Thursday, June 15, 2017

Hawaii 70.3

It is officially Summer (sort of!).   I have 3 days this week of some Professional Development training on using Thinking Maps in the class to make AMAZING readers and writers, doubt you care, let me carry on...
The final school bell did in deed ring, wrapping up my return to the classroom with a big girl job of 40+ hours a week, a real payday, and actually understanding what Friyay truly means. Admittedly, it feels nice being able to relate to all my friends who did not spend all day most days outside in their bathing suits, on bikes, or chasing dolphins. Other than sobbing like a baby when I hugged all my little First Graders goodbye, another something special happened at the little school by the beach-Kainoa finished up his years at Kahakai Elementary and celebrated his middle school promotion.  That boy has been going to Kahakai since his days in my belly!  I used to throw up my morning sickness in the rubbish just because I could never make it to the restroom on time.  This momma is now a mother to a middle schooler-yikes. Wow. Cool. I think...

Other than that I have spent every single spare moment running.  Mostly on trails. More running than I ever thought possible for a regular two-legged girl.  I've now had a couple 70 mile weeks, an 80 mile week, and 3 weeks ago a back-to-back weekend of marathons!  I know!  I'll refrain from the profanities I used to think about the people I've become like.  But I did that stuff, ran that stuff!  A marathon Saturday on top of Mauna Kea and the good 'ol marathon Sunday in sun-kissed Kona. I'm pouring my heart and soul into this pretty (often muddy) little-big dream to join the HURT100 family.  It's truly ambitious and humbling to go after a dream you have minimal control over. It really doesn't matter how much you train, how qualified you are, or if you win or lose races.  They don't care, nobody cares.  That's part of why I have fallen deeply in love with Ultrarunning.  It's a family of support that does not judge you, hold you on any kind of podium, or belittle you.  You get to be you.  BUT you have to put in the work and be more disciplined than I've ever been before.  Because...just in case your name gets called in August you have to be knee (or maybe its waist deep) in your mileage by then.  I'm not entirely sure as I've never run that far or done anything like this.  I just know you can't fake it till you make it like I've been known to do far too many times to admit in triathlon.  It's been maybe one of the biggest gifts to my life to become an ultrarunner.  The journey alone is a lot all my old travel experiences.  So very rich and rewarding. This is just happening more often and without having to fly around the world.  Back to that fake it till you make it stuff... 

Part of increasing my run miles included this plan to swim twice a week and ride twice a week January-June, to avoid injury and cross train. Some weeks it worked rather well and I made it to the pool or threw in a local bike race for one of my rides.  Other weeks school was just too demanding and motherhood needed me far more than training.  I never skipped my runs but I had no problem missing swim or bike.  My heart truly doesn't feel the same passion for it that it once did and I'm okay with that.  Other weeks I was actually motivated to swim or ride but the pool was closed, shark sighting and closed beaches for ocean, or my bike tire was flat (insert excuses that I didn't mind having). Somewhere
along the lines of committing to this swim/bike thing I signed up for Hawaii 70.3, actually it was Mikey's fault.  He was racing, we could do it together, I know, so cute. Under The Bodhi tree signed me up, payed my way, I could not say no. A sincere MAHALO to them for the kindness, the opportunity, and helping me afford it.  About a month before the race school got busy with tests, report cards, helping Kainoa learn/understand everything for his giant test, and I just lacked time to ride.  The weekend before Honu I promised I'd go ride with the Saturday group, they would whoop me into shape, remind me how to suffer, and connect to my bike.  Except 40 minutes into the ride our group had a horrible crash leaving 3 men down.  Broken rib on one, broken clavicle on another, and road rash on all three.  It was absolutely enough to get me away from my bike till Honu.  I didn't really care if a race was coming, it was scary to see friends injured and nearly miss being part of the pile up (I was hit but stayed upright).  The next day my friend Staci encouraged me to ride with her, we rode 2.5 hours and I was convinced that was now more than enough.  Race week I rode 30 minutes and left it at that.  I did swim more race week than I probably swam all year though.  5 days! While everyone else was tapering I was cramming in my yards...awesome!!  Honu, finally arrived! Insert excitement.
However, Mikey was no longer racing.  Believe me, aside from feeling sad he was side-lined I was poking my eyes out that I would still be out there suffering, because of him! I could have spent the day on top of Mauna Kea running (I have spent almost every Saturday for the last few weeks up there).  Well, if anything I figured the race would be great mental practice to push hard (ultra running is teaching me to take it patient) and I could use the experience running exhausted.  The coolest news happened the night before the race, I got an email that I had been selected to run the Peacock 55 miler!  Like HURT100 you are on a waiting list and wait.  Kainoa and I did what any passionate mother runner would do, we went for a run!  He hopped on his bike and paced me along, it was awesome!  I'd never, ever, ever just go take an evening run the night before a triathlon back when I was a for real triathlete.  No way would I deviate from a plan and stop my chillaxing.  But we did.  Kainoa has come to truly enjoying riding his bike so I never miss a moment to share miles with him.  Back to Honu.  It was great to catch up with everyone, smack talk as usual, wipe my blue face zinc on, and be part of something kind of unknown.  As with all races you just don't know what the body is going to do...but you do it anyway. Hawaii 70.3 has changed a bit since I last raced it.  Having no expectations I never found room to
complain or even entertain much about any outcomes.  I'm super goal oriented so I of course had a couple for the day.  #1 was to enjoy with no pressure.  I made myself promise not to get mad about anything out there.  That was an easy one.  The 35-39 girls wave start was awesome!  Loads of fun women.  A lot of laughter, plenty of "good lucks" and "have funs".  Kind people.  The difference was we had waves, unlike previous years I've known. Our wave was 42 minutes after the first wave, which meant we had heaps of people all over in the water to navigate through.  I absolutely loved it!  It kept me motivated, focused, and entertained.  I never punched, hit, or blacked eyed anyone! Very different than the pro waves I remember.  A few ladies in the 65-69 year wave that I caught did however breast kick me pretty good, but it never phased me.  I knew then this day really would be mostly rainbows and butterflies.  Having Kainoa, Mikey, and Stover on the sidelines made it really fun, too.  They were everywhere and had all sorts of cheesy faces and cheers.  Onto the bike my goal #2 was to ride for Josiah.  He was the boy who took the worst of the spill last weekend.  I marked his initials real big where I could see them on my arm and just put my head down for him. I also begged and thanked Madam
Pele for the winds.  Having minimal bike fitness I knew an easy day of winds would never help a girl like me.  I wanted it scary and wild.  The kind that having a strong mind could possibly trump having lots of bike miles.  She provided.  I loved the ride!  It was so much more fair than I'd ever seen this course! Coming from way behind I just pedaled along saying "hi" to all my Kona friends and others I'd met over the years going up to Hawi.  I figured I was riding strong because I was passing people but had no idea since part of the plan was no Garmin or watts or heart rate.  Hills have always been my favorites so that may have helped, too.  The downhill was pretty lousy.  It was the only time I got passed.  My crank is way too small for me but I refuse to invest in anything for triathon, so I just spun out like a little rodent in a wheel.  Again, thankfully the winds were out by the time our wave hit Hawi, they probably helped me a little bit being familiar with them.  Once I jumped off the bike I figured no matter how horrible I felt I'd at least be running.  Yay.  All I felt like doing.  Except I didn't feeling like it.  My lower back hurt so bad from sighting so much the entire swim and my neck had me in tears from looking up from my aero bars.  Perhaps I was now being humbled to tears for thinking I could just go out and do this with years and years of muscle memory.
The legs, lungs, and fitness were just fine.  But the parts of the body specific to swim/bike were not.  Stover was in transition waiting to tag his biker for the run.  I looked at him and said I don't think I can run.  I train on the trails with him more than anyone so I figured he would have something to say.  I don't think he said anything because I heard nothing.  So I said, "Catch me if you can" and took off running.  Jogging.  Slow poking right into this guy name Ben.  As luck would have it, he's an ultra runner and his coach has actually won HURT100!  Forget Honu (even though I was currently 57.2 miles into it!) We ran an entire loop together. I told him I just got into Peacock 55 last night, want to run HURT100, and a bunch of other stuff that probably bored him-except he never ran away from me.  He kept reminding me that how I feel is how I'll be feeling at the end of my ultras, to embrace this, and work through it.  Honestly, my back and neck never hurt so bad.  It was making me want to throw up.  The pain was insane. But the legs-handled like champs. As if they could indeed run 100 miles.  The second loop I was on my own with Nell ahead of me.  I truly had no idea where anyone was.
With 45 minutes of women spread out you just don't know.  I tried to catch her, I cheered her on when we'd pass the out and backs *had to stay true to my ENJOY the day & be nice plan.  I saw Mikey and Kainoa, they told me she was in a wave that started a few waves in front of me.  SO I spit out some smart mouth remark, "Oh, who cares then." because the Math told me my finish time if I kept it up would be faster than hers.  They yelled at me, not sure what it was, I think it was, "What a wimp, you're not even going to try!".  SO I put my head down and reeled her in.  We ran together for a little bit, I asked her to stay with me and run in together, using each other for company, but she let me go ahead.  She is one of my most respected and favorite women to race with.  Women like her remind me of some of the wonderful of the sport.  Crossing the finish line was obviously a very, very welcoming sight.  Everything never quit hurting.  My neck and back are still super angry at me, but the legs are only reminding me that they are right where they need to be with this super long running stuff.  I was expecting a laughable swim/bike combo and an amazing run split but got nearly the opposite out there.  Everything else went according to plan, I enjoyed the day, rode for Josiah, and took good note of those on the side lines and volunteers who really helped move me (all of us) along out there. I had a few mention I should return to triathlon but my heart is just not there and Honu reminded me of that.  The ultra running scene is so much more my style these days.  It's so embracing.  And nobody is calling me out that I don't belong because I'm en ex pro triathlete.  Yes, I was shamed by a few women (I'll call them girls because where I come from women throw compliments and support around like glitter) for being out there.

What's up next?  Mango Madness 10 miler this weekend.  I know, soon.  But that's okay.  I'm no stranger to being humbled and I have to, for me.  It will be my first for real trail race over on Oahu. A bunch of us from Kona are going over and plan to spend the following day on the HURT100 trail-you know, just in case I get in.  Not living over there where HURT100 happens we are maximizing our moment on Oahu.  I seriously am beyond excited!  Never would I have imagined putting on a Camelbak and some big 'ol Hoka trail shoes would be so cool!  But for me it really is!  I used to tease the crap out of both the packs and the shoes and now they are like my two dearest friends every weekend.

I guess that's all I have to report on.  I've already forgotten how to keep up with this blog.  Maybe over Summer it will get better being as I'll be outside more and at the run races often.  Massive mahalos to Bike Works Kona for always, always being there since my first ever bike.  To my brother n' law at Velofix Hawaii for clearing the cobwebs off my bike and making it like new every time I bring it to him.  To Under The Bodhi Tree for putting me in Honu, it was wonderful practice for suffering on a run that I thought would come so easily.  For SOS Rehydrate, you are pretty much the only drink that works in Kona heat.  Hoka, for my pretty hot pink and neon green tracers.  Kona Aquatics
for letting me jump back in the pool here and there as if I never left the team, you are truly the best crew to swim with.  The FOMO FB training group.  It was rather annoying most days getting daily workouts that you all were doing but I couldn't make, although I always appreciated the invites! You all at the very least made me feel in good company and motivated.  Pat & Billy, all the run miles. Mikey, for signing up for Honu-if it weren't for you I wouldn't have.  Also, for my hot pink saddle.  There is no way I could have ridden that far without it. And mostly just for being okay with all these ideas I come up with that hardly ever make sense to anyone but me. And Kainoa, everything is always because of you.  I just want to be the one in your life who reminds you to always see the bright side and go do things, whatever they may be-live purposefully and with all your heart.  I dedicated this race to my 2016-2017 First Graders...They had to deal with me on the daily pushing them to never be wasting time, wasting kindness, or wasting their gifts.  I would get so angry when they wouldn't try, I hope they remember that and will always be tryers (I may have made that word up).  They made me work hard on Saturday to not waist my time, my kindness (I would have liked to yank the woman who breaststroke kicked me), waist my gifts, but more importantly-try. Like try to run down Nell... Ps... thank you again, Nell!

See you all on the trails.
Bree xx