About 1 year ago, I read cjbruin's race report about the Honu Half IM in Kona and I was inspired (Race Report - 2006 Honu Ironman 70.3)! I decided to give it a shot - after all, it's a world-class race and I'm only a short island-hop away.
I had done a half IM in Kona before, but this was in the early 90's when I was 27 years old. I had finished in 6:06, so my goal was to beat that time to prove that I was in better shape now (at 42 years old) than I was back then. Read to the end to see if I met my goal .
Anyway, on the morning of June 2, I arrived at the Mauna Lani hotel to catch the shuttle to the swim start at Hapuna Beach. Standing there at the shuttle stop was Chris McCormack, winner of last year's race and 2nd at the IM World Championships. What struck me as odd was that he was riding the shuttle with all of us and he was alone - no entourage of agents, sponsor's people, etc. that you usually see with world-class professional athletes. I like that about the sport - it's not "elitist".
The swim was beautiful. With a mass start of nearly 1,000 people, there was a lot of bumping and jostling for position, but nothing unexpected. I got out of the water in minutes.
Rather than race in a suit, I decided to put on bike shorts with a thick chamois with chamois cream to protect my "sensitive areas". Unfortunately, the ground in the changing tent was gravel and when I slipped my feet into the shorts, gravel got embedded in the chamois cream. I wasted a lot of time picking gravel out of my chamois! Here I am getting out of T1:
The bike course was awesome. Not too windy, but very sunny and hot. If you've ever seen the NBC Ironman coverage, that's how it looks, but it's even more beautiful in person. The terrain changes from bleak lava fields to industrial area to dry brush on a hill that overlooks a beautiful, blue ocean that extends as far as you can see. At one fairly steep uphill section, professional triathlete Cameron Brown was leaning on his bike and cheering on the participants (he wasn't competing). I said, "Hey, you're Cam Brown!" He gave me a confused look and said, "I am???" then he smiled and gave me a thumbs up. Very cool.
I came into T2 pretty exhausted. My bike time was The run was absolutely brutal. The sun was merciless and I was trying my best just to hang on. I would try to run, but even a slow trot would cause my heartrate to go up to near anaerobic threshold level. So I walked about 1/2 of it. My run time was . Slower than I expected, but no big deal. I was just happy to finish!
The question has been answered - I was in better shape at 27 than I am now! Not a big surprise, I guess.
Anyway, here's a picture of my bike. I recently bought the HED 3 wheel and Ultegra crank with FSA chainrings. I love it!
[And I am very grateful to have such a supportive family. Because of my training, my wife and daughter have had to make a lot of sacrifices. It helps that my wife is also a triathlete, so she understands. Here we are in our hotel room the day after the race:
I'm still trying to decide if I'm going to do this race again next year. I may just stick to shorter races because I seem to do much better at Olympic distances or shorter. We'll see . . .