Do you know what Sunday is? Lavaman Triathlon!! SO AWESOME, it was my first Olympic distance triathlon, the first triathlon I ever saw in real life, and the day I fell in love with swimbikerun. You never forget your first love of sport, right? This Sunday will celebrate the 15th year of Lavaman existence and it will be my #10. Lucky 10, top 10, special 10, bring it!
All 10 of my Lavaman's were not raced, 2003 I watched Jill Savage and James Cotter win, met them, loved them, got inspired, and said, "Next year I am totally racing Lavaman". SO I did. And I've done it every year since, (except 2006 when I was 7 months pregnant), that year I passed out awards and leis with big boobs and belly. Lavaman holds some of my GREATEST memories in sport, in honor of the 10th time I've been at the race I'll share my memories...
1. My son can be at the finish line
2. My training partners, town, & best friends are all on the start line
3. I get to sleep in my own bed
Let's start from today and take a walk down memory "Lavaman" lane...
2012: I get to wear bib #1!! How fun is that?! Chris McCormick will line up with the pro men again this year, AND Masuda is doing his first Lavaman! Having someone training for their first big race alongside you really spikes the motivation, refreshes the passion for sport, and of course this race will be raced for others.
Sadly, last week 4 friends all ready to race lavaman had bike accidents, thankfully survived, but are sidelined. Our towns dear friend Mike Woodbury was hit and sent to the hospital, now home with a long road of recovery. Amber Stull, an Elite buddy of mine has landed a broken arm and 22 stitches, Dr. Traub & Ridge both have mangled themselves as well, home from the hospital but in no shape to swimbikerun. SO to those 4 friends, I'll have some fun for you and think of you out there with all of us...heal well, we love you!
2011: This was a record setting day for me. Got my name added to the list of top 5 best female times on this course. I was so happy to be amongst women I'd always looked up too. Women who have paved the way for us girls. Lavaman never has a huge pro field but over the 15 years it has had many, many great men and women. Last year even included Dave Scott and my sister (see above)...
Jill Savage 2:03.34
Jodi Jackson 2:04.21
Bree Wee 2:04.28
Tina Walter 2:06.38
Lori Bowden 2:09.58
My very first triathlon partners ever, they got me started, dragged me out of paddle practice while skipping themselves, and we rode bikes...
2010 was a cool day, it was wetsuit legal believe it or not, here in Hawaii! It was also the day I really became aware of how much I love this sport and all that it has brought to my life.
2010 felt special lining up with 2 of Hawaii's pro boys (well, Cotter moved but we still know him as an island boy). Remember Cotter from 2003, the first time I ever saw a triathlon and met a real live professional! I think I even asked for his autograph and a photo with him, having my bike racked with them was so cool this year.
2010 Chris "Macca" the man beat me by 16 minutes, standing on the #1 spot of the podium next to him was pretty darn cool too.
2009-that was a FAST year. Lisa Mensink, a former team mate from Canada came over and pretty much proved why she was in the 2008 Olympics. It was one heck of a race with her. She crushed the swim, I biked past her and held the lead till mile 3. Then all I saw was her butt for the final 3 miles...loved that day...
2008: I was super sick this race, my old coach looked at my eyes and told me, "Bree you look like you want to race, that means you should". So under the most rotten conditions I ever felt I raced. Tyler Stewart showed up this year and set the womens bike record on this course with a 1:01.32! My best is a 1:02 change and knew I'd have to swim like a fish to keep her from winning...thankfully the swim was fish-like. It was one of my toughest Lavaman wins having to race sick and with Tyler!
2008 was also pretty unique as I got to help with a training camp. It was during this camp that I realized I want to be a coach one day. I met so many great athletes, felt like I could truly help others balance sport with life, and I was part of a team...
Katya Meyers, Lisa Mensink, Heather Gollnick, and local boy Jimmy cruising with the girls that just crushed him, it was pretty fun times in 2008...
2008 was also my last triathlon as a "married" girl. Yes, all my Lavamans have some memory attached to them, this was a hard one in the direction my life was about to take. But it turned out all good for all of us.
My best trophy in 2008, the best part of me, he held me up when life was falling down...
2007-I got to win with Cotter! I felt like Jill Savage this year as the first time I saw the race she won with Cotter. I also thought this year I wanted to go to the Olympics-until I found out you really have to be a fish to race ITU. It was also the year of my first ever sponsor!! SPLISH suits! Don't you love my first Splish??!! I miss that suit, it was so fast!
2006-pregnant, no photos, my boobs were popping out too much at that race to post any. I passed out awards, cheered, and had morning sickness all day long in the Kona heat...
2005: This was back before speed suits. That suit was a hand-me down from Karlyn Pipes Neilson. You know her, she has like 300 world Masters records and swims faster than anyone I know. I felt so cool racing in her suit. It was my second Lavaman triathlon and the first time racing pros. I wasn't a pro, at all, only in year 2 of sport but 5 pro girls showed up and I got to oooh and ahhhhhh at them...
2:14 was my time in 2005. A whopping 10 minutes slower than last year. Jill Savage, Gillian Moody, Tina Walter, Carolyn Murray, Lauren Groves I think all signed my shirt. Yes, I was such a dork. AND that bike, my first for real triathlon bike, guess who rode it before me?! Dede Griesbaur. I know, what a great Lavaman!!
AND NOW... 2004! My first Lavaman! That suit embarrasses me! EVERYONE in Kona wore Zoot back then and I wanted to be like all the other triathletes on the island. The zipper was so not my style and all I'd known prior to this day was a sprint race in a bikini.
I survived Lavaman and actually won for the first time! 2:16.21, sheesh, over the years I've thankfully managed to improve. Sunday I'd really like to smash that time even more! It will be fun, I'll be in a Splish just like 2007, my first sponsor, wake up in my own bed, and race all my favorite people in the world, the little town of Kona!
See you all out there, 1500 people on the 15th year!