Ironman#15 | Kona 2016

It’s been a week now since the big dance! There have been heaps of posts on people’s amazing days, moments of bonking, precious finish line shots and of course, the Ironman hang over that ensues. So consider this my band-wagon post of the tale that was my 3rd Ironman Hawaii (and 15th IM!) finish line…

I woke up yesterday morning — in rainy, chilly Vancouver, BC and realized that it was but one week ago that I was walking my bike down the red carpet for check-in. Racking my bike, hanging my transition gear bags and returning to the condo for one final night of sleep before the day that I had been dreaming (and scheming, training, sweating!) about for the past year.

The following morning, race morning, I awoke to Mikey + Kyle asleep on the lanai, Chad and Bro mulling about as they do in the kitchen and Davey getting his cheering speedo on! #thebest Mikey and I found a soft seat in the corner for a moment of meditation – when we were done, we opened our eyes and he said “whatever happens today, remember that you always have your breathe.” Sage advice, I didn’t realize how soon I would need.

To cut to the chase: we gathered bags and bottles and I got dropped off not far from the finish line – which meant a short walk into transition for tattoos, etc. And as I entered transition, with bags and bottles, I realized I had no phone nor any bike nutrition. I had left it all at home on the counter. #SCREEEEEECH! Where is my breathe now? With my nutrition of course! I looked at my watch and tried to calculate who I could call/ who would have time to run home/ grab my fuel/ run back? Was this even possible? And with only 30min to the gun going off, I realized that the reality of this successfully happening was so low that I would in fact only inject worry into my amazing IronTribe. Instead, I opted that this would be a no-excuse race and I’d figure it out! I put my one and only Gu Espresso Gel in my bento box (usually breakfast before the swim!), loaded my one bottle of water + one bottle of scratch labs onto my bike and thought — heck, travel light, fly fast…or something like that, right?! I’d asked the volunteers (who are all amazing!) if anyone had extra nutrition; nope. Any extra salt by chance? Nope. But they had sunscreen!

The swim was uneventful though my error was that I spent the whole swim thinking about how I was going to make it thru the bike. Gah! I know better than this. Lesson #1: Relentless Focus — When you are swimming, only focus on swimming! At any rate, it might have actually been my best Kona swim time. The surf was relatively calm and I was able to find clean water quite quickly.

The bike was seriously eventful! The packs were large and the winds were mighty. I thought, ride conservatively for the first 2hrs – get in as much nutrition as you can – and do whatever it takes to get home. As it turned out, I was able to grab water and gatorade thru transitions…and nothing else. [editors note: i could have stopped at the first aid station for bananas and gels; the trouble is that unfortunately i don’t have an iron-stomach and i knew that those weren’t gonna go down well. so i opted for liquid calories in hopes that would suffice.] When the head wind really hit, I felt totally empty. When the packs flew by, I felt like I was moving backward. And by the time I hit the turn around, my game plan for the ride home became My disappointment was not in timing or placing, yet rather my very honest mistake that cost me at least 80miles of riding ugly. Without salt and in the heat, I was able to consume 2bottles of gatorade from the course and about half a bottle of coke. I calculated that I got in about 320 calories and approx 800mg of sodium — over the entire bike course. (To put this into perspective, I was planning on consuming closer to 2800-3000 calories and 5000mg of sodium!) Alas, that was just how my cookie crumbled. Lesson #2: Get over yourself — when I dropped my bike off in T2, I wanted to drop the negative feelings too. It took a few miles into the run before that happened.

The run was ugly! I was heart-broken; I was seriously depleted; I so so badly wanted to turn the day around and I just didn’t know how to do so. Thank the Heavens, I saw the IronTribe as soon as I left T2 and I seriously thought — these amazing human beings are going to fuel the rest of my day. I then saw Trav, Foxxy and Kevin from Nuun — normally Trav just serves me tough love, but instead he was really really encouraging — I knew that meant that it was some kinda fugly. Coach Jazzy was out on his bike telling me to keep moving and sometimes those are the only words I could hang onto. I also saw another B78’er on the sidelines — she has gone thru a total life transformation and I know that she has a goal to race in Kona one day. Seeing her really helped put into perspective the honour it was to be out on this course. My goal going into the race was to run the back 16miles well because in years previously, that is where my day had indeed gone sideways. So very quickly, those final miles became the only miles that mattered. I knew I was going to see the IronTribe at least 3more times and instead of dreading them seeing me in my failure state, I SO looked forward to their energy, their cheers, their saucy lil bums in speedos cheering for everyone. You know, it was only my ego that didn’t want to see them — yet they really don’t care where I finished. Lesson #3: Drop your ego and do your best. So for this year, the biggest moment of joy was in knowing that I turned the corner onto the Queen K  and didn’t look back! I looked ahead and saw awesome friends having amazing races — Fawner was right up at the front of the race, prancing like she does; Robyn was cruising right along; Hailey was hanging tough for the podium. Lesson #4: Only ever grateful to race on the Big Island with such remarkable human beings. Really, an honour to toe the line with them all. 

2016 has been nothing short of truly magical! I won my first OA amateur 70.3 and full Ironman, yet best of all, I won myself a Golden Husband. #thebestwinofall I’ve also experienced a new relationship with my Bro — we have run a business full-on, he stood up at our wedding as my Man of Honour and planned the most epic IronTribe adventure (his 15th IM too!). By Matt Corker being oh-so-perfectly Matt Corker, he created space for so many amazing people to celebrate love and sweat. #dreamcometrue So what I know for sure — between Ironmans and Wedding Love Parties — the only fuel that actually matters is the vibe from the tribe. Thank you for your cheers along the way.

My sweaty journey would not be possible without: sugoi, smith, cervelo, bicicletta, velofix and of course, b78 coaching. Forever grateful!

It’s time for an off season (or dare I say a strength season), because I’m not done yet! And I’m gonna be back stronger for it.

3 Comments on “Ironman#15 | Kona 2016

  1. Steph,
    You’re a boss and so incredibly inspiring no matter what kind of race you run. Hope to see you soon! xo Ciara

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