Yesterday I decided I was ready for a real acclimatization run and probably my last long run before the race. The plan was to run out along the Queen K highway in the heat of the day. This is something my friend Raf did this the weekend before Kona last year and performed rather well (winning M20-24!). In the past I’ve not run this part of the course other than in the race. It’s the toughest bit due to lack of support, lack of cover (so v hot) and it’s the second half of the marathon. It seems sensible to run this bit and to use the time for visualization.
This is what I did yesterday. I set out at 11:30am so I was out on the highway through the midday sun. Of course this is the point you realise just where u didn’t put the suncream on. Luckily I didn’t burn ! I took my iPod and visualized being strong on the run especially as I returned from the Natural Energy Lab. As I started back I felt slightly concerned. I was only able to carry half a litre of water and at this point wondered as to he wisdom of what I was doing. I still felt comfortable and on the return there was a headwind that reduced how hot I felt and the sweat on me more or less disappeared. As I focussed I started to speed up and felt more comfortable. I had to be very careful not to go over my HR cap. I got back in 1h48 and probably covered the best part of 13 miles. Very pleased I did it and certainly felt I coped with the heat pretty well.
In the morning I met Paul and swam the full course. We went steady to the turnaround buoy without stopping in 32 minutes. Very comfortable pace. On the way back we had some fun. We were swimming side by side and about halfway back I noticed a guy turn and sprint to get on my toes. My immediate thought was to drop him but I had a generous moment and though that as long as he didn’t touch my toes I’d let him practise drafting. He didn’t. Then suddenly Paul is upping the pace beside me. I know he’s decided he wants to drop this guy. Within minutes the guy had popped. He told me later the guy had moved onto his feet and kept touching them !! We settled down again until about 500m to go when I decided to push abit and see what Paul did. I think I got him by surprise and initially got away, I kept pushing then next thing I know he’s back beside me and pushing on. I match his pace and then with about 50m to go we both ease off. We both thoroughly enjoyed it and managed the return in 30 minutes.
The star spotting has started. On Tuesday I saw Jo Lawn out on the bike course. She looked over – I assume she thought I was a pro and was checking me out ;o) or perhaps she remembers the Tri London Kit from when we ran through T1 one together at New Zealand ! Yesterday morning we saw Norman Stadler heading out for a swim. He looked super super lean but in the flesh he really is quite a small bloke. During my run I saw him heading out on the bike. It’s starting to hot up here in Kona and the atmosphere is building, it’s such fun being part of it. Those of you trying to qualify for next year it is worth the effort to get out here. I know some of you were so close, that little bit more during the winter, get up everytime that alarm goes off … it’ll be worth it in the end !
In the afternoon I headed out with mum to the Four Seasons, where my sister is staying, to hang out for the afternoon and then babysit in the evening. That is one amazing hotel ! Really enjoyed relaxing there and munching a rather fine steak.
This morning I swam on my own. Did a pretty swift half course and went for breakie at my new favourite Kona breakfast join – Splashers (todays piccie is the view from Splashers) – they do great omelettes and scrambled egg specials and provide endless coffee together with a cool view over the swim start allowing for all the people watching you could ever wish for.
I had big plans for a ride out to Hawi today but the combination of 5 days of reasonable training together with a late night last night had left me rather tired. As such I’ve just dozed, eaten and read my book. I’m sure it’ll have done me good. There’s a nice bit of symmetry – I can do another 5 day block followed by 3 days ease off before the race. I can always create a positive spin in my head on any of my decisions, it’s so good that I always truly believe them !
Jo has a column on Tri247 and her next piece on there prompted me to write a course description of Kona. Decided I may write course descriptions of all my races and have a little section on my site. The Kona one is here.
The book I’ve just finished is called The Infinite Book and it’s fascinating. Talks about the implications of an infinite universe and an infinite number of universes. Whats really nice about it is that in one of them I win Kona. Whats even nicer is in one of them Jo wins Kona and whats even nicer than that in one of them Jo and I both win Kona on the same day.
Now there’s a thought…