Aloha, Crosswinds: My 2012 Honu 70.3 Race Report

Jul 19

Aloha, Crosswinds: My 2012 Honu 70.3 Race Report

So you’re aware that Hawaii was crazy windy and that after my race I almost fainted on Linsey Corbin, but you don’t know how the actual half Ironman went because I haven’t gotten around to writing it yet. My bad–juggling a new job and Ironman Canada training ramp up has been a bit crazy and I haven’t had a chance to blog much lately. But enough with the excuses, I’ve got posts to write and they’ll spill out of my sun-baked brain and onto a keyboard sooner or later. Here’s how it all went down… The 2012 Lance Armstrong Ironman Lance Honu 70.3, Sponsored by Livestrong Oh, was this the race that Lance Armstrong was at? They made such little fuss about him that I barely knew he was there. (I’m kidding–Ironman totally and unabashedly gargled his ball.) Anyway, the morning of the race I woke up, showered, sunscreened, choked down breakfast, gathered my bottles and gear, and hopped in the van with my housemates to head to the race start. I got to transition and went through the standard ordeal: Pumped up my tires Checked my bike computer Arranged my bottles and fuel Used the portapotty Slathered on more obscene amounts of sunscreen Lubed up my nethers I went down to the beach and got body-marked. This race likes to use fancy stamps for your numbers to make athletes feel as if they’re at the World Championships despite only having to do half the distance. I had a really smudgy stamp and a volunteer captain came up and scolded the person who was helping me for using an inferior stamp on my glorious arm canvas. She spent a few minutes painstakingly cleaning up the ink smears around my numbers, and when she finished I promptly returned to transition and coated myself with another layer of sunscreen. (I wasn’t about to get Cancun’d again so I sacrificed number readability for not getting skin cancer.) Jas and I wandered around, avoiding Lance’s entourage and the surrounding crowd of gawkers, in an effort to find his parents so we could hand them our pre-race gear bags to hold onto. We eventually found them on the beach at the swim start, so...

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Dear Linsey Corbin

Jun 08

Dear Linsey Corbin

I’m back from racing Ironman Honu 70.3. My race recap will be up soon, but first I wanted to clear something up with Linsey Corbin, the female professional triathlete who won Honu and set a female course record because she’s all fast and bad-ass and and dominates the sport in a way us mere mortals can only dream about. First, a brief explanation.┬áRooming with Teresa often means I inadvertently run into professional triathletes because Teresa’s a pro and rubs pointy, athletically vascular elbows with the sport’s elites and I’m often tagging along like a schmuck. In Costa Rica I met Bree Wee and in Hawaii we swam with Linsey Corbin (and by “we swam with,” I of course mean “Teresa swam with while I flailed around 500 yards behind them”). The race came and went and I was pretty happy with my performance considering the tough conditions (meaning “it was windy as shit out there”). On Sunday I had a lazy and tired recovery day, and on Monday I drove around the big island with Jason and his family and checked out the volcano. That left Tuesday as my last day to get a little relaxation in before I would return back to Seattle. Faced with one final hurrah to get my sun and drink on, I did what any Mediocre Athlete would do: I went at it full-speed. Jason and I ate breakfast, walked to the Fairmont and had a few cocktails on the beach, walked to our hotel, changed into swimsuits, lazed about all day in the sun, then went back to our hotel room and slurped down a couple mixed drinks before meeting Kevin, Cindy, and Cindy’s mother for happy hour at Ruth’s Chris. I knocked back a couple more cocktails and some bar snacks, then we went to the Mauna Lani Canoe House to cap off the evening. I was sipping a glass of wine and enjoying the sunset when I started to feel a bit off–a mixture of queasy and sweaty that is scientifically known as “sweesy.” I excused myself and started making my way towards the bathroom, feeling worse with each step. Heading right towards me emerging from the bathroom was a perfectly...

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Hawaii Winds are Serious Business

Jun 01

Hawaii Winds are Serious Business

I never thought the World Championships were easy, but after having spent the past few days training on the Big Island, I have a whole new appreciation for the athletes who race in Kona every October. This course is no joke. In fact, it kind of sucks. Okay, it doesn’t kind of suck. It really sucks. Parts of it are scenic (I am in Hawaii, after all), but most of the bike course is along a desolate stretch of highway surrounded by taint-scorching lava rock that makes me feel like I’m cycling on Mars. The heat isn’t bad (I raced in 96-degree temps in Costa Rica) but the humidity is demoralizing. Oh, and have I mentioned the wind? Yeah, let’s focus on that for now. I’ve heard plenty about the famous winds here–how they’re absolutely brutal, how they can change direction without warning, how they can blow people across the road and even knock them down–but hearing about them and experiencing them firsthand are two different beasts entirely. My only previous experience with strong winds was the demoralizing Boise 70.3 in 2010, in which I got manhandled for 56 miles and only managed to bust out a 3:27 bike split because the gusts were so bad. Those winds, as bad as I remember them being, are nothing compared to the winds here. Good grief. For our first ride, Jas and I headed out onto the highway and couldn’t help but laugh at how absurd it was to ride at an angle along the shoulder as we leaned against the wind that was hell-bent on shoving us into the road. I managed to stay calm and kept reminding myself to keep a clear head and remain focused and that freaking out or panicking would just make the situation worse. We got to the turnaround point in our ride and I clipped out my right foot. Teresa was in the middle of explaining the race bike course to us when a giant gust of wind blew at us from the right and knocked me down like a domino. Since my left foot was still clipped in, all I could do was get slammed to the pavement and pinned by my bike....

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Today’s the Day I Finally Like Swimming

May 29

Today’s the Day I Finally Like Swimming

Welp, Jas and I have arrived in Hawaii for the 2012 Ironman Honu 70.3. Our flight was somewhat interesting as a woman in first class fell unconscious and a flight attendant asked if there was an EMT or doctor on board. Considering how often we fly, we were pretty surprised that we had never run into a “holy crap, there’s a mid-flight medical emergency” situation before. Thankfully, one of my teammates is a nurse and she tended to the woman along with an ER doctor who also happened to be on board. They diagnosed her as having low blood sugar and recommended she drink some fruit juice. Her response: “Can I have a Mai Tai?” Medical emergency be damned, this lady wanted to start her vacation! Okay, back to the title of the post. It’s no secret I hate swimming. I think it’s bullshit and bemoan the fact that the more time I spend in the water, the slower I seem to get. But damn if Teresa isn’t hell-bent on turning me into a swimmer one of these days. She scheduled a 30 minute swim in a bay and kept telling me how you can see fish and coral and all this other bullshit that is potentially scary (like fucking reef sharks, which some of my teammates had spotted before Jas and I flew in) and Mediocre Athlete-devouring. I walked onto the beach, saw the bay, and saw a little pond between the bay and the parking lot and half-joked whether I could just swim in that instead. (The answer was no.) The water was actually amazingly calm and a comfortable temperature. I got in with my SS peeps (that’s Slow and Steady for all you fast buttholes who aren’t down with the crappy swimmer lingo) and we took off for a striped buoy about 250 yards out. I swam over a bunch of sharp-looking coral and kept worrying I’d end up punching one and emerge with Bloodsport fists, but I managed to evade the rocks (they were farther down than they looked). We got to the buoy and cut over around some anchored boats, then looped back to where we started before heading back to the original buoy...

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I Have 278 Days to Get Abs

Aug 24

I Have 278 Days to Get Abs

I’ve blogged before about my futile quest for abs due to the fact that I love food more than I love watching what I eat to the point where I can burn down the prevalent layer of chunk encasing my perpetually hidden abdominal muscles. The closest I’ve ever gotten to visible abs have been the bottom of my ribcage and the beginnings of an oblique indentation, which promptly disappears once I hoover a taco platter and some frozen custard. Unfortunately for me, I’ve recently made a stupid decision. Having grown tired of seeing my teammates frolic in Hawaii every June while I’m slummin’ it like a sucker in overcast, mild-temperatured Seattle, I decided to join the cool kids and race the Hawaii 70.3 in 2012. I haven’t signed up for the actual race yet, but I did book airfare so at the very least I’ll be fake-spectating while catching rays and sucking down Mai Tais as my friends suffer through the choking humidity and sweltering heat. Then something occurred to me. Well, two things, really. First, I realized that I was going to have to get some open ocean practice swims in before the race, and that concerned me due to the fact that there were some shark attacks in the areas where some athletes were practicing last year. I’m not worried about getting gobbled up on race day since I’ll be among 1,800 other athletes, but when I’m straggling behind 10 of my teammates during a swim workout, I get the feeling Mr. Sharky would be more likely to pick off the object that’s swimming like a chubby, wounded seal instead of the fat-free fast food at the front of the pack. I’m going to have to either convince Teresa that no open ocean training is actually a great form of training (like some type of Miyagi mind-fuck) or invest in some shark repellent. The second thing I realized was that I’m pretty sure that as a female on the team, I’m not allowed to race Hawaii 70.3 under the TN brand if I don’t have visible abs — I think it’s in our athlete contract or something. For proof I submit a team picture from this year’s...

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