Los Angeles Triathlon Club
Race Report
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Club Member: Lizzie Brenkus
Race: 2010 Kona Ironman World Championship
Distance: Ironman
Race Date: 10/09/10
Submit Date: 10/13/10

I just had the incredible opportunity to race at Kona and it proved to be the most challenging and, therefore, sweetest triathlon I've completed! The energy in Kona is electric - I'd been in 2007 to watch my husband race and it's where I committed on the spot to start training for a triathlon. To come full circle and race there with John, was just awesome. The swim start was great for me. I followed great advice from my coach and Coach Ian to stay to the left. I got in a rhythm quickly and felt good. The waves picked up and so did the congestion, so that by the turn-around I could feel my speed was slowing. Bodies were crammed on the way back due to IM narrowing the swim space this year. Still, felt good out of the water even though a much slower swim than I'd planned on. Transition was smooth and easy (the volunteers rocked). Bike felt great in the first portion until I looked down to see that I'd forgotten to twist on my Garmin computer (!!! It was sitting nice and dry in my pre-swim bag). Then, as I adjusted my helmet a little, my adjustment strap snapped in half (!! Wobbly helmets are no fun in 50mph wind gusts). Bike was steady on the way out of town and then came a steadily growing headwind that lasted until the turn to Hawi. In Hawi, our crosswinds got up to 50 mph and I was honestly completely freaked on the bike. Too windy to take a drink and too windy at times to safely to switch bar positions. At one point a bee landed on my leg and I had to let it sting me since I couldn't move my hands or stop in time to swat it away! OUCH! After the turn-around at Hawi I was starting to feel really sick and my leg was killing me from a wicked sartorial muscle cramp on my right side. I couldn't wait for that tailwind and it came...for 5 minutes. The wind switched and it was a headwind all the way back to Kona. Ahh, the winds of Hawaii. The windy rides on Las Posas felt like peanuts compared to the elements on the Big Island. I got sick on the bike, but stuck with it not wanting to make the bike any longer than it had to be. It felt fantastic to get off that bike and chuck my wobbly helmet for run transition, where I got an awesome shout out from Mo Geller (Thanks, Mo!!). I felt fantastic the first mile out on the run course and it was so nice to have the crowds boost my spirit. Then, hit mile 2 and stabbing knee pain from an injury previously this year. Ahh! The run is my *thing* and I had done so much therapy to ensure this wouldn't flare up - no doubt triggered by my sartorial cramping so badly. After some hydration and a serious talking to by another fellow mom I met in transition, I picked up the pace and decided to walk the aid stations. I saw hubby John out on the course twice and it was amazing to share the moment with him. The real run portion started on the Queen K, when things get hot and deserted pretty darn fast. It was a challenge to overcome the knee pain, but I focused steadfastly as much as I could on hydration and pure running form. I puked a little more and then started feeling so much better around Mile 17, the tail end of the Energy Lab area. Once out of the Energy Lab, I felt the best I'd felt all day and really picked up the pace, only walking briefly the next four aid stations. At Mile 23, I felt fantastic and ran through the last stations. The whole last mile, I had a smile from ear to ear and at the turn on Alii Drive, I decided to sprint to the finish line. I had been on an emotional and physical roller coaster of a day and wanted to leave every last ounce of juice, gratitude, and ability on that course. Crossing that unbelievably special finish line was life-changing. It was the hardest, but most satisfying race, having to overcome the trials of the day. And I got to relive it again when John crossed the finish line and I put a lei around his neck as he collapsed on me. How blessed we are to be in a sport that so vividly tells us how alive we are - mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually!!! That kind of feedback gives you an incredibly rich life and journey. :-) ....Now to heal the blisters, toe-nails hanging on for dear life, etc. Can't WAIT to do it all again!

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