|This is the beginning of a new day the Hawaiian God KU is responsible for the sunrise.|
Probably the highlight of my pre race was going with Amber, Gary, Miro, and Marti to Captain Cooks to swim 2 miles for training. As soon as we entered the Ocean there was something magical happening and you only need put your face in the water to understand. We were surrounded by pods of spinner dolphins there were everywhere friendly faces and clicking sounds! Forget about the swimming this was a gift from the sea God known as Kanaloa they were spinning and leaping out of the water and there was also baby dolphins too! 90 minutes past very quickly!
The Hawaiian name for dolphins is Nai'i and this is one of the few places in the World were you can swim with wild dolphins!
Another part of my journey was teaming up with Cory Foulk and Laurie Beers we headed out to Hapuna Beach and did a swim with no shark sightings it was a beautiful day.
|Suzy, Cory and Laurie|
Here I am with Laurie and Cory after climbing the 11 mile Waikoloa road. Just a great training ride with good friends.
The Ohana of the athletes is close knit and everyone is very friendly there are many activites organized by the athletes and race organizers. In the first week there a few of us went down to the Keauhou Canoe club and we had the incredible experience to catch a lift with the out rigger canoes and were put in the Ocean 2 miles from the finish line and we all swam back together.
Here I am with Gary, Marti. Amber and Mike after our Ocean swim.
I felt relaxed and certainly enjoyed the hospitality of the Island I scuba dived, rode my bike visited friends, had a good time with my husband and drank LOTS of Kona 100% coffee!
The Honu is seen on almost every swim and scuba dive. You must observe the Honu and not chase or harass them just like the dolphins we are visitors in their home.
I dived with my good friends Janine and Chuck and also dived with Al when he arrived on the island.
|new four legged friends Kermit and ELmo|
Thanksgiving Day was suddenly upon us, and this is the day when all the athletes and crew meet go over the race briefing and have breakfast together.
My crew consisted of AL my husband, best friend and crew chief extraordinaire with Jimmy Stilley a good friend and student of Hilo University not forgetting my Puerto Rican Kayaker Raffa who has Kayaked me to safety since 2001.
After Al and Jimmy had packed the crew car and all my gear was ready for Race day we headed over to my friend Janine who had invited us to join her family and close friends to celebrate Thanksgiving.
I slept well, in total oblivion as to what the Hawaiian Gods had in store for me on this incredible journey called Ultraman. I am always nervous about Day 1 with the 6.2 mile swim and the 90 mile bike ride. Typically I get all jitterybuggery about the swim, however you look at it 6.2 mile Ocean swim is a long way at least through my eyes I think to sweeten the deal I should be allowed to scuba it!
|All smiles before the start of the event.|
A final fair well, and I was putting one arm in front of the other, about 25 mins into the swim I felt nauseous I could taste my coffee I had drank a few hours ago this was not good, I stopped to drink some plain water but I still kept burping up coffee I kept on swimming I thought to my self how ridiculous in all the time I have swam never encountered this problem. Raffa was great every 30 minutes he would stop me and I would re fuel with Hammer gel and Hammer endurolytes. There were no dolphins and about 4.5 miles into the swim Raffa guided me closer to the shore where I could focus on the little blue church St Peter and actually see the lava and coral and reef fishes. as always the tide begins to change as the end draws nearer, tired I know have to dig deep to keep moving forward, finally I see the turn around buoy into the finish, I had drank a little of the sea water and was certainly not feeling my normal woopy do self. Then I saw a Honu (Turtle) and some beautiful butterfly fish I thanked the Hawaiian God Kanaloa for the safe ocean, no jelly fish encountered and had been a solid crossing.
I was a little wobbly and my stomach was gurgling up a storm but this was race day there was no sitting in a warm car being pampered it was time to ride 90 miles to Kilauea Volcano home of the fire Goddess Pele, I applied Ocean Potion Suncare and sprayed my legs with Kool n Fit. I traded my swim goggles & cap for my Rudy Project glasses and Rudy Helmet and I was off!!
As soon as I take off on the bike there is an immediate climb of 1000 feet in 3 miles, which was not too bad I used the climb to regain a little strength. Al and Jimmy would leap frog me every few miles every hour I would get a new bottle of perpetuem and my Hammer mix of Anti Fatigue caps, Endurolytes, Endurance amino and race cap supremes. The weather never became what I would call hot but it did become wet and drizzle like, I swear had I closed my eyes (not a good idea on the bike) I could have been in England! I passed coffee farms, and at one point could see Captain Cooks I kept on passing lush greenery and lots of bright red poinsettia, I was soon following the mile markers on Highway 11 passing Macadamia nut orchards etc.
I could feel my body telling me it was tired I was still battling stomach problems with the salt water. I took some ginger chews and soon I was turning right onto South Point Road it was well marked by fellow um athlete CJ and his wife Clar! South Point is in the Kau District it is said that it is the doorway to the other side and is a kind of power vortex and UFO s have been reported, as I cycled through the KAU district I certainly did not feel the power or the Vortex I felt my energy draining!! a very quick down hill a left turn on to a gradual incline back onto the highway.
I knew I was so close yet so far from the camp grounds. I am at mile 60 almost at sea level and I have 30 miles left 27 climbing back to 4000 feet. I kept on going forward always amazed at the beautiful scenery of the rugged coast line. My feet were giving me problems with the tips of my toes blue and cramping. I asked for a foot rub and passed the Volcano park sign, gosh only 8 miles to go,
We stayed in a beautifully furnished room at the Volcano Inn, plenty of hot water hot blankets a fire place etc.. made it very inviting to sleep in and watch the sun rise over the volcano! But we all know that was not the plan!
|Al and Jimmy work on the bike|
|Susan and I brace ourselves for the cold descent|
|Time to ride!|
After the Red Road it was full steam ahead to Hilo I was trying to be up beat and positive. As usual the traffic lights turned red as I approached 5 of them! I also wondered if I would see the Naha Stone which weighed 7000 pounds! it was prophesied by a great Kahuna that a man who moved that stone would be the greatest King Hawaii had ever had....at 14 years old Kamehameha did just that and went on to be the greatest leader of the Hawaiian People. With that thought I made it onto the Hamakua Coast line on Rt 19 with 57 miles of beautiful scenery water falls dramatic drop offs and farm lands,
|hoping for a wee bit of sunshine...|
We had rain and sun a little breeze I was just wanting to finish, I knew I was getting nearer to Waimea as I saw Parkers Ranch.
Before long I was turning right towards Parker School I had to stop here while Al addressed my foot issue which was excruciating, we decided on my Brooks running shoes
I knew I had time to go over the Kohalas and set off full throttle....I was very quickly stopped in my tracks when I started to climb the sound of the wind was horrendous and I was immediately blown across the road into the opposite lane and I had not even done two hundred yards!
|Here Belinda Herd helps me with a pep talk|
|Here is the work of the Goddess Hina.|
|Here I am after talking with Al as there comes a time when safety becomes more important than finishing an event.|
We had a nice evening at the Hawi Hotel ate and chatted with a few other athletes. I was not up set I knew my limits and they had been met with the winds. But I intended to wake up the next morning and finish the event.
|Kimmie and I at the beginning of the run|
|a rainbow appears|
|Al made sure I was on top of the nutrition|
|Belinda ran with me for 14 miles.|
Opposite is Eddie Herd who was also medical director and he ran with me for a good 12 miles.
I felt like Forrest Gump just keep running and running and running My new Brooks Launch had a nice springy feeling to them too, mentally it was pretty intense and I was so grateful to all the pacers who turned out to support me, as deciding not to finish Day 2 with the finish line so close had been a very difficult thing to do and now I was running on Day 3 and was overcome with the amount of love and help I had along the road.
Soon I am on the final stretch of the Queen K and new athletes have joined me to run too, the Old Airport is in sight I can smell the food, everyone rallies around me to the finish chute, this is it!
|happy to have finished|
|What a great land crew a HUGE MAHALO to Al and Jimmy for putting up with me for 3 days!!|
|John a new running Hawaiian friend. Mahalo|
|another die hard Hammer Nutrition fan Dan and Suzy|
|Thanks Hammer Nutrition and Ocean Potion|
|Awe Eddie and Belinda Herd thanks guys.|
|Another new friend "Mr Blue" Mahalo|
|my husband my number one fan!|
Hammer Nutrition, Ocean Potion sun care, Williams Wheels, Polar USA, Brooks running gear, Rudy Project USA, Kool n Fit, Aquaman Wetsuits, William Wheels, Triall3sport cases, Serfas Tires, ID4Sport tags, Profile- Design, Fuel Belt, Covina Aquatics, Hammer my mini pin and of course Al!
It had been a long journey and I hope to return in 2012 and officially finish for the 13th time.
Below is a U Tube video shot by Gary Trowbridge of my finish at 2011 Ultraman Hawaii Mahalo Gary.
My Little Grass Shack in Kealakekua Hawai`i
by Bill Cogswell, Tommy Harrison & Johnny Noble
I want to go back to little grass shack
In Kealakekua, Hawai`i
I want to be with all the kanes and wahines
That I used to know long ago
I can hear the old guitars playing
On the beach at Hônaunau
I can hear the old Hawaiians saying
Komo mai no kâua i ka hale welakahao
It won't be long till my ship will be sailing
Back to Kona
A grand old place
That's always fair to see, you're telling me
I'm just a little Hawaiian
A homesick island boy
I want to go back to my fish and poi
I want to go back to my little grass shack
In Kealakekua, Hawai`i
Where the humuhumunukunukuâpua`a
Go swimming by