Posted: 21/10/2014 at 18:42
No hammering it today, no time trialling the first 30 miles like Longest Day in 2004, I wanted (needed) to finish strong and was weary of the much talked about winds around Hawi.
Start of the bike and I was struggling cycling out of Kona, not in the way you might think but the emotion really got to me, I was here, me, yes me, cycling up Palani Drive and onto the Queen K Highway
Ive heard it was the windiest race day for a few years, don’t know if it was true but it certainly felt like it. There were times when going forward and doing my best to not get blown over/across the road was as much as I could manage, times when my diet stood me in better stead than the likes if a ‘race fit’ lady I found myself trading places with. We certainly exchanged numerous bouts of manic hilarity looking ahead as riders suddenly zig-zagged across the road from the sudden gusts. The wind came and went at various points through the course, I wasn’t reckoning that last 30 miles back to Kona would be into a headwind, but it was over these miles that I was so pleased that id paced it easy and had the strength to press on. Off this bike in about 7.30 which I was pleased with in the circumstances, and compared with a 7.15 at France. Most of that time was like riding into a hand dryer.
I was concerned about the run, ive been struggling with my feet for a long time and hardly run all year (London Marathon and IM Nice run more than doubling any other running miles). Aim was to run walk it at 15mm hoping I wouldn’t stiffen up to much in the final stages. Pretty much managed to hold it together, though had a funny spell at 14 miles feeling dizzy and light headed, this came and went but decided to walk the last 6 miles as a precaution. It had been a long hot day and waking up in an ambulance was the last thing I wanted to happen.
Having noticed I could sneak in under 16 hours I ran most of the last mile, to my surprise I was met about 1/4 mile from the finish by Chrissie Wellington and hand full of others I half recognised and was a bit star stuck and may have babbled some incoherent nonsense as they escorted me to the start of the finish chute. As is usual at the finishI gathered some strength and ran down the finish high-fiving my way along. Narrowly avoided face-planting at the finish on account of my fatigued legs and misjudging the ramp (wouldn’t have been an ideal finishers photo).
Medal, Lei, towel and escorted to the finishers area, job done, and still hasn’t sunk in yet.
Thank you for all the support, I can honestly say during the race that I reflected back many times on many experiences over the years, on the people who have helped me, I thought about those glued to the event and following my progress, perhaps some staying up to see me off the bike?