Thursday, October 16, 2008

Hawaii Report

Aloha from the Big Island.

I like to write my report a few days post race.
It gives me the chance to fully dissect and look at the race from every possible angle! And to experience every feeling; the happiness, the disappointment and finally the less emotional rational viewpoint.
Being rational is also a lot easier when you’re not totally smashed!

You will be pleased to hear I am not going to be so hard on myself this time:)
11th in the World in 9:41 is not so bad! Nor is being first Aussie female, when we are typically one of the strongest nations in the sport. My goal was to be in the top 10 at least, and I was 1 min 22 seconds off achieving it. It might have been less disappointing if it wasn’t such a near miss! But as I said, being less harsh on myself, I am confident I will return next year a better athlete, just as striving to win IM Western Australia forced me to improve, competing in Hawaii will. I know I am moving in the right direction being 5 places higher than last year, and 14 minutes quicker.

There were plenty of little breakthroughs and mini triumphs for me during the race, making me optimistic about my future in Hawaii.
I didn’t find the whole experience so intimidating this year. I’m more comfortable and confident about lining up with the best in the World, so going into the race I was much less stressed.

The swim I know I should have been faster. I found myself leading a group round most of the course, having missed the feet of the faster swimmers. I think it comes down to confidence at the start, and knowing I can go hard until I am safe and recover from the effort. I swam a 1.03 which is uncanny, since it’s the same as every one of my Hawaii races. (talking of uncanny- 9.41 and 11th is also the result from my last race in Roth!!) This is really where the race was lost for me. I gave myself too much time to make up. However, I was blissfully ignorant of my time having not started my watch, so it didn’t annoy me until after the race! I knew I was off the back, but I was in good company; amongst Sandra Wallenhorst and Heather Wurtele.
But I really do need to improve my swim if I ever want to be a contender here, unless I learn to ride like Badmann:)

It was my first Ironman, out of 16, that I have not worn a heart rate monitor. So on the bike I rode to feel. I’ve raced enough, and done enough race pace efforts in training without it, to know what that effort feels like. My strategy was to not kill myself on the way up to Hawi this year, but to turn it on all the way home. I still caught many girls on the way out, and I felt good. I was feeling positive and happy with how I was riding. I did get passed by Van Vlerken and Stewart, but their pace was just too quick for me to follow. Even before Hawi there were many casualties on the side of the road; Nina Kraft and Rebecca Preston. I don’t rejoice in other people’s misfortune, but it was good to tick them off:)
Natascha Badmann flew past just before Kawaihae, and I was actually pleased to see her, after all her troubles. I would later re-pass her, but told her how amazing I thought she was. She replied “thank you, and keep going, you’re doing good” and returned the positive energy back to me. She truly is amazing, and it gave me renewed enthusiasm.

Coming home along the Queen K there was a lot of cross wind and head wind. It was hard work all the way home. All I could do was keep pushing, and hope I wasn’t losing too much time on the rest of the field. The best part was that I felt good energy wise, and I was passing more girls on the side of the road! The heat didn’t seem to be affecting me, my stomach was great, and the nutrition was going in. My attitude was really positive all day. I was confident that I was going to run. Really run! I was off the bike in 20th spot, 7 better than last year, but only a minute quicker in 5.26.
So on with the Cep socks and Nikes and I was in a whole new race. I started fast, and flew through the first mile in 6.23. I felt really strong and was ticking off the miles, and passing some girls. I was focused on using every person in front as a carrot. I’ve been increasing my run cadence in training, and I think it really helped me to maintain my pace towards the end of the run. I felt good.

Once I had turned around in the Energy lab, I was on my way home, and I put down the perceived hammer! I threw off my visor! Time to give it everything left! There were lots of big names all within striking distance and it was really quite shocking. First I passed Kate Major, then Belinda Granger, Bek Keat, Jo Lawn and Sibylle Matter. It was very strange seeing these girls struggling, when they are all known for their consistently excellent results in Kona.

Coming into town to the finish, I was still going as hard as I could, but I was smiling now- I was finished! I thought I was 12th. I had no idea how far ahead the next girl was. The finish was amazing. The feeling never gets old, especially here. The Kestrel guys were there- super pleased, my Mum and Dad, Teresa Rider, I was happy. I gave a big smile as I finished- for all the friends and family back home watching online:) I ran a 3.06, a Hawaii PB for me.

I really enjoyed my day, and although I didn’t achieve the goals I set, I was happy that I gave it my best shot.
Hawaii 2009 training starts next week, on my new Kestrel Airfoil SE! I am full of enthusiasm to do what I need to, to crack this race.

Thank you to all my sponsors and supporters who I couldn’t do without.
Special thanks to the guys from Kestrel who really did overwhelm me with their support, taking us out to dinner and treating me like I had won the race! And Bernard of Scody who hand delivered to Kona my awesome race kit.
A super special thank you to Doug and Diane who invited us into their home, to train in a perfect location in ideal weather, giving us our best opportunity for success. Your generosity is so greatly appreciated.

I’ll post some more photos on my blog very soon.



Christophe said...

Thanks Charlotte for sharing your inner experiences about this race.

For us common mortals your insights are inspirational!

I even used some of the content in my team meeting this morning :-)

Charlotte - you rock!

Dusty said...

We probably will never meet, but just wanted let you know that by embracing your friends and family, enjoying your triumphs and set backs already makes you a winner.
Congratulations on a great season.
Keep the wind to your back and a smile on your face.