12 weeks of training came down to one long day on Sunday, September 8th. We can finally say that we have done it. Angela, myself and a couple of other friends, completed a 70.3 mile half Ironman triathlon race. I read somewhere that the percentage of the population who have completed that distance is 1% or less. Therefore, we are officially in a fringe group of endurance junkies. I am very proud to be a member of such a unique and intense group of folks. Also, given that we recovered so well from the race in the first 24 hours, I am pretty sure we will be doing many more long course triathlons in the future. I decided to share a complete race breakdown, leg by leg, with you below, so that you know not only how things went in detail for us but also how the Big Kahuna itself was run.
Big Kahuna Triathlon
In a way, I am glad I waited to post this update until today because I can throw a shout out to Diana Nyad for completing a 35 year old dream. For those who don’t know, becoming the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage or swim fins, swimming from Havana to Key West over the holiday weekend.
2013 has truly been an interesting year for my relationship with water and the plans aren’t getting any smaller for next year either. I really hope to take my swimming to a competitive level next year.
The only real interesting update I can provide is that were going to spend this next week focusing very heavily watching our diet. We plan on investing in a Withings WiFi Scale to take more regular weight measurements, analyze body fat and body mass index. Just being overall healthier is part of our reasoning and the other is to make sure that everything is clicking and in sync as we get closer to race day. One other piece of motivation is the picture below. I discovered it last week on the Triathlon facebook page and it has really motivated me a lot this past week. It embodies everything I love about fitness and healthy living. The sheer power to transform oneself into something else through raw effort and discipline. I don’t know the couple pictured, but I am happy for them and wish anyone else chasing the same goals the best of luck.
Maybe more than any other race I have ever done, except my first marathon, the waiting for this race was killing me. I really wanted to well in my first ocean water swim triathlon and the first at Olympic distance. It seemed like the hours never ended and every smell, sound and sight seemed to be at level 10. Walking around downtown Santa Cruz never appeared crazier. I just wanted to get to the race and get into it. I had a lot to prove to myself and trying to stay patient was not easy to do. I literally walked around counting to 200 over and over in my head as a rehearsal for the counting drill I would do at the start of my swim wave.
This week’s post includes a mini race report from our participation in the Wharf to Wharf 10k. A race that goes from the Wharf at Santa Cruz Beach to the Wharf at Capitola beach.
While training this week and reading some advice columns on training I cam across a great quote regarding the key to becoming a better triathlete:
You have to learn to become comfortable in the most uncomfortable situations.
Competing in and doing well at the Splash & Dash this past Thursday has Angela and I becoming even bigger triathlon junkies than we already were. I never caught the marathon bug; having no interest in doing another one after I completed my third one a few years back. On the other hand, I am already looking forward to and planning to do so many more triathlons even after the Big Kahuna race.
There aren’t many words to describe the feeling of being out in the ocean with some baby seals, battling through giant kelt, watching out for sting rays and leopard sharks, and battling 3-5 foot waves. Awesome, just about sums it up all up. I only wish I had a camera to catch what I saw and experienced. I think I will invest in a GoPro Camera for the next ocean swim. It’s just insane to look down at water a 100 plus feet below you and see the amount of sea life below you, roll over to blue skies, gaze over to the cliffs at the sea lions and be pushing yourself to keep going when the land doesn’t seem to be getting any closer. Other than finishing my first marathon, this may have been the greatest moment in my athletic life ever.