Saturday, April 14, 2012

Lavaman Triathlon 2012

Lavaman Triathlon - Olympic Distance - April 1, 2012
Swim 1500 meters:  31:38
T1: 1:59
Bike 40k:  1:10:10
T2:  1:25
Run 10k:  52:01
Total:  2:37:13
First, thank you to all the generous people in my life who donated to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society for this event.   Thanks to people like you, patients have more treatment options and help in their journeys.  And, thanks to Brian, my in-laws, and Millie - without them I would not have been able to do this race and be part of this amazing team!  Thank you all!
This was a great TNT event!  We brought 33 athletes from the Rocky Mountain chapter.   We got in Thursday night.  Friday morning we woke up to hurricane force winds.  Uh oh.  I started revising my race goals pretty much right away.  We bagged the idea of a ride since we were afraid of being blown off the road.  Instead, we hung out by the pool again.  Saturday was windy again.  We did a short ride and it wasn’t too bad.  Not great for racing, though!  Saturday night we had our Inspiration Dinner.  It was amazing to hear some of the stories of leukemia & lymphoma patients who would be out there racing with us.  Very inspiring for sure!  One guy from the NYC chapter had relapsed at least three or four times in the last 7 years and yet, here is a triathlon and surprising his doctors once again!
Sunday morning there was VERY little wind.  It was if the race directors ordered the weather for THAT day.  It was fun hanging out on the beach before the race start.   I was in the second to last wave.  So, there was a lot of waiting!  
Swim:  Finally my wave took off.  This is a swim unlike any other.  It’s like snorkeling the whole time.  Lots of coral, tons of fish.  I saw four huge sea turtles in the last half of the swim!  I was shooting for 30 minutes and that was the time when I stood up out of the water.  The mat was way up near transition, though.  Oh well - not fast, but enjoyable!  Maybe I was a little TOO distracted with the scenery!  The run up to transition was a lot longer than I remembered!
T1:  I almost missed my turn into my row until a volunteer told me where to go!  Other than that, it was pretty fast without a wetsuit.
Bike:  This was way too much fun!  The upside to being in the second to last wave is that I got to pass a ton of people on the bike. The downside to being in the second to last wave is that I got to pass a ton of people on the bike.  I don’t race with a Garmin or bike computer, so I just go by feel.  When I feel good, I hammer.  When I don’t, I ease off a bit.  It was fun seeing so many friends on the bike.  It gave me lots of energy to see friendly faces.  For the most part, people were really good about moving to the right so I could pass, so the bike seemed to go along smoothly.  When I got to the turnaround, I was about 2 minutes slower than my goal.  But, I had been told that the course is a little easier on the return.  So, I just continued to work hard and have fun.  The whole ride, I just kept thinking, “I’m riding part of the Ironman Hawaii course!”  The views are amazing, too.  My goal was 1:10 and I knew it would be close.  Toward the end of the ride is a no passing zone.  I definitely got bogged down there, but I felt sure I would make my goal.  I just hung out in my spot behind a couple other guys until we rolled into transition.  1:10:10 - made my goal!  21.25 mph.
T2:  I promise this was not my first triathlon.  But, I missed my row until a volunteer pointed it out.  Too late to go back.  Ooops.  I headed down another row to the other end and then back up my ACTUAL row.  Geez!   Fairly quick transition after that.
Run:  I was really looking forward to this run.  It’s got all kinds of interesting pieces!  The first quarter mile is on black, loose lava rock.  A little tough to run especially straight off the bike.  My race plan was a little different than usual.  Usually I like to ease into the run in the early miles, then pick it up a bit, then hammer the last 2 miles.  This course doesn’t really work well that way.  So, my plan for this race was to hammer the first 4 miles and see what happens in the last 2.2.  I ran as hard as I could.  The best part of the run was seeing my teammates out there smiling and working hard.  The first couple miles are on black pavement with no breeze.  HOT!  Once we hit the turnaround, we actually had a great breeze that made things much easier.
At about mile 4, we run IN the resort.  “IN” as in on the sidewalk past the pool near my room etc.  It’s kinda weird to have people on lounge chairs with Mai Tai’s out there cheering you on!  Then, the drop down onto the lava rock trail.  This thing is narrow, so it’s a mandatory no-passing zone.  Honestly I was hoping for a little breather here.  My wish was granted.  The girl in front of us apologized for slowing us down.  We were all in agreement that we were all COMPLETELY fine with it!  You have a lava rock cliff on your left and the ocean below on your right.  The trail is probably a couple feet wide with one super skinny section.  Nothing treacherous but you definitely want to watch your footing!  Then, back up into the resort, past more pools and people drinking Mai Tai’s.  Then, drop down onto a trail made of big loose lava rock.  This part was really pretty tough to run.  Very uneven.  Not very fast.  I was running with a couple guys and we were all talking about the beer tent that was waiting at the finish.  Then, onto a nicer packed trail under some trees with amazing ocean views.  Next up - deep sand.  Ugh!  This is between miles five and six and makes for some tough running.   I asked the guy behind me if he wanted to pass.  He said, “No.  Just keep talking about the beer tent!”  So, we plugged on.  Out of the sand onto a windy narrow paved path along the beach.  Then, back into the sand for the finish.  This finish line is gorgeous.  Right on the beach.  Decorated with flowers, etc.  My goal for the run was 55 minutes.  Actual run time...52:01.  Yea!!  
My goal was 2:40, so coming in at 2:37 was exciting.  And, it was good enough for 5th out of 86 women in the Female 40-44 age group.  Yep, that’s right!  I’m only 39, but have to race as a 40 year old ALL year.  Thanks USAT!  I would have a nice award to put on my desk if I had actually attended the award ceremony.  But, a) I don’t usually win things and b) they have free unlimited Kona Brewing Company beer after the race.  Sitting on the beach with great friends drinking a great beer is better than any award anyway!
This was a great race all the way around.  It’s fun, beautiful, somewhat challenging and very well run.  I know we will field another amazing team for 2013.  Can’t wait!

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