This race draws a wide range of athletes from first timers training with LLS Team in Training program, fast age groupers from all over the U.S. and International waters, as well as top professional triathletes.
Lavaman is a must do race for all triathletes. It’s located on the Big Island of Hawaii in the Waikaloa resort area. The winds are fierce, the heat is a given, and the terrain on the run is a mix between road, lava rocks and sand. I will affirm the after party is indeed as the website advertises, “One of the best.”
Why pass up on taking the short flight over to Kailua-Kona for the Lavaman race experience, even though I’m still tired from the 30+ mile jaunt up Mt. Haleakala, and the state team TT race? I love to race!! Russ and I traveled together, and he is always a good race supporter.
Race morning – what a BEAUTIFUL SUNRISE!!
Upon arriving to the transition area, I was a little surprised that the line for body marking was a mile long, but with an hour until race time, there was nothing to worry about. The volunteers were in full force everywhere. The body marking method used block letter stamps dipped in ink, rather than drawing our numbers.
I quickly buckled my helmet and pulled my bike out of the rack, ran out to the mount line, and jumped on the saddle. Bike strategy was to save some energy for after the turnaround, then attempt to go a bit harder into the head wind. On the way out, I was climbing, and feeling pretty good, when I see a girl fly past me. Wow – she is 7 years older than me, how did she do that? I stayed within myself, rather than trying to race her. The wind always gets stronger later in the day. I felt the gusts slowly build, and bring my speed slower and slower towards the end of the ride. About a mile and a half before we turn off the main road, the wind picked up, and I had to steer my wheel into it, and leaned to the side. I was glad to be approaching Waikaloa Beach Rd., because when we made that left turn, the winds were at our backs. It pushed us our final quarter mile to the next turn into T2.
I hobbled/ran in my sore barefeet to re-rack my bike – zip my Zoots onto my feet and gallop out of transition to start the run. Our course starts out on crushed lava for about 500 or so feet. The next 4 miles we are on the road. I’m feeling okay – but my legs won’t speed up. After the first aid station I’m thinking; this is going to be a long 10K today, and that’s when a younger female passes me. She started 3 minutes ahead of me. Oh jeez. Actually, I recognize her gait – from the Xterra Enduro21K run, where I tried to chase her down. She’s good. I keep up a steady effort, slow and steady. The course goes past the Hilton, and it looks flat, but there is a steady little climb with a head wind. Then a 40 yr. old guy starts to pass me, so I take advantage of him, and sit behind him and draft. That felt good, my heart rate dropped, and I could cruise. We turn left, and I see the older girl that passed me on the bike, coming the other way. She is flying of course. Man, if I could only feel that good!
After the next aid station we make a U turn and start to head down the hill with the tail wind. I’m really trying hard to run as fast as I can, because I know there are two other girls younger than me that will catch me sooner or later before the finish line. I’m not having doubts, I just know they are running faster than me.
I’m so thrilled to know that we only have two miles to go. We meander through the Hilton resort area on the path. I’ve faded from the guy I was drafting off of. Damn, if only the swim was longer……………..I’m looking forward to the finish, but at the same time, I am staying in the moment, and noticing all the people laying around at the resort watching us run by as they are drinking their Mai Tai’s. Yep, those other two youngsters behind me did pass me, but I don’t think they made up overall time on me. After the path, the terrain changes to a spectacular rugged, Xterra like dirt trail on a ledge, with rocks. It was twisty and rolling. I prefer that kind of running to the sand or the road. The trail is short lived, and the path becomes sand, at which point I can hear Russ screaming my name to “GO!!!” I smile to myself, and I do my best to speed up. He yells and yells, and guides my form to pump my arms over the sand to stay strong. He’s my guide to the finish by briefing me that I have 400 yards to run, and he mentions that no one is behind me. That’s nice – to know. I’m elated to see the finishing shoot, and I sink into the sand with every attempt to run. It’s a great feeling knowing that I’ve earned one more race t-shirt and finishers medal. What a great day. 1st. in AG by 11 minutes and 10th. Overall female. Finish time: 2:19:31.
Russ and I enjoying a beer at the after party
Everyone brought home awards back to Honolulu.
Mike and Spence literally smoked the course, and finished 12th. and 15th. respectively. Sandy won her AG, and Amy took 2nd. in her AG.
Mike and I finished 3rd. for the U.S. BEST AMATUER SERIES
Gotta love the sneeky peek view of Maggs compression socks on the podium.