Hawaii Ironman Guest Race Report

To brighten the mood a little bit on Team Wurtele’s blog we’re putting up a race report from a friend and supporter, Cindy Rach.  We met Cindy and her crew in Solvang last winter, then saw some of them again in Kona this year. Cindy races in the 60-64 age group and topped off a great year with a finish at the Ironman World Championships…

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Ford Ironman World Championship Race   October 10, 2009
Finish time:  14 Hours 32 minutes

Well, as most of you know I was lucky enough to qualify for the big race in Kona at Ironman Coeur d’Alene last June.  My time there was 13:40 – a PR for me after finishing Canada the previous 2 years.

I trained hard through the summer and all too quickly, Phil and I landed in Kona on October 5th to hot weather and tricky trade winds, as expected. We were joined by friends Jenelle, Lola, August, Paul, Tami, and Anna –the greatest support crew ever. Anna and Paul volunteered and helped Friday and Saturday in transition.  Phil, Jenelle, August and Lola were everywhere they could be on the course, taking photos and giving me much needed advice and encouragement.    My daughter Heather, husband Sam, and two grandsons, Max and Gus flew over to see Grandma race-a dream come true.

Race day was clear and hot.  The water was calm.  Having swum the course during the week prior with Sister Madonna, I knew the ocean swim with currents and waves would be difficult for me. I expected a slow time and it definitely was. I got out of the water 11th out of 17 in my age group.   Transition from bike to run was fairly smooth.  The volunteer who helped me dumped my transition bag out on the ground.  She thought that would help me get to my things quicker but in the process I didn’t see my sunglasses and left transition without them.  I decided not to go back for them by the time I finally realized they weren’t on my face. Note to self: manage transition better next time! I saw Phil and Jenelle as I rode up Palani and yelled at them to call my daughter Heather up in Hawi at the bike turn around where they were staying, hoping I could get a pair of sunglasses from her.

That worked out great! Hawi is not really a sports or fashion Mecca so Sam drove 45 miles round trip to Waimea to get a pair of sunglasses he thought I could use.  His choice there was either $30 Jackie O knock-offs or $130 Oakleys.  No choice at all – only the best for Max & Gus’s grandma Cindy. Heather, Sam, Max and Gus were waiting for me with the brand new glasses! Yah, I know I could get DQ’d for taking anything from spectators but by the time I got there, I was close to a medical emergency with very sun and windburned eyes.   It was so fun seeing them up there at the turn around – Max ringing a cow bell like crazy and Gus in the back pack wondering what the heck this was all about.

Riding down the hill (20 miles) from Hawi with a nice tail wind was so much fun and very much earned after a tough climb with head and side winds. Life was good until I made the turn back onto the Queen K Highway and had to battle 36 miles of headwinds back to town.   Despite what I thought was enough salt intake, I started cramping a few miles out of town.  I managed to get to transition having made up 7 spots on the bike putting me in 4th place in my age group but the cramping problem made it almost impossible to run.  I ran/walked out Alii Drive all the way to mile marker 4 where we were staying.  Lola gave me some invaluable advice along with a handful of Endurolytes. Another note to self-manage electrolytes better. By the time I ran to the end of Alii and back, I was a new person, actually believing I would be able to run the whole marathon.

The sun sets around 6:00 in Kona so over half of my run was in the dark. The stars were out and there was a beautiful half moon but it was very dark. The run from town along the highway out to the Natural Energy lab is long, hot, and lonely.  It is hard to see the cones marking the course when it’s that dark and the occasional car headlights cause temporary night blindness. Other than not being able to see all that well, I felt fine and made do with Endurolytes and coke.

Seeing the lights of Kona as I ran back toward town was so exciting.   About a mile from the finish I ran by another friend from Woodinville, Leslye Tabor who paced me down to Alii Drive where I met up with Phil. He told me where everyone was waiting to see me finish and to enjoy these last few steps because this is what I came for. Absolutely nothing can compare to the thrill of running down the chute to the Kona finish. The noise of the cheering crowd was deafening, unlike any other IM I had experienced. I swear if I hadn’t been smiling so hard, I would have started crying. I can’t tell you how much it meant to have my family and friends at the finish line. Jenelle, with her innate charm and “knowing the right peeps”, had managed to get a VIP pass so she met me right out of the finish shoot where we eventually found everyone else. We took the post race photos with Max wearing my finisher medal. I was so happy and so glad to be done.  I finished the Ironman world Championship race in 6th place in my age group.  I learned so much about the race and about myself.  I felt both honored and inspired by the whole experience every single minute of it.

The swim, sometimes seeing turtles and dolphins is amazing.  The bike through miles lava bed is very tough but somehow beautiful.  The run is just plain long.  I know though that every time I crossed a timing mat, I felt the friends back home who were watching me and I thank you all so much.  I could not have done this race without your support and encouragement.   All the fun cards, Facebook comments, voice mails, and congratulation e-mails were unbelievably appreciated. And the crew in Kona – you guys ROCK!  I can’t possible say enough.  For me, this is not a solo race.  It really does take a team.

I will be back.

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~ by trevorandheather on October 17, 2009.

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