Saturday, June 4, 2011

Kainoa's Medal...

That medal around Kainoa's neck was the entire reason for today's finish. Not exactly the result, but 100% the finish. He told me last night to please get him a medal in the race, he needed a new one for his collection. I told him, "of course". That was way easier said than done...
Without going into full detail, just snip-its, the day was almost entirely out of whack from the time I woke up till mile 10 of the run and if it weren't for the medal I would have been fine being carried off the course by those hula dancing men parading around.
It started here. I felt like Kainoa's flu grabbed hold of me I didn't want to get in the water, even caught my toe on something yanking the toe nail almost off. So I cried to some friends on the beach, Wendy made me warm up, Amy told me she liked my outfit, and someone broke my goggles. However, the man at body mark told me 9 is a lucky number and today would be my lucky I clung to that.
The moment I got in the water things felt so much better, I belong there and it's a place where noise turns to silence even in a beach full of spandex loving triathletes full of butterflies. However, that swim start came before I was ready to rumble and all of a sudden my most cherished pre-race superstition never happened. Before all my races I have this thing where I have to hug Kainoa and I ask him for a race tip, (4 year old's know everything). He says great things, like "hurry to the finish, try to go fast mom, drink your powders, and eat the jellys". It's fun for him and fun for me to have that little "advice" handy when the hurt happens. Anyways, I never saw him on the beach before the start, he was with his aunties and uncles. Aunt Wendy caught him in this photo, maybe he's about to swim after me with a race tip!
My swim lacked the energy I was hoping to have there but it all worked out, I figured it was waiting for me on the bike. Mile 6 of the bike I realized it might be later in the day. My legs hurt so bad but I was still riding okay, as the ride went on they just got worse and worse till they felt like concrete. And from having to push so hard I struggled with keeping any calories in. Now what I'm about to tell you is so dumb, you can make fun of me all you want.
You see, I ride down Hawi a lot and I discovered one windy day that I "spin out". SO I got this idea that if I put a 55 on my bike I would be able to "ride" down the hill rather than just spin down it, I know sounds like a great idea! Why coast when you can pedal and make up some time!? What I did not know is that the 55 would hurt like crap to push around all day on flats and up hills into wind! Yes, I know, (now that the race is over and the boys made fun of me), that if I put it in the little ring I would have been okay up the hills, but I never road the old 54 up those hills in the little ring so it never occurred to me today to try that. Dumb idea to change something I clearly know nothing about, stupid idea to think my legs could push that thing up a hill, more ridiculous to do try it out on race day, and not a good idea unless you like the way your legs feel when doing squats up a hill during a race! It was a very bad idea...
That said I was puking all over the place from the effort, getting passed all morning, and mentally frustrated beyond words. In my head I began to realize this perfect day I was dreaming about, (I felt in such good shape going into the race, like I'd bust out a 4:30 on this course), that I would have to settle with whatever place I land off the bike and whoever doesn't run me down, as I am not known to run girls down in triathlon...
Jumped off the bike, sat down because my legs were screaming, put on my shoes, then ran. Noticed I brought the visor, this is the course I first discovered is not visor friendly, you sun burn your head! That's when I switched to a hat, and so I threw the visor off to my sister, and barfed the last of any calories from breakfast. Do you love how someone got a photo with the left over barf out my nose and down my chin and neck? I do.
My dream of a strong run I was still holding too, legs sometimes come around after squatting yourself up to Hawi! The dizzy came first and I knew calories were a must but I did not want to walk at all. SO I ran and ran and tried to go easy on the aid stations to take in EVERYTHING as if it were a buffet! The 4th aid station I had to walk because for once I was going to get my moneys worth of gels! I ate the chocolate one that sticks to your gut, drank it with a coke, chugged 3 power aids, some more gels, maybe 800 calories and it worked about 5 minutes later. My head stopped spinning and I had life enough to hear my friend Dave-O say something like he is proud of me, it meant the world to see him at that point. BUT then the gut was so full and I kind of wanted to barf or crap my pants (sorry for the details) and then another girl passes me and I told her, "AWESOME YOU LOOK GREAT", because she was running and I was wobbling a wonderful 9 minute mile. Oh it was ugly, the barf came up and so did the 4th place woman. This was when I really wanted to be kidnapped by those hula dancers! Instead there stood Cody telling me to put in some effort like my last treadmill session, pfff, I wanted to punch Cody, but he meant well and I gave him that look of, "okay, yeah, great idea, here I go", but then I never went...
"Kainoa's medal, Kainoa's medal, Kainoa's medal....", I must have said it a million times, it was everything to him and for that reason alone I had to chug through letting all hopes of my goals be put on hold. Never once did I believe I'd win after mile 6 of the bike, (well until mile 10 of the run but I'll get to that), it was just a matter of where would I land in the mix of women racing today...
At mile 6 or 7 I ran into my friend Mitch and asked him how does he deal with the sadness of a race you were so prepared for that turned out sour? I was seriously dealing with one mess up after another all day and knew Id need to bounce back fast after this race mentally. He gave me a pep talk and ran with me as if we were just on a nice warm down. Seriously, it was not fun to hurt that bad in the legs and feel like throwing up anytime you drank any calories but you knew you had to have them to make it to Kainoa's medal, and you know racing fast doesn't usually feel easy, and you know a DNF is out of the plans...
Sometime during mile 10, 4th place was 20 seconds behind and I was now only moving at 7:30 pace after a few liters of coke. With less than 3 miles to go I thought she would catch me, and I was already wondering how I'd explain to coach that I messed up the day with not taking better care of myself to get Kainoa's bug, then for that darn 55 that my legs are certainly no match for. It was dumb, the negative thoughts parading my head, the rookie mistakes after training had been brilliant, and of course the dream of being the first person from the Big Island to win Hawaii 70.3.
Just as mile 10 was turning to 11 my friend Dave was running by yelling something I won't repeat and all of a sudden my legs arrived for the party. It took over 11 miles of easy running to shake out that bike ride in gears too big for me! (I hope coach never finds out I put that on my bike, its being taken off tomorrow!). Anyway, the legs arrived, the gut was still not along for the ride, but I for a happy moment, believed the day might get better. The second place girl was now the goal, snuck by her, the first girl still up the road...

With each person I passed coming the opposite direction, they would tell me "This is your race Bree", it was as if the entire town of Kona, all my friends, family, and training partners were strung out in that last mile. I peaked at the Garmin, the pace was now sub 6 and all of a sudden something I had wanted for so long was waiting to happen for me. I was puking, I was crying, I was still not positive of the result as I knew she was a run champ with records and most likely had one of those "finishing kicks". But then I saw my little sister, she was crying, then the finish line, and more cheers then I have ever heard in my life, and my friend Mitch said, "Bree wipe your face for the finish line". Maybe he didn't think barf looked good on me.
It was the sweetest victory of my entire tri-life. It was one that for 68.3 miles I would not believe even if you told me. It hurt so bad, it took all my guts and strength. It took a little boy wanting a darn finishers medal! And so by 32 seconds I won my first half iroman! In my mind I'd always envisioned winning a half or full ironman to feel a little more realistic. Like maybe you wake up and feel good and things go right, you get a good swim draft, your bike works awesome, your run legs are along for the ride. I believed the mind would be pulling you along and you would just sail past competition, that's how I envisioned today going, not barfing and suffering from squats...
I hung a quote my friend Wendy gave me this week, "I struggled yesterday so I could win today"-Devlin. I thought I would win today because I was in much better shape than last years Hawaii 70.3, I loved my new bike, things were going well in training, and Belinda Granger didn't show up this year. I was so very wrong and seriously let go of winning hopes till that last half mile of the run. In so many ways this was a much better way to win than if it things went as smooth as I was dreaming about them going. It hurt so good!
To my amazing family and friends, thank you so much for being part of this day of my life. It was for sure a day we did together! To the other women, thank you for making me race the most mentally challenging race of my life, I needed that! To coach, so sorry about the bike slip up, Ill fix it! To the little town of Kona, WE DID IT! Finally someone from the Big Island wins this race in it's 8 year history! Sponsors & supporters, for the millionth time, I AM BLESSED to have you with me...

And Kainoa, thank you for making me promise to get you a finishers medal, this one's for you buddy!


Love Bree!

ps... photo mahalos to Wendy, Pat, and the Wrighthouse family for these :)


Blogger Oscarjet said...

Great !! besos ya abrazos a ti y Kainoa!!! ;D

June 4, 2011 at 11:50 PM

Blogger Robert Lejeune said...

Awesome job Bree, I was following you on the Ironman web site and I could not believe it, you were 3rd after 10 miles on the run and just a little bit later you win it :)

So proud of what you did, it was a tough day but you fought through it!

Great job :)

June 4, 2011 at 11:51 PM

Blogger Terrish B said...

WoW Bree!!! You amaze me!! Way to go, what a great race story.... Way to go surfa girl!! I am so proud of you, thanks for inspiring so many girls!

June 5, 2011 at 12:00 AM

Blogger Lucy Francis said...

CONGRATULATIONS BREE! what an amazing result, specially was you were puking all the way.
And you've set a new record for being the first person from the Big Island to win it.
So chuffed for you. I love Kainoa's advice - Get the medal!
You 2, have a great rest of weekend.
Mine was a DNF as i pulled out on the run as i'm still recovering form an injury. It was the right decision! so finding out you own yours made my day :-)

June 5, 2011 at 1:21 AM

Blogger Beth said...

Wow!!! It never comes easy does it? Truly amazing Bree. You made your first big win exciting! :) Huge congrats and thanks for the inspiration!!

June 5, 2011 at 1:43 AM

Blogger CoachLiz said...

The struggles you faced make your win all the more special. You are such a hero to so many people on the Big Island and all across the internet. That means your win is special to us as well. We love seeing our hero do amazing things. Oh, and thumbs up to K-Swiss for giving you a black kit that did not show the barf and other yucks you dealt with.

Congratulations Bree!

June 5, 2011 at 1:48 AM

Blogger SHERRY said...

You are amazing! Dreams do come TRUE! Biggest congratulations ever, Bree!

June 5, 2011 at 2:03 AM

Blogger ONEHOURIRONMAN said...

A lesson to be learned by us all.... NEVER GIVE UP!

Do we have a new routine?

1) No pre race advise from Kainoa
2) Change your bike set up the day before a race
3) Puke all day
4) Hang on to thoughts of medals for K
5) Run the last two miles like you are in the Olympics


You are a ROCK STAR!!

June 5, 2011 at 2:40 AM

Blogger Shawna Barlette said...

Way to gut it out Bree. I watched your whole race from Raleigh, and am so proud of your efforts. Congratulations on a win well earned!

June 5, 2011 at 3:13 AM

Blogger miles99999 said...

Tremendous the puke! Congrats on a great win!

June 5, 2011 at 4:23 AM

Blogger PocoLocoMan said...

Congratulations!!! Your smile in the picture above says it all : )

June 5, 2011 at 4:53 AM

Blogger Stef said...

WOW what a story -- the way this unfolded is just astounding and so very powerful.

Thanks for modeling what exactly it means to do whatever it takes. Seriously THANKS.

Hugs. :-)!!

June 5, 2011 at 5:45 AM

Blogger Cricket said...

Our church had a guest speaker today who preached on the Land of Milk and Honey...and he reminded us that Giants are there to keep us from entering. But if you have faith, you will conquer those giants...and you did! Your blog poetically explains these giants but how wonderful the Land of Milk and Honey is when you overcome them! Love you Bree- way to go!

June 5, 2011 at 6:10 AM

OpenID Jennifer said...

It was such a thrill to be there at the awards ceremony and watch you and Kainoa being carried in!! I'm soooo excited for you, congrats!

June 5, 2011 at 7:06 AM

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

My Ironman certificate says "Anything is Possible". It was a really hard race for me (2004) and I really struggled with badly blistered feet and extreme weakness. But I managed to make the extra effort needed over the last few miles to finish before the cut off, so I know it ain't easy. Well done and glad you finished strong.

June 5, 2011 at 7:47 AM

Blogger ali said...

Wow, what a awesome result after all of that adversity! What a awesome win, congrats:)!

June 5, 2011 at 1:51 PM

Blogger Wes said...

Oh Bree! Congratulations. We have been waiting for this day, gurrrL! So many times you have fought the race, fought karma, and often gave it more than you had to give. This time you kicked ass. We couldn't be more proud of you Bree. I hope Kainoa likes his new medal. I'm sure his collection has lotsa room for growth :-)

June 5, 2011 at 3:11 PM

Blogger Sarah said...

Such an amazing job, and so glad you shared your race story. Way to fight through it :) Congratulations!!!

June 5, 2011 at 3:24 PM

Blogger Bob Almighty said...

Awesome Win, definitely a good hard fought victory.

June 5, 2011 at 5:27 PM

Blogger Gigi Wong said...

So inspirational, You are my idol! keep going!

June 5, 2011 at 6:16 PM

Blogger Lisa Graham said...

Awesome race Bree and congrats on the win on a tough day and a challenging course! You rock! If you're around on Tuesday hopefully I'll see you as we're planning to swim at the beach in Kona! I absolutely love it here!

June 5, 2011 at 8:59 PM

Blogger Ordinarylife said...

congratulations Bree! I wanted to cry in happiness for you when I read this.

June 6, 2011 at 2:28 AM

Blogger Kelly said...

Congrats, Bree! Hold on to this moment and know that you can do it at your next IM!!

June 6, 2011 at 3:52 AM

Blogger Christi said...

That is so awesome Bree! You conquered a very difficult race and did it! I am so happy for you.

June 6, 2011 at 4:45 AM

Blogger Christy said...

Congratulations!! What a way to finish!!!! Inspirational!!!

June 6, 2011 at 5:31 AM

Blogger tinaparker87 said...

I am so proud of you! Way to suck it up and pull through. Look at the job you did! Whoo Hoo!

June 6, 2011 at 6:18 AM

Blogger tinaparker87 said...

Oh, 9 is the number!

June 6, 2011 at 6:19 AM

OpenID mhutto said...

Congrats on your win! Thanks for taking time to chat and join the group swim at the Mauna Lani on Friday. I was the fellow Trakker AG teammate that said hi!

June 6, 2011 at 6:48 AM

Blogger gelmertri said...

Congrats Champ! Loved the article online for the West Hawaii paper and your finishing pix in the paper. Hopefully, Kainoa will not now expect 1st place finishes from now on (only you)! Btw, very inspirational stuff for all of us age groupers to never give up!

June 6, 2011 at 7:37 AM

Blogger mtanner said...

Absolutely.Love.This. you are amazing and make THE WHOLE WORLD proud-

June 6, 2011 at 7:54 AM

Blogger kakes773 said...

Congratulations, Bree!!

June 6, 2011 at 8:13 AM

Blogger rr said...

You were amazing, and even though you were struggling, you looked so strong and great that I NEVER would have guessed you had to fight so hard. You made it look easy. Congratulations!

June 6, 2011 at 9:54 AM

Blogger Norma Bastidas said...

Congratulations! very impressed, you both deserve love and happiness always.

June 6, 2011 at 12:41 PM

Blogger Ange said...

I'm totally crying on this one Bree. I started at the pic of Kainoa on the beach and your pre-race superstition with him. I'm a Mom to 3 boys and boy do I get that...
you just inpsired me beyond explanation. I'm THRILLED For you!!!!!!!!! So tough and such a fighter. Beautiful win!

June 7, 2011 at 5:52 AM

Blogger Charisa said...

Been waiting for your "I won a race!!!" post for 2 years now - it is PERFECT!! :) HUGE congrats. So VERY PROUD of you!!

June 7, 2011 at 9:40 AM

Blogger Regina said...

Oh my! First off, congratulations on your win! Sounds like it was hard fought and win. I can't even imagine, you pros amaze me; that is serious mental toughness. I do understand working hard to not disappoint our kids though.

I went the opposite route with my ike. I finally got a beat down on a VERY hilly century and switched my full crank to a compact two days before race day (REV3 Quassy). I should have drank the Kool-Aid sooner!

I hope you are feeling better by now. Recovery balls are still a favorite in our house! Stay cool!

June 8, 2011 at 2:33 PM

Blogger bart said...

great going Bree!!
The first of a long list!

June 10, 2011 at 10:33 AM

Blogger Marni said...

Bree, you are such an inspiration. Every time I feel stressed in life, I can just pop over to your blog, look at your amazing pictures and just feel lucky to be alive. You are really living a great life and making the most of every day. Congrats again on everything you have done thus far!!

June 10, 2011 at 1:50 PM


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