Sunday, September 7, 2008

Big Kahuna Half Ironman - 2008

Big Kahuna, by far, has to be one of my favorite races. This year didn't disappoint!

Juls and I started our road trip at 5am on Saturday morning. We were able to fit 2 girls, 2 bikes, and gear into a Ford Focus. We rock! The ride was pretty uneventful. Driving up The 5 through the Central Valley is really not exciting. Luckily we had my "Pat-loaded" iPod, and were able to keep occupied by listening to This American Life and some good tunes.

We arrived in Santa Cruz around 1pm, dropped our stuff off at the house we were renting, and headed to the expo. After a quick ride and run, it was back to the house for a little relaxation before dinner. Fortunately, Marianne's Ice Cream was on the way home, so I made Juls stop. It's only the best ice cream in the world :)

We shared a nice big house (5 bedrooms!) with Tina, Stacy S., Joanne, Darrell and Don. Lucky for us, the boys are stellar chefs. Saturday night was Darrell's turn. He made this great chicken pasta salad, as well as a Tomato and Basil salad. And then we had homemade cobbler for dessert! Thank's Darrell, you rock! :)

Race day started early. Last year was cloudy in the morning, which was nice. The clouds stuck around until a couple miles into my run. No such luck this year. Not a cloud in the sky. Luckily the temperature had dropped from the day before (it was 80 when we arrived in SC on Saturday), so the day wouldn't be too bad.
The water was at least 60 degrees this year (maybe 62?), which was nice. It felt really cold warming up, but once the gun went off, I was no longer even close to cold. The swim was fairly uneventful. I felt much better in the water for this race than I did on my Oceanside swim earlier this year. The swim still seemed really long. When I got out of the water, and saw the time on my watch, I was satisfied. I was 5 minutes slower than last year, but thought the course was really short last year as well. I came out in my expected 1.2 mile swim time.

We started the bike and headed directly into the wind for the first half of the out and back course. We had wind, and fog, lots of fog. It was crazy to see it move in over the coast. It was so thick that I was dripping water from my bike and body, and had to take my sunglasses off for most of my ride to see. It was nice though, because it kept things really cool. I reached the turn-around around 1:40. I knew that with out a very strong tailwind, there was no way I'd beat last year's time of 2:55. The trip back to town was a bit painful for me. My back and neck got sooo tight. I'll need to spend a lot of time in aero for the next couple weeks getting ready for IMAZ. I finished the bike and was excited to run.

I was really excited for the run. This is what I had been working on most in my training, and I knew I could easily demolish my 2:10 time from last year. I hit the turn around at exactly 1 hour. If I ran hard, I could beat 2 hours. I was on track, but then I got a bit confused. My Garmin had been pretty dead on for most of the run, but then I didn't hit the mile 8 marker until mile 8.3 or so on my Garmin. Maybe I wouldn't make it in under 2. I tried so hard to both finish the run in sub-2 and the race in sub-6, but I just missed.

All in all, I was pleased with my race. My nutrition worked well, and my run really did get better.

My splits were as follows:
Swim: 42:58
T1: 5:06
Bike: 3:09:06
T2: 1:33
Run: 2:03:20 (Garmin read 13.4 miles)
Total: 6:02:04

Slower than last year, but everyone was slower than last year, so I was ok with it.

Recovery consisted of another great meal cooked by the boys! Thanks Don and Darrell! I'm looking forward to another great Big Kahuna weekend with you guys next year!