Glenn and Jane Konquer Kona

The Ironman World Championships in Kona lived up to all the hype that surrounds the event.

 

 
 
I have never been and suspect I will never again be at an event so well organised around insuring  that each competitor had the best experience possible. Glen ( and his lovely wife, Sue) and I arrived a good 8 days in advance and were welcomed by Endurance Sport Travel reps – on Glenda’s advice. EST proved to be critical to us having a worry free and ultimately more fun event. They provided shuttles everywhere; morning buffet breakfast – and took us to all parts of the course for training. Through them we met a wonderful mix of athletes from all around the world – an instant social group with a common interest. Kona is in fact, a small village of beach shops and restaurants that comes alive in October. Dig Me Beach is the pivot point where everyone goes first thing in the morning to swim parts of the course – and out to the unique ‘coffee boat’ – where they serve up small cups of espresso for you to down before you swim back to shore. For several days we saw large sea turtles swimming around the beach – and the water itself was full of the most beautiful array of pretty fish – like a giant fish tank. EST took us out to the famous Queen K highway – miles and miles of undulating lava fields to experience the famous winds – cross winds; head winds and tail winds that suddenly change. We also had a trial of the ‘Energy Lab’ – that any of you Kona watchers would have heard about – this is simply where the local energy generators are but is infamous for being very still, stifling hot and one of the worst 4 miles of the run. Other pre – race highlights included the ‘underwear run’ – where Glen bared all – and I took lots of pictures; the ‘expo’ with stall after stall of the latest tri kit with many great deals on offer and  ‘Pro siting’ also provided an element of excitement – being where it was all happening!  I ran into Jody Swallow and James Cunnama; then Chrissie, Dave Scott and Tim O’Donnell.

The race start is one of the most emotionally charged in the sport – helicopters throbbing overhead and the pulsating beats of drums from Native Kona’ites. 2300 bodies swimming out /back 3.9km was quite an experience. I was delighted that I could see feet to follow –  but once one was in a ‘group’ it was impossible to move on. In T1, volunteers were in a mad rush to help – with 2 ladies grabbing my hands and taking me to a seat to get set up – while quickly spreading sun block on my face I stuck my finger up my nose – then spent what seemed ages stemming the blood flow. The first half of the bike was straightforward – but then the return just got harder and harder was the head winds almost forces us back. We were all stretched out for miles battling the winds and the undulating terrain. As I finished I could see Rachel Joyce in the lead at about mile 17 on the run, with Mirinda closing in on her. The first few miles of the run ticked off quickly as it was an out and back and one could see friends and competitors. Aid stations were every mile – and always well stocked with ice; water; energy drink and sponges. Ice under my hat; down my back; down my front and water/sponges everywhere else. Drink, drink, drink- critical to finishing. By mile 10 we were back out, up Palani hill and  on the Queen K highway for 6 miles of gradual uphill – here my paced slowed considerably – and I really envied those coming down the other side. Into  ‘the energy lab’ where I was passed by another lady  my age – up to that point I had passed quite a few of my age group – having started 19th after the swim. I briefly passed her as she stopped at an aid station but she was on a roll. Running back into Kona, I had started drinking Cola, almost throwing it at my face – as dusk rolled in a thick fog of gunk clouded my glasses – and as I turned the corner to the final finishing chute I really couldn’t see a thing with them on – and when I took them off, couldn’t see either – so the whole last couple of miles was a blur. Literally. The crowds were immense and the sound of Mike Reilly’s voice announcing me, of 7Oaks Tri Club, Great Britain was a very emotional moment. I’d had a good race – it was hard and I’d gone as hard as I could.
                Swim   Bike  Run     Finish Time  AG result
Glenn         1:11    5:37   4:03    10:58          90th

Jane         1.21.   5:47;  4:07.   11:25 04  7th