Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Ultraman Hawaii World Championships number 15.

HI'I'AKA is the Hawaiian Goddess of journeys and Journeyers, Pathways and Wayfarers, and what a guided journey I had for my 15th and yup sad to say last consecutive Ultraman Hawaii World championship event over Thanksgiving weekend.
My Husband  Al and his two daughters Cheyenne (17) and Montana (13)
At the pre race briefing on Thanksgiving day my family are all smiles and very happy to be on the Big Island and getting ready for the adventure of 320 miles circum navigation the Big Island of Hawaii.
Ohana, Kokua and Aloha.
In Ultraman; 3 Hawaiian words are used to describe the feeling of the organization, participants and Island flavor the event draws from..
Ohana is family, and yes Ultraman is like a HUGE family and very precious to me in so many ways, this year I also had MY family to support me on my journey. The whole race is based on the Ohana principle .
Kokua is help, and oh my The Big Island gives a lot of help mostly the organization under Jane Bockus the majority are from the Keauhou Canoe club, they help with kayak escorts, help with pre and post race check ins, and help with home stays and places to go and see as well as help with support crews Chett Glenn who let me stay in his home,. Just amazing as well as all of the Local people who give their time to make ultraman happen.
Crazy Ultra LOVE!!!

Aloha is the Love, and there is plenty of love which flows through the whole race from pre to post race, from support crews helping other athletes, to athletes bonding with other athletes to the love which is given from the locals of Hawaii to the athletes that participate in the adventure.
A LAVA heart over looking a calm ocean in Kailua Kona..
Race Day
Friday morning at 6.00am I was with a few other like minded Ultra athletes, as I zipped up my Aquaman wet suit, and used copious amounts of Tri slide around chaffing areas I never thought in my worst night mare I would be in the ocean for 5 hours and 20 mins ...
Raffa has been my Kayak escort since 2001.
All smiles..

The morning started well I had photos taken with my crew and my Husband wished me luck Raffa was as always my Kayak support and I had given him my Hammer gel, endurolytes and water enough for 4 hours .. the conch shell was blown and the 28th anniversary of UMH had begun.
My amazing crew with Raffa

I swam as I always do relaxed and not panicked, I just wanted to finish the event and enjoy the journey but when at 2 hours I had not past White Sand Beach I knew I was in trouble, I was SO very grateful to Raffa who was the total professional in helping me finish that swim and not quit! For 3 hours I was just tossed side to side, for every three strokes I took I also went left to right in haled sea water and one moment landed on the kayak!. When Raffa said he could see the buoy all I could do was trust his judgement, and soon I was passing the buoy, I had long run out of water and gel and just wanted to get to land, as I swam to the finish chute I saw a young Honu and a rainbow of colorful reef fish and suddenly I was standing on the green mat and Al was helping me with my balance, I had finished the swim and never quit, which was a good thing as I had Cheyenne and Montana there too.
My amazing Husband

Now I only have a wee 90 mile bike ride to the Volcano and you would think I would have no problem doing that in 6 hours 20 mins, but I first need to hydrate and get calories into my body as I am running on deficit. I set off up the King Kam3it is a steady climb for the next 10 miles or so and a few rollers in the mix. My crew have given me perpetuem and I am moving forward. Now as luck would have it at mile 18 as I was getting into a nice rhythm a nice Hawaiian Bee decided I was a fast moving object and a threat and decided to zap me on my left knee, the pain was instant and took my breathe away, I knew I had been stung but my crew had just leap frogged me and I had no option but to keep pedaling a few miles later I stopped and my knee was inflamed and the stinger was still in contact!
Cheyenne tweezers the stinger out...
I kept on cycling and wham 20 minutes later I was stung on my right leg. I pulled over the offending Bee is still on my cycling pants my left knee is the size of a grapefruit and my thigh is on fire and all we had was wipeaway pain for jelly fish!With this ordeal over I kept on cycling Hawaii is such a beautiful island, every hour I would take Hammer Nutrition endurolytes, Race Cap supremes, Anti Fatigue caps and Endurance Aminos as well as fresh perpetuem and fresh water. I headed towards South Point a fast down hill section and then rolled back out onto Hwy 11, Al and Tammy my Island crew member and friend were doing the maths it would be close but may be I could finish this ride....
Mastering the art of bottle exchange.
We are all in high spirits I descend almost to sea level at the Puunalu Black sand beach now time to climb to almost 4,000 feet, I feel good no stomach issues, I am climbing well, and then my right foot spasms as I have a history of this I know I need to stop and work out the issue my crew are great after stretching the foot I get back on the bike doing the maths I know deep down I am not going fast enough to officially finish day one, and at 6.30pm I only have 4 miles to go and it is time up, I wait for the call to get into my crew van, no one calls and AL and the girls tell me to keep cycling to finish in the dark I put on my head lights and tail lights, the high light of the four miles is a red plume of Volcanic Activity I keep my spirits high to show the girls although sometimes things do not go as planned you can still make good ...

That evening we spent it in an 1890 guest house ran by great people, the shower was also a reflection of that time period! I slept well after my ordeal...
My crew Tammy, Al, Cheyenne and Montana at 6.15am at the Volcano
AT National Volcano Sign in good spirits
 Day 2 is all about the bike and for the first time I can ever remember the whole of the day was good weather no howling winds, no rain just the perfect weather for a bike ride! It was a shame I was just a participant BUT the show must go on there was WAY too much invested to just quit. So with a smile and positive attitude and great crew the bike adventure was a blast. For the first 60 miles I enjoyed the ride as I went downhill for 25 miles from the Volcano, saw the sun rise between pine trees and could smell the scent of a heavenly day. My favorite part for sure was the section they call the Red Road, as I had time to literally smell the roses or as in Hawaii the Ocean, I stopped to put on my new GO PRO 3 so I could video a few sections to share with my crew as they did not get to go through the 15 miles of magical scenery..
The Lava fields of the Red Road
 The Red road was over way too soon then it was refuel, go part the papaya groves, and funny times as I remember riding through the Lava Tree forest and my crew are doing their best Tarzan impersonations.
papaya groves
Lava swinging
It was important my crew have fun too, I sent them ahead to Hilo as I knew the road really well for the next 15 miles no sooner had they left when the unthinkable happened, no...I was not zapped by a bee, or torrential rain but simply put a flat tire!! I immediately stopped and thought this was a bit of a pickle to be in as I had no spare and when I tried calling my crew had no answer...so being an official participant I did what I needed to do and began hitching a lift!! No sooner had I gotten a lift than Al called me I told him I was in a bit of a pickle but not to worry I could meet him in Hilo! Seven miles later I was at the local Taco Bell car park eating a cheese quesadilla while Al fixed my rear tire. Then it was back on my trusty steed aka my Williams Wheels and Cannondale and off for a few more miles of fun. I navigated the traffic lights of Hilo, enjoyed the Queens gardens and really was impressed to see friends with signs saying GO SUZY!!
my friend Jimmy and his school friends with cheerful signs
The next 70 miles are lots of rolling hills and the final climb over the Kohalas, I almost felt selfish that my crew were crewing for me despite not finishing the cut off on Day 1, but they were having fun, taking photos, looking for water falls and very supportive. I decided to join them in the crew car for 25 miles so we could be a family and enjoy and cheer on the official Ultra athletes, we took photos and shouted words of encouragement,
Tammy, Al, Cheyenne, Montana and I stop to cheer on the cyclists
Peter Mueller from Switzerland stops to get a good luck kiss!

even the fields are happy in Hawaii and I have cycled past this happy face for 15 years!


I get a text message as I am cheering the athletes from Ultra Mom Jane Bockus that there is NO WIND over the Kohalas and could I believe it! So I was back on my bike going towards Wiamea, I wanted to take home the memory of climbing the Kohalas on a perfect day! Now in the 15 times I have climbed the Kohalas I cannot remember no wind no rain.. it felt eerily spooky good!I was all smiles as I climbed what a difference from last year with dark skies and side winds of up to 55 miles per hour. I just took it all in the scenery the experience my happy crew...what a memory...


I was all smiles doing the wee climb over the Kohalas it was a truly magnificent day



The views were extraordinary! 
A happy cyclist

The descent into Hawi

At the finish line with AL and Khoel day light was a blessing


 The Finish Chute was great to see Ocean Potion , Hammer Nutrition and Polar signs up.

 Day two had been a great ride with awesome memories but I could not believe the hospitality we were to get from Tammys friends Kenny and Gene at Hawi, a place to sleep, warm beds and even a beautiful home made meal....so happy we were able to enjoy the hospitality
A magnificent table fit for a feast, laughter and good memories with new friends too.
 The final day of the journey I was wide awake at 2am!!! Not sure why but I was SO looking forward to a brilliant day of a double marathon of simply put 52.4 miles. My bike was put in the crew car and was replaced with my Brooks running shoes and running gear. I actually had a good breakfast and hot 100% Kona coffee, there was a slight drizzle and at 5.45am we formed two circles one of athletes and then a bigger one of crew members and as like the previous two days a Conch was blown and a Hawaiian prayer said to bless and wish every one a safe journey.

Now the first 18 miles of the run is kind of running rolling hills and descending the high light was running with Montana who was head to toe in my Brooks gear and looked very much the runner my plan was to run a few miles with all my crew as they would bring me Hammer gel and my Hammer pills...



I was so happy this run would be high on my list of enjoyable moments. The whole day was just perfect I ran with Montana, then Cheyenne then Tammy. All the time we laughed told stories and cheered and encouraged other runners. I looked for early whales and dolphins out on the Ocean that 18 miles went by really fast, I never changed my pace I just kept inching forward
Cheyenne was a solid trooper
Totally having a blast (Thxs Timothy Carlson)
Ultraman four legged OHANA






It was about mile 15 when I saw Wendy Minor with her Ultra dogs Bear and Tusker, we ran a small section together it felt like a scene from the Chariots of Fire. I am grateful to Rick Kent for capturing this moment!!
Vito, Katherine and I do a group hug around mile 22.
Ali Herd is always a pleasure to run with.
Tammy turned out to be a really cool friend and excellent crew too.

Here I am with Cheyenne and Michael at this point we are playing an alphabet game of countries....
 
The finish line is the Old Kona airport... so very happy to see that finish chute!
                                                                                                      






SO in reflection the 52.4 mile run was a very very memorable one, I kept moving forward, I kept to Hammer Nutrition Hammer bars, hammer gels, Perpetuem and My Hammer pills...endurolytes, anti fatigue caps, endurance amino and race cap supremes. I had the usual stomach issues but not until mile 40 ish, were I decided to use a proper bathroom at a beach which cost me 30 minutes but worth it! I finished in a very respectable time of 10 hours and 19 minutes and ALL my crew family and friends also enjoyed the journey too and made new friends along the way! after wards it was time to get a THAI massage from my friend Chett Glenn and we also did a little of refueling too!!
A Happy crew at the finish line

Cool banners Ocean Potion, Hammer Nutrition and Polar USA!! 
 The finish line was special with 3 companies that have supported my Ultraman experience altogether with the Puerto Rican Flag proudly flapping in the wind! A perfect setting!
Myself with Montana, Cheyenne and Tammy.
Here we are with the famous "Cow man" a photo which just had to be taken.
My Rock..
So too conclude you never know how a race will end or how the journey will play out! This was my final Ultraman Hawaii World Championship, I will not be back in 2013, as I want to write a book about Anorexia, scuba and Triathlons, But I leave with my head held high with 12 official finishes the most by any female, and 15 consecutive official starts. I have grown alot through this event they call Ultraman, it will always be in a very special place in my heart. I will never lose my enthusiasm for this great journey! All the crews and athletes were and ARE amazing and new friends too.
Very Grateful to Ocean Potion and Hammer Nutrition for products for all the athletes, and also Polar USA for the monitors for over all male and female winners.

Mahalo to Ocean Potion suncare, Hammer Nutrition, Polar USA, Brooks Running, Williams Wheels, Triall3SPort Cases, Aquaman Wetsuits, Rudy Project USA for great helmets, glasses and back packs!, Fuel belt, Kool n Fit for keeping my feet fresh, Serfas Tires, Profile Design handle bars, Covina masters Aquatics, SBR sports for tri slide and foggle! These companies are OUT STANDING. Also to Timothy Carlson of Slowtwitch and Rick Kent for taking photos and covering the event.
A huge thanks to my husband for his support & my amazing crew, and Jane Bockus for organizing the event. And to ALL the Local people I call friends who helped me enjoy the Big Island of Hawaii.

8 comments:

  1. Congratulations Suzy! You did awesome and what an inspiring race! :D Can't wait to read some tidits from your new book! :)

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  2. Amazing. 12 finishes is spectacular. Congrats.

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  3. You are definitely an inspiration!! I want to go back, but life keeps getting in the way. To have been there 15 consecutive times is absolutely incredible. Thanks for sharing your experience. Ohana, Kokua and Aloha. Katie

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  4. What a great story! Well, except for the part about getting stung by bees and not making the cutoff. Your upbeat attitude shines through in your writing. Ultraman will be diminished without you. Meeting you and jogging together to the Kona pier several times in 2010 is one of my Ultraman highlights.

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  5. Ah Suzy, Thanks for embodying O'hana, Kokua and Aloha. No place compares to the Big I. I love the pic of you and Cowman. Namaste, Ajah

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  6. HI Suzy. We have not met. But I feel like we have. I did UK Ultraman. Just finished Ironman Western Australia yesterday. Feeling a bit low today and then read your story. NOW I want to go and do it all again. Thank you for your honesty and inspiration.
    PS your love of everything around you, including family and your dogs is super cool.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you all for your KIND KIND words...

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