Monday, June 23, 2008

IM Japan...

Maki rescuing me at the finish...

The training, travel, and entire experience in Japan was like no other. It is the opposite of anything I know (except seaweed and udon noodles). Every breath I breathed here I will remember forever... they were all good...

Pre-race was filled with butterflies and excitement. A few tears as I said "sayanara" to Jim and Kainoa (I always have struggles saying bye to Kainoa before a race...). On the bus to Tomie Beach my attention was instantly focused on the rain drops hitting my window... the bike...the down hills... the fear of crashing again... my mind was so consumed on the rain drops.

Standing in line to be body marked I kept thinking about the rain hitting my face. It was only a few drops by this point, not like the buckets we had earlier in the week, again my mind was so focused on the bike...the down hills... the possibility of wet roads.

Perhaps the sprinkles kept my mind calm of race anxiety and chatter from other athletes.

The Swim...
The pros started 2 min. ahead of the rest of the field. That meant roughly 25-30 of us, mostly men. I instantly tossed any swim plan out the window and traded it for "hang on or swim alone". I found feet, 2 Aussie guys, 2 Japanese guys, and one guy who wouldn't keep his hands off me (sorry bud, married!) the pace was a PERFECT balance of "keep holding on even when it hurts" and "I can do this easily for 2.4 miles". Seriously, it was the best group of 5 guys EVER to draft off! Thanks boys! I could not believe my luck to have such a good "free ride". Exiting the water I felt ready to ride... my 52-something swim was a PR (BUT it was a wet suit swim... I don't count that even though I'll take it...).

Onto the bike...
I loved EVERY single view that the 112 miles provided us! The beaches, the mountains, the little towns, the city, the port, the list of wonderful views had me so excited to see what was around the next corner. Honestly, it was unreal! About mile 14 I took the lead and was enjoying some climbs and some flats and few "little down hills". Just about half way the bigger climbs and down hills come into play. Not sure if you have ever seen a scaredy cat... but that was me. I was breaking, cried a few tears, stopped pedaling, hung on for dear life, and prayed to just make it out alive! AND then Naomi came by me as if she was racing Nascar! No joke! I have ridden with GREAT women cyclists, but I have never seen a woman in aero bars, down hill, pushing the pedals full strength, and wanting more! I honestly didn't get mad when she passed me. I wondered where my "competitive drive" went because I let her go.

I caught her on an uphill, and a couple times we traded positions depending on the size of the down hill... then rounding another down hill I see her laying on the road! I was more scared than her! She was a bloody mess, I asked to help her, she told me to keep going, and within seconds she flew back by me down the hill, fully sprinting! Honestly, no girl I have EVER met in my life bikes the way she rode down those hills! She told me she trained on the course for 2 weeks last month practicing... it paid off!

Before too long we got to a section of LOTS of down hills and I never saw her again. I cried one more time wanting the roller coaster to end. I wanted off. I could hear coaches voice in my mind telling me to move it! I could hear him telling me this was my race to lose. And it was, I lost it on the bike. Naomi out biked me by 9 minutes... she was incredible!

Onto the run...
I was down by 3.30. Of course I was hungry to go make up time, but I know me and my horrible pacing. I built up till the 13th mile. I was fine. Then I completely ruined my nutrition. My AWESOME Japanese vocabulary got me a coke at mile 13 and from that point on I was a coke junky... salt too... horrible mix...

I went from a hyper child, to no ability to focus on the task at hand, to hurry it up, to being bummed I messed up my run, to hold on... it's not over till the finish line. Coke killed me. I suppose it was a GREAT lesson learned.

As my second IM is now complete, with a new PR in hand, I am so incredibly happy about the experience and the day. I truly left it all out there, hung tuff when the hills and coke took hold of me. Of course I wanted the Kona slot, but as I told Naomi, she earned it. She wanted it so bad, that was her home course and she was not going to let any down hills get in her way. She will have a HUGE fan cheering her on this year in Kona! She is the most fit she has ever been, the most trained, and the most hungry. Only 25 years old & she is finally putting it all together...

And as Amanda Balding reminded me today, "every one of these races we learn something... and one day we put together everything we learn and have our perfect race". Just give me a few more races...

Arigato to the race directors of IM Japan, my home stay, and the town of Fukue. Arigato to the incredible support crew I had backing me up... I am so appreciative of you!


Blogger Jen said...

Congrats again Bree! You should be so proud of yourself...It was so exciting tracking your progress online!

June 23, 2008 at 4:04 AM

Anonymous Karin said...

Congrats Bree!

You are a true inspiration :)

I was following you online and reading the Live tracker updates and had a quiet chuckle about the following comment :

09:39 Wee finishes in second
The USA's Bree Wee takes second at Ironman Japan, crossing the line with her young daughter.

Congratulations once again - I look forward to seeing you race in the future!

June 23, 2008 at 4:12 AM

Blogger Cricket said...

I am so proud of your awesome success! You are truly an inspiration for me and our family! Sounds like a wonderful, life-changing trip and experience! You have been blessed again!
AMAZING! Absolutely Amazing...all you have accomplished in such a short time!
Love You!

June 23, 2008 at 4:15 AM

Blogger Trigirlpink said...

Way to go. You did GREAT! So many even BETTER IM experiences to come. Kudos for toughing it out on the bike with the wet roads.That just had to be soooo scary.

You've come soooo far in such a short period of time. Amazing! Think about when you just surfed in Fla. If you think about that and where you are now, it's mind boggling. It's so strange, this road of life and where it leads you.
If someone came up to you on the beach one day way back then, and said, "one day you will be a professional triathlete" you would have been like.... Huh??? U R CRAZY!! Am I right????
Anyway... safe travels home!

June 23, 2008 at 4:22 AM

Blogger Cy said...

Bree-You have such an amazing attitude about racing and life, so there's no doubt you will soon have that PERFECT race. I didn't realize there was only one slot for KONA at this race, and when I saw your name listed in 2nd I was pumped assuming you had it. Sounds like it was an amazing experience, and that's what's it all about.

Happy recovery!

June 23, 2008 at 4:25 AM

Blogger Ange said...

Amazing job hanging tough!!! AGain, congratulations. You inspire me....I keep sayign that but it's true. I do think of you when I'm out training. I think of "if you can't do it in training how can you do it in a race."
I too believe there is a lesson learned in each race. Some day it will all come together. GREAT JOB!!

June 23, 2008 at 5:06 AM

Blogger Eileen Swanson said...

Awesome, amazing, super sweet race Wee!! You are so impressive! You raced your heart out and it showed and we are all so proud of you. AND that amazing attitude of yours is so contagious! Thank you for being you, my friend! Love ya tons....


June 23, 2008 at 5:30 AM

Blogger Amber Dawn said...

Awesome race, you have such a great frame on life that a lot of the serious challenges to this race/experience were lost in your translation :-)
You did phenomenal, handled yourself with grace, and set a new pr. Nothing but congrats are in order.
Happy Recovery!!

June 23, 2008 at 5:31 AM

Blogger Kellye Mills said...

I'm a big believer in everything happens for a reason, and I would have been really scared of those downhills too! Reading about it and then when Naoimi fell... I'm really glad you held back a bit because 2nd place is a whole HECK of a lot better than some bed in a hospital! :) You've accomplished so much in such a short amount of time... the whole world is proud of you Bree!!

June 23, 2008 at 5:36 AM

Blogger Jade Lady said...

Wow.u travelled all the way to Japan for an ironman race? I found u via ESBar. You are amazing!

June 23, 2008 at 5:42 AM

Blogger Flatman said...

Congrats on a stellar race! You are quite an inspiration...thanks for sharing.

June 23, 2008 at 5:45 AM

Blogger tribabe said...

Congratulations Bree! Great job at the race and best wishes to you for the rest of the season. You are an inspiration for many people, thanks for sharing your story.

June 23, 2008 at 5:46 AM

Blogger Kona Shelley said...

As everyone else has said..CONGRATS TO YOU!!!

June 23, 2008 at 6:05 AM

Blogger Danni said...

Inspiration at its best.
Congrats on an awesome race.
Rest up and recover. You will get your perfect race soon.

June 23, 2008 at 6:12 AM

Blogger Bob Almighty said...

Downhills in the rain..not good...I can't blame you for taking it easy on the bike ( coming from the guy who always takes it easy on the bike.) The one tricky thing about racing with coke is you have to use it for the entire race, in NZ they only had on flavor powerade so on the run it was either coke or gag. sounds like it was a good race, a real battle until the end.

June 23, 2008 at 6:31 AM

Blogger Steve Stenzel said...

Hell ya!! Second place!!! CONGRATS!!! And what a run!!!


And sorry I was groping you in the water. I'm married too. I should know better. ;)

June 23, 2008 at 7:55 AM

Blogger Carolyn said...

Congratulations Bree, what an amazing journey ! Keep up the good work and keep looking forward. All the best. Carolyn

June 23, 2008 at 8:21 AM

Blogger Paul said...

Thanks for the great race report! Wetsuit or no, that's still a blazing swim! Nutrition is such a tough one, to nail down. I happen to dig coke on the run.

June 23, 2008 at 8:51 AM

Blogger rr said...

Loved the details, Bree. You made incredible time, and clearly Naomi is not the girl I raced last year anymore!! Her ride was crazy fast, because I know how you fly and to get 9 min on you is just insane. Way to fight the whole way.

No more coke for you!

June 23, 2008 at 9:27 AM

Blogger ariel said...

hey, congratualtions. you gave it all you got and that's all you can do. I'm happy for your great accomplishments and looking forward to seeing you in july. You finished with all you got, goodjob. live and learn



June 23, 2008 at 9:41 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

AMAZING, simply amazing. I enjoyed watching you online and screaming at the computer all day! You really had a super super day!! CONGRATS Bree! Jen H.

June 23, 2008 at 1:43 PM

Blogger Beth said...

What a great race report Bree!! I would have cried on the downhills too. Wet roads + scary downhills definitely = tears!! Way to get through it all though and learn so much along the way! What an amazing experience!! Congrats again!!

June 23, 2008 at 1:53 PM

Blogger Jennifer Cunnane said...

Great job racing - how in the heck did you also find time to learn some Japanese? Good god, another talent of yours has been unearthed. Just imagine what you could do next!

June 23, 2008 at 3:24 PM

Blogger Bruce Stewart (施樸樂) said...

Great report. I hope Naomi will mend quickly after the fall. She is one tough competitor. Hats off to her!

June 23, 2008 at 3:53 PM

Blogger ShirleyPerly said...

Oh man, I know just what you mean about that fear of crashing again. I still have it going around corners fast. No doubt you will be much stronger from racing with Naomi. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences. Congrats again on your new PR!!!

June 23, 2008 at 7:09 PM

Blogger Rural Girl said...

Congratulations. I can't imagine the bike course! Loved reading your story.

June 24, 2008 at 1:18 AM

Blogger Marit Chrislock-Lauterbach said...

YEA! Congratulations - what a fantastic job you did! NO shame whatsoever on crying on the hills. I would have been there right with you... on the crying part, that is. :) Think about HOW MUCH you learned today - just amazing! You are a true inspiration, an amazing person and wonderful triathlete. Keep on keeping on!

June 24, 2008 at 6:09 AM

Blogger Tri*22 said...

Way to go Bree!!! You continue to inspire :) Congratulations!!

June 24, 2008 at 6:15 AM

Blogger Mer! said...

Hi Bree!! You rocked the course and most of all you took away an amazing family trip experience and the memories you guys have from this trip will be awesome to look back upon!!

Way to rock and HOLY swim time!! SO great!!

June 24, 2008 at 8:11 AM

Blogger Brad said...

Looks like u had a great time and so so so rocked.....
U're awesome and i totally look forward to seeing you up here in the North in a couple of weeks..... tea at Angela's????

June 24, 2008 at 10:13 PM

Blogger Speed Racer said...

Your face says it all. Congratulations!

Anyone willing to out-sprint you when they're a bloody mess deserves a win, but I bet you had the sexier race photos. Congratulations again, Bree!

June 25, 2008 at 1:44 AM

Blogger Rory said...

Dude, that is awesome.

June 25, 2008 at 5:15 AM

Blogger Pam said...

Thanks for sharing all the details. Awesome race! And cute suit!!!

June 25, 2008 at 8:20 AM

Blogger Jen said...

Hi's your recovery going? Are you guys back in Hawaii? Hope all is well with you and your fam!

June 25, 2008 at 8:36 AM

Blogger jahowie said...

Congrats!!! You are awesome!! :-)

June 25, 2008 at 8:49 AM

Blogger triguyjt said...

great race bree......was with you on ironmanlive....

what a fantastic experience...

June 25, 2008 at 8:52 AM

Blogger beth said...

you are amazing. you were second IN AN IRONMAN!

way to hang through the downhills in the rain. scary!!! have a great week of rest at homq- can't wait to hear what's next!

June 25, 2008 at 9:30 AM

Blogger Jen said...

All this IM talk on the blog about IM FL '09?

June 25, 2008 at 11:13 AM

Blogger Train-This said...

2nd Ironman EVER and closer to a 9:30 than most will ever see in their lifetime? Wee you rock sister! WAY TO GO!

June 25, 2008 at 11:52 AM

Blogger Patrick said...

C-A-N-A-D-A Ehhhhhh?

June 25, 2008 at 1:43 PM

Blogger Jen said...

It's cold in Canada. Florida...where your peeps are!

Hope you don't mind, I used your picture on my blog.

June 26, 2008 at 7:33 AM

Blogger Michelle my Belle said...

Reading this post brought tears to my amazes me every time I read your blog to see how much you go through and how you always make it to the end, no matter how hard it is. Congratulations and I'm SO PROUD of you!!!
I love you!!!

June 26, 2008 at 12:00 PM


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