Last year, I came out to work this race and I remember thinking "man, I'm glad I'm not racing this year!" If that's not a sign of being a bit burnt mentally, than I don't know what is. This year, I kept thinking "man, I wish I was racing today!"
The vog that had been hanging around making things cooler from the overcast was a no show today. Nothing but the strong bright sun, raising temps to the typical Ironman weather. The wind was light early on and the pros and faster age groupers bike splits displayed this. However, if you took a bit longer to get out to Kawaihai, the climb up to Hawi brought out those infamous Kona tradewinds. Things did cloud over during most of the run though. It certainly wasn't the easiest day in Kona, but it wasn't close to the hardest. But this is Kona and this race is just naturally brutal. It's the toughest Ironman out there. OK, I have never raced Lanzarote but the conditions and competition make this one the hardest.
This race is powerful. I watched many run, walk and stumble up Palani Hill and thought about the desolate 14 miles they still had to run out on the Queen K. I again wished I could re-experience this. It's a powerful thing and if you aren't moved by this day in some way, then something is wrong.
Desiree had a very difficult day, but she is a competitor and the real deal and will come back next year motivated and stronger mentally. Megan - Megan is tough as nails. She had a challenging ride and then knocked off a 3:50 marathon to finish in 12 hours. Very nice, especially considering that most don't do well that do the LP, Kona double. I ran with Mandy, the birthday girl, up Palani and she seemed a bit out of it. She's a fighter though and hung in there to finish in 12:20. Chris Nook and Trephina G., Ange's athletes, seemed like they were taking in the experience.
That's just what this day is - an unbelievable experience. Crossing this finish line is like no other. Those who say they don't get all the fuss around Kona have never raced it. Usually, they are the ones who truly want to race it.
Congratulations to Craig Alexander and Chrissie Wellington who epitomize the spirit of this sport and race with talent, passion, and enthusiasm. They were brilliant here today, as were the other 1700 finishers.
I'll get some pictures up tomorrow, but for now, I'm out!