Here is all of my Hapalua race report...
Friday morning was the usual sunrise swim practice, except I felt a little bit fast in the pool again. Coach Steve gave us some fast 100's and I did a 1:03. I haven't swam that in over 3 months. Coach asked if I left early, no, and the lane mates agreed for once I was fair off the wall. Then I did a 1:02 and shocked even myself. It gets better, my last one I did a 1:01. Coach affirmed my swim is coming back. Happy was an understatement, it was a good swim for me and I totally believed Sunday would be a good run for me too. From there, Kainoa to school, where I of course did what I always do before I fly away, (even a 40 minute flight away), I cried once the bell rang and he was in his class. It never gets easy for me.
But then I landed on Oahu where Mike is working on the North Shore, life got really good again. I felt like a ping pong ball going from one island to another, between the 2 people I love most in the world. My focus slowly began to shift from "training mode" to "race mode" being on Oahu.
You know when you really want something, truly believe it can happen? It just feels like anything is possible? That feeling was parading as the sky got dark. The ocean does that to me, it sort of takes my breath away and makes me believe in the beauty of a dream, so I literally ran into the ocean fully clothed and let the sea sweep over me. It was perfect.
The day before the race we woke up, ran a few miles with a few pick ups, and my legs still felt like I'd be lucky to run 7min pace for the 13.1. However, my head was still excited and my heart was still a little overly ambitious. We ate lots of eggs and rice and drank some green stuff a hippy girl at a farm market gave us. Then chilled out. I read my "race book" and really let this part sink in: "It is not safe to judge your performance on the result, a season is long and the races leading up to the goal race is just a step in that direction, do not worry about tuff days, use their lessons". That was pretty much perfect, it set my mind at ease, knowing this is only race #1 on the way to my goal of making Ironman Hawaii in October. DO NOT GIVE UP BREE, no matter how Sunday unfolds. But I still wanted a run worth knocking my socks off, I was believing it...
The North Shore was beautiful, I wanted to stay there all day and play. Surf, sun, sand, all that and more, but I had "work" the next day, so we drove straight to the busy town of Waikiki where we would settle in till race morning, skipping right over the adventures that tempted me. We ended up watching a surf contest on TV. Pretty close to being out there, not really, maybe a little.
Finally bed time and I had no trouble snoring off to sleep, my excitement thankfully did not keep me awake and there was nothing to fear to keep me up. The start gun would sound at 5:35am, that meant be up at 4:15am (I'm still not one of those people that believe in waking up 2-3 hours before my races). Oatmeal, bananas, coconut water for breakfast, (in case you wondered). A little warm up, a lot of eager energy, and before I knew it the first wave of women was off.
The Hapalua is really unique as it goes off in 3 waves of girls, then 3 waves of men, then the Kenyans that chase down the 6 waves of Hawaii's invited runners from each of the islands. Seriously, the pride just being the invited girl from Big Island is like an award in itself. To run with Kenyans is a humbling atmosphere too, one I will always cherish! I was in the last wave of women and our heat of girls was amazing! We had work to do chasing down the 2 waves of girls in front and not getting run down ourselves. I have no idea what pace we started, no Garmin for me as I knew this race was "keep up or get run over". There were no expectations of how my foot would handle, the most miles I ran in a single week since I broke my foot was 12 and that wasn't even all at once. Today would be the "speed work out session #2". So, my best bet was to just run with the girls in my pack for as long as possible.
You know what happened? My dream felt real. I was feeling better than I have felt in months! My foot felt amazing, my legs felt like Kenyans, my heart felt strong, my breathing was good, and my brain was so tuned in. About a dozen times I thought to myself, "This is so my race, I got this". The rain began to pour buckets, literally buckets, making it a swim around the flooded areas of the streets. That was when I was most loving the race, it was like a young girl playing in the rain, doing what she loves. About mile 8 the race took a little turn, ugh, that part where you have a choice: Hold on or give up. I kept saying, "moments turn into miracles, moments turn into miracles". I had to hold on, I kept holding on, hoping any moment would turn into that miracle where I feel amazing again. We caught the girls from the second wave, that helped a little, their energy became mine, I told Bridge to hang on with me, to run with me, she was the other "island mom" in the race so I was of course pulling for her. Our group just ran past them though and then 3 of them ran without me...
It was horrible. Part comforting to finally be in my own space, partly very sad to not be able to hold on. I fought tooth and nail, literally giving it my all till snot was flying out of my face and my legs turned to rocks. My foot felt amazing, my head and heart too, I just wanted it so much. Faking miles and speed work was no longer happening for me. Humbled and hurting in my quads and butt, it was a huge battle for me. You know when you actually like the pain and mentally are prepared to accept it to reach something you work so hard for, that was my moment, but it was slower than I wanted. The finish line came and I was not ready for it, I didn't even want the race to be over. But it was and I cried to Mike who was waiting in the rain for me. Of course he had all the right things to say, making me walk it off, and reminding me that the entire purpose of this race was to test out my foot before flying all the way to an Ironman in 2 weeks, and he was right, mission accomplished, I'm back to good health. But the athlete in me could not be happy with just that, I wanted a pay day, a faster time, and...then I shut up. My little quote from yesterday slapped me in the face, "Do not judge my performance on the result, it is a step in the direction to my bigger goal".