It is nice to be back home. It has been a long focus and lead up to Kona and not getting the result I was after makes it a little more difficult. I was able to spend the rest of the week with my family in Kona, which was great. Spending time that was lost leading up to the race. I got to snorkel, swim, and surf with my son Kaiden.
The race did not turn out the way I hoped. I put in the time and effort for a good race and for some reason it was not the day I expected. That is the challenge with Ironman. You put everything into one day and sometimes your body does not respond the way it supposed to. My fitness was strong and the best it has been in.
I had a good swim and found myself swimming in the front of the lead pack the whole time. I was 2nd and 3rd back the whole swim until the last 500 meters where everyone started to get anxious and fight for position. With other athletes pulling and hitting my feet and trying to cut in, it turned into an aggressive swim. I got a good cramp in my calf from all the taps and pulls on my feet I ended up having to stop and stretch it out. I went from 3rd from the front to coming out of the water in the top 20. I only lost 15 or so seconds, but every bit counts. That put me heading out of transition behind the front of the group where I wanted to be.
I went out a little harder than planned to get to the front and try and get away before leaving town. Once I got onto the highway I knew my legs were not feeling how they normally do. It felt like I had to put a lot of effort into the pedals to get the power output I normally can get with ease and rhythm. It was something I kept thinking would come around. Sometimes in a long race like the Ironman your legs can feel bad or you can be having a bad day and if you stick to it, it can come around and you can start feeling really good again. So I stuck to my plan and tried to hold a pace that would keep me towards the front hoping the legs would start to feel good. Sindballe and I changed positions a couple times as we went up to Hawi and back down, and then I started to feel really bad and he pulled away. From before Kawaihi to the Four Seasons my body and legs were not listening to my pleas to feel better and hang in there. My power dropped significantly and I lost 4 minutes to Sindballe. Norman Stadler was coming close as we came into to town and I was hoping that my legs on the run would feel a lot better than the ride. Sometimes when your legs feel bad on the bike your run can still be good and have rhythm.
So I was hoping for the best as I started the run. I ran with Norman for the first couple miles and I knew it was going to be a tough day as my legs were killing me right from the beginning. I dug deep and pushed myself the best I could. Staying positive and trying to ignore the pain in my legs. I held on well as I was holding 3rd place through the first half of the marathon. Once we got onto the highway my legs were feeling worse as I had to run the rolling hills heading out to the energy lab. Crowie passed me and I was fading quick. Fighting the urge to walk. I shuffled and walked for the next couple miles getting passed by the top 10. Brian Rhodyes ran past me and encouraged me to run with him. I mustered what I could and ran with him through the lab and back towards town. Even running at an 8 minute mile pace was painful as I couldn't keep up with the casual pace Bryan and I were running. He went ahead as I couldn't go much faster and had to stop frequently.
My goals changed and I didn't want to look at this race as a failure. Yes, I didn't finish where I wanted, but I pushed through, learned a lot that will help me in the future. I got to have my son witness me cross the finish line and show him that winning is not everything, but seeing things through and pushing through the best you can when things get tough. He has been an inspiration and motivation for me this year. My family is my #1 focus, with my supportive and caring wife Karis, Kaiden who is my best friend, and my new 8 week old daughter Kayah who I am excited to see grow and excited to see what everyone is saying about having a daughter.
Thank you to everyone for all your support and encouragement through out the year and on race day. I was humbled to see how many people took energy out of their own race to encourage me
even when I did not have the energy to return the favor. Know that I am thankful for your encouragement and that I wish I could have been more encouraging back.
See you next season and looking forward to what next year will bring! Who knows maybe I will be out there again this year?
A special thanks to K-Swiss for the support and belief in me. I continue to strive to do more and look forward what K-Swiss will do this next year and I hope to surprise a few people as well.