This is all being written pretty much randomly.† It is not necessarily being written day by day.† As I remember something, I go put it in the proper day.† One of the beauties of word processing.
Use these links to jump to a particular date from before the race:
The actual Ironman Hawaii Race Report starts here. Or, you can just start from the top and scroll down as you go.
Use these links to jump to a particular date after the race:
For those that donít know, the Lesley who is mentioned frequently, actually Lesley Cens-McDowell, has been my coach and mentor for much of this process.† I met her at the Brandywine YMCA pool back in early May.† I had just been selected for the Hawaii Ironman race through the lottery process and was pretty keyed up.† I knew of her, sheís very successful, and that she sometimes trained in the Y pool.† So one day, she shows up wearing a wetsuit.† I commented that I didnít think the water was that cold, and she said she had a race the upcoming weekend and wanted to get used to her suit again.† She was trying to qualify for Hawaii at the Memphis in May triathlon, which she did.† Our friendship grew from there.† And I am truly grateful for all sheís done to help me on this journey.
This journal was converted to a web page in August of 2002.
Wednesday, October 8, 1997
Spent the day traveling to Hawaii.† Not a bad trip.† The worst part was sitting on the runway in Dallas for what seemed like an hour waiting to take off.† The most anxious part was in Honolulu.† We were changing planes to fly to Kona and we got there before our plane did so I was able to watch them load all the luggage.† After the first couple of baggage carts were loaded I still hadnít seen them put my bike on.† I saw a few others, but not mine.† After the rest of the carts were loaded on the plane and still no bike I was starting to get concerned.† I told Renate that I would give my bike until Saturday to show up, then I would go buy a new one.† Finally a baggage truck from American Airlines showed up and I saw my bike case get on the plane.† I could relax for a while.
Lesley met us at the airport with leis, a very nice surprise.† We followed her into town, stopping at the pier where the race starts.† We looked around for a few minutes and then continued on to the condo, about four miles south of the town of Kona.† We had to go find the manager since we arrived after normal hours.† After unloading all the luggage we went to the nearest shopping center to get food.† We decided to get a pizza before going to the grocery store.† I think we were planning on getting most of what we thought weíd need for the next few days, but I was starting to crash so we pretty much just got enough for breakfast the next day along with a couple of other things.† Just a few bags totaled $80.† Things are expensive here.
That night when unpacking I noticed that some of my things were wet.† It was pretty weird.† Only one towel in my clothes bag was wet.† And only a couple of things inside my bike case were wet.† I guess that happened in Dallas since it had been raining pretty hard there.† I partially put my bike together that evening, mostly getting the wheels on and the tires pumped up with air.† It seemed like they were in the bike case pretty tight and I wanted to make sure they were still round and didnít have any punctures.
We went to bed pretty early, at least by Hawaiian Standard Time.† It had been a long day of travel, but we had arrived.† Tomorrow would start the acclimatization process.
Thursday, October 9, 1997
Woke up a little after five.† Lesley was going to meet us at the swim site about 7:30.† I was a little apprehensive about the swim.† I kept telling myself that it was just a big pool.† So thatís how I refer to the ocean these days.† Thereís a little beach that is kind of the starting point for the swim.† People refer to it as ĎDig Me Beachí because all the triathletes like to pose and profile, and the surrounding sea wall and pier are usually filled with spectators.† ďHey!† Look at me.† Arenít I cool?Ē† Me?† I just want to get in the water and get the damn swim over with for the day.
The race organizers have big orange buoys set up in the ocean, actually the Kailua Bay, for people to swim along.† And there are kayakers out in the water to lend assistance if it is necessary.† The only problem is that there is only one Ďlaneí in this Ďpoolí and both the people going out and the people coming back are using it.† This means that I have to raise my head regularly to see if I am going to collide with anybody going in the opposite direction.† Itís an annoyance, but itís better than running into someone.† While we were waiting for Lesley we saw a lady with a cut nose.† It turns out that she was hit by another swimmer and had her goggles jammed down on the bridge of her nose.
I was surprised with how comfortable I was in the water.† It helps that it is so clear that I could see fish while I was swimming.† Also, because of the high salinity, it is very Ďfloatableí.† Itís nice not having to worry about sinking.† I did have a little trouble sighting on the buoys, after the first few they are spread out quite a bit.† So I would stop and tread water to get my bearings.† I guess I went out about a half mile before turning back.† I didnít want to overdo it the first time out.† I did notice some cold pockets of water.† I would be swimming comfortably along and then run into this cold water.† That would really wake me up.† Overall, I was really happy with how the swim went.† I didnít have any problems being out that far or that long.
After the swim, I spent a little time finishing putting my bike back together.† Then I went for a short ride to make sure everything was working properly.† I ended up going along the Queen Kaíahumanu (which I will refer to as the Queen K in the future) Highway just past the airport, about four miles to get out of town then 11 miles along the highway, before turning back.† It was kind of warm, but not unbearable.† And the shoulders of the road were newly repaved so the ride was great.
About 30 minutes after I finished the bike ride, I had what I thought was a truly miserable run.† I had planned on doing the eight mile round trip into town and back.† It was kind of hot, but I thought I could handle it.† I saw the little sign on the side of the road that said, I thought, MILE 3 and glanced at my watch to get a time.† The next sign I saw was MILE 2.† A quick glance at my watch showed that it had taken me almost 12 minutes to run a mile.† What the hell.† I couldnít be that drastically affected by the heat.† I ran a little bit further and decided to turn back.† There was no sense in killing myself the first day.† A couple of days later as we were driving to the morning swim I commented to Renate that I thought the mile marker signs were not accurate.† I thought it was more than a mile between the signs for mile 3 and mile 2.† She said that was because the sign that I thought was for mile 3 was actually mile 3.5.† So that 12 minute mile was really† 1.5 miles at eight minute pace.† I could live with that.
Friday, October 10, 1997
Woke up again a little after five.† Lesley and I were going to ride on the portion of the bike course that was supposed to be the windiest.† This was the road out and back from the bike turnaround point at Hawi (pronounced Ha veeí).† We decided that we would meet at the swim pier.† I wanted to do a swim beforehand and then we would follow her out in our car.† The swim pier is on the way anyhow.† I had to take both my front and back wheels off in order to get my bike to fit into the car which was kind of a pain.† And I had to remember to pack everything I would need for the bike ride.
The swim went pretty well.† I thought the water was a little bit rougher than yesterday, but not too bad.† I didnít feel seasick, anyway.† It was also a little more crowded which means more time looking up.† I ended up swimming about five minutes further out for a total of 1.25 miles.† Iím both happy and surprised with how comfortable I feel in the water.† I did have to spend a bit of time early in the swim stopping and trying to get my goggles to seal properly.† That happened several times in the first ten minutes, then things were fine.
We drove out 35 miles and then started our bike ride about 19 miles south of Hawi.† There was no point in riding our bikes out that far, weíll get to do that soon enough.† Lesley had brought along Anthony who was staying at the same complex as she.† Like me, he is doing the race for the first time, whereas Lesley is doing it for the 12th time, and, it turns out, he is the only person from Delaware entered.† I think there are about 25 of us from Pennsylvania.† Thereís also one person from Wyoming.† I think they like to have all 50 states represented.
Back to the bike ride.† It turns out that this was the first time Lesley had ever ridden this portion of the course with absolutely no wind.† So I didnít learn anything.† She kept warning me ahead of time that I was in for the worst wind of my life.† I guess Iíll have to wait for race day to experience this.† Oh, joy.† It was nice to see some of the different roads on the bike course.† And there were a couple of hills to deal with, but nothing worse than what I had dealt with back home.† Renate drove ahead a couple of times to do the video camera thing.† She wasnít sure where the actual turn around point was so she drove too far the first time.† After asking someone, she parked the car and went to get an ice cream cone.† We, of course, picked that time to go riding by.† So much for the video portion of our turn around.† We stopped for a couple of minutes, mostly so Lesley could say, again, that she had never had no wind (I know, two negatives).† Right as we were about to take off for the return trip I noticed Renate walking towards us with the palmcorder in one hand and the ice cream in the other.† So I guess she got a little on the tape.† On the way back I decided to hammer for a few miles and I left Lesley and Anthony.† After about 20 minutes I decided Iíd had enough sprinting for the time being and kind of coasted and/or pedaled easily.† Lesley eventually caught up with me and I inquired as to the whereabouts of Anthony.† Turns out he had a flat tire to fix and had told her to go on ahead.† Bummer.† But better to do it in training than during the race.† The ride back to the cars was uneventful except for the time when Renate was filming again, and Lesley was in front.† I caught up to her and mentioned that if I had know Renate was going to be there I would have made sure I was in front.† She said she had thought the same thing.† Itís a guy thing, I guess.† We made it back to the cars and chatted while waiting for Anthony.† It took him about 15 more minutes.† We then drove back into Hawi to have lunch at the Bamboo Restaurant.† After lunch we followed Lesley to a scenic overlook.† Very impressive.† Then a long drive back along a different road which was quite high up and full of twists and turns.† It wasnít too bad until some of the locals got right on my bumper.† I know I wasnít going fast enough for them, but I didnít know what was ahead.† When we finally made it back to the main highway and sea level, I could smell my brakes.† I think Renate managed to shove her foot all the way through the floor boards trying to work the imaginary brake on the passenger side.
Saturday, October 11, 1997
Similar morning as the last few days.† The water seemed to be even rougher than yesterday.† And there was a much bigger cold pocket of water than the first day.† I went out about as far as I did on Thursday.† I didnít stop as many times to get my bearings, even with the bigger swells.† I also used my old pair of goggles which seem to fit better so I didnít have to stop to empty water from them.† I just have to remember to use my anti-fogging drops before the swim.† I saw a good sized sea turtle and a ray of some kind on the way out.† At those times I keep wishing for a snorkel so I donít have to turn my head to breathe.† Coming back is still kind of a pain trying to avoid other swimmers who are going out.† Renate and I grabbed a cup of coffee and as we were walking back to watch the swimmers, we ran into Lesley.† She had just finished her swim and was going to get a run in before picking up her husband, Rich, at the airport.
On the drive back from the swim, Renate and I decided to go down to where the bike finishes and the run starts to see what it looked like.† I also wanted to see how far it was from the condo, which is between the swim start and the run start, since that was where I was planning on running today.
The run went much better than Thursday.† At least this time I knew how to read the mile signs so I knew what miles I was running.† It was three miles from the condo to the run start point, with one fairly decent hill about 1.5 miles into the run.† I was able to time my first mile at about 7:40, I was happy.† The next two were at a little over eight minute pace.† Still decent, considering the hill and the heat.† (I wouldnít be able to time any more since my heart monitor decided to die completely.)† Now I was at the point where the marathon would start.† Itís at a hotel on a little road off the main road at the bottom of a hill.† So the first thing I get to do on my run is go up a hill.† It wasnít too bad today.† Next week after a swim and bike might be a different story.† After the hill the run is back on the main road.† But instead of making a left and heading back into town, I get to make a right and go to the absolute end of this road.† This is called ĎThe Pití and totals about two miles out and back and involves another hill.† Again, not bad today.
Sunday, October 12, 1997
Slept a little later today, as I wasnít going to swim.† The most bizarre part of the day was watching football at 7 in the morning.† Itís a little different drinking coffee instead of beer.† I kind of putzed around a bit.† Cleaning and re-oiling my bike chain.† That type of thing.† I was planning on my last long bike ride so I got all my water bottles filled with carbo drink and water.† I also packed my chocolate chip cookies to see how they would travel in this heat.
The bike ride went pretty well.† It took about five miles to get out of town and I took this stretch pretty easy.† I then rode about 20 miles north on the Queen K going pretty hard, but not maxing out.† I tried to make sure I was drinking lots as I was going along.† I felt pretty good and was able to keep my speed in the 22 to 24 mile per hour range.† For the ride back I took it easy again.† The wind was a little tougher in this direction and it seemed to be more hilly.† This will be about mile 85 on the bike ride for the race.† I can see where the bike ride could be a mental strain.† Thereís nothing to see on this long stretch of road and it can be quite disconcerting to look up and not see anything but straight road.† Itís mostly just black lava with a few weeds and bushes trying to grow.† The ocean is visible on the one side for much of the time on the Queen K Highway, but it doesnít provide much to look at.† I noticed that I would do better if I just focused on short stretches of road in front of me, instead of looking as far off as I could.† Saturday should be quite an adventure.
I spent the afternoon watching the Orioles-Indians game and relaxing.† Renate and I went over to Lesley and Richís condo in the evening.† They have a place right on a golf course so we went to one of the tee off spots and sat down with a beer to watch the sun set.† Of course, it was too cloudy so we didnít get to see anything.† We drove into town and went to Kona Amigos for dinner.† Rich and Lesley are pretty nice people. And she has certainly made my race preparation go very smoothly.† She has been very generous with her time and advice, and has answered all my questions.
Monday, October 13, 1997
It's kind of always been my philosophy that a Monday the 13th was much worse than a Friday the 13th. But, it's Hawaii. How bad can things be?
Back in the routine of swimming in the morning.† It was quite crowded today, and itís only going to get worse.† Today was my last Ďlongí swim.† Iím guessing I did about 1.25 miles, mostly based on time.† This was similar to last Fridayís swim.† The good thing about having more people in the water is that itís easier to follow where to swim, instead of trying to see the buoys.† The bad part is having to spend more time raising my head to see if Iím going to collide with any other swimmers.† I didnít see any wildlife of significance today.† And there were the usual cold pockets of water.
Today was the first day of the ĎReebok Check-In Boothí.† Instead of just leaving my stuff along the pier, I was able to hand it to someone while I went swimming.† They marked a number on my hand that corresponds to the number on the bag, and that kind of gives an indication of how many people did the check in on a day.† Today I was number 186.† Not everyone does the check in, some people continue to leave their stuff along the pier.† There were also a few more company/sponsor booths set up along the pier.
After the swim, Renate and I drove to the intersection of Makala Boulevard and the Queen K Highway a little bit north of town as the starting point for my last long run.† I wanted to do some running along the Queen K and then do the four mile round trip on the Energy Lab Road.† I ended up doing nine miles, about miles 11 through 19 of the actual marathon course.† Hopefully that wasnít too long a run.† It was kind of hot, but I felt comfortable.† For the seven measured miles (the first Ďmileí was a little long and the ninth a little short) I had times in the 6:55 to 7:00 range except for the last one, a 7:27, which was up hill and into the wind.† Renate had stopped at a couple of places on the Energy Lab Road to take pictures and hand me a second bottle of carbo drink.† And then she met me at the end of the Energy Lab loop so that I didnít have to run back into town.† I donít think a 20 mile run would have been very smart today.
After the run, we drove back into town for the packet pickup.† I got my bag of goodies and numbers.† We also picked up several more tickets to the awards banquet for Renate, Roger and Mary Ivy.† Then a relaxing cup of coffee and lunch at Poncho and Leftyís Mexican Restaurant.† Now Iím writing this while Renate is out grocery shopping.† Her parents just called to tell me that there was an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer about one of the local contestants in the race that mentioned Lesleyís and my names at the end as being other Chester County athletes.† Apparently the featured individual, Bill Hauser, decided to quit his job as a lawyer to do the race.† When I received the initial race acceptance information, one of the forms enclosed was a media-type form that could be filled out and sent to the local paper.† I didnít bother with mine.† I guess Bill sent his in.
Tuesday, October 14, 1997
A different routine this morning.† Renate wanted to get her budget numbers done so she decided not to come to the swim with me.† So I got an earlier start, I was number 169 at the Reebok check in table, and was able to avoid most of the crowds.† Did a nice easy three quarters of a mile.† Afterwards I stood in line for about 15 minutes to get a free T-shirt.† Itís pretty nice with all the necessary numbers on it (2.4, 112, 26.2).† I still wonít buy anything that says ĎIronmaní on it.† Not until after the race.† Kind of superstitious that way.† And I certainly wonít wear the shirt I just received.† I also stopped at the PowerBar hospitality suite and picked up a T-shirt and water bottle from them.† Neither of which I really need, but, hey, itís free.
After the swim I got a cup of coffee and sat on the wall near the ocean and just watched some of the activity.† I was on the opposite side of the pier where everything happens so I wasnít in the middle of the crowds, and I was also able to sit in the shade.† This is an ĎEventí and itís nice to watch all the people, both athletes and spectators.
Later in the morning I did an easy 31 mile bike ride, similar to the one I did the first time out last Thursday.† I think that will be my last training ride and I just wanted to make sure everything was working well.
I went and got a massage in the afternoon.† Lesley had recommended this guy and he was pretty good.† I have a hard time getting comfortable and relaxed with someone new, but he was able to calm me.† Iím planning on seeing him again on Thursday.† Renate is going to go tomorrow.† He was very agreeable to massaging spouses.† He knows everything the support crew goes through.† And he assured us that Renate wasnít going to take time from any athletes.
Wednesday, October 15, 1997
Renate was trying to get her budget figures into the office and was having problems with the connection, so we got a little bit of a late start this morning.† By the time I checked in my stuff at the Reebok table I was number 372.† It certainly felt like all 371 people who had checked in before me, as well as the next 100 people, as well as everybody who didnít bother with the check in was in the Ďpoolí with me.† It was crowded.† I went out as far as yesterday.† The water seemed to be a little bit rougher near the starting area, but settled down some as I got further out into the bay.† On the way back I hit a wave the wrong way and swallowed some sea water.† Not too pleasant.† I also lost my right contact lens sometime during the swim.† Thatís the first time that has happened here.
After the swim, Renate and I chatted with Lesley, her husband Rich and their friend Vince for a short while.† Then it was time to check in my bike and run stuff for the race.† I decided to do it early today to kind of force me to stop any real training.† This race is not like the other triathlons I have done† (in more ways than one).† There is no real transition set up.† Especially since the bike to run transition spot is not at the same location as where the swim to bike transition is. †So I had to check in everything I would need for the bike ride, except the bike and helmet which I turn in on Friday, as well as everything I would need for the run.† I also have a number to wear on the small of my back for the bike and another number to wear on my shirt for the run.† Normally, wearing a number on the bike is optional.† I included a water bottle with gel packets taped to it with my run stuff.† I donít think any of the volunteers had ever seen anything like that before.† I like to hold the water bottle while running these long races because it lets me drink when I want and not wait for an aid station.† The same with the gel packets.† I can eat when I want.† (I think Iíve described the gel packets before, but if not here goes.† They are little 3 inch by 1 inch packages of mostly carbohydrate with a few mineral type things thrown in.† Each one is about 100 calories and has the consistency of runny toothpaste.† One of the more popular brands is called ĎGuí which comes in a variety of flavors ranging from ĎJust Plainí to ĎChocolate Outrageí.)† Iím comfortable carrying the water bottle in my hands, theyíre fairly large.† And Iím not going to be that concerned with speed.† Iíll be using the bottle that Iíve carried for all my half ironman races.† I also put a set of contact lenses in both the bike and run bags.† Better to be safe than sorry.† At least I can still see pretty well without them.
Renate is getting her massage now.† The pre-race meeting is scheduled for four today and then itís to the airport to pick up Mary Ivy.
The meeting was actually kind of entertaining, as far as those type of things go.† Especially the guy in charge of the aid stations.† His spiel about what, and how much of, things would be available on the bike and run courses was kind of funny.† Complete with comments along the lines of Ďthe aid stations will be open until midnightí,† Ďreservations are not requiredí, and Ďtransportation between aid stations will not be providedí.† The guy in charge of the swim also had a good line.† ĎIf you get seasick, throw up and keep going.í†† I donít think they mentioned anything that came as a surprise to me.† It did last about an hour and 15 minutes so Renate ended up leaving in the middle to go to the airport to meet Mary Ivy.
Before the meeting, we stopped at the race expo.† This is a gathering of vendors trying to sell their wares to athletes, fans and assorted others.† I knew the makers of my heart monitor, Polar, would be there and I wanted to find out if my malfunctioning monitor could be fixed.† They ended up giving me a new one.† That was great.
Thursday, October 16, 1997
Brought Mary Ivy out to the Ďpoolí this morning so she could witness all the madness.† Similar crowds to the last couple of days along the sea wall and the pier, although the water didnít seem overly populated.† ĎDig Me Beachí, on the other hand, was a zoo.† The worst Iíve seen so far.† It took more effort to get through the profilers to the water than the actual swim.† If youíre going to swim, do so.† If not get the heck out of the way.† No, I am not getting testy with the race a couple of days away.† I just like to get my work in and then I can relax.† Today was an easy swim.† Only about a half a mile.† I did lose my right contact lens again, but was able to fish it out of my goggles at the end.† Afterwards, a cup of coffee and a seat on the sea wall as far away from the crowds as possible.† I like to watch, without being in the middle.
I had thought about doing an easy run today, but I think Iíll pass.† Itís not going to do me any good.† I have a massage scheduled for 2:15 this afternoon, which means that Renate will probably get to pick up Roger at the airport since heís arriving about 4.† Then weíre all going to the pre-race carbo party.† Lesley politely ordered me to attend.† She said it was part of the experience and was generally fun.† And since itís not the day before the race itís probably a good idea.† I just didnít want to get overwhelmed with extraneous things.† Iíve been able to maintain a pretty level demeanor up to this point.† I really only had one period of stress.† That was the time when Renate was working on her budget, and I think half of the problem was that I didnít like to see her working so hard while sheís on vacation.
Friday, October 17, 1997
The last day.† Just a nice, easy, relaxing day.† Iím trying to drink plenty of water without going overboard.† Iím supposed to turn in my bike this afternoon between 2:30 and 5.† Iíve been kind of moving around slowly gathering everything together for tomorrow.† That is, everything that hasnít been turned in already.† I slept well last night and I am still feeling pretty calm.
Roger made it in ok yesterday afternoon.† The carbo party wasnít anything special.† We ended up leaving after about two hours.† It kind of dragged at times.† I donít know how long it went on, but I didnít really want to stay out that late.† Right before the party, Renate, Mary Ivy and Roger stopped into a store that made customized T-shirts.† They had a little difficulty coming up with the words because the store didnít have any Aís.† They ended up getting ďNO ONEíS† CREWĒ printed.† Thatís actually two lines, crew under no onesís, so it doesnít look like what the more foul minded of you might think.† I think they originally wanted ďNO ONEíS TEAMĒ.† The shirts also have the year on them.† Next year they will just have 1998 added.
I rode my bike the four miles into town in my sneakers since I had turned in my bike shoes on Wednesday.† The line to turn in bikes wasnít too long and it moved pretty quickly.† While in line I let some air out of the tires.† I didnít want them to expand and explode sitting in the hot sun for the rest of the day.† A mechanic did a brief check to make sure things were tight and that my brakes worked and then a volunteer took the bike away from me.† I followed along on the other side of the fence to see where it was going.† During the ride into town I had a little chat with the bike.† I told it not to be intimidated by all the expensive bikes that would be around it.† I assured my bike that we were going to have fun.† I had also placed my little rubber noid, my personal mojo, in the bag on my bike for the night.
The Maugles called to wish me luck right before we had the usual spaghetti dinner.† Then kind of early to bed.† Tomorrow will be a big day.
Saturday, October 18, 1997
Race day.† The morning started at 3 AM when my watch alarm went off.† I slept pretty well only waking up a couple of times.† I went through my usual morning routine of stretching and Wheaties.† I also filled my little two little flasks with carbo gel for the bike.† I had already mixed up my carbo drink in the bike bottles.† Everything was packed up and ready to go.† Even my fans were ready.
We got to the race site a little before five in the morning.† I went to check in and the fans, wearing their special ďNO ONEíS CREWĒ T-shirts, went to find a good spot on the sea wall to watch the swim start.† It was already pretty crowded.† The athletes werenít being allowed to check in yet, so I pulled up a section of street and had a seat.† There were quite a few of us waiting to go.† One thing I did notice about this race, it seemed like I spent a lot of time standing in lines.† Finally the gates opened and I went to stand in another line to get my number, for those of you with programs it is 1050, scrawled on my arms and legs.† It was pretty efficient.† One person was reading the printout to verify my name.† One person did my right side.† One person did my left side.† The person on my right side commented that my arms were too small to fit all the digits of 1050 (they write large).† The last 0 ended up going into my elbow.† They also put a big ĎEí on my left calf.† This was my age group code.† That way I would know when another 35-39 male went zooming past me.
After getting marked I went to another line since they werenít letting us in to our bikes yet.† The head volunteer was giving a pep talk to all his sub-volunteers.† When that gate opened a herd of anxious triathletes went to their bikes.† Most were carrying pumps to pump up their tires.† For those who didnít have pumps, there were some available there.† The volunteers would even pump up tires if necessary.† I didnít have any problems.† Since it was still dark, the volunteers were walking around with flashlights lending assistance where necessary.† I got my tires filled with air without difficulty.† It was kind of tight at the bike racks and I had to wait for the one person next to me to move.† I then put my water bottles on the bike and my gel flasks in the pouch on my bike frame.† After checking my tires about a hundred times I decided there was nothing more to do so I left the bike area and went to find my fans.
They had a pretty decent spot so I hung around them for a few minutes.† Then I went to find a quiet spot to get ready.† About 30 minutes before the race start I went back to my fans to give them my morning clothes and to get my goggles and swim cap.† It was then on to the pier.† I ran into Lesley on the way over and we had a brief good luck hug.† On the pier I hung around the back, knowing I wasnít going to get in the front of the pack.† When in the water, I decided to stay in about waist deep water rather than treading water for the time until the race started.† It was nearly 200 yards to the start line and I figured the energy saved, both physical and mental, would be worth the extra bit of swimming.† Plus it would give me some clear water to start.† There were actually quite a few of us standing in the water.
There was a little bit of a snafu for the start.† The swim director gave a blast on his air horn and the pros started swimming.† They were supposed to wait for the cannon.† I guess the pros ended up doing about 100 yards of sprinting before they were stopped.† Once everybody got back behind the line the cannon went Ďboomí and we were off.† I got into a good groove right away and was able to swim smoothly.† I only ran into a few people.† I tried to keep to the left side of the swimmers.† This helped with navigation as well as giving me something to watch and focus on.† I even passed some people.† The swim is basically straight out 1.2 miles and straight back 1.2 miles with a short section halfway to go around a couple of boats.† There were supposed to be 14 big orange buoys on each side and I tried to count those as I was going along.† Either I lost count or there were more than 14 going out.† I started looking for the turnaround boats after 12 buoys.† This was really the first time I had to think and be aware in the water.† It was nice going around the boats.† There were a bunch of people cheering us on.† Then it was back to the pier.† By this time the swimmers had pretty much stretched out and there were fewer people to sight on.† A few buoys after the boats I started to get bored.† I wasnít getting tired, there just wasnít anything to do except swim.† I was able to see the Hilton Hotel on the coast as I was going along and used this as kind of a landmark.† This had been as far out as I had gone during my training swims earlier so when I made it there I pretty much knew I had less than 30 minutes to go.† I was kind of just taking it one buoy at a time.† I didnít want to look too far ahead.† Finally I made it up to the end of the pier and was able to hear the cheering.† A little bit further to the boat ramp and completion.† I made it to where the volunteers were standing in the water and stopped swimming, reaching out to the first person.† When I tried to stand on the boat ramp I sunk and made some kind of surprised noise.† The guy asked if I had a cramp and I said Ďno, Iím just trying to find the bottomí.† That got a little bit of a chuckle from the people on the ramp.† Finally I was standing and made it out of the water.† I went under the clock and noticed my time of one hour, thirty minutes and change.† Pretty much right where I expected to be.† The first part of the day was over.† My official time of 1:30:34 placed me 1,338th† of 1,476 people who finished the swim.
I got my bag of biking stuff that I had turned in on Wednesday and went off to the changing tent.† For short races Iíll wear my swim suit for the bike ride.† For half ironman races Iíll put biking shorts over my swim suit.† For this race I decided to take the extra few seconds to take off the swim suit before putting on the biking shorts.† I put my swimming stuff in the bag and threw it on the pile with the other bags.† After a quick stop in the porta potty I went to get my bike.† As I was leaving the tent I was met by a whole slew of volunteers, each offering something different.† I took one up on a cup of water and had another person slather me with sun screen.† It was nice not having to get my hands all slimy before getting on my bike.† I passed on the cookies, bananas and oranges.† I slowly jogged to the row where my bike was.† The shoes we wear have little plastic cleat-type things on the bottom that fit in our pedals.† But they are next to impossible to walk in, let alone run.† So I gingerly went to my bike.† Two volunteers were holding it and my helmet.† I noticed that there were very few other bikes around.† Oh, well, I figured that would be the case.† I clicked my shoes into the pedals and was off on the second leg of my journey.† My transition time was five minutes and 28 seconds.
The first part of the bike is a short, fairly steep hill and then a left turn onto the Queen K highway.† The hill is filled with cheering spectators, including† No oneís Crew who I heard but didnít see.† Once out on the highway thereís not much to see.† I just tried to get in a good rhythm.† For some reason I had gotten a little bit of a stitch on my right side about a third of the way through the swim and I was trying to get it to loosen up during the bike.† I had never had a problem in a swim with that kind of tightness before.† I didnít do anything differently so I donít know why it happened.† I might not have stretched out enough beforehand.† I thought I was plenty calm before and during the swim.† It wasnít overly painful, but it was annoying and it distracted me a little bit mentally.† I tried to drink almost constantly on the bike as well as regularly eating my carbo gels.† At one point I thought maybe I was putting too much into my stomach and that was preventing my side from loosening up.† It was a dilemma in that I didnít want to drink too little and get dehydrated or drink too much and get bloated.† I decided to cut down on the gels and just drink the carbo drink and water.† The stitch was also a little more uncomfortable when I was in the aero position so I would sit up on my bike occasionally to try and stretch it out.† I rode sitting up quite a bit during the last 30 or so miles.† I didnít think it was overly hot during the ride.† Except at some point in time I noticed that my left foot felt like it was burning up.† I donít know if it was always in the sun, but the black shoes probably didnít help.† I ended up regularly squirting it with water to cool it off.† It was pretty windy, though.† The section to Hawi we had rode last week was tough this time.† The hills seemed steeper.† It might have been the additional 35 miles before that section, but I think it was mostly the wind.† At the turnaround we got a little bit of a respite, with a tail wind and a down hill section of road, but that only lasted for a few miles.† Once back on the main road the winds turned back into head winds.† It was a pain.† Renate said later that the announcers had mentioned that the wind conditions were the worst in the last nine years.† It was nice to make it back into town and hear the cheering spectators.† We went past the main race area and had about seven miles to the end of the bike.† At this point I started to encounter racers doing their run.† The road got kind of crowded with bikers, runners, spectators on the sides and aid stations with volunteers.† And then in the last mile another short steep hill, again, fortunately, lined with cheering spectators.† Around the bend, down a different short steep hill and the bike ride was over.† My time was a little under six hours.† I was pretty happy.† The official time, which includes both transitions, was 6:07:35 which was the 750th fastest of† the 1,418 people who finished the bike section.
My transition to the run was similar to the bike transition.† According to my watch it took me five minutes and 14 seconds to finish biking and start running.† I was very happy with both transitions.† I had thought before the race that it would take me more time to move between activities.† Mostly because of the distances involved, but also with the conditions.† I was glad I included a second pair of socks in with my running shoes.† The ones I had on for the bike were soaked since I kept hosing down my feet to keep them cool.† I knew the running socks would be soaked soon, also, but it was nice to start with dry feet.
The first thing on the run was going up that last hill from the bike.† I was moving pretty well.† My left knee was a little sore and I still had that side stitch I got about seven hours earlier, but for the most part I was in good shape.† It was nice to see people walking up the hill, I knew I would be doing that sooner rather than later, but I did manage to run up with some help from the cheering fans.† A lot of them had programs and would cheer us by name.† At the top of the hill the course made a right turn to go into Ďthe pití.† I saw Lesley coming out as I was going in which put her a couple of miles in front of me.† Thereís a small hill coming out of this section and here was were I did my first bit of walking.† I tried to limit it to about 90 seconds each time, but that wasnít always the case.† I was carrying my water bottle with me and was still trying to drink plenty.† I still didnít think it was that hot.† My original plan was to avoid walking during the first eight miles or so, when the run course went through town.† I had thought that the presence of spectators would be enough to keep me going.† I was planning on walking at the aid stations to make sure I had enough to drink and/or eat.† But that plan disappeared during the second mile.† Oh, well.† No real big problem.† I made sure I was running, such as it was, where I figured my ĎCrewí would be waiting as well as where the largest concentrations of spectators were.† Once on the Queen K it was run if I felt good and walk if I didnít.† I never had any thoughts about not being able to finish, but I wasnít thinking about a time at this point.† I especially knew after ten miles that I was going to be an Ironman.† Only 16 miles to go.† It was also at this point where I was finally able to get into any kind of running rhythm.† I was still walking regularly, but not for as long.† After 15 miles I made the turn to go down the Energy Lab Road and was able to see the ocean and the sun going down.† It looked like it was going to be the best sunset of the entire time I was in Hawaii.† I was probably about 15 to 20 minutes too early to actually watch it go down.† But I wasnít going to hang around and watch.† At the 16 mile mark I did a little bit of calculating to try and see what I needed to do to break 13 hours.† I had been physically active for almost ten hours and thirty minutes.† That meant ten 15 minute miles would get me just under 13 hours.† I could do that.† I saw Lesley again and figured she had probably gained another mile on me, but thatís ok.† I wasnít racing anybody.† And, as sick as it sounds, I was really enjoying myself.† I was doing more running, albeit slowly, and felt pretty comfortable.† I think I ran the entire 18th mile.† I just kept seeing how far under 15 minutes I could go for each mile.† I had to stop briefly at the end of the Energy Lab loop before getting back on the Queen K.† The sun was pretty much gone so all the people still running got little glow sticks.† One was pinned to the back of my shirt and I got to carry another one.† The one I was carrying would come in handy shortly.
To diverge a bit.† My original Timex watch died during the Philadelphia Distance Run back in September so I bought a new one, which Renate called my birthday present.† The new one has a nice night light feature that makes reading the numbers very easy.† At least it would be easy to read if the light worked.† For some reason that feature on my new watch decided to stop working.† So I had to hold my glow stick up to my watch to see what my mile splits were.† That certainly provided for some good humor on Sunday.† We went to the Ironman Souvenir Shop to spend lots of money.† The three members of my crew got themselves watches and they made sure to let me know that their night light feature was working beautifully.
Back to the race.† Back on the Queen K Highway I knew I had a little over six miles to go.† At this point my calves started to cramp.† I hadnít been drinking a whole lot because of my friend the side stitch and I was probably getting a little dehydrated.† It wasnít catastrophic at this point, but it was more discomfort.† I would run as much as I could and when the muscles started to cramp I would start walking.† I also started drinking some of the carbo drink at the aid stations to get some chemicals back into my body.† Again, there was never any danger of me not finishing the race, and I was still on pace to break 13 hours.† In fact at mile 21 I started to calculate for a 12:30 time.† I had one hour and 15 minutes to do five miles.† I figured even with the cramping calves and subsequent walking I could still do five 15 minute miles.† The chemicals were starting to work also.† Plus I knew that once I got back into town the adrenaline would kick back in to get me to the finish.† I did my last bit of walking during the 23rd mile resuming running right before getting into town.† The last two miles were great.† The spectators were fantastic.† I tossed my glow stick to a kid on the side of the road when I got back into town.† It was well lit here.† I was also running very well.† I saw a few people in front of me and went after them.† I wanted the finish line all to my self at the end.† I didnít think too much coming down the last bit of road.† I just tried to absorb everything that was going on.† It was easily the greatest feeling and sense of accomplishment I have had.† I crossed the finish line 12 hours, 10 minutes and 53 seconds after I started.† I was, and am, an Ironman.
As I crossed the finish line I was aware of camera flashes going off.† I was happy no other athletes were crossing the line right behind me.† I would have a picture to myself.† As soon as I stopped moving, two volunteers, known as catchers because oftentimes people would simply collapse as they crossed the line, were there to greet me, one on each side.† Somebody draped a towel over my shoulders and somebody else placed a lei over my head.† The catchers asked me how I was doing and if I needed any water or anything else.† I assured them that I was fine and could negotiate on my own.† They were politely insistent on walking me over to the next area where another volunteer was assigned to me.† I was feeling great.† No problems at all.† She did get me a cup of chicken soup which tasted great.† Lesley had told me about the soup.† Itís great.† Kind of warm and salty and really goes down well.† (I forget which mile during the run that I had also had some, turning down the roll that was also offered, but it was about 22.)† While I was getting the soup in the finish area, Renate, Mary Ivy and Roger appeared.† They were happy for me.† The line I was now standing in was to get my finisher medal.† Itís pretty nice, although it doesnít have the year on it.† Then it was another line to get another picture taken.† Renate was in this one with me.† Then another line to get my finisher T-shirt.† Then another volunteer appeared and asked what I wanted to do next.† I decided to get a short massage to try and relieve some of the stiffness in my legs.† While waiting for one of the volunteer masseuses a little kid asked if I wanted the glow stick still attached to the back of my shirt.† I told him he could have it, just not to stick me with the pin while he was taking it off.† While I was getting the massage, Renate made a couple of phone calls to the East Coast (1:30 AM EST, but they told her to call) to let her parents and then Dave and Jeanne know I had survived.† After the massage I was on my own.† I had a couple more cups of soup and some cookies.† I felt great.† I was very happy.† We had a couple of pictures taken of the four of us and then started on our way to the car.† It was nice walking through the crowds.† Lots of people congratulated me.† And my crew continued to cheer for anybody who was finishing as we were leaving.† I had to draw the line when they started yelling and clapping while we were in the car.
My marathon time was 4:32:44 which was 932nd of 1,365 people.† The fastest mile was the first at 7:11 (I have no idea how I did that) and the slowest was the 23rd at 12:39.† The average was 10:24.† My overall time placed me 903rd of 1,365 total finishers, 795th of 1,101 men, 171st of 217 men aged 35 to 39, 10th of 20 from the state of Pennsylvania.† There were 111 people who finished the swim but did not finish the race.
Sunday, October 19, 1997
Itís a little before noon and Iím writing about the last couple of days, Friday afternoon and Saturday as well as today.† I have the Broncos-Raiders game on TV and Iím drinking a Fire Rock Pale Ale from the Kona Brewing Company.† My first beer in about three days.† The crew is out snorkeling.† I feel pretty good.† A little stiffness in my legs and knees and the bottoms of my feet have a few raw spots, but for what I went through yesterday Iím surprisingly spry.† I canít step over anyoneís legs yet and I try to avoid stairs.† Also, the transition from sitting to standing, or vice versa, is a little tough.† Once up, or down, I feel fine.
I went and picked up my bike and assorted stuff at the Kona Surf Hotel this morning.† It was an interesting setup.† Lots of us triathletes shuffling around.† I stood in line to get my swim and bike clothing.† Then I noticed another line and of course stood in it.† I didnít even know what it was for.† Turns out it was the pictures taken yesterday.† They mostly turned out pretty nice.† I bought a set and a couple of extra 8 x 10s.† I was kind of bummed that they didnít have a picture of me on the bike.† I was also kind of surprised that not even one finishing picture was free.† Oh, well.† Itís only money.
When the crew returned from their little snorkel trip we decided to head into town.† The awards banquet was scheduled for 6 PM and we wanted to visit the ironman souvenir store.† We went to the Jolly Roger Restaurant for lunch.† Roger, Mary Ivy and I had beer while Renate had a mai tai.† Then we had another.† Then a third.† After lunch we went to spend money.† The one problem with waiting until after the race to buy things is that they might not be available in the proper size.† I was able to restrain myself a little bit. I got a jacket, two polo shirts, a T-shirt and a coffee mug.† One of the polo shirts has the word Ďfinisherí embroidered on it.† They were behind a separate counter where the sales lady would check her list to make sure I was allowed to buy one.† When I wasnít sure about the size she just told me to try it on right there at the counter.† She mentioned that everybody had already seen me half naked anyway.† So I took of my shirt and tried on the polo shirt.† Large was too large so I went with the medium.† My crew also picked up a few things, including their Timex Ironman watches complete with functioning night light features.† I couldnít find the hat I wanted so we ventured to some of the local stores that advertised Ďofficial Ironman souvenirsí.† We had to take the bag of goodies to the car anyway.
The awards banquet was a much different affair than the carbo party.† The absence of tension was very noticeable.† Plus they had beer.† The food was pretty much the same, though.† Lesley came in second in her age group, 50 to 54 women, and we all cheered wildly when her name was announced and she went on stage.† There was a nice video of the race shown at the end of the banquet.† I didnít see me in it.
Monday, October 20, 1997
I cut, actually Renate did, the little green band on my right wrist that had been put on when I checked in my bike and run gear on Wednesday.† The last thing I needed it for was to get into the awards banquet.† It feels kind of weird not to have it on anymore.† While I had the band on I had a tendency to play with it.† My crew would yell at me when they saw that.
Went to the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.† It was a long drive, about two and a half hours.† Not necessarily worth it.† Some of the terrain is pretty wild, quite desolate looking with steam rising in spots.† We were about 4,000 feet above sea level and it was a little cool and very windy.† The best part was when we walked through an old lava tube.† This was where a lava flow from the volcano would cool a little on the top and slowly solidify while underneath the molten lava was still flowing.† Eventually, the lava flow would stop and an empty tube would remain.† We also went to the edge of one of the craters, which looked bizarre, but wasnít doing anything.† We decided not to stick around until dark.† Supposedly this is when you can see something, Iím not sure what since I didnít listen to the rangerís little spiel.† It would have involved a 40 mile round trip drive to the coast.† The park did have a number of hiking trails that probably would have been nice to take.† My legs were still kind of sore.† The crew did take a half mile walk from one scenic point to the next while I drove.
We went to Jamesonís across the street from our condo for a nice dinner.† I wore the Ironman Finisher polo shirt that I had picked up yesterday.† The service wasnít great, but the food was good.† While finishing up our drinks and coffee, I played ĎOne Fat Hení with Renate who had assistance from Mary Ivy.† And Roger hit the waitress up for a couple of little plastic swords to stick into his little plastic cockroaches.† No wonder heís still single.† Oh, yeah,† Mary Ivy tried to teach Renate how to tie a cherry stem into a knot using her tongue.† Renate still needs practice.
Tuesday, October 21, 1997
I didnít end up doing too much writing on Sunday.† Most of the race recap and the days that followed were done today.† The crew is at the beach working on their skin cancer and Iíve switched from coffee to beer.
Wednesday, October 22, 1997
Weíve moved.† Lesley and Rich went to a different island yesterday so we took over their condo.† We got settled in time for the sunset, or sundown as Roger calls it, yesterday evening.† What a view.† This morning, Iím writing on the lanai with birds eating bread crumbs on the rail (Lesley told us to feed the birds.† She even named two of them, but I forget the names.) and the surf pounding on the rocks right below me.† I can see little tiny boats on the horizon, with nothing but water pretty much everywhere.† Two members of my crew are sitting in chairs with cameras stuck to their faces trying to get pictures of the birds eating the bread crumbs.† They just exchanged a high five because Roger got a good picture of the surf exploding over the rocks.
After a few hours of writing yesterday, I took to packing everything up, including my bike.† Iím hoping to ship that back home using UPS so I donít have to worry about schlepping it through the airport.
Just returned from taking Mary Ivy to the airport.† Sheís going to spend a few days visiting a friend in San Francisco before returning to Philadelphia.† I think she had a pretty good time.† Sheís already signed on to crew for next yearís race.† There were quite a few triathletes in line at the airport heading mostly to other islands.† I only saw one guy with his green wrist band on.† Before going to the airport we went in to town where Roger treated us to a nice breakfast at the Jolly Roger Restaurant.† Then a little more shopping, two additional T-shirts that I plan on wearing in the home area races, and out to the airport.† When we got back to the condo, I called UPS to schedule a pickup.† Iím not sure how thatís going to work because the lady I spoke to on the phone didnít seem to be all together.† Of course, I didnít even know what zip code I was in.† Hopefully the local drivers will have a clue.
While hanging around on the lanai this morning we saw a whole school of dolphins playing in the water.† I donít think we got them on the video tape, and they were too far off for regular pictures, but with the binoculars it was a nice sight to see.
Thursday, October 23, 1997
Did pretty much absolutely nothing today.† Renate and Roger spent some time at the pool while I sat on the porch and read.† The UPS guy showed up about 2 PM and went off with my bike.† Itís supposed to show up towards the end of next week.† Itíll be nice not having to carry it through airports.† It also means that Roger will fit in the car when we leave tomorrow.† We did get to finally see a nice sunset.† Then we had pizza for our final dinner in Hawaii.
Friday, October 24, 1997
Even though our flights were not until about 2 PM, everybody still woke up around 7 AM.† It didnít take long to get everything packed and the condo cleaned up a bit.† We drove into town for some last minute shopping and then an early lunch.† Then to the airport for a long day of traveling.† We said goodbye to Roger at this time since he was on a different airline.† I think heís ready to crew again next year.† Even if it is in Florida.
The first leg, from Kona to Honolulu went fine.† We had almost a two hour wait for our flight to Chicago.† We changed out of our shorts and got ready to return to fall.† The trip to Chicago was long.† Made more so by the fact that, for some reason, it is impossible for me to sleep on a plane.† So I pretty much just read while all around me people were sleeping.† We arrived in Chicago about 15 minutes late and, since we had a tight connection to make for Philadelphia, we were a little concerned.† Then they couldnít get the first door open.† Then they couldnít get the gate contraption to the other door.† We ended up waiting for about 30 minutes before we could get off the plane.† That meant we missed our connecting flight.† The American Airlines counter person originally wanted us to wait four hours for the next American flight.† Renate, politely, demanded that they put us on the next United Airlines flight to Philadelphia.† We caught that and ended up in Philadelphia about 11:30 AM on Saturday.† Fortunately our luggage was already there, having caught the original American Airlines flight to Philadelphia.† About 1 PM we made it home.† I had now been awake for 24 hours straight.† But, being an Ironman, I can take it.
Thanks, everybody, for reading.† Hope you had a good time.
Return to Noone's Saloone & Golf Club.