Oceanside, California 70.3 - 1st Male 25-29 = Kona Slot!!!
Charissa, as I knew she would, hammered the course and earned herself a Kona slot as well. Hawaii will be even better with her and Steven going.
The morning got off to a good start when I ran into Charissa in the T-0 line. We had a great talk while waiting/trying to keep from freezing to death. And I knew she was ready to rock.
So you always forget one thing right? What did I forget???? The straw to my aero drink. When did I realize it? About 10pm Friday night. Who saves my ass? Bree with a great idea to get a slurpee straw from 7-11 in the morning. Incredible idea Bree. So that was the ONE thing I forgot, ohh except for than little minor piece of equipment known as a TIMING CHIP!! I get in the swim corral, get right up to the arch bend down to stretch out the hams, and see the dude in front of me has a timing chip on his ankle and I do not. I freak out realizing my chip is in my bag, on my dad's back, god knows where in the crowd. I AM F-ED!!! Thankfully the nice IM staffer grabs me and says, calm down idiot, I'll give you a replacement. Wheeww... Disaster averted.
Into the water for the line up. I was dreading how cold it was going to be, but actually the water was warmer than the air and felt good to get into. Short warm up out to the buoy and off we went. I got out early and grabbed onto some feet, but soon realized we were getting caught so I took off. My plan was to race the swim all out, so this fit better anyway. I made a whole series of winding turns on the way out, but was still in good position at the turn. The sun wasn't quite out at 6:53a.m. so I decided to wear my clear goggles... MISTAKE # 3. On the return swim, we were looking headlong into the sun, right on the horizon. I couldn't see shit. So after veering left many times, a couple yells from a kayaker and running head long into a buoy, I was out of the water 2nd in my wave in 27mins.
T2= what a mess..... 3:24 yes, you read that right. Wet, cold hands & numb feet were a pain in the ass to get into shoes and gloves.
Bike: My plan was to take it easy for the first 25 miles (R.R.R- It was my mantra). Once we got to the hills I planned to put it all out there. Then I saw the first hill. I literally laughed out loud to myself. It is a joke, and as Miranda Cafrae described it, looked like you were biking to heaven. Another little problem on the bike was nutrition. Make that Mistake #4. I took 2 bottles of Infinit (220 cals per) and a gel flask with 4 power gels (440cals). Well once I really started pushing, I couldn't seem to hold down much of what I took in. In short, I probably threw up about 7 times on the bike. Not full scale pukes, but just a few big mouthfulls of fluids and gel after seemingly every time took it in. I snagged a bottle of gatorade from the Marines, and a gel in T1, but I realized today after looking at my flask, that I had about 1.5 gels left. So total caloric intake was probably about 900 calories. Minus whatever I left on the road and my shoulders.... ewww. The final miles back in took forever, but I was off the bike in a VERY surprising 2:26
Run: It started just fine. I came out of T2 and passed a guy just a few hundred yards out. When I saw Sean he said I was the 3rd amateur and 3 mins down on the leader. I was feeling good, until we hit the soft sand. This I did not expect and my 1:20 goal went right out the window at that point. 4 times we had to cross this 1/4mi sand section. BRUTAL! I caught # 2 just at the first mile marker and it turned out to be a friend of mine (Casey Jarvis, who took 5th in our age group). He kindly informed me I was 2.5mins back of first and gave me a nice boost to try and catch him. The sand felt like it had really killed me, but I crossed the 3 mi marker at 16:30. I was hunting that 1st runner. Given that I started in the 2nd wave of 25-29ers and hadn't been passed on the bike, I figured, he was from the 1st wave but I couldn't be sure after my pathetic T1, so I told myself I had to catch him. At the turn around for lap 2 I was still under 6min/mi pace, but things were starting to get questionable. I knew my nutrition on the bike had been far insufficient and I didn't know how long before i crashed and burned. I knew my stomach couldn't handle anything more than gatorade while running that pace, so that is all I took...not enough. At the final turn around, I saw first place and knew I had closed the gap some, down to maybe 30secs -1min, but I was fading... FAST. I painfully watched as he slowly began to pull away from me and there was nothing I could do to respond. I had to just hope he was in the first wave and wouldn't cross the line 3mins before me. I was dreading the last soft sand crossing like no other. I seriously didn't think I was going to remain upright. I have never felt that utterly weak and helpless in my life. So I death marched it in with a run split of 1:24, and kept the gap just barely under 3 minutes. This meant one thing... KONA!!! And the celebration ensued.
But not before I took a much needed "swim" in the med tent pool.
I am sooo pumped and I have a few big thanks to doll out to the following folks:
Sean & Trish: You guys were awesome supporters and are incredible friends. Your help on Saturday and the days leading up was critical. Sean, the PT treatment on Thursday may have been the key to my race. And your help, info, coaching and support on Saturday was vital. I know I would not have gotten the slot without your help out there. Our trip got me in a Kona state of mind, and definitely gave me even more hunger for the slot. You guys are F-ING RADICAL!!
Brandon: Your pointed insight into the course was invaluable. So bummed you couldn't race, but your being there even sick as a dog means a great deal.
Lynn: There are very few people in this world who will drive a couple hours, to give a guy a brand new Dura Ace cassette and install it for him, free of charge. There are even fewer who will do it when you have NEVER even met the guy. But you did just that. I am beyond grateful for your kindness and extreme generosity. That cassette was HUGE in my race and really helped my bike split.
D: Your belief in me and my abilities and your positive reassurance has been a big positive force for me these last couple weeks. I can't thank you enough.
Bree: Your insight, tips and pointers were huge. RRR (it was my mantra on the bike). The Slurpee straw saved my A$$!! I am sure I would have raced myself into even a bigger hole had it not been for your expert advice. Truly priceless.
The Pearson's: You guys are awesome. Ryan and Chris, training with you guys has been a monstrous help to me and you both keep me fired up on racing. You both had great races yourselves and should be proud. Now lets go CRUSH Wildflower!! The Mr. & Mrs. - the carbo dinner and inspirational words definitely set the stage for a great day of racing and both your on-course and post race support were great. Happy 34th anniversary, quite an accomplishment.
Minnow - Yes I could hear you... I think almost the whole course did. You were great.
Cat: You guys were a awesome surprise. From the volume one would have thought there were 20 of you guys.
Med tent people and volunteers: Huge thanks. Race was awesome and the med tent folks were on top of it. Jon, now that I know your name, thanks again man... BIG TIME.
Mom & Dad: Words can't even begin to express so I wont even try.
Big MAHALOS to you all.