||Half - Ironman
Honu Race Report 2008
This week, I visited the holy land of Triathlon Kona and raced the HONU 70.3 race outside of Kona. My results are probably not important to anyone but me; however it was a good day for me with a 5:38 finish.
I brought my Mom with me to share in the adventure that my buddy Mike Ireland talked me into. We had a deal; he would race Wildflower if I would race Honu. It was pretty simple: our two favorite races competing for which is the hardest half IM distance race we could find. The final result: Honu by a 20MPH wind gust!
So on to the course: Sunny Warm and Breezy (Uhhem Windy!)
Swim: A 1.2 mile swim in a rectangle in a protected bay with a Deep water Mass start. The swim had warm and clear water, and you could see fish and other ocean creatures (A big A$$ ray and turtles) below. The windy condition whipped up a small chop from time to time, and a bit of a nasty current on the back side of the rectangle. The current pushed me about 100 yards off course before I realized it. That is what I get for following the crowd.
The Bike: This was the most interesting part of the race! On Thursday, Mike I, Darin Nellis and I rode the last part of the out and back course which turned just before the small town of Hawi (Ha Vee). This is about a 15 mile stretch that gently climbs similar to Mandeville back home. However, Mandeville does not have 20 to 30 mile gust of wind. After this ride Thursday, I was VERY concerned about keeping the wheels down. Especially after getting blown across the rode literally once or twice on the way back down at 30 mph! So after making it out of the swim it is on to the bike and the winds. For some reason the race day adrenaline had me feeling good on the bike. However I should have listened to the small voice in my head that said the heart rate monitor is WAY TOO HIGH. All the way to up the road to Hawi I had a lot of confidence and had a good bike going until I realized I went too FAST for the first 36 miles. The last 3 miles on the way up to Hawi, uphill into a headwind crushed the life out my legs. Fortunately it was mostly downhill back to T2. But the wind did not let up! It was a head, cross, tail wind that was unpredictable at best. Lesson here it you want to race Honu or the Big Boy IM World championship. Be prepared for wind, rolling hills, and heat. This is the first time that I have ever been uncomfortably warm on a bike. Even after having raced in Cancun and training in Fontana in August.
The Run: Did I mention it was warm out! The course follows the Hotel golf course and the route takes you out onto a couple of Blacktop Roads with Lava on the Right and Left, several long hilly par 5 fairways, and several cart paths. Then in true triathlon torture fashion, there is a 1.3 mile out and back in some bad combination of Lava, Blacktop, and Wild grass. Fortunately there was a little cloud cover when I ran through the last three miles. The run was completed with a stop at each aid station for 2 handfuls of ice that I carried from stop to stop. Not once did the ice ever feel cold or did my hands go numb.
Post Race activities:
Sunday AM, After a swim by the Hotel, our group forgot about training for the day and went sightseeing (A sport that I suck at). We viewed the Falls at AKAKA and visited a volcano on the other side of the island. We walked across Lava from the 1990 eruption to view an active Lava flow into the Ocean. Mother Natural is as beautiful as she is powerful.
So overall it was a good race in a great location. Conditions make the course tough, not the course itself. With my current skill and fitness this could be either be a sub 5 hour or a 6 hour day depending upon the conditions of the day. The Host hotel the Mauna Lani, is beautiful hotel, but VERY pricy. However, every now and again finances must be damned. Hopefully I will get back to do this race again, but I will choose a condo over the Hotel. Pre Race training make sure to ride the road to Hawi, and run mid day in the LAVA fields so you know what to expect on race day.
I still have more work to go to be as competitive as I would like to be, but that is part of journey. Just so everyone knows I am not racing now, but I am building base for Kona IM champions 2015.