether my arms could hold me up...then I said, fuck it...I feel like I could do anything right now! I'm doing it! I saw the photographers in the finish chute and decided I should wait until right in front of them so they would get a good picture. That REALLY worked out well for me. :D I did my cartwheel, fixed my shirt as it tried to ride up, heard Mike Reilly talking about how I'm in the USAF, then listened...and was again cheated. He said, "Jennifer DiCarlo, and 61 year old "someone else's name" You are an Ironman!". Seriously...that is TWO freaking Ironmans in a ROW where I was trying to hear the phrase in its entirety ("Jennifer DiCarlo, YOU are an Ironman!"....that EXACT phrase) and I got gipped. Totally going to have to write Mike before my next one and tell him not to pork it. I totally get that the guy behind me was too just STINKS that this would have been an absolutely PERFECT finish if I'd just heard the phrase I'd been wanting to hear. I never heard it at my first, and I'm SURE at IMFL they never said the "You are an Ironman" part (because I was explicitly listening for it) I really wanted to hear it here. If I'd known that guy was so close behind me I would have stopped and let him enter the chute first so I would have it all to myself. Believe it or not, that one little thing mars and otherwise perfect finish line experience. :(

Rough mile splits (I didn't do any rounding of seconds):
Mile 1: 10:16
Mile 2: 11:41
Mile 3: 11:30
Mile 4: 11:45
Mile 5: 11:48
Mile 6: 12:36
Mile 7: 12:53
Mile 8: 14:46 (hit this well after the mile distracted it was near an aid station)
Mile 9: 12:43 (short because of the previous mile...and the coke...)
Mile 10/11: 28:07 (never saw the 10)
Mile 12: 14:54
Mile 13: 13:53
Mile 14: 14:35
Mile 15: 15:11
Mile 16: 14:46
Mile 17: 15:36
Mile 18: 18:00 (blister stop and porta potty break)
Mile 19: 16:22
Mile 20: 15:54
Mile 21: 16:54
Mile 22: 16:12
Mile 23: 17:33
Mile 24: 17:56
Mile 25: 17:33
Mile 26.2: 17:51

We estimate I had 755 calories for about 120/hr. It's a pretty crummy estimate because I really couldn't tell you exactly how much coke was in each cup unfortunately.
What would you do differently?:

After the initial coke I had to pick me back up at mile 8ish I should have made an attempt to go back to the original nutrition plan. I may have overdone the coke (if that is even possible).

Made sure I was alone in the chute so I could hear the words I have longed to hear and never have heard...guess I'm gonna have to do another one. *sigh*
Post race
Warm down:

I was met by two volunteers who put a towel around my shoulders ( a DRY one) and led me toward the finish area. Someone put a lei over my head and we just kept walking. Then they walked me right into the med tent and left me which I guessed was standard procedure but then the med tent asked me why I was there....I told them I didn't know, the volunteers had just walked me here. They asked if anything was wrong and I mentioned I had some bloody toes, but they couldn't really do anything about it so they just let me go out the other side of the med tent and then I was completely lost. I walked along looking lost and kept asking people where to go next (other volunteers had stayed with their people at this point...NO idea why mine decided to just ditch me in the med tent when I was fairly obviously FINE). I almost missed finisher gear until I saw someone else holding up a shirt and asked where they got it.

They were out of medals at this point. Yes, you heard that right...out of medals. Something about some coming in defective and more were on the way. I got my name on the list of folks who didn't get one, just in case. Then I wandered toward finisher photos. A nice finisher with a medal loaned me his so I would have one in my picture. Then I walked toward massages (the medal people had suggested coming back after massage). On the way through I picked up some ice cream, fries and some small donut like thing. I ate the ice cream and several of the fries before it was my turn for a massage. He really took his time...WAY longer than 10 minutes (the bonus of being a late finisher). The rubdown felt good.

I ate a few more fries and a bite of the donut thing then didn't want anymore and tossed them. I was getting worried that Lara and Dina would wonder where I was (we neglected to come up with a post-race plan...BAD!) but I saw that there seemed to be medals now and went to get one. Once that was taken care of I tried to find my way out of the finisher area. On my way out I totally lucked out and ran into Lara who brought me back to where Dina was. Whew...they WERE getting worried about me but didn't see me in the med tent so put 2 and 2 together and decided I was probably back there goofing off. :D

It was getting close to midnight so we kinda stuck around to see some of the late finishers as we worked our way towards the condo. We got to see the last official finisher come in (can't remember how much time she had to spare, but not much) and it's really weird that the music stops and everything as soon as it's midnight. We stopped to get me a slushy (I'd had a slushy craving since the Queen K outbound) and then as we walked out on Ali'i we heard a commotion up ahead...obviously someone still continuing after the cutoff. He came into view and it was a single leg amputee. He had an entire cheering contingent surrounding him! We cheered as they went by. Totally cool he still stuck it out to finish, even unofficially. We kept walking to where the girls had parked the car (it only saved us about a quarter mile walk, but better than nothing). Lara drove me home while Dina wheeled my bike the rest of the way.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Well, I was still injured when I got this lottery spot. I'd been battling a hip injury for over 2.5 months when the lottery results came out. I didn't get the hip fixed until early June. So, I didn't really start run training until early June. I am also a slow biker and carrying too much extra weigh to be fast at this distance. That being said, this was a run PR for me. Not an Ironman PR (missed that by about 10 minutes) but BY FAR this was my best executed Ironman to date. Injuries and the weight really held me back.

Event comments:

Wow. Kona. I think I actually built up my expectations TOO much. People idolize this race, and the one thing I found was that it isn't the same race when you are in the back of the pack. Other than in the immediate vicinity of the finish chute, the entire race had an air of "I missed the party" to me. Everywhere I went on the course it felt like all the real action had happened long before I got there. No ones fault but my own...I'm the slow one. But I guess I'm saying I didn't feel the utter magic feeling that I was expecting to feel. Is that weird? I dunno. I had a weird feeling all week like I didn't belong here. I didn't expect to feel like that, it's just a vibe I got. I think it went along with feeling like I missed the party all day.

I was super-proud of my run split, and SUPER happy not to have a digestive disaster like my previous two Ironmans. I give all the credit for that to Dina...she's been working with me on my nutrition all summer and she's apparently a MIRACLE WORKER. It felt SO GOOD not to shit my brains out during an Ironman...I can't even tell you! Huge props to Dina in that department!

SO glad I can add Kona Finisher to my resume, but I think the race would mean a lot more to me if I'd qualified. I think the lottery is awesome and I was really excited for this opportunity, but I think the magic in this race really is in qualifying...which I could never do. And that makes me sad. Because I'd like to come back someday...I enjoyed the course and the venue a ton, I just felt left out of the magic.

Last updated: 2012-04-19 12:00 AM
01:16:30 | 3862 meters | 01m 59s / 100meters
Age Group: 52/70
Overall: 1276/1886*
Performance: Average
Suit: Speedo Poly Flyback
Course: Rectangular out and back.
Start type: Deep Water Plus: Shot
Water temp: 0F / 0C Current: Medium
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Average
Breathing: Average Drafting: Below average
Waves: Average Navigation: Average
Rounding: Average
Time: 08:10
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike: No
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed:
07:51:50 | 112 miles | 14.24 mile/hr
Age Group: 67/70
Overall: 1871/1886*
Performance: Bad
Wind: Strong with gusts
Road: Smooth  Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills: Below average
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Just right
Time: 09:56
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
06:21:33 | 26.2 miles | 14m 34s  min/mile
Age Group: 64/70
Overall: 1823/1886*
Performance: Good
Course: Two out and backs...out Ali'i drive a few miles then back to down, then out the Queen K to the Energy Lab and back to town again.
Keeping cool Average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2012-10-24 8:33 PM

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Evergreen, Colorado
Subject: Ironman World Championship

2012-10-25 1:56 AM
in reply to: #4468055

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Timmins, ON. Canada
Subject: RE: Ironman World Championship
Wow. Congratulations...super inspiring, and a great report!

Thank you
2012-10-25 9:10 AM
in reply to: #4468312

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Evergreen, Colorado
Subject: RE: Ironman World Championship

justinfss - 2012-10-25 1:56 AM Wow. Congratulations...super inspiring, and a great report! Thank you

Is that a glider in your avatar??? :D

2012-10-25 10:11 AM
in reply to: #4468055

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Williamston, Michigan
Subject: RE: Ironman World Championship
Awesome awesome job out there Jen.  I am so proud and happy for you!!  You trained hard and resolved a bunch of issues.  I knew once off the bike you would be fine.  It was fun tracking you all day and totally worth the 4am wake up to see you finish!!!  So glad you had a great post race vaca too   Well deserved
2012-10-25 10:35 AM
in reply to: #4468055

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Huntington Beach, CA
Subject: RE: Ironman World Championship
Congratulation! You are an Ironman (woman).   Very inspirational - thanks for doing the report and always being so encouraging to the rest of us.   Great job on you run!
2012-10-25 10:45 AM
in reply to: #4468055

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Subject: RE: Ironman World Championship
Congrats! Great race, and awesome report.

2012-10-25 2:46 PM
in reply to: #4468055

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New user

Subject: RE: Ironman World Championship
Very AWESOME, being a beginner I'm just amazed by your strength!!! Fun race report to read! Hope you got the chance to soak up some sun by the beach with sunscreen
2012-10-25 3:11 PM
in reply to: #4468829

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Roseville, CA
Subject: RE: Ironman World Championship
Congratulations Ironman! Thanks for the detailed report, I enjoyed it. Good to hear a report from a lottery winner which is the only way I would ever get there.
2012-10-25 8:54 PM
in reply to: #4468055

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Frugal Gear Geek
having fun with the kids
Subject: RE: Ironman World Championship
Well done!! I am so happy for you
2012-10-26 12:56 AM
in reply to: #4468055

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Somewhere training in Rocklin, CA
Subject: RE: Ironman World Championship
Thanks for a great report...felt like I was right there with you and hope to be with a bit of luck!
2012-10-26 9:04 AM
in reply to: #4468055

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Subject: RE: Ironman World Championship

Loved the report - thanks for posting.  Great race too.  The wind is so demoralizing.  I was thinking, 30 miles straight with no relief, ugh.  That wears on you but you pulled through!



2012-10-26 9:12 AM
in reply to: #4468055

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Newport, North Carolina
Subject: RE: Ironman World Championship
Great race report.  My heart was starting to beat fast just reading it.  Congrats and wish me luck on the lottery!
2012-10-26 2:11 PM
in reply to: #4470342

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, Minnesota
Subject: RE: Ironman World Championship
Great job and great report,  I am sure you'll enjoy reading that in the future to relive the details   Those were some epic transitions!
2012-10-26 7:46 PM
in reply to: #4468055

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Bloomington, MN
Subject: RE: Ironman World Championship
Great read! Congrats on your finish and good luck in future IMs. 
2012-10-26 8:03 PM
in reply to: #4468055

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Subject: RE: Ironman World Championship
Jen, congratulations on a great race. I loved reading your report. It felt like being there with you every step of the way. You did a great job making the right decisions at the time to take care of your different needs during the race. You deserved that Kona spot more than anyone else.
2012-10-26 8:44 PM
in reply to: #4468055

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Subject: RE: Ironman World Championship
Great job.

2012-10-26 9:16 PM
in reply to: #4468055

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Extreme Veteran
PaaMul QRoo, MX
Subject: RE: Ironman World Championship
Wow. What a great RR!  thanks so much for that!
2012-10-27 5:20 PM
in reply to: #4468055

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NW Suburbs, Illinois
Subject: RE: Ironman World Championship
Great Work!!!  You did awesome.  
2012-10-27 11:11 PM
in reply to: #4468055

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Santa Fe, New Mexico
Silver member
Subject: RE: Ironman World Championship

congratulations on making this happen.  Not easy on the training time you had to put into it!  awesome effort, awesome planning, awesome execution.   And what a run!  Where did that come from?

Had to Laugh out Loud.  Kona has nothing on Abiline. 

Great race Jen.

2012-10-30 2:39 PM
in reply to: #4468055

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Williamston, Michigan
Subject: RE: Ironman World Championship
Bumping you to the first page I am still so happy for you They totally shouldhave put your cartwheel in the race footage!!
2012-10-30 7:05 PM
in reply to: #4475517

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Evergreen, Colorado
Subject: RE: Ironman World Championship

Socks - 2012-10-30 2:39 PM Bumping you to the first page I am still so happy for you They totally shouldhave put your cartwheel in the race footage!!

I secretly hoped they would...I mean, it WAS unique! :D

2012-12-16 3:29 AM
in reply to: #4468055

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Lake Monticello, Virginia
Subject: RE: Ironman World Championship

A little late to the party am I in reading your report.

What an absolutely magnificent narrative of the race for you! You deserve to be proud of your efforts in this gruelling event. Your planning and execution appear to be near perfect. Hpe you get another shot at Kona.

Looking forward to mine someday, perhaps. Your report further bolstered my desire to have my name announced as an Ironman. Thank you for that.

One question. How long did it take to fully recover?

Thanks again for sharing your experience.

BTW: I did follow you and other BTers online while I was slaving away at work!

2013-04-05 8:11 PM
in reply to: #4468055

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Houston, TX
Subject: RE: Ironman World Championship
Saw this from another thread and had to comment on how great a report it was. it felt like I was there.
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