Where to start! It’s been a month(!) since Kona, so ample time for race reflection – both while sunning on Kauai’s incredible north shore and while back at home in the real world (of mittens and brushed running tights!).
Overall, Kona didn’t disappoint. The concise race report: 140.6 miles of fun, smiles and so much gratitude. During the race, I repeatedly reminded myself that I was, in fact, racing Kona (someone still pinch me, please) – a goal realized thanks to countless hours of hard work, dedication and sacrifice. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
The race was everything I hoped for and so much more – even though the end result wasn’t what I trained for or am capable of (a much faster marathon and a daylight finish). But, it’s Kona, and anything can happen (read: puke + rally during the run). I gave it my all and my very best on October 8, and I’m happy with how I handled what Madame Pele threw at me. That doesn’t mean I’m satisfied, though. This journey isn’t over yet!
Kona by the numbers
1:09:13 – swim split
5:54:13 – bike split
4:14:22 – run split
11:27:09 – official time
5:00 – time in the penalty tent
1 – chocolate outrage GU
3 – Honey Stinger gluten-free maple waffles
2 – GU gluten-free salted chocolate stroopwafels
6 – waffles that fit in the pocket of my Coeur Sports sports bra
4 – packs Skratch raspberry energy chews
2 – packs Skratch raspberry energy chews that I didn’t eat on the run
4 – mini biff stops
3 – times I applied sunscreen (night before, morning of, in T1)
7 – race day tattoos (smile, focus, fast, heart + courage, never give up, 5Q, InsideTracker)
mile 70 – when I started drinking Coke on the bike
30 oz – Skratch raspberry electrolyte drink on the bike
Race morning started like any other – an early alarm, gluten-free toast, coffee and gear check. My dad drove Nick and me to the King Kam, where after a pep talk from Nick, I went into transition for body marking (from my good friend Sarah, too!). After a quick tire pump and loading nutrition on my bike, I relaxed in the grass near transition and caught up with some teammates and friends before go time. It was really one of the most chill race mornings ever – so much time to soak it all up!
Swim // 1:09:13
More so than the Hawi crosswinds, I was most anxious about the swim. For no reason, though, as the swim turned out to be one of the highlights. There were butterflies, yes, but once I was treading water in Kailua Bay (in the middle of the pack toward the left), those gave way to pure giddiness: I was racing Kona!
Dudes on paddleboards kept us in line before the cannon, and once it fired, it was all systems GO. Surprisingly, it was pretty calm. No one swam over, kicked, punched or dunked me. Instead, I found some feet (a race first!) and focused on chasing the bubbles for the first 300-400 yards (not hard to do given how turquoise-y clear the water is). There I decided I wasn’t swimming hard enough so slipped out of the draft and went on my way. And, other than one woman who thought super splashy was fun – I could not get away from her for a portion of the backstretch – the rest was pretty uneventful, incredibly enjoyable and went by quite quickly. I started catching men around the second turn buoy, so knew I was having a good-for-me swim. Salt water FTW! I felt fantastic the entire 1:09 – almost a swim PR! – and couldn’t stop smiling when I ran up the steps to T1. (Pre-race superstition: Running up those steps was a no-no for me after Friday’s coffee boat swim because I thought it would jinx my race day swim!)