Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Kona Race Report




The day started with tons of nerves as usual. I planned to meet my friend Don Bosch to do a good swim warm-up but we never made a meeting spot and there were athletes and spectators galore gathered all around the start. Prerace I spent most of my time after check in near the “ladies room”. I finally made my way to the pier at 6:20 in my new TYR Sayonara and to my delight Don was standing there with a smile. We got in and did a ten minute warm-up, gave each other a big good luck water hug and I was off to the professional start line. The minutes leading up to the start of the race are very nerve racking and exciting at the same time - but the last five minutes seem to go so long as you never know exactly when they will fire the cannon. Then suddenly BAM !! In the first 50 feet I got one side of my goggles kicked off and they were hanging by one eye, I was ticked that I missed the pack but thankful they actually stayed on my head. I made a quick adjustment and was back on track. I worked hard throughout the swim to keep a good line and stay in a draft when possible. I was satisfied with the swim although a faster time would have been nice !

Next up the 112 mile bike - Overall my bike ride was so much fun!! I got on the bike but within minutes my computer was lodged in the rear cog – I was screaming for help and a nice guy just tore it off my bike and I was back moving. In the short debacle I lost the athletes I was out of the water with, but about ten minutes later a group caught me which included Sandra Wallenhorst, Yvonne Van Vierken and Kate Major. It was a blessing in disguise because I was warmed up and ready to keep contact. The four of us stayed 10 meters apart for about fifteen miles, then shortly after Yvonne broke away.

I started to get sick on the bike about mile 95 and got passed by Linsey Corbin and a few others. I got off the bike and OUCH !! My legs were cramping from loss of fluid, had a long transition and the shuffle began. I must honestly admit I was feeling awful and getting worse. I was doing the walk, jog, shuffle thing trying to take in calories but I seemed to be getting worse. I wanted to quit – people were cheering like crazy and all I wanted to do was cry – I had imagined pushing my body and running fast and my stomach hurt so much that I couldn’t. I saw Todd, gave him a hug – had a few tears and said I was going to do the best I could as I thought of my daughter Jordan. Many people know the story but my daughter has cerebral palsy and has fought her entire life to overcome and in doing so has come so far. I know that she would give anything to be able to run someday so the thought of stopping a race because of the pain I am in is not an option in my mind. If nothing else I would walk the entire race and keep going for Jordan.



I saw coach Paul from Lifesport – my mind was saying stop but Paul encouraged me to “keep going – it will come back” I walked half way up Palani then started to run once again. I got salt from a competitor and fluid from the aid station and finally started to feel a little better. Each mile got better and better, it was an amazing turnaround. The last half of the race I felt great and pulled in almost all the women who passed me earlier. It is a great life lesson to never quit no matter what the circumstances as you never know what is around the corner. I finished this Ironman day with a smile on my face and a thankful heart.





I am thankful to all of those who helped me along the path to race day including my great sponsors: Trakkers, K-Swiss, Quintana Roo, First Endurance, Fuel Belt, Gu, Village Bikes, Zipp, Oakley, Lifesport, Marc Strickland and the Center 4Massage – you are the Best – your continued support means the world to me!!


10 comments:

  1. Hey Heather! You were the last one I waited for to watch cross the finish line that day. I knew something was up, but I'm happy to know that you pushed through and crossed the line with a smile. It's kids like your daughter, or my buddy Drew (osteosarcoma) that keep me pushing each day, and will get me through those tough times out there on the course. I'm hoping your plans still include a trip to Cozumel in November. Congrats on your race last weekend! You had lots of cheering from those of us in blog-land!

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  2. I think it speak volumes when pros push through a race even when it doesn't go as planned. So many non pro racers are dealing with so much pain and agony and some don't even make the cutoff, but never give up. I applaud you for pushing through, I'm sure your daughter must be so proud and thrilled!!

    You are a great role model for the sport and an inspiration to your fellow athletes, thank you and congratulations!

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  3. Congratulations!! What an awesome race report. I admire you for completing the race despite the issues on the bike (and in a darn good time!). Youare an amazing competitor! :-)

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  4. Awesome job! I tried to follow and when I saw your placing, I knew something was up. It teaches me that just because I've trained and am "ready" doesn't mean that I won't face the unexpected. You're an inspiration! I pray that I can face the unexpected as you did, with dogged determination to finish and still in good time! It's people like you who finish for all the right reasons! Be blessed!

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  5. Great job Heather! Overcoming adversity is so diificult, but so important...I'm sure that your children are proud of you. I know your husband is! We especially enjoyed the great Heathernator smile as you crossed the finish line! Well done!

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  6. Well done, Heather! We share a common foundation, which I'm sure gets you to the finish line more times than not....Phil 4:13! It is my inspiration when things get tough and when they seem impossible. Thanks for your transparency and determination! It inspires the rest of us and we all need inspiration from each other! Anxious for your coaching to come to Sandusky!!!

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  7. Congratulations, Heather! By the smile on your face when you crossed the line, I would never have guessed that you had faced (and overcome) so many difficulties during the race. Wow! That really takes some amazing courage and determination to push through like that. Way to go, Heather!!!

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  8. awesome! That was such a great insight with your daughter. I think about similar things often in races, and it really brings the big picture and the more important pieces of life into the race. I think your kids will always remember how you tough it out even when you feel like quitting, and it will spur them on to do the same. Congrats on Hawaii. Thanks for letting me read!

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  9. Heather, I am racing my first IM in June, and love following your blog. You give me great inspiration to push through when things get tough, or the unexpected happens. Hope to see you in Coeur d' Alene.

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