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Ironman 70.3 Hawaii - Triathlon

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Kohala Coast, Hawaii
United States
World Triathlon Corporation
34C / 93F
Total Time = 6h 42m 19s
Overall Rank = 833/1449
Age Group = 25-29F
Age Group Rank = 20/39
Pre-race routine:

Well I have been on the Big Island since May 11. I came here to get some training done in the heat to prep for IM France in Nice and avoid the Edmonton-->somewhere way warmer trap and poor aclimitization.

Hawaii is beautiful and more "rustic" than the other islands I've been to (Maui and Oahu) and man tough riding and running from what I'm used to. Flat run? Hahahaha. Flat ride? Hahahahahaha. No wind? Hahahahahahahaha. All and all it was a great place to come for the time I had after finishing my licensing exam. I got some good training in and then had a 5 day rest before Honu. No full taper for me for this one.

Coach Mike told me to go out and have fun and to treat the race like a long training day. The strategy was to have a strong swim and then build the bike and run throughout to end with strong efforts.

I drove up to the Mauna Lani report with a friend who came to the island with me and checked in and then checked out the expo. Ended up getting what apparently was a coveted item: the women's Honu 70.3 kit. When I got there on Thurs, there were only about 4 I grabbed it while I made the decision: to buy or not to buy. I got it. Haha. Also bought an iron towel. Hey, I need towels for moving out....

Drove back to Kona on Thurs after expo and back to Mauna Lani on Fri for gear drop and bike check at Hapuna Beach where the swim start was. Ironman runs a pretty good ship. The shuttles were running continuously from the parking to the Fairmont where the expo was and overall I found the process of getting gear to respective places to be smooth.

We stayed at the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel...which quite honestly is the nicest hotel I've ever seen. They were super accommodating and had shuttles that went over to the Fairmont starting a 0500 so that we didn't have to walk all the way over to catch the shuttle to Hapuna Beach.

I had my usual per morning bfast of a bagel with some bunny cookies thrown in and 500ml of gu brew. Caught a shuttle to Hapuna beach and filled my water bottles and checked to make sure my tires hadn't blown. I hung out with Rachel on the beach for ankle and we listened to the announcer talk about how the day would pan out. The words "extremely windy, headwind and scorching" we're used. Pete Jacobs made some comment at the briefing the night before to the effect of: "the wind will be a factor...but everyone has to deal with suck it up, embrace it"...that's what I took away anyways...Woke up to the wind. It was probably already hitting around 30mph by the time we got out to the swim start and the local weather guy said that it was just going to build throughout the morning....(This is my attempt at foreshadowing). Ooooooo what's going to happen?
Event warmup:

Ran a little on the beach and swam about 400m. Dried off and did some stretching and arm circles. Watched to pros and the AG men go off and then got in the water with the other pink caps to wait for our cannon start.....
  • 33m 44s
  • 1931 meters
  • 01m 45s / 100 meters

Really cool swim start. The water in Hapuna bay is crystal clean and relatively shallow. I lined up near the start buoy at the front and jostled a bit with the other ladies because we kept getting moved around by the current. This one woman kept barking at another to get behind the start ling because she kept floating forward. Relax! We were all moving around.

The cannon went off and it was a pretty controlled start. There were about 500 women in the race total but not too much mashing around off the start. I cleared the main group relatively quickly and got in with a pack of around 5-6 and there was another faster group ahead of us. We caught the men that started about 7min before us before rounding the first buoy and then had to swim through the rear end of the men's wave for the rest of the swim.

Once we rounded the second buoy the chop picked up. My sighting was pretty good and I avoided too many collisions. Rounded the last buoy and headed back towards the finish into the sun and direct chop. You could tell the chop was really affecting a bunch of the men that we had caught up to because they were all bunched up together again rather than being more spread out. More boy contact happened here and it was more or less impossible to sight for the finish due to the angle of the sun. (Thank god I bought those polarized TYR sunglasses in California...worth weight in gold...). My friend said that the announcer was commenting throughout the swim that the finishing stretch would be the toughest due to the sun and the chop that we would hit. I was finally able to see the finish about 100m from shore. Swam as far as I could and high kneed it out of the water onto the sand. Ran under the swim finish and up the long alley in the sand through all the people. Saw my friend and gave her a "hang loose" and overall was feeling pretty good about myself.

What would you do differently?:

Not much. It is a tough open water swim. Hapuna bay is relatively open so not as sheltered as other open ocean swims that I've done. It would have been nice to see a turtle though! Apparently Paul Matthews saw a Manta ray!
Transition 1
  • 05m 25s

So made my way up the fairly long sand alley and quickly showered my body and feet off. I would hear the announcer making some comment like "make sure you have two hands on your bike at all times....make sure it's safe to drink". What? (Foreshadowing....)

Found my bike and got my gear on. I had to ask a volunteer to undo my speed skin. Spent a few extra moments reapplying sunscreen to avoid the ironburn that happened in California.
What would you do differently?:

Could have been faster I suppose but it was a fairly long transition and I needed that sunscreen...
  • 3h 31m 14s
  • 90.12 kms
  • 25.56 km/hr

Ughhhhhh so fucking hard!

Ran out of transition with my bike and saw the swarm of people attempting to up hill mount their bikes. A volunteer helped me and boosted me up the hill until I could gain enough momentum. There was a crash already at the top of the hill. Looked like a guy rode into the fence on the side while trying to mount. My friend said a few people crashed trying to get on the bike once I was gone.

Started on my way from the beach to the highway into a direct headwind. It was a very slow start. Got on to the highway and had a bit more of a tailwind/crosswind.riding to the first turn around at Mauna Lani before heading north to Hawi. A few mechanicals on the side of the road already. I was feeling decent at the start but I was def clenching onto my bike due to the crosswinds. Hit the turn around and started my way north to the wind was a bit more headwind/crosswind.

The course is pretty unrelenting. It's constantly changing direction and is rolling. They aren't super steep for the most part but I don't think there is a section that could be considered "flat". It's beautiful. You can see the coastline and Mauna Kea and Haleakala on Maui for most of the time going north. (I blame those suckers for the wind). Any time I was feeling a bit overwhelmed by the course I first though "Pete Jacobs" and then looked at stuff for awhile.

The thing about being a swimmer is that you come out of the water before everyone else....and then get passed by 700 people..ish...I've learned not to get too depressed about this when the 35 year old men who are machines on the bike blow by and I feel like I'm not moving. The majority of the passers were men but 150 or so women went by me too. I get lots of comments about my swim. I appreciate the effort as the bike gazelles go by to lift my spirits about being passed. One guy caught me and looked over and asked "what was your swim time?" I said I think 33 and he said "damn, solid work..." And then coasted away. It's kind of comical. So I kept telling myself that "I kicked all these people's ASSES in the

My back was giving me a bit of a hard time after about 40km. My neck and traps as well as low back and hips. Not sure totally what that was about but I tried my best to stretch it out. I feel likely a lot of it was due to my death grip on the bike I had with the wind but not totally convinced it was just that. Due to this I wasn't super comfortable in aero for long periods but I got myself down when Crowie went by on his way back to Mauna Lani....hell if I was going to let Crowie see me not in

Lots of mechanicals on the side of the road and one guy who appeared to be having chest pain that medical was seeing to. I saw an ambulance head that way but not sure what the deal was.

The final ascent to Hawi is fairly tough...the direction meant a headwind so we were all bunching up. You could see the guys on the other side of the road whizzing past back downhill so I put a bit more effort in because I knew I was going to get to ride the wind back a bit. Lots of PETE JACOBS! Hit the turn around and the lovely descent from Hawi. Had a good 8 miles or so and then hit the rollers again. I think the wind was picking up by this point because I felt like I was getting thrown around a bit at parts. There's a brutal section leading into's ascending for a few miles and it was a brutal direct headwind. By this point no one was making huge leaps on me. The sun was becoming brutally hot even on the bike by this point and I was starting to get a bit nauseous and had a headache. I made it up the hill and onto the final stretch to T2. Honestly....all I wanted was off my bike.

I had a few devastating moments in my head over the final few legs were back hurt and I had this nausea and headache...and it was fucking HOT. I tried to snap myself out of it. Lots of PETE JACOBS! And verbally telling myself to stop it. STOP IT. FUCK. IRONMAN FRANCE IS IN THREE WEEKS...STOP BEING A FUCKING BABY. I had this weird 5 second cry...and then finished the last 3-4 miles fairly strong.
What would you do differently?:

I'm not sure. It's a tough course and the wind made it harder...I think I did what I could.
Transition 2
  • 04m 29s

Bit slow for a run transition but I took a sit down to get my socks on because I really wasn't feeling well. My head was pounding. I slopped some sunscreen on but didn't have the patience to rub it in I looked like a zinc oxide ghost for most of the run...whatever...I didn't get ironburn. There were still quite a few bikes not racked around me so I felt better about myself that everyone else was suffering.
What would you do differently?:

Sitting down was probably a mistake.
  • 2h 27m 27s
  • 21.08 kms
  • 06m 59s  min/km

I honestly don't think I've ever been that hot ever. Not at Lake Placid...not in was so hot by the time the run started. The only temp I could find said it was 34C/94F. I believe it and in the lava rock it was hotter.

But the volunteers were fantastic. The aid stations were full of people helping out and encouraging us to continue on.

I started on my way on the golf course. It felt pretty weird to be running on the fairways. They have a bit of spring that I'm not used to running on. The plan for the run was a 9:1 run/walk. I tried. Man I tried...but by 7min I was so, so hot and still a bit nauseous/headachy. So I walked a bit. Hit the first aide station and grabbed water, perform and some ice. Ice down my shirt and in my hands I jogged off to the next. This course is a bunch of winding out and backs with a section that is all paved road lying in the midst of a huge lava field. You can tell where I really started to hurt and feel this heat at around 4-5miles when I way slowed down. I hit the first aid station of this part and had a kid that was volunteering spray my back down with sunscreen. There were a few instances when I was running that I was feeling really faint and I knew that I was not doing a good job of keeping myself cool/hydrated so I went into problem solving mode of how to cool off better and be able to run for longer.

I ended up taking 2 water glasses, 2 ice cups, 2 sponges and a perform at every aid station and running about a 8:2 ratio. It seemed to help quite a bit to keep me cool. By the time I headed out of those out and backs I wasn't feeling too bad and surprisingly in relatively good spirits despite how hot I was. During walk breaks we were all having little conversations with one another about the heat, where we were from, etc. I think that helped. This one girl and I had been going back and forth with one another....her name was also Melissa which a lady behind us pointed out on one of my passes. Kind of funny...and will come into play later...(foreshadowing). Once back on the golf course it seemed to be relatively cooler than running in the middle of lava...surprise? I hit the out and back of the Petroglyph park not feeling too bad around mile 8-9. It was hot in there but I my cooling plan seemed to be working with all the ice and cold water. Some others were not faring so well by that point. I saw 3 ppl being taken off the course by medical for presumed heat exhaustion/dehydration.

So I hit mile 10 and 11 and knew I could put more effort in for the final two miles. I walked the aid stations at that point but nothing else and passed a ton of people. One lady made a comment as I ran by to another guy who must have said something to her to the effect of "what a speed rocket! It's those last couple miles I guess". I hit the final aid station and was told only a 1/4 mile left...I was skeptical and then more people told me the same. 1/4 mile? That's it! So I went on my mission to pick as many people off as possible. Guess who I caught!!? Other Melissa....haha. I gave my final kick and beat the guy you can see in yellow in one of the pictures that hopefully posts.

Finish line! Finish line!
What would you do differently?:

Probably have figured out a better cooling strategy earlier...more drinking. I didn't have to pee for the entire likely dehydrated...
Post race
Warm down:

My friend found me in the finish chute and I grabbed a cup of ripple chips. Sat down in the shade under a tent. Eventually got up to get my finishers meal. They have a pretty nice set up that you can pic from a variety of different options. I got an iron hamburger. I picked up a glass of my free beer but couldn't drink it. It just made me feel nauseous.

Gathered my gear and biked to our rental car and headed back down to Kona.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Wind, heat, wind, heat, wind, heat.

Event comments:

Race and atmosphere are awesome. Volunteers are awesome. Organization is top notch. Course was hard and made harder by the elements. I earned my finisher's hat on this one.

Toughest course I've ever done.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2012-08-25 12:00 AM
00:33:44 | 1931 meters | 01m 45s / 100meters
Age Group: 6/39
Overall: 159/1449
Performance: Good
Suit: Aqua sphere speed skin
Course: Rectangular counter clockwise
Start type: Wade Plus: Waves
Water temp: 24C / 75F Current: Medium
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Average Drafting: Average
Waves: Average Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 05:25
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
03:31:14 | 90.12 kms | 25.56 km/hr
Age Group: 22/39
Overall: 850/1449
Performance: Average
HR AVG 148 Bike Details Division Rank: 22 Split Name Distance Split Time Race Time Pace Div. Rank Overall Rank Gender Rank 4.8 mi 4.8 mi 18:17 57:26 15.75 mi/h 12.8 mi 8 mi 29:18 1:26:44 16.38 mi/h 48 mi 35.2 mi 2:02:05 3:28:49 17.30 mi/h 56 mi 8 mi 41:34 4:10:23 11.55 mi/h Total 56.0 mi 3:31:14 4:10:23 15.91 mi/h 22 850 177
Wind: Strong with gusts
Course: Out and back constantly rolling course north to Hawi.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Average
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Just right
Time: 04:29
Overall: Below average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike Average
Running with bike Average
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal
02:27:27 | 21.08 kms | 06m 59s  min/km
Age Group: 20/39
Overall: 833/1449
Performance: Below average
Run Details Division Rank: 20 Split Name Distance Split Time Race Time AVG HR 158 Pace Div. Rank Overall Rank Gender Rank 3.3 mi 3.3 mi 35:43 4:50:35 10:49/mi 7.2 mi 3.9 mi 49:58 5:40:33 12:48/mi 10 mi 2.8 mi 30:28 6:11:01 10:52/mi 13.1 mi 3.1 mi 31:18 6:42:19 10:05/mi Total 13.1 mi 2:27:27 6:42:19 11:15/mi 20 833 195
Course: Rolling and winding mix of running on paved trails, road and golf course fairways.
Keeping cool Bad Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 2
Physical exertion [1-5] 2
Good race? Ok
Course challenge Too hard
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2013-06-02 1:24 PM

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Subject: Ironman 70.3 Hawaii

2013-06-02 1:47 PM
in reply to: #4764081

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ann arbor, michigan
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Hawaii
Sounds like a brutally tough day but you hung in there and conquered that course.

Rest up and then time to get ready for France.
2013-06-02 2:13 PM
in reply to: wannabefaster

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Payson, AZ
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Hawaii
Nice job.  Your run splits were actually fairly solid, I think you recovered yourself quite well.  Just need to start the plan earlier.  Awesome job finishing strong
2013-06-02 2:23 PM
in reply to: wannabefaster

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Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Hawaii

Way to go Mindy. It sounds like you did great on a really tough day.

Great Race report. 

2013-06-02 2:45 PM
in reply to: KateTri1

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West Chester, Ohio
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Hawaii
Way to get it done!  Tough conditions and you managed the PETE JACOBS suck it up quite well.
2013-06-02 3:06 PM
in reply to: #4764081

Northern IL
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Hawaii
Nice job hanging in there! The wind and heat can be so demoralizing!

2013-06-02 3:40 PM
in reply to: brigby1

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Verona WI--Ironman Bike Country!
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Hawaii
Great race!!!  Sounds like a challenging event and managed it like a champ.  Onward to IM France!
2013-06-02 3:40 PM
in reply to: brigby1

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Simsbury, Connecticut
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Hawaii
Nice job!! The wind on the bike sounds brutal. Not much you can do about mother nature but you sound like you gave it right back to her!
2013-06-02 3:49 PM
in reply to: #4764081

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Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Hawaii
Really well done out there. Great RR as well. You dealt with both the the physical and mental aspects of a very tough day. Nice job. Time to rest and recover. IM France!!!!
2013-06-02 4:17 PM
in reply to: #4764081

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Calgary, AB
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Hawaii

Well done Melissa!  After that heat, you'll have a much better appreciation for racing in Alberta's sub-Arctic climate.  Smile

The mental toughness you built here will carry forward to Nice I'm sure.

2013-06-02 6:40 PM
in reply to: Hoos

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PEI, Canada
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Hawaii
Awesome job!  You may have talked this Canadian out of doing the race.  LOL

2013-06-02 7:37 PM
in reply to: axteraa

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Central Kansas
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Hawaii
Sometimes it's not just about speed; it's about endurance and character. You exhibited qualities of all three. But I know how emotionally draining a tough race can be. I got mentally exhausted just reading your descriptions of the wind.
2013-06-02 8:15 PM
in reply to: KansasMom

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South Alabama
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Hawaii
Great race report! Excellent job putting out a strong effort on such a tough day. You are more than ready for IM France! 
2013-06-02 8:30 PM
in reply to: #4764081

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Goodyear, AZ
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Hawaii
Well done girl! That sounded like a tough, tough day out there! WTG!!
2013-06-02 8:48 PM
in reply to: #4764081

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Houston, Texas
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Hawaii
Sounds like a really tough race, but you pushed through and earned that finish!  I also notice that my lower back bothers me more on windy rides than other rides.  Hope you recover quickly and have a great IM France!
2013-06-02 9:31 PM
in reply to: ligersandtions

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North Augusta, South Carolina
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Hawaii
Well done...particularly where you give yourself a chance to feel a little pain, but then push yourself past it. Props to you!

2013-06-03 12:56 AM
in reply to: #4764081

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2000500100100100100 home in The ATL
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Hawaii
Wait. You were too nauseous to drink beer? That must have been one brutal race. Way to keep your cool (literally) and get it back together, Melissa. That kind of mental toughness will pay off in spades in France.
2013-06-03 6:53 AM
in reply to: #4764081

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Gold member
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Hawaii

Holy Moly! You are amazing!! Great way to figure things out on the run! IM France will be easy compared to this!

2013-06-03 8:05 AM
in reply to: ceilidh

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Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Hawaii
Great job Melissa.  YOU DID IT.  France better watch out for you.
2013-06-03 8:35 AM
in reply to: #4764081

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Englewood, Florida
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Hawaii
Wow, tough race and an even tougher racer! Great job on a brutal day.
2013-06-03 10:06 AM
in reply to: cdban66

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Extreme Veteran
Collierville, Tennessee
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Hawaii
Man, what a phenomenal job on a tough...on a really tough day! I loved the race report too! You're pretty amazing...

2013-06-03 10:42 AM
in reply to: #4764081

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Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Hawaii
Ouch. Way to go Melissa, sounds like a really tough day
2013-06-03 12:36 PM
in reply to: #4764081

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Kailua, Hawaii
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Hawaii
Way to go Melissa ! Tough day out there and you were a warrior!!
2013-06-03 2:19 PM
in reply to: #4764081

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Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Hawaii
Awesome job. Great swim and I'm glad we I had a 7 minute head start on you instead of 5 minutes...LOL. It sounds like you paced it well on a brutal day. In 2011 it was light winds on the bike and a hot run. 2012 was strong winds on the bike, but a cooler run. 2013 was the ultimate eff you...LOL. Congrats on pushing through where others like myself broke down. You're going to rock France.
2013-06-03 10:49 PM
in reply to: tri808

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New user
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Hawaii
Melissa, awesome job! You really tougher it out in nasty conditions. Way to plough through those challenges!
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Ironman Hawaii triathlon wallpaper provided by swbkrun.
date : June 5, 2006
author : Team BT
comments : 0
Ironman Hawaii triathlon wallpaper provided by swbkrun.