3:30 am I was up and ready to start my long Ironman day. Since my parents were volunteering for body marking they were out the door before I even woke up. The coffee was ready and I started eating my breakfast. Oatmeal, a few nuts, banana, raisins, glass of milk w/ protein powder, waffle and a little PB. Plenty of water and a sports drink and I felt satisfied. I haven't been able to eat much lately so I felt like I ate enough to keep me full for the morning. Around 4:40 I was out the door to wait for the shuttle with my friend Peggy. Well, no shuttle after waiting for 10 minutes so we started walking. My hip/groin felt ok but I didn't want to overdo it with a 1.5 mile walk to the pier. Luckily, a car drove by and asked if we wanted a ride and we hoped in and headed to the pier. After waiting in a long line for our ages on our calves we finally made it into the body marking tent. I headed to the table for my number and I had my number stamped on my arm. With a number so big and an arm so small, I barely had enough room on my arm. My dad touched it up and I was ready to head to my bike. I pumped up my tires with my pump since I took some air out last night after I checked my bike in. After a brake check and water bottles in place, I was ready to head to the pier. After a quick phone call from Karel and a rub of sun tan lotion all over my back I headed to the water to get a good place for the start. After the pro's went off at 6:45am I slowly swam to the swim start only to tread water for 15 minutes. I had a good place in the front of the pack but the crowd kept getting bigger and bigger and I was being pushed around before we even started. I enjoyed looking at the scuba diver with the camera below me. I also spotted my parents on the pier so I gave them a couple smiles that i was ready to swim. The cannon went off and it was literally a washing machine for the entire race. Ever so often the pack would seperate but it wasn't an easy swim. I was kicked, hit, pushed and just ran over in the water but I kept going since I had to other choice. I tried counting bouys but by the time I was at 8 bouys we were at the boat turnaround and started heading back. I tried to pick up the pace but as the people in front of my got tired, I was again fighting a crowd to swim in between swimmers. Finally I made it back to the pier and I was extremely tired from the swim. I dropped a minute off my IMFL time and finished in 1:06!!! I didn't feel that I was out of shape but it was a rough swim and it took a lot out of me to swim through so many people. I didn't see too many females (orange caps) but when I did see a female I tried to stay close. Once i got out of the water I ran to get my bag and headed into the changing tent. As always, the volunteers were extremely nice and helpful and after stripping off my speed suit and bikini bottoms I was ready to go with my race top and bottoms. Helmet was on the bike so I put on my cycling shoes and ran to my bike. Helmet on and I was a bit nervous for the 112 mile bike ride. Excited, but nervous for the unexpected. The first 8 miles are around town and we make a loop around the town and an out and back on Kuakini for spectators to see. There is a big climb on palani before the Queen K and before I knew it I was making my way to Hawi (pronounced Havi). The wind never let up and it was windy the entire ride. There are a lot of climbs and descents but there is wind everywhere. I did reach speeds around 30-35 mph but you still have to pedal to get going on the descents. The course is far from easy or comfortable. Around mile 40 you make a left turn to Hawi. The beginning of this out and back 20 mile stretch has a lot of climbs. Small chain ring and speeds around 8 mph. A couple descents and then comes the 12 mile climb to Hawi. The crosswinds picked up and it was extremely windy. I have never experienced anything like this before and you can't explain how windy it was on your bike. Not only is it windy but you are climbing. Climbing out of your saddle, trying to stay hydrated and the sun is just shinning on your back. I was so hot for the entire ride and I poured so much water on me to keep myself cool. The nutrition went well but it was a task to try to take down a gel. I enjoyed my sport beans and cliff blocks and i also had some twizzlers to change things up. Once i made it to the top of Hawi I was ready for the 12 mile descent. However, I think the climb was more comfortable than the descent. At this point, the crosswinds were blowing so hard on my left side that I was literally leaning as much as possible to the left in order to not get blown off my bike. If i moved just one inch to the right I would probably fall off my bike. I was just praying that I wouldn't fall off my bike when an occasional car came by with a gust of extra wind to make things challenging. There was no way I could get aero and I was just holding on with all my strength to try not to fall off my bike. Not only were the winds a challenge but I am flying down around 30 mph. How bout scary for a little girl like me. Luckily, I have really been working on my bike skills and I trust my bike so I felt that I was confident with my bike handling skills. I wasn't concerned about my finishing time but I was hoping for around 6 hours but the last 30 miles were solid head winds. For some crazy reason I started to feel really good on my bike at this point and started to really push on the pedals to pick up the pace. Even though I was going 18-19 mph I was very aero as I was heading in the headwinds. There were a lot of climbs but I sat down and just hammered up the hill like a machine. I was passing so many people who were really struggling up the climbs in the wind so I felt really good about my climbing skills. I felt really strong on the climbs. Of course there weren't a lot of people to pass on the bike since I was finishing the bike in around 6 hours and 18 minutes but that's ok, I was happy that I survived the bike. Now it was the time to find out if I could finish this race. I wanted to run the entire run course and I had no idea how I would feel after the first couple miles. I had one pain pill around mile 3 and 2 ibuprofen around mile 13 other than that I was running off endorphins. The uphills were more comfortable on my hip than the flats and the downhills weren't too bad. I was hurting the whole run but I pulled through and didn't walk at all. I wanted to run the whole thing and I kept a smile on my face during the entire run. The run along Queen K was long and it felt like forever until i got to the natural energy lab. By that point it was starting to get darker but it was still extremely hot. The whole day was hot and windy. After the big climb on palani to get to the Queen K my quads starting burning. The next 5 or 6 miles to the Energy lab were big climbs and my groin pain was replaced by intense quad pain. I was not giving it and i just kept pushing my 10 minute per mile pace started to get a bit slower and after I briefly thought I would come in under 12 hours I had to slow down the pace to try to calm the pain. The 4 mile out and back in the energy lab was lonely and tough. The sun was going down and I knew i had 6 miles left after I got out of the energy lab. I grabbed a glow stick and kept on shuffling along. I took things mile by mile and I looked forward to every aid station to get some fluid and to grab so ice. The ice really helped my quads and after about mile 4 I would poor ice down my shorts in order to cool off my quads and right groin. The ice only lasted about 1/2 mile but it really kept me cool. I felt strong the entire race and even without running for 6 weeks (I wouldn't advise my injury training program to anyone who decides to run a marathon!!!) I didn't feel winded, tired or out of shape. I didn't even bonk. Although I wasn't pushing hard, I did find it hard to lift my feet off the ground during the last 2 miles. At one point I was running down Palani and because it was so steep of a downhill I tried to walk down the hill. Well, that didn't work cause if I tried to walk I was going to fall over. I had no choice but to continue with my "run". Haha-I would call it a shuffle rather than a run. The first half marathon was the best for me and even though I was hurting, I still felt strong with a good stride. The last mile was tough and I just couldn't wait to finish. The run along Ali drive was remarkable cause everyone was cheering for me. Because 1200+ peope had finished before me I was all alone as I ran down the finishing chute. After mike reiley announced my name I knew it was time for me to finish this race. I had no doubts about not finishing the race but the pain was so intense that I didn't know how I would stand after the race. After many cheers and applauds for my effort of getting down Ali drive, I felt so honored to be among the best in the world. Even if I wasn't at my best, I knew i belonged here and people were cheering so loud for me. I started crying with about 400 yards to go that I was just so amazed that I made it. So I know I looked just awful when I crossed the finish line and I felt just horrible but I was so shocked that I finished the race. 1 month ago I couldn't even stand without pain and I didn't think I would be at the starting line for the race. Even though I was carried off to the medical tent for the next hour after the race (just ice and stretching to help my quads and groin) I was so proud to wear my medal. I also got a pretty lay and a finisher shirt. So later that night I finished my day with 2 pieces of pizza but it was hard to get anything else in my tummy. I tried to drink but I was in so much pain that all i wanted to do was to crash on my couch. After waiting until my dad got the car (what would I do without my parents), I was carried on a stretcher to the street so I could get in the car. I know it sounds bad but I just couldn't put any pressure on my right leg. I was enjoying my catered ride throughout the streets :)
I am slowly getting better and even though I can't walk, the pain isn't as bad as it was 6 weeks ago. It is all in one area which makes it hard to stand and walk. I want to thank everyone for their support and enthusiasm. This was the hardest race of my life! I have no idea how I finished this race in so much pain but I think I was digging deep in order to prove that when you really put your mind to something, anything is possible. I did it!!! Ironman World Championship 2007 Finisher!!!!