The whole build up to the race has an excitement and energy that is hard to describe. Everywhere you look there are lean, athletic types either riding their race bikes or looking fabulous as they run along Ali’i Drive or the Queen K. I kept telling myself that however great everyone looked then, most would not be looking so special 30kms into the marathon!
As for the race itself, the sea state was fairly choppy on the day but that was nothing compared with the physicality of the pack. For me it was about surviving without incident and getting out onto the bike.
The challenge early on in the bike is finding some clear road in amongst the mayhem to try to find some rhythm without risking a drafting penalty. Sometimes I just had to commit to going round groups even if meant exceeding my power targets.
And so I reached the marathon and the big question: would I be able to run? I could feel my back and hip flexor enough to carry a concern but I managed to push through. Most of my mental energy went into trying to stay hydrated and to avoid overheating. Aid stations are frequent with plenty of opportunities to load up on cold water sponges and cups of ice. Coming out of the Energy Lab, with about 11 km to go, I looked at my watch and saw that I had just under an hour left to get home inside 10 hours. That was pretty motivating as I knew that if I just avoided walking I would make it. Up to that point I had been running with a strict cap on my heart rate due to the over-heating risk but after that I threw caution to the wind and just pushed for the finish.