Monday, October 28, 2013

2013 IRONMAN World Championship, Kailua-Kona, Hi

 I decided to let the images tell the story this time.  Its a good thing I have plenty!

Travel started at 4am and 22hrs later we were in our room in Kona.
 Everyone was a better sport about it than me.

So many times I imagined just how cool it would be to swim out to the Coffee's of Hawaii Espresso Boat.
The Big Island claims to have no billboards.  I guess the sea floor doesn't count. 
what a great way to start the day!
Transition is on the pier.  Rumor is, once its loaded down with bikes, it becomes the most expensive real estate in Kona.

This is bike check.  At the left, you can see all the guys sitting with clipboards.
  These guys are keeping a tally of every kind of bike and gear than can see. 
Lava Magazine Official Bike Count

Gordon Ramsey was popular in transition.

Don't laugh, it happens more than you think. 
I know it happened at Goosepond, and it wasn't me or E!

This was the day 1 loot from the expo and SWAG bag.  I didn't pay for any of this stuff, and there was more the next few days too.  Some of the cooler stuff was Yurbuds handing out free head phones and Garmin had special pink/purple Kona only 910 wrist straps.  There was a lot of very cool stuff earlier in the week that I missed out on including ~$60 choice of helmet and shades from Rudy Project and Castelli handing out their super fast new top that everyone wanted. 

Emily wanted to get her picture pointing to Greg Broadley's name, undoubtedly.  I need a taller wife or a last initial farther down the alphabet. 

the Underpants Run was pretty cool.  I had on some Superman boxers with a mini cape,
 and E rocked this top and some Superman UnderRoos
we were over dressed
I coudve spent a lot of time at the local market.  There were massive mangos and pineapples, and we saw something called Apple-Bananas.  It is a small banana flavored like an apple.  Very odd little fruit.  The farmstress here sold me on a Dragon Fruit which was similar to a Kiwi but eaten like an orange and inside a leathers, spikey skin.

Emily liked this guy.  He was just outside the expo.  Meh.
It took me a minute to figure out what this was.  It is a bit easier in the picture, but I wont spoil it.

I was pretty excited to have breakfast with TJ Tollackson.  He told us a bit about the future of Dimond bikes and gave us some sweet Dimond goodies.  It was a very odd feeling when I realized I was the weakest athlete at the table.  I was, however, the best sponge.  I could've sat there and listened all day.  I've never been around so much talent. 
This felt a bit like holding his jock strap, but what can I say, I've been a TJ fan since I got into Ironman.
Yep, I'm the slowest guy in this picture. 

So while I'm soaking up all the info I can get at breakfast, Emily and Leigh find Hines Ward.  I spotted them and remarked "oh man, my wife is about to run off #86 from his breakfast."  Half our table got up and went over along with the rest of the restaurant.  HW evened up and worked his way out within 90".  

another commute to the coffee bar.  Man I miss that.
Fortunately I had a shake out ride at the Natural Energy Lab and discovered my front brake was tweaked so it was scrubbing.  QR was nice enough to bless the CD0.1 with a very challenging caliper to adjust. 
Down in the Energy Lab is plenty of lava fields to explore. 

Mom, Aunt Caroline, and my best mother-in-law, Sue at dinner at Huggo's on the Rocks.  This a great place to over pay for a meal and be treated like you aren't as important as the waiter named Dick. 

Race morning.  The wife has cut my hair since we've been married.  Last October, she cut it for IMFL and that was the last time.  She decided to let it grow out and this is where we are.  It drives my nuts, but she is ultimately the only one I want to look sexy for, so I cope.  On this day, I was wondering just how hot this mop was about to get on my head.
If not for her, I would have no idea about an Ironman or that I wanted to do the one in Kona.  Really without her, I'd probably be wadded up in a guard rail along with bits of a motorcycle chasing Shaun's Barber lap times.  I just never figured out BMP. 

Man, this woman loves me.  I never realized how lucky I was to have such a good momma.  I don't think she could squeeze another drop of love out.  I just hope I deserve it one day.
So yeah, swim start.  Deep water start too.  It really isn't so bad.  The salt water is crazy buoyant, and athletes seem a bit less aggressive without the wetsuit.  Maybe it is just a bigger, spread out start, or a different type of athlete at Kona?

There is no heads up, just cannon fire and chaos.
I don't know how she found me coming out of the water.  She's a great cheerleader.  I had a cush swim.  There was no real impartiveness about it for me.  I just wanted an easy day since Whistler hurt so bad the last 5k.  I got some chin music at the turn around and nearly lost my goggles.  I kept calm and swam just off course to get them reseated before conituining.  The swim was really nice, I just followed toes and bubbles.  I was happily shocked to see 1:14 on the clock when I came out.
T1 wasn't too bad, but the bike rack was a ghost town.  I immediately remembered how cool it was to come into IMCanada's T1 and see a rack full of bikes.  Not so much here.  These guys are the real deal. 

The first half hour of the bike, I was convinced I was having some sort of hypersensitivity reaction.  My lips and tongue were swollen and numb.  Fortunately, my breathing wasn't effected and it wore off after a bit.
I decided to just stick to my race strategy and see where the day took me since I had an okay swim time.  I made the turnaround in Hawi feeling phenominal and got of the bike fhere feeling better than I ever have in an Ironman.  I usually start questioning my ability to run while I am still on the bike.  Getting into T2 feeling great gave me a ton of confidence.

Garmin Data from the Bike
Time: 5:07 AP=205W VI=1.039 IF=69.1  -  not too hard of a ride for me.

T2 was l-o-o-o-n-g-oooong. maybe some more ooos again.  I just kept winding around but coming out I felt studly.  I had ZERO intention of hurting on this run so I started out really easy.  I planned to daisy the first 10k before I even considered settling into running.

I walked all the aid stations.  I used the watch as a leash and kept my rooster in the pin.  I wasn't scared of Kona, I really just spent all my suffering already and wanted to enjoy this day.

Coming back on Ali'i Dr still feeling great.  I had decided I was about to have a PR performance.  Doing the math, I figured out I could trot out 8s and come in under 10hrs.  I turned up Palani Hill and decided to be safe and walk up.  From there, I would run comfy to the half point and see if I felt good enough to PR the marathon too.

That was the last time I felt good, mile 10 of the run.  By the time I saw the 13 mark, I was debating if I could even close out the day.

I wish I could put a pin in what happened.  It was like God walked in the room and said "night -night" and flipped out the lights.  I decided at 13 to walk for 2 minutes to see if I would come around.  That was the last real shot at holding it together. 
After grenading in the Energy Lab, Emily came out to scrape me off the Queen K.  My only motivation was to keep pushing to try to salvage my 10:30 "worst case" result that I promised my support team back home.  I  dug deep and vowed to put myself in position to meet that goal through the final 5k. 

This is what was passing for running.  Notice both feet are still on the ground. 

Garmin Data from the Run

Just before I saw Emily, I hit 5k to go.  I realized I was just wishing for the day to end.  I decided I had spent too long dreaming of this day to wish it over.  No one was whipping me making me run.  Nothing was going to eat me; no one would throw me in jail or cut off my toes if I slowed down.  I just happened to see her when I was ready to walk and she kept me company for a few minutes, heckling me like a good friend and snapping plenty of pictures to preserve the moment.
Tough day as a cheerleader too.  She is managing facebook updates, Ironman Live, and trying to capture the day with the camera too.  Then she had to run a 10k to come out and shame me into finishing so she could get some dinner.
You know, the odd thing was that I felt pretty good.  Even if I looked like kaka, I was in good spirits.  I just had no more of whatever I needed to keep running. 

I was finishing right as Ken Glah's  was wrapping up his 30th Kona finish so I pulled up to avoid funking up his finisher pic.  I was not so lucky.

Spy off to the right and you'll see Emily running the camera too.
I wish I could say how magical it was to walk across the finish line, but it was just another day.  I managed my worst ironman performance and experienced a new level of suck. 
Kona is a unique venue and I see why there is so much mystic involved, but ultimately it was another day.  I guess I was expecting a chorus of angels to greet me as I crossed the line, I don't know.  Meh.

I knew 6wks wasn't enough time for me to recover from the KQing effort at Ironman Canada, but I really didn't expect it to have such a lingering effect.  Looking back, I had a great day at IMFL 11 months ago and was able to finish strong.  Then IMLCabos, 4.5months later, I only started suffering the final few miles.  At Whistler, I came apart the final 10k and the last 5k was ugly.  I guess it makes since that I would break at the 13.1 in Kona going by my last year's trend.  I'll be on the one big race per year plan from now on.

My final tally for the last <365 days is 4x Ironmans , 2x 70.3s, a 50k trail race, and a handful of little stuff.  Fortunately, it'll be May before I have a go at digging deep again.

 The finish video link that Jenni and Ty snagged for me off the live feed.  Thanks guys. 

TJ had his best Kona performance and finished with Crowie.  I am glad I got to be here for Crowie's finale. 

Carfrea ran away with the women's race and set a new marathon record.  I really wasn't sure if I would want to come back to Kona until I started reviewing all the images.  When I see this pic of Rennie's smile, I want some of that.  I'm not sure what it takes to get that happiness and satisfaction with the race, but I am content to pursue it a bit longer.

Michelle Vesterby had her best Kona day with a 9th Pro Female.  While I was wondering around transition in the morning, she tapped me on the shoulder and said "Hey Chris!".  I didn't expect her to be milling about with the age groupers.  We met her after IMLCabos where she just missed winning overall female.  She was trapped on a catamaran with us and once I realized who she was, I was full of questions. 

Mom braved the crazies to get some great images too.  Thanks !
Everything hurt.  The soles of my feet were destroyed, and my shoulders felt like they had weights hanging off them all day.  really, my shoulders were a constant pain the last hour of the marathon.  It felt like I had been holding heavy weights and not supporting them with my muscles, rather just letting them hang.
It wasn't long before I started feeling a bit better.  We headed to Wal-Mart, and I nabbed a tub of Oreo Cookies and Cream icecream.  I think the best part of doing the events is recovering!
But I still wasn't interested in doing much walking.

My favorite part of the trip was having sunrise coffee with Dad.  Before I started all these pre-dawn training days, it was a regular part of my life.  Now, its probably been 2 years since I've been able to do this.

Dad made some friends with stray gobblers.  By the time we left, they were at the house waiting on him every morning.

Just in case we lose the other images, we need redundancy as evidence I was here!

Typically, athletes swarm the expo the morning after a race.  It wasn't really like that in Kona.  I strolled up 15' late and this was the line to get in.  I have never bought any finisher gear, but I swore if I made Kona I would buy one of everything.  I didn't quite make my prediction, but I did invest in a swanky jacket.

We spent part of the next day in a submarine. 
~24hrs post race, and I still look like death.
I've got lots of blue photos of sea life, I thought this one was interesting.
Family fun times.  I am so very fortunate to have so many cheerleaders!

I kept asking the locals  what food was a "must have" in Hawaii.  Interestingly, it is SPAM.  I noticed it on the menu of several of the restaurants, even the snazzy ones.  Eventually, I started asking folks about it.  The story I got was that there was a massive disaster and the US air dropped canned SPAM to keep the population alive.  Depending on the version, that disaster may be the Pearl Harbor bombing, 1-2 Tsunamis, or an eruption of one of the volcanoes.  Regardless, it is appearant SPAM is ingrained in Hawaiin culture.  This warm SPAM sushi was actually not too bad for breakfast.
We had to take the fam' for a show & tell of the Natural Energy Lab and a stroll about the lava fields. 
Everyone always love to remark about the "sports bra" tanlines
and its become tradition to rock the Salty Sea Koozie for my recovery!


The Blue Hawaiian Helicopter tour was a great way to see the Big Island.

fun with photoshop

So many pictures.  I am trying out new authentic-looking smiles.  This one says we are having crazy fun.
Stuffed Jalepeno & cheese Bacon Burger goodness with Sweet Potato fries and way, way too much ketchup.
Lava Lava Beacg Club.  Cool little restaurant.

Lava Lava had a very cool view, but I got another picture of us.
Just beyond the town of Hawi is an overlook with a pretty dang spectacular view. 

You can see how much better the view is with my shades on here.
Emily wanted me to post a disclaimer that she really hates all her pictures from the trip.
 I have always found it interesting how hot chicks find ways to be self conscious.

We found a rest area just before Hawi with a Lemon tree around back.  I had to give it a try and it was impressive just how sweet the lemons were.  It was like eating a just-a-wee-bit-tart orange, maybe. 

As we got into Hawi, we stopped at LavaMan which sells all kinds of local, homegrown goodies.  Somehow I got rooked into buying a $5 tube of chapstick.  

Emily climbed upon a pilon to get a picture of a windmill farm. 
The farm didn't make the cut, but the picture of her on the post did.

This is what I look like when I look at the ocean from the lava.

Beaches that fit our idea of what a beach should be are pretty rare.  After getting there, I promptly passed straight out.  This is what my foot looks like when I am asleep on the beach.

Emily really liked the pre-luau show&tell session.
You can really see how much she liked it because she's doing the super excited open mouth smile. 

There was a pig in the ground, but no beer on ice.  Both of which are necessary for a country boy to survive according to the Hymn of Bocephus.  .
unedited, no photoshop here.  He paints a pretty picture, right?

I wonder how often he pees in the bed?
*edit-Emily says not everyone's Dad told them if they played with fire they would pee in the bed.

The fire twirler looked a lot like my cousin Ben.  I have every intention of posting a picture here of my cousin Ben. 
If it isn't here, he looks a lot like this guy.
This was pretty cool.  Literally.  There was a roadside little operation peddling chilled fresh coconut water.  Dad swears they just refill them when we leave.

Behind the coconut place was a grove of apple-banana trees.  I had hoped to snatch a fresh one and was lucky enough to stumble upon a bunch that was ready to devour. 

This is the shirt TJ gave us.  At first, I wasn't really digging it until I wore it and the local people kept commenting on how much they liked it.  I only saw a flower pattern on a chick colored grape shirt; the Hawaiians all saw the lei.  It turned out to be a pretty cool little congrats on the KQ.

One of our favorite stops was at the Kona Brewing Co. 
With 22 brews on tap, its an endurance test to get through them all. 
We made a few friends including a race volunteer that described one of the German pro men requesting help lubing up his special private place. 
These 3 were as entertained with us as we were them, and we spent most of one night trying to decide whose culture was the most fascinating. 
Emily's favorite was "hop on top". 
Mine was Pipeline Porter brewed with Kona Coffee.  The picture is of one of the reds though.
 Spy the short glass, that was the free sample size.
I really started to dig the Aloha spirit of things on the Big Island. 

This is what we look like when we are having fun at KBC. 
My friend Paul added character to his tattoo after every race.  We met him and his wife at IMLCabos and then spent some time hanging out at IMCa where he KQ'ed.  Paul was cool enough to wag me around the bike course at Whistler and talk me through some of the tricky parts.  He actually made a big difference in my overall stress at both Whistler and Kona after reminding me that regardless what the day brings, we'd seen worse.  We've trained in hotter, colder, windier, hillier, wetter and more humid preparing for these races.  He convinced me the worst was behind me.
He's a lying piece of crap.
Thanks for false security!

Pretty sweet little setup at the Kona Brewing Co.  Rumor is they have great food too.
Okay so this is an absolutely ridiculous picture. But. But. But. I own my ridiculousness.
We planned to hike the 1hr/2 mile each way trail down to Capt Cook Monument and snorkel.  The trail head is a gap in the forrest and after missing it, I stumbled upon a drunken local that rented us his grandmothers canoe and we paddled the 3 mile round trip to the monument and soaked up the most amazing sea life I've ever seen.  Its a challenge getting to the monument, but its so worth the trip.  Even if you look like this doing it.  We didn't even notice the sign on the left until we saw the pics. 
Capt. Cook Monument
on our way back from the monument, we found the best Thai food ever.  2/3rds of us loved it. 

Our last night on the island.  The plane left at 9pm and we had our best dinner on the way out at the 4 Seasons Beach Club bar & Grill.

The view from dinner.  Again, no help with the image. 
I told Dad it seems that sometimes we cant enjoy our vacation for trying to make pictures that look like we are enjoying our vacation.

It is quite a long day of traveling.  The trip out took us 21 hours door to door: thankfully it was "only" 13 back.  Regardless, mom needed a break, and she looked pretty out of place in the airport.
So yeah, there's no way I'm letting her get attention with out me. 




  1. Great report man. I qualified at Canada with you and had the same intentions as you going into Kona. Looks like you enjoyed yourself. Congrats!

  2. Congratulation and thanks for sharing the dream with the rest of us.

  3. Great report and photos! Found your blog on ST. So many people on ST have blogs and most are self-serving drivel, but yours is fantastic. I love the photo heavy format, minimal boasting. You Kona post gave me the best sense of what it would like to be at the race. Your wife and family did a great job photo documenting your race! Congrats on all your success this year!