Sunday, October 10, 2010

Cruising Through Ironman....

It's probably not fitting to put "Ironman" and "easy" in the same sentence, but yesterday was by far the easiest Ironman of the 9 Ironman finish lines I have crossed. From not sure if I could race, to being able to race, to having to race with limitations, the perspective changes slightly. It all became appreciation & thankfulness. My goals for the race were lofty ones but like I told one of my doctors, "Im not changing my goals till I reach them, my situation is no reason to let go of them or readjust them, Ill just try and no worries if they happen or not, Ill keep them for as many years as it takes till they become reality".
My dream goal for the World Championships is to make the top 10. It was my goal in 2007 (my first ever Ironman, yeah I know, big goal for having never raced an Ironman, but 13th was close) and it was my goal last year, and this year, and it will be my goal till it happens. No man or woman from the state of Hawaii has ever cracked in that top 10 and for our state, for my Big Island ohana, I want that for all of us, so bad. Everyday, despite the fact it looks like I play harder than I train, I dream of that day and its always in the forefront of my workouts...
Going into the Pacific yesterday I was a complete mess. The calmness of knowing the ocean so well and being in my favorite spot on Earth was completely consumed by the unknown. Ridiculous thoughts of my ribs & back aching and firing up to losing my breath had me in tears. My friend Amy gave me a mermaid tattoo and I put that on first thing in the morning to remember the way I used to swim, then Hillary tried to calm me down enough to catch a breath. Standing in the same spot I stand nearly every morning of my life before ocean swims, my name was being called from a distance. On the sea wall sat a few of the best friends I have, I swam over to them and in an instant none of my unknown concerns mattered, they would be there all day long and my only job was to finish 140.6 miles with a thankful heart that I was racing!
My approach for the swim was way less aggressive than I like. Being in the mix is so much fun for me, however, this start I was in a "safe spot" trying to keep from getting kicked or punched in the ribs, from there I swam with people only to my left. Half way through it all hurt, and in that moment I gave myself a little pep talk, "Bree, this is the day you wanted so bad, the reason you went to Ironman Africa on a 42 hour flight, the reason you did Ironman CDA & Ironman Kentucky, you wanted to be in this moment, now ENJOY it and let it all go, when it hurts KNOW THAT IT WOULD HURT WORSE TO NOT BE RACING".
Pretty much from that moment on there was a smile on my face the rest of the day and I never had to push or pull or grunt and grown through the Ironman like usual. I just let it all happen the way it does everyday on this very island...effortlessly...
The bike ride went by so fast, it was beautiful out there, as if Pele gave us an easy day on the course, keeping most the winds and heat to herself. Each time I wanted to push hard or work harder I'd lose my breath, as the inflammation grew breathing became more challenging, so it became a very long base ride. When you can't go into the "harder zones" it's funny how easy an Ironman can be, you just have to keep moving forward one swim stroke, one pedal, one foot at a time. Each time the temptation to push came my body reminded me, "no, sorry, not today, just enjoy this". However it was slightly frustrating to not be in "race mode" on race day.
Soon after that I saw one of my heroes in sport, Fernanda Keller standing on the road cheering. She told me, "Bree, just enjoy the day, love it". And she was right, that was all I could do. Part of me wanted to cry when I would get passed and didnt have the fight in me to keep up or pass back, her words were the strength I needed to keep me humble...
The high-light of the day was the run! Never in my life has it felt like a giant parade as much as it did yesterday. More than words I was wanting to run, this is my favorite run course in the world and sprinkled all over it are amazing memories that happen on training days. Like runs with the hot board short boy, racing Kiet through intervals, bikini runs with Amy, Pat riding bike next to me for long runs, the list goes on and's the coolest. Mentally there was never a desire to walk even a drop, the hardest part was having to slow down to keep from losing my breath. My legs wanted to run, coach had me so fired up to run, we had an amazing run plan that I wanted to make happen...
As the day went on breathing got more challenging so I kept looking for people to run with, it kept me calm. One boy I asked to run with me then told him he has to do all the talking though, we both laughed. On each corner, at every hill, around all the turns there was a familiar face in the crowds shouting my name and it was that support that gave me the strength I needed and it felt as if the pain was replaced by so much love, I was having such a blast out there!
In the final 2 miles there was one girl about 300 meters ahead. All of me wanted to race a little bit of the Ironman (not that Im complaining about an easy day out there), but I like racing and hurting, its my dream job, and yesterday I didnt get the full painful experience. With some friends on the side lines they saw the look in my eyes and knew I wanted to go for at least one moment of painful racing, since it was so near the finish line I didnt care if I was in carried away in an ambulance on a breathing machine... so I went. It hurt so bad, I was crying and couldn't breathe at all, I gave a few people a good scare, mentally and physically I needed that moment. Running down Palani I finally caught her and we were just flying side by side, onto Kuakini I asked a friend how far back she was, I knew I was about to fall over, but then the crowds began to scream and high five me all the way down Hualalai and onto Alii and it all calmed down.
My face hurt so bad from smiling, it was one of the most fun finish lines I can remember. There is no way to express how grateful I am for all that volunteered and supported the race yesterday, it meant the world to me and love and adore you all, each of you that high fived, cheered, held up signs, chalked the streets, ran next to me for a few steps, everything, all of it!

Yes I did lose my breath completely and CPR was needed instantly, however they would not let me have the cute local boy to rescue me with some air! ha ha... I was given bags of ice to chill out the inflammation and make space for my lungs to expand, and a lovely wheel chair just so I didnt have to waist any effort walking...bad idea to give Wendy and I a wheel chair, we know how to have fun with those!
Ironman number 9, I loved it all, number 10...where will you be? I'm already excited and looking forward to the next one! Coach, where to????!!
To all the finishers, CONGRATS WE DID IT! To Mirinda & Macca- AWESOME wins! To my incredible sponsors, family, friends, K-Town, Coach Jimmy & Coach Steve, Kainoa, the volunteers and race directors, THANK YOU for this incredible day in my life!!


Blogger SSB said...

awesome! Congrats on a great finish and having fun doing it!

October 10, 2010 at 5:44 PM

Blogger Kona-California said...

Bree...a true inspiration!
Way to go!!!
So stoked to be able to watch you and my mom's neighbor Craig Leeper cross the finish line...we were glued to the webcast all night!!!

October 10, 2010 at 5:48 PM

Blogger Kelly said...

Congratulations, Bree!! You looked so happy when you crossed the finish line yesterday, and I was glad I got to see you!! You are a true inspiration, and I have no doubt that you will one day reach your goal. Thanks for sharing it with all of's ALMOST as good as being there!! Enjoy your rest...heal up and get well, because I can't wait to hear about more of your adventures!

October 10, 2010 at 5:56 PM

Blogger KauaiGurl said...

Bree you are one Amazing Kona Girl.. Congratulations and Keep Smilin

October 10, 2010 at 6:07 PM

Blogger :(&) said...

You are amazing!
I know you hear it all the time, but it's true!

October 10, 2010 at 6:29 PM

Blogger Ultra Llama said...

Hey Bree ;] This is Caleb. Great write up. Sorry you couldn't race the way you wanted to, but it looks like you had an wonderful time anyway. I mean, you did 140 miles with busted ribs under 10 hours and it was EASY, geez, hahaha

October 10, 2010 at 6:37 PM

Blogger Ultra Llama said...

I'm sure your boy is proud of his momma ;]

October 10, 2010 at 6:38 PM

Blogger rueschmike said...

Congratulations on your finish. I've been a troll on your blog for a while. I enjoy watching NBC's show in December, but this was the first time I have ever tracked anyone. Simply amazing.

October 10, 2010 at 7:25 PM

Blogger Kiet said...

Bree, simply freakin' rock! I was watching the video of you running and there was so much love thrown at you just in that short clip. In the short time that I've known you, I already have a lifetime's worth of memories.

October 10, 2010 at 8:08 PM

Blogger Oscarjet said...

Enhorabuena AMIGAA! has corrido muy bien! que gran carrera ! Estuve mirando internet mucho rato para ver como estabas!!
Las fotos muy bonitas, ojala pueda ir a animarte algun año ! Besos y abrazos ! You did it !!

October 10, 2010 at 8:50 PM

Blogger dante said...

I was itching to leave a comment from the time i openup this morning. Watching those clips and blogs, i lost count on how much love and kind words people have extended to you. Now i found this awesome page and i instantly fell for it. After all this, there's one question i have. Who needs to win a medal if one can/had won multitudes of hearts? You're right, you will cherish these moments for the rest of your long happy life. HURRAH WINNER BREE!

October 10, 2010 at 9:07 PM

Blogger CoachLiz said...

Congratulations Bree!!! I guess some of my prayers were answered. You got the wind at your back or at least no wind on the bike and it sounds like you had a rockin' run. The days where I have made a decision to make the race a long training day or where I was just there to have fun have been the most amazing races for me and it sounds like this was one of those races for you.

Rest up, heal up, go have some poke, do some quality beach and sunset time with Kainoa, enjoy being an auntie, do some cooking, and go have some shaved ice! You have more than earned a little recovery time.

PS...I love the "ice boobs"! I looked just like that after Cozumel in the med tent last year. Only I woke up after a power nap in a pool of cold water on the rubber mattress from all the melting ice on my chest. HA!

October 11, 2010 at 1:15 AM

Blogger Ordinarylife said...

Well done Bree!!! You will get your goal one day I am sure of it and when you do it will probably be all that more special because of all you have done before.

October 11, 2010 at 1:16 AM

Blogger Ordinarylife said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

October 11, 2010 at 1:16 AM

Blogger Chris said...

Hey Bree, Not sure there are the right words to put into this post to say how amazing your journey on Saturday was! Your determination, perseverance and gaciousness! You are an amazing Lady and I pray that next year your top 10 dream is realized! You battled through a lot to race hard through some tough conditions. You are an inspiration to triathletes all over! Thanks for being REAL!

Rest up!

God Bless You

October 11, 2010 at 1:53 AM

Blogger Wes said...

BREE! Way to rock it. If that's not running your race, I don't know what is. The REWARD was huge. Congratulations!!

October 11, 2010 at 2:06 AM

Blogger PocoLocoMan said...

Congratulations Bree! To finish in under 10 hours in Kona with that type of injury... wow... Amazing and inspiring.

October 11, 2010 at 2:41 AM

Blogger Bre said...

Bree- you are amazing, absolutely amazing and inspirational! So determined and just incredible finsih. Thanks for taking us along this adventure with you!

October 11, 2010 at 3:20 AM

Blogger Christi said...

Great job Bree! I am so proud of you! And I understand the not being able to breathe. I have developed asthma over the last year and it often flares up on me at the most inoppurtune times. I am so glad you killed it in the end.

I am looking forward to your next race!

October 11, 2010 at 3:23 AM

OpenID legalb said...

You are amazing, Bree!! I watched 9 hours of the Ironman online Saturday haha SO EXCITING!! Loved seeing your name chalked on the pavement :) Congratulations -- not just on a great race, but for getting out there and braving the challenge despite your injuries. GO girl!!!

October 11, 2010 at 3:27 AM

Blogger Ange said...

you needed CPR??? Oh my gosh.
I am so impressed by you! HUGE congrats! for not being able to hit full race mode, you sure were FAST! I had a blast following you!

October 11, 2010 at 3:44 AM

Blogger ONEHOURIRONMAN said...

Unbelievable with your rib injuries. You are inspiring me to do big personal things at IMFL.
IMTX...(hint hint, custom made course for you like KY)

October 11, 2010 at 3:54 AM

Blogger Gear Check said...

Hey Bree - Glad to see you used the picture that I posted to Facebook of your finish. :)

As always, you're a huge inspiration and there were a lot of people cheering you on from far away. Be well and best for your next race. Maybe one of these days you'll be passing me! Dan

October 11, 2010 at 4:55 AM

Blogger Slow Rider said...

Two very positive races in a row??? What is happening, you have your mojo back!

Great job, I watched all day to see you cross. Way to go!

October 11, 2010 at 5:09 AM

Blogger greyhound said...

I have not been commenting much of late, mainly because I have been so very worried for you and did not think any of my negative mojo would be very helpful. I am so very relieved that you made it through the day relatively healthy in head, heart and body.

October 11, 2010 at 5:39 AM

Blogger Steven Montoya said...

Great job finishing and enjoying the day. It was super meeting you! I'll be a fan from the desert of NM!

October 11, 2010 at 7:24 AM

Blogger Lucy Francis said...

Bree with such positive attitude, always looking on the bright side, it's just a matter of time before you get your top 10 in Kona. I just hope I'm able to qualify and race out there one day :-) too

can't wait to hear what races you'll be picking for next year.
take care

October 11, 2010 at 8:34 AM

Blogger Emily said...

Hi Bree - I've been reading your blog for awhile now and just wanted to say how amazing you are! Congrats!! I loved tracking you throughout the day.

October 11, 2010 at 9:59 AM

Blogger Bob Almighty said...

Congrats Awesome race and a gutsy finish.

October 11, 2010 at 10:47 AM

Blogger Chad said...

CPR? Holy shit!

October 11, 2010 at 10:58 AM

Blogger Jen said...

Bree, what you said to your doctor...that is one of the million reasons I love ya, girl!! So proud!!!!!!

October 11, 2010 at 2:00 PM

Blogger Jill Costantino said...

Way to go out there Chica what a fantastic accomplishment! You and Wendy had me laughing in your "other" photo!

October 11, 2010 at 3:40 PM

Blogger Aimee said...

Congratulations!! You are so amazing and such an inspiration!

October 11, 2010 at 4:25 PM

Blogger Whitney said...

Congrats on having a great race even with your injury. You are an inspiration!

October 11, 2010 at 4:39 PM

Blogger Beth said...

Sorry you couldn't race like you really wanted to but huge CONGRATS on getting it done out there despite the pain! It was so great to see you on the course - smiling and enjoying the day. What an amazing experience! Heal up now!!

October 11, 2010 at 8:41 PM

Blogger Bruce Stewart (施樸樂) (ブルース・スチュワート) said...

Awesome report, Bree! I bet you were inspired seeing your name in chalk on the road and a few meters ahead "Go Macca!" I hope you will now learn from your experiences are really work to accomplish your dreams. "No go do stupid tings in dem waves with da surfboard!" Chrissie has taken the sport to a whole new level and women's times are half an hour faster than they used to be. So dream big and go for it!

October 11, 2010 at 10:19 PM

Blogger Regina said...

Only you could put 'Ironman' and 'easy' in the same sentence and make it believable. You totally gutted it out and the big smile when you crossed that line? yes! I was watching online and wouldn't go to bed until I saw you. Radiant is the word that comes to mind.

And girlie, no one rocks a wheelchair like you do! Fantastic spirit and great race report. Rest those ribs, you earned it!

October 12, 2010 at 4:09 AM

Blogger tinaparker87 said...

Congrads! Huge race and you did it!

October 12, 2010 at 7:17 AM

Blogger Big Daddy Diesel said...

Congrats, Great race!!!!

October 12, 2010 at 8:14 AM

Blogger goSonja said...

Slapping hands with you on the run course when you were heading back in was one of the most special moments of my first Kona Ironman. I got chills out there as I was seeing my heros, and they were giving me encouragement. When you talk about your goal of top 10, this is why we love you and support you. You don't give up and you aren't afraid to put it out there. Saturday was a special day.

:)---getting weepy now...

October 12, 2010 at 8:45 AM

Blogger SHERRY said...

Way to go out there, Bree! Loved your big smile as always when you crossed the finish line. There was one point during the live coverage when I camera (attached to a heli, I suppose) panned down on the riders below. Written in chalk (huge letters) was "Go Bree Wee!" Lots of love out there for you! Big congrats again!

And... I absolutely LOVE that bathing suit of yours! I'm a blue girl and I love it paired with just a touch of yellow or a touch of pink! Perfection!

October 12, 2010 at 12:51 PM

Blogger Dawn said...

Congratulations, Bree!! You rocked! Thanks for sharing your race day with us... love your attitude and smiles, awesome!!! I kept you in mind as I was finishing my Chicago marathon on Sunday, it was a hot one and a struggle... so thank you, you are a true inspiration!!! I know that you will one day reach your goal, you are amazing! How wonderful at how much love there is on that island for you, how beautiful!!! :) Hope you are recovering with all of your favorite things! Looking forward to hearing more of your journeys ahead... take care!

October 12, 2010 at 4:35 PM

Blogger Sheryl said...

Thank you for sharing. I just started running a three years ago and did my first tri this year. You are such an inspiration to me and to how fun this sport is. Hope to meet you some day, maybe IN Kona.Congrats to your finish with a smile. It was a great time! You Rock!

October 12, 2010 at 5:01 PM


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