I did my first triathlon when I was twelve years old on a whim, It was called the “YMCA Strong Kids Triathlon” and I only knew it existed because my neighbors were signed up. I did not do another triathlon for a handful of years following that first one as I needed some time to forget about how I almost drowned and threw up simultaneously during the 100 meter swim. As a high school runner and swimmer it was on my radar as a possible progression of my athletic career. At the University of Colorado I raced on the triathlon team for 4 years and solidified my love of the sport. I always said I would never race an Ironman but following Every Man Jack team camp in February I softened to the idea as it provided a great opportunity to spend more time with my teammates. Later my Dad mentioned he would love to go to Hawaii and I was pretty much sold. A few months later I was on the start line at Ironman Santa Rosa.
Olympic is my favorite distance to race, short and sweet.
This will be my first time racing in Kona and I am super excited to be doing so as a member of the Every Man Jack Triathlon Team
Iain started his endurance sports journey back in 2010 during a family vacation to Machu Pichu where he realized that through his focus on a Corporate career that the fitness of his youth had long since dissipated, so started a commitment to fitness and running and in turn Triathlon. Iain now lives in Boulder Colorado where he is Managing Director at the Rocky Mountain Institute, a non-profit working to hasten a transition to a clean energy system. Iain has completed the last 5 Boston Marathons, 5 full Ironman events with his second appearance at Kona coming up in 2017.
In 2001, after I finished my first ironman triathlon, I wanted to qualify for the World Championships in Kona. I started watching it on TV every year and although it seemed like it would never be within my reach, I still secretly hoped that one day with enough dedication, persistence, consistency, and hard work, I could one day race in Kona.
Over the next 12 years, I did 10 ironman distance triathlons and typically placed between 20th and 40th in my age group. This was far from the place I needed to qualify for Kona, but I kept working toward my big dream of racing on the big island.
In 2013 when they announced a new ironman in Tahoe that was high altitude, hilly, and hard, I decided I was going to put everything I had into training and go for it! On July 1, 2013 I moved to Tahoe for the next 12 weeks to train on the course every single day.
Race day came, I placed third in my age group, which earned me a spot to the 2014 World Championships.
I had a hard race that year in Kona, mostly because I felt like I didn’t deserve to be there. I felt like it was a fluke that I even qualified in the first place because almost half the girls in my age group in Tahoe DNF’d from the cold and harsh conditions. I left Kona feeling defeated and I swore I would never do that race again!
But then two years ago I decided I wanted to try to qualify one more time. To be honest, it was mostly to prove to myself that I could. I made a two year goal to qualify at the 2017 Boulder Ironman.
I was aging up in 2017, so the first year I did Boulder in 2016 was just to see how the course was, how I placed, and to see what I needed to work on for 2017. That year I PR’d by over an hour and placed fifth in my age group This gave me the confidence to go for it in 2017.
Race day came, I ended up winning my age group, earning a spot to Kona, and here I am!!
I feel worthy, I feel deserving, I feel strong and fast and ready to have the best race that I can possibly have this year.
My goal this year is to have fun, to finish the race feeling like I truly gave it all I had, and to know that I deserve to be an athlete in the World Championships Ironman race.
I always seem to be bringing up the rear these days, with never enough time to get it all done. I took up triathlons in 2014 when I joined my husband and friend on a “pinky swear” to sign-up for IRONMAN Boulder’s inaugural year (2014). Probably not one of the smarter things I have done because I was completely blind to what a challenge it would be. Don’t get me wrong, I knew all about IRONMAN, I just had never actually swam, biked or ran for anything. In my “dreams” I was always very fast and usually always won, but as I started training reality kicked in and I realized I just might be in over my head (this was no dream)! To make the commitment more meaningful, I decided to race for a cause through the IRONMAN Foundation. Well, I did race IRONMAN Boulder 2014, but I was far from first. In fact, I was second to last in crossing the finish line and hearing Mike Reilly call out “Kristine Reinhardt, you are an IRONMAN!” I had finished with 66 seconds to spare before a DNF! My coach at the time was, Tim Hola, and I remember him saying “you sure did cut it close.”
Well, I couldn’t have IM Boulder be my one and done. I unsuccessfully tried IRONMAN Cabo in 2015 and missed a bike cutoff. In 2016, I decided I would give IMAZ a try but under the IRONMAN Foundation flag. I really believe that racing for a cause was my calling. I started the year with contacting all my friends and family and encouraging them to give to a great cause while I raced as a back of the pack triathlete trying to make a difference. However, 2016 didn’t go as planned. The spring found me battling skin cancer and recovering from surgery and in the fall, my business partner of 27 years had a brain aneurism (he passed away this year). I never made it to the starting line of IMAZ! However, I was not deterred from finishing the task at hand – to raise money for the IRONMAN Foundation. In November I was notified that I was close to being the top fundraiser for the Foundation. Well, that is all it took. I spent two months contacting people every day selling them on why they should donate to IMF. As it turns out, I ended up being the #1 fundraiser for the Foundation in the Americas, which resulted in a slot to Kona! Unbelievable!
I have spent 2017 working with an amazing coach, Alison Freeman, from D3 Multisport. I have the best support system anyone could ask for in my incredible husband and 5 kids! We will be making the journey to Hawaii as a family and Alison. Crossing the finish line in Kona will prove that Anything is Possible!
Kona’s oldest female competitor this year is swimming in a fountain of youth
Among those getting the senior citizen discount, most say old age began in their 60s. But don’t tell 72-year-old Cheryl Weill that. 60? That’s when she learned how to swim.
“I first became aware of Ironman in the 1980s,” Weill reflects, “but at the time I was busy with my career in neuroscience. I didn’t get serious about triathlon until 2004.”
Weill, who had been a runner and cyclist since her college days, decided to use her newfound free time in retirement to finally indulge her multisport interests. “A friend I met cycling encouraged me to give it a try. All I had to do was become a swimmer, so at 60 years of age, I started swimming.”
Weill jumped into the pool and discovered a fountain of youth. She gets a lot of energy from the people who surround her: As one can imagine, there aren’t too many other 70-year-old triathletes training with her. “I train with a local Masters swim group,” says Weill, who lives in Fort Collins, Colo. “My partner also does triathlons, and sometimes I can train with her, but she is 55 and faster than me.”
Some might assume her age also offers an advantage in Kona qualifying. After all, she was the only person in her age group at Ironman Maryland in 2016, automatically earning a Kona spot simply for finishing. But that only distracts from her 13:59:02 finishing time, a respectable performance at any age.
My road to triathlon began in 2002. I started running and later biking to lose weight gained secondary to too many calories and a sedentary lifestyle. At the start of my weight loss I was pushing 225 pounds (current weight 146). I decided to give triathlon a go while living in St. Louis in 2007 and quickly learned despite being a high school lifeguard, I could not swim. Nevertheless, I was hooked.
My road to Colorado began with the Boulder 70.3 in 2011. My future wife, Kelly, and I traveled to Colorado early and I tried to get in as much “Colorado” as we could during this trip. We went horseback riding in RMNP, ATV riding near Vail, hiking around The Springs, and saw the Flaming Lips cover Dark Side of the Moon at Red Rocks. We also spent a significant amount of time in and around Boulder trying to soak up as much of the experience as possible. The Boulder 70.3 went well despite all my computers failing during the bike and run. Kelly, who serves as my coach (motivational, nutrition, and anything else as needed) and my biggest fan, met me at the finish to inform me of my result, a 23 min PR and first sub 5-hour finish. Our trip to Colorado was perfect. Once again, we were hooked. We were so hooked in fact, we set the plan of moving to Colorado in motion immediately and made the move three months after the Boulder 70.3.
The journey to Ironman began during our honeymoon at IM Cozumel in 2013. IM Cozumel went much better than expected for both of us. We left the island in high spirits with some new friends and good finishes under our belts. I signed up for the inaugural IM Boulder expecting good results 9 months after Cozumel, but was disappointed with a disastrous result, at least in my mind. The 2014 IM Boulder triathlon was so disappointing I left the sport to pursue other interests.
In 2016 I began training for marathons and started feeling the itch to race IM again. This time around, I began to take training more seriously. I hired a friend, Boulder native, and professional triathlete Colin Laughery to guide this effort towards racing the 2017 IM season. We chose IM Boulder and IM CDA as our plan A and B races. The 2017 IM Boulder was an epic defeat with the dreaded DNF. IM CDA was only a couple months after Boulder. I needed big changes to prevent this perpetual cycle of training well and racing poorly. These changes came from many places. My primary training and race strategy was handled by coach Colin. Nutrition and CDA course specific advice came from my friend Alison Freeman who is also a tri coach in Boulder. My swim coach Dave Scott helped me with race strategy as well. Most importantly, Kelly kicked up her efforts as my motivational coach to try and break this mental block and help me mentally prepare for race day. I approached IM CDA with one goal, to have fun racing again. The swim went ok and the bike went well. I learned I was in 12th in my age group off the bike from my wife who was proving to be instrumental again. Going into the last lap of the three-lap run, my Kelly informed me I was only a couple minutes back from 5th place and 4th place was struggling. I was hurting at this point in the race, and her support and information was just what I needed to kick it up a notch. I knew there were extra slots in IM CDA this year and 4th place may be just enough to qualify. I hustled up and caught 5th place at mile 20 and went into 4th place at mile 24 which was good enough for a spot for Kona! All my friends and family were following the race and elated with the result; however, no one was more excited than my wife and biggest fan who met me at the finish. I met my goal. I had fun racing again but with a secondary bonus of a trip to the Big Island!
Ironman racing requires sacrifice. The greatest sacrifice comes not from the athlete but from the family and friends. Without the support of friends and family, Ironman is not possible. Thank you to all of my friends and family who have supported me in and out of competition throughout the years. And most importantly, thank you to my beautiful wife Kelly, for being with me for every step in this journey. It has been fun.
This will be my 4th trip to Kona (2013, 2014, 2016, 2017). I still feel like a rookie – but this year I feel I’ve finally worked out some of the gremlins in my race prep and plan. Who knows though, I felt that way last year and still managed to make a mess out of my race!
I’m an ER doctor in Denver and came across triathlon about 8 years ago when I was miserably out of shape. I climbed out of the pool one day about 40 pounds overweight and someone suggested a local triathlon. I bought a road bike and raced 20 days later. I was terrible but I was hooked.
I’m self-coached. I read a little but mostly just listen to my body and my mind as to what I want to do on any given day. Most days that means ride my bike. I believe sustainability and consistency are the most important ingredients to finding some success in this sport. Be happy training. Or you won’t do it. And it’s incredibly important (at least for me) to do something nearly every day.
I’m now 44 years old and set PR’s this year for Ironman (9:53 at IM Boulder, 2nd in my AG to get my Kona slot) and Half-Ironman (4:19 at Boulder 70.3, 3rd in my AG – in case you didn’t know, Steve Johnson and Tim Hola are really fast). I try to be active every day and enjoy the journey.
I feel very fortunate to have such a great group of friends, training partners and support system to be able to do this sport. And, of course, to live in Colorado. Good luck to everyone out there!
I started my journey into triathlon 10 years ago through the Team in Training for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Having no real background in endurance sports I was a typical middle of the packer to start and over the years moved from Olympic distance to 70.3 and eventually to Ironman in 2011 at Ironman Wisconsin. After this first one, I fell in love with the longer distance and have raced an Ironman each year since then. This is also the distance I excel at the most since I don’t have much raw speed but can push hard over the long haul.
In 2014, I reached the podium at the inaugural Ironman Boulder but missed Kona by one spot which was unfortunately the same story in 2015 at Wisconsin. Coming that close was heartbreaking but served as great motivation to keep pushing. Last year at Ironman Chattanooga in record heat, all of the cards fell into place and I finally grabbed that elusive slot to Kona. I’ve always been an athlete who loves the heat and a challenging course so lets see how the lava fields compare… hopefully the winds will be kind this year!
Training for Ironmans year after year is not easy while balancing a full time job but I’ve been fortunate to have the support of friends in Rocky Mountain Tri Club and the Tribella team, boyfriend Bill Ludington who has supported me every step of the way and local coach Steve Johnson to push me beyond what I thought was possible.
My journey to Kona has been a long one and it will make my first time on the big island even sweeter! Hopefully I can be an example to other middle of the packers that qualifying for the World Championships is possible with lots of hard work and dedication.
Patrick and wife Tiffany welcomed baby girl, Aurelia Rose Martinez, who arrived September 22nd. She joins other new arrivals this past year including Rachel Joyce’s son, Tim O’donnell & Rinny Carfrae’s daughter, Tyler & Nikki Butterfield’s son and Mary Beth Ellis’ baby girl.
Congratulations to all!!
My first triathlon was my freshman year in college. I didn’t have enough money to enter so I asked people around me to sponsor me and I had to borrow gear from roommates and friends. I also did another sprint my senior year in college. My roommate and I had a bet from a professor of ours that we couldn’t beat him. We were cocky varsity track athletes that just came off of good season of track and field. We were 400m trained though but we didn’t think about that. Our professor was…round and didn’t look like he worked out much. He destroyed both of us in the swim and we never saw him again. Very humbling but very inspiring at the same time.
I’ve seen the Ironman triathlon on tv since I was very little. I remember watching it with my mother throughout the years and every year we keep saying, “these people are crazy”. A couple years of watching the “crazies”, we wanted to be one of those crazies. My mom started doing marathons and I took up running also. I always thought how cool it would be to make it to Kona. Twelve years after college, I finally bought myself a new bike, got a wetsuit, and joined a triathlon team. I did a 70.3 that year and I was instantly hooked. The dream of becoming an Ironman came alive once again. Not that anything like that ever really goes away. Summer of 2017 I finally was able to complete the Boulder Ironman, finally making me an IRONMAN!
I have NEVER been to Kona! I am actually able to go to Kona this year because I won a bid spot by signing up for Boulder. I am very honored to take part in Kona though. I also know that I will/am making a lot of people angry about it. I have some friends who have been doing Ironman for 10+ years and still have not made it to Kona and I get in before I even became an Ironman for the first time.
This did come with some good timing and some bad timing. I found out I am going to Kona a week after Christmas 2016. My wife and I booked our flights, our hotel, and we were set to go for a second “honeymoon”. A week later my wife pulls me aside and says, “Patrick, I cannot go to Kona with you this year.” Horrified, I have 2 million reasons why she couldn’t go to Kona, none of them really good, so my face must have dropped. Then she followed it with, “We’re having a baby!”. I cried. I cried because it was good news and cried because I was so glad it was none of the things I was thinking. Our baby is due September 27th, 2017. So I will be skyping her at the finish line while she is taking care of our baby. Some people may look down on that, that I am I going leaving my wife and new born baby. My wife and I have a great relationship. I told her that I didn’t need to do this also. Her response was, “yes you do!” Again, followed by, “but you won’t be doing this for a long time.” We both support each other and we both realized how big of deal Kona actually is. This is why I’m so proud and honored that I get to go. My mother will also be going with me to Kona and I hope to make her proud as well. I’m so glad I get to share this with my family. My baby will not know what happened that day but I hope that I will be able to show my love of life and sport with baby. So even after the Kona ironman, you’ll see baby and I running with the jogging stroller around our neighborhood.
If you asked me in college I would have said anything more than 2 laps around the track is stupid. Here I am today with a dozen or so marathons, Pikes Peak Ascent race, bike rides that have taken me 500+ miles, and one Boulder ironman. So to answer the question, my favorite race depends on the year. I try to push my boundaries of what I thought possible. I have found a love of doing things that scare me and Ironman scares the crap out of me. So right now, Ironman is my goal and my distance that I have fun doing. It’s hard to do something like this and not have fun. you have to put in too much effort and time to not have fun. I do know that training for an Ironman comes with sacrifice though. Mostly with time. So with a baby on the way I realize that my time will be used elsewhere. Not because I have to, but because I want to. i want to be a good father, a good husband, a good brother, and a good son. Family is my next big priority in life. I’m sure I will get back into track and field though since I’m 3 years away from being 40 so I can enter the masters field.
I have been training with D3 Multipart coaching out of Colorado. I have very little time to meet up as a team or to do group functions so I’m mostly training by myself. My wife tells me all of the time that she thinks I need friends to ride with or run with. I’m a cranky old man when it comes to training. I really enjoy going by myself and not having to sync up with somebody elses schedule, or pace, or drama. Don’t get me wrong, I love running and being active with people but I guess I’m very picky with who. Especially this year. My wife and I bought a house last year so we are constantly doing fixer upper projects. I decided last year that I missed coaching track so I got hired on to be a track coach as well. And my work pulls me away a lot during the summer since we are such a small town and we are required to wear a lot of hats. Sometimes I wear my cranky old man hat though a lot if I have to work too much and miss a training session. With coaching track, it almost became impossible to have a free minute. I would have to get one workout in before work, meaning 4:30am-6am. Get to work at 7am to work an 8 hour day to coach track by 3:30pm. I coach track from 3:30pm-5:30pm, then only to come home to get a second workout in, finishing around 8:30pm-9pm. This was a rough time in the Martinez household. My wife and I hardly got to see each other during this period, not to mention I was exhausted most days out of the week. Again, bring out the cranky old man hat for me. I always told my wife that she comes first and I don’t want to do this if it interferes with us. After that time my wife and I made sure we went on dates more and spent time with each other. I had to miss a few workouts to do this but my wife is the one who is going to be with me for life and I want to make sure of that.
So how is training going? I would say as best as it could be with making sure my family feels like I’m not ignoring them. I am proud of everything I go through to try to get my workouts in. I may not be able to get every workout but I make sure I try my best to work around the schedule. I also know that the regular type A personality types are cringing at me saying that but I am proud of what I am doing. I feel like I am putting in a lot of extra effort to make this happen and I also don’t like to do things to just finish. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but when I finish, I want to make sure I can say to myself, “I trained my best, and I did my best in this race ”. Sure after years and years of training I could probably do better, but I do not have that kind of time, which why this trip to Kona makes it even that much more special.
Originally my mother, father, sister, wife, father-in-law, and mother-in-law were all going to travel to Hawaii with me. Now that we are having a baby, it will just be my mother, father, and sister going with me while my wife’s family will be staying with her to watch over her and take care of her while I’m gone.
It means the most to my mother and me though. We are cut from the same clothe and think the same way and dream the same way. I’m so glad she can come along to see this. it will be very special to have her there at the finish. Pretty sure my dad and sister just want a vacation but I’m really glad they will be there also. It was very special to have them cheer me on in Boulder.
What I am looking forward to the most in Kona is going down the same road and streets of the greats that I used to watch on TV with my mother. I’m looking forward to the crowd and looking forward being able to say hi to my baby at the finish. Even if it is over Skype. Mostly I’m looking forward to taking part and being able to take my mother with me.
Thank you all so much for this opportunity. I will be telling my baby daughter this story until she’s sick of it. Then when she’s sick of it, I’ll sit her future dates down to tell the story to. If they can ac semi-interested, they will be in good with me. Curfew will still be before 6pm but I’ll like them a little more.
Started in triathlon 21 years ago with my first Ironman race, IM Canada, Penticton. Swore I’d never do another after the race but got a spot to Kona at the roll down and the rest is history. Just finished my 30th Ironman race in Santa Rosa this year after having done Ironman Texas and Ironman Brazil earlier this year. This will be my 13th Kona, as always going in with just time goals, placement is secondary. I’ve enjoyed 2 age group wins and 3 2nd place finishes so now it is to see what the day brings. No guarantees for any race, so much has to go right on any given day.
I plan to continue in the sport for the foreseeable future, at least until I’m 70 which is getting pretty close. Have an ambitious plan to race Ironman Hamburg , Ironman Copenhagen and Ironman Vichy next year, and yes that is 3 Ironman races in 3 weeks. I have done most of the domestic races so now look forward to destinations and travel.
This sport has taken on new meaning as my daughter (and partner) are also racing Ironman. We did IM boulder and IM Cozumel last year. At Boulder we were in the youngest and oldest categories. Great fun.
I was lucky in the gene department. My father was an avid swimmer, a below the knee amputee and huge inspiration. Mother skied in her youth, not too common back in the 1930’s. My grandfather was a top Cricket player and my Great Great Uncle designed the first bicycle gear. I established that I was a good athlete in HS playing Rugby, winning the schools Track and Field Championship more than once and representing Ireland at the Junior World Fencing Championship. Then I got lazy, or putting it in a better spin, got busy with a career after coming to NY to University.
When I met my future wife Ingrid, I was flying. On our first date I took her to dinner in the Catskills by plane. Flying gradually was overtaken by sailing and I conned Ingrid into quitting her job and spending a year sailing down the East Coast and wintering in the Bahamas. During that trip I got back into a routine of running, a great way to check out all the towns and islands we visited.
At 45, I mentally plotted the trend line of by body weight and did not like what I saw, 200lb+ was in the offing despite reasonably consistent running. We found ourselves with a pool in our condo complex when we returned to land living and my new boss had a bike for sale. Dave and Mark had their War and I got interested. I finished 4th in my AG in my first Tri, Seacrest Oyster Bay Tri on Long Island, with I think the fastest bike split, certainly the top 2. I was hooked, that was ’91.
During the first few years I stuck with sprints then I learned that the ITU Worlds would be in Perth in 1997. Visiting Oz was a very early bucket list item for me. Racing at Nationals in ’97 I learned humility, I only just made the team. After that the sport had me hooked, and reeled in. I was on team USA for the next three years racing in Lausanne, Canada and once more in Perth. Then my work career changed and I was working from home. IronMan was no longer an insane idea.
When I coach now, I try hard to convince my athletes that several years of racing sprints and olympic distance is the best approach to preparing for an IM. It worked for me, I qualified for Koan my first go in Lake Placid in ’01. 9/11 had just happened and that whole experience in Kona was one I will not forget. What was most incredible was when Tim DeBoom won it seemed like everyone there was an American. Perhaps Madame Pele was expressing her anger at us Humans for 9/11, she served up the worst wind conditions ever, 55mph gusts, it is still the worst day.
Luck is part of the equation of getting to Kona, it certainly is part of my story. A big part of that luck is having Ingrid at my back. Until recently, there were a lot of US athletes much faster than I but I managed to pick races were they had chosen not to go. As a result, I have qualified every year since 2001 when I wanted to go, 13 times now. Sadly, some of those great athletes are no longer with us. Steve Smith will be one I will always remember, fought cancer just as hard as he raced, he has many world titles.
We retired to Colorado in 2005, it was Ingrid’s suggestion but I had no problem with that. I met my head coach Mike Ricci, D3 Multisport, shortly after arriving along with Barry Siff. I could not have fallen into better company, that lead to coaching sessions with Bobby McGee and help from many new friends. With all this help and encouragement I moved from finishing in the upper teens to striking distance of a podium finish in 2006.
In 2009, my bike failed me and I road a borrowed bike getting to T2 at 5:15 and was the last person to leave T2. It will always be the best race of my life, I ran down Alii with super start Lou Hollander, then I think 79. Lou retired two years ago after trying to finish at 86. The rest of the night was rather like being at the finish line at Midnight but for 5 hours and I got to talk with these amazing people for who finishing was truly the only goal. Aging up is great, at 65 I finished third in Kona, and second at 66. Hitting 70 last year I took second. I am dreaming of big things again this October 14
By AMELIA ARVESEN – Associated Press
Saturday, December 31, 2016
LONGMONT, Colo. (AP) – Tom Bogan’s childhood memory of nearly drowning in a Boulder pool scared him out of the water until about five years ago, when he committed to learning to swim.
“I remember distinctly breathing water in and out of my lungs,” he said of the experience.
The Boulder dentist and Longmont resident is now a two-time Ironman, who swims, runs, cycles and lifts weights up to 14 hours a week as training for his next races.
He was surprised to learn recently that he was the first of 10 Ironman Boulder 2017 entrants chosen at random to compete in the Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii – a qualification-only race for a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and 26.2-mile run.
Ironman Boulder race director Dave Christen said he scheduled a root canal under a fake name to sneak his way into Bogan’s north Boulder office for the surprise, broadcasting it live on Facebook.
For those of you who do Sufferfest Videos (confession: I’m not one of you, but Khem is so I get called upstairs not infrequently when there’s something funny on the screen while she’s working out) – you know “It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time” is never true.
I was fortunate to punch my Kona ticket more than a year ago at Wisconsin and got to prepare for the race without the specter of actually needing to qualify for it. But there was one big problem: and as typical it all started at mile 11 of the run… It’s heeeeeere…
Kona Week is insane. And this time there was no escaping it. The last 2 trips to Kona we stayed about 4-5 miles south on Ali’i Dr at a secluded VRBO. A great lanai, peace and quiet, away from the craziness of downtown Kona – a cute and charming beach town that gets over-run by people like me and (Richard) Byyny the second week of October.
But this time we opted for staying at the King K Marriott – the host hotel and headquarters. And sure enough, day 1 there’s multi-time Kona winner Paula Newby-Frazer in the lobby chatting with one of her athletes, a gaggle of pro’s hanging by the pool, Craig Alexander being Craig Alexander.
It was all a bit intimidating but I’m just an age-grouper who got a ticket to the show by the skin of his teeth so I chose to ignore much of it and hop on my bike with Byyny. Byyny is also insane. 36 hours before we race and there we are biking the Queen K in the heat of the day when the winds are also the worst, him with a Go Pro that he jerry-rigged to his aero-bars (and then to mine) as we pound out some watts and hope the semi’s miss us (they did).
Then we swam at his resort (hint: not the Marriott)… PS: we both swam 1000m.
Here’s the data from the swim:
Kona atmosphere – It’s just off the hook. Go to Lava Java, order some pancakes, grab a seat and I guarantee within 20 minutes you’ll see at least 4 pro’s and Dave Scott. I chatted with all the founders of Cervelo over a latte at Evolution who to my great surprise still didn’t offer to put me on a new P5x for free..
All the industry people are there, everyone is ripped, no one is taking this race lightly, no one is up past 8pm and everyone is out for a practice run on Ali’i by 5am, 6 at the latest.
Kona is a celebration of all things triathlon, which has its good and bad, but the key word is celebration. Unbridled love and passion for our sport. If you’re not excited there’s something wrong with you.
Build – There are only 3 disciplines to triathlon and I’m pretty bad at 2 of them. I knew I didn’t have the motivation to work on my swim and historically I bleed time on the run so after Whistler I decided to try to run 500 miles in 10 weeks. It took me seven. I read a bunch about how to do this safely and then I abused my Treadmill with the following plan:
50% at slower than Ironman pace30% at Ironman pace20% at threshold or VO2 max pace (those days were rough)
As it’s me I also got a little crazy and competitive with it. One morning, I woke up and ran a marathon on the Mill. 26.2 miles on the TM – thank you Royal Tenenbaums, US Open Tennis coverage and Ke$ha for getting me through that one. At least 1, sometimes 2 long runs of 18+ miles/week. I hurt my left quad once and had to take 3 days off, then 2 weeks later my right quad (2 days off) and finally after one run I slipped getting out of my hot-tub and thought for a minute I broke my hip. I was a mess but by the end of it I finally had something I never had before – a running base.
*New yellow bike shoes – bad idea as you’ll soon find out
Swim I thought I had a good swim. Clean water, didn’t take too much contact, followed one guy for the majority of it, conserved energy. And yet I came out and had another crummy time, perhaps because I don’t swim. K2 I’m enrolling us in swim lessons at the Y this winter.
Swim Time: 1:17 Swim Pace: 2:00/100mRank: AG: 228/254, OA: 1792/2316 (At least I beat 26 guys in my AG out of the drink)
T1 – So those new yellow bike shoes in the picture from before? For the life of me I could not get them on after the swim. Plus the pier is super long and you have to run ALL the way around it to fetch your bike, which I proceeded to run past. Twice. 14 Ironman races and I still make all the mistakes.
Time: 5:24 (!) Bike – Hopped on my bike and re-grouped mentally. Swim doesn’t matter, neither does T1. But you know what matters? The bike.
*Okay, let’s geek out for a minute. 2015 Trek SC 9.9, rode Zipp 808 in the back, 303 in the front (for those of you who will KQ in the future: take it from me do not ride anything deeper than about 50mm there), new Ossymetric rings (56/42) which looks like a large square dinner plate and supposedly improves power, 25mm Continental GP4000S II tires with latex tubes and an extra water bottle on the frame. It’s fast.
I was going along, minding my own business, averaging 24.6mph through the first 18 miles on 250 watts when the winds hit. They always hit you at Kona but some years are worse than others (2004, 2014 among the worst, 2013 among the best). The fact that they started up so early was a bad sign. Primarily a headwind with some cross and it’s Kona so we’re not talking about a little 5 mph breeze. Lean the bike into the wind and focus. Keep the wattage the same. My speed over similar terrain dropped from 25mph to 15mph. It’s demoralizing but I took a breath, smiled and told myself it’ll get better which is typically true but as this is Kona there’s also a chance it’s not.
We did get a bit of a tail wind at around mile 48 as we began the climb up to Hawi, about 12 miles away. Got to see the pro’s shooting down from Hawi – Frodeno, Kienle and Hoffman leading the men, Ryf a couple of suburbs away from her competition. Bunch of motorcycles with tech support, NBC cameras, 2 helicopters, pace car – it was quite the procession. Then the top male AGer’s who all look like pro’s.
Finally, the turn around at Hawi and pray you survive the descent. The wind was blowing hard and a couple of huge wind gusts knocked me and my bike several feet to the side – it was downright frightening. I can’t imagine how some of the smaller athletes or those who rode deeper front wheels fared.
*Jen Schafner – local lawyer, fellow Genesee resident, 3x Kona Qualifier, Coeur-sponsored and Koz’s wife – not to mention AG winner of Louisville last year and total BAMF. Getting the work done on the Queen K. And unless your name is Austin Johnson, John Anderson or Gwen Jorgensen, she also runs A LOT faster than you.
You get back on the Queen K (the same road that had the bad head/cross winds before) hoping for respite but knowing what’s more likely in store and sure enough.. winds had changed direction so you get more head/crosswinds all the way home. Re-think my sub-10 hour goal – I knew I needed perfect conditions to go 9-something and these were anything but. Kept my head down, cadence high, system hydrated. Say a little prayer.
Bike Time: 4:59Bike Pace: 22.42mphNormalized Power: 247wRank: AG: 86/254, OA: 543/2316
T2- And I couldn’t get my stupid yellow bike shoes off. It took 3 volunteers about 2-3 minutes to rip them off my feet. Unbelievable, I’m such an idiot.
Time: 6:07 (!!)
Run – I did the math and knew I needed about a 3:30 marathon to get under 10. That’s a tall order for me – I may have some run fitness but it’s largely been untested and I knew it was pretty fragile. Still, a 3:30 is 8-min miles so I tried to go out on Ali’i – a down and back of 10 miles that’s pretty flat – at a pace under that. I was holding 7:45s. Ran up the hill at Palani and high-fived Greg Welch who was announcing people on it. Crowds were so big.
Turned onto the Queen K at Mile 11 to start the final 15 miles.
It was 89 degrees in Kona, and it was humid. They say it’s at least a few degrees hotter on the Queen K. Looked down at my watch – 7:54 average pace. 2 hours left and I set out to destroy myself to stay under an average 8-min pace. I’ll save you the gory details and fast forward about 110 minutes but it wasn’t pretty. I turned myself inside out to try to make it but by the time I climbed back up to Palani, my pace was 8:12 and I knew my chances to go sub-10 were over. But I never gave up and while I may need new knees in a few years, I’m going with it was all worth it.
For anyone who doesn’t think adrenaline is a real thing, give an Ironman everything you have and then once you cross the finish line try to to walk. How the legs can go from running to needing to be propped up by 2 people and hauled off to a lounge chair is a little beyond me.
Run time: 3:35 Run Pace: 8:13/mi
Total Time: 10:04 Rank: AG: 72/254, OA: 491/2316
Afterward – Found Byyny who looked like I felt. He asked me to get him some pizza and broth. No problem, it’s like 100 feet away in the athlete’s post-race area, let me get my walker and I’ll be back in about 45 minutes. I returned a few minutes later only to discover Byyny and my thermos filled with delicious Kona coffee had vanished into thin air. I looked everywhere for him and more importantly my thermos then thought maybe I was confused and left him somewhere else. I started asking around if anyone had seen a 45yo male with a finisher’s medal around his neck who looked younger than stated age but as this was Kona that didn’t help narrow it down much. I finally found him in the medical tent getting IV fluids so I texted his wife to come fetch him so I could begin my 2-hour walk back to my room 250 yards away.
We all rallied for a beer later and to see the Midnight Finishers. A son finishing with his Dad. A double arm amputee coming down the finishing chute. Old guys, young ones, everyone freaking the you know what out. It’s dark, it’s actually raining, it’s still warm out and Kona is going bonkers.
And then hung out with Miranda Carfrae. And by hanging out I mean I snapped a photo as she talked to other people and signed autographs for them. Rinny is a total class act.
So that’s all I got. 3rd Kona and with the new slot rules making it more difficult to get in I’m not sure when or if I’ll make it back but either way that’s okay. It’s been so much “fun” and I’ve appreciated every minute of it, even through all the suffering. Special thanks to everyone – ALL our families, friends and loved ones – for supporting, cheering us on and tolerating us! Wheat Ridge Cyclery for the last minute work on the Breyermobile, as well as Team Timex, Team DGBG, RealRyder and 303Triathlon for all your support. And good luck to the Wondercouple in Maui in 2 weeks… K2 please don’t drown.
We attended the “Thank God I’m Not Racing Party!” hosted by Bob Babbit
303’s Khem Suthiwan continued to add to her collection of celebrity selfies – be sure to check out the album!
303’s Michelle Bandur hit the bike check-in, checking in with all the big bike stops along the lane, and bumping into some of Ironman’s first competitors from 1978!
Several 303 staffers attended the USAT brunch at Daylight Mind Cafe, enjoying a wonderful buffet and even better company… here, Michelle Bandur asks USAT CEO Rob Urbach about USAT’s role in the Ironman World Championships.
During our time at the USAT brunch we spotted the official swim course buoys being placed – Michelle and Nicole explain how they are set and the overview of the swim course:
We had the privilege of test riding the newest Ventum bikes, and caught up with founder Jimmy Seear:
Early this morning all the 303 staffers took a nice long swim along the ocean course…
Here’s a glimpse at the actual swim stairs athletes will use to both enter and exit the water:
And, Race Director for North America, Dave Christen, reports he drank 31 bottles of water in one day and offers these tips for spectators (“‘taters”) on race day.
D3 Multisport’s long-time Kona contender, Simon Butterworth, had this advice for his teammates:
“This IM stuff is a journey as you know. Tomorrow as we run thru the Hot corner we will be able to answer the question of our family’s “Are we there yet” with a big yes.
Have a great day all fulfill your dreams. ”