02 Nov 2009

Aloha Friends!

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It has been a pleasant 8 days since the HARDEST RACE OF MY LIFE.  Shall I begin to share with you my amazing experience at XTERRA World Championship in Maui? Here I go!!!

It was hot morning, a blue sky sitting over calm ocean waters, and the lava gleamed black, deadly and beckoning to me on the trails of the volcano Haleakala, hiding behind a grueling swim.

The Blessing

The Blessing

Hours before the start of this adventure each year, the racers are all blessed on the beach by Reverend Alalani, a traditionally dressed Maui religious leader.  She blesses us with a palm frond dipped over and over again in holy water.  This is taken very seriously by most of the racers, as it is a huge day with many potential dangerous spots, so we take all the blessings we can get.

This year unlike previous ones, 600 racers were sort of corralled into a small section of the beach and we had to stay on the sand before the gun went off.  I, being the “shy” swimmer that I am, fear being slugged in the jaw or kicked in the goggles or worse, being swum over, more than losing.  SOOO, when the gun went off, I ran diabolically opposite to everyone else, down the beach to get a way from fists and feet.  I jumped into the ocean and started my swim grateful of being on the edge, when I gradually began to notice this most amazing colorful school of fish, hundreds of these tropical red, blue, green, orange, and yellow sea life, swimming all around my goggles and my body!  I thought to myself “Self, why are all these fish swimming so close to all these swimmers?”……and looked up to notice they weren’t, the fish were swimming with one lost swimmer who was swimming AWAY from the buoy with a very strong current I hadn’t noticed.

The Swim

The Swim

Um, long long swim story short, I kind of lost some time and more energy trying to swim back to the buoy and back into the race.  But despite rumors, I wasn’t being herded away by a group of dolphins or escaping from a shark.  No excuse, I just got a little (a lot) lost!

The Bike

The Bike

The fun part came when I got onto my bike.  Woohooo!  Unfortunately, I had to pass awesome swimmers/crappy mtn. bikers on the climb, which just adds to my time as they always mess up “the line”.  All part of the challenge though, I wouldn’t have to worry if I could just swim a little faster than a very large rock.  Now after a grueling 1600 foot climb (up and down equaling to @34oo feet of total mtn. bike climb) in only 6 miles, on loose lava and hot dusty terrain, I should really say the fun part was finally descending this great volcano.  It feels like people are not moving when I pass them on the bike down technical descents. Truly, I marvel at how fast I can go down a mountain sometimes.  That is my forte and the real reason I earn the spot at XTERRA Worlds.  I love to bike and just love the challenge of going as fast as I possibly can down a rocky, lava rock covered, tire-piercing long thorn Kiawe lined, dangerous and steep race trail. That brought me from the back of the pack to 5th place in my age group as I left the bike and began… THE RUN.

Running Through Spooky Forest

Running Through Spooky Forest

Running after that ride was pretty rough, for pros and amateurs alike!  I felt pretty pooped out for the first 2 miles, which was all a climb up that darn volcano.  But after the 3rd mile I sort of got it together mentally and started up a good rhythm.  I passed a lady in my age group at a water station at mile 4, and it was pretty funny what I was thinking at that moment.  Her back was to me and I thought I could tip toe by her, sneaking by while she drank her water so that she wouldn’t know she had to hunt me down again.  I actually tried to be “quiet” in “the pass”, imagining her not noticing my sneaky move. You see, my mind was mush by then so you can’t blame me for thinking this was a worthy strategy.  Anyhow, that put me in 4th for my age group as she never caught up to me.  I passed only one more woman and that was again demonstrating one of my fortes; running quickly over a mass of loose and dangerous lava rocks.  I am blessed with mountain goat abilities when running on technical turf, and I passed this great athlete (who by the way was one of my goals to beat; she was the only amateur woman who beat me at Richmond XTERRA-by 4 minutes- in June, and has since turned pro!), and as I passed her I could see she was really trying to speed up.  But not all of us have this uncanny ability to sprint on broken sharp edged lava like a billy goat on a teeny trail!  There was only a quarter of a mile left and I crossed the finish line saying to myself “Self, don’t cry yet, no one will know it is because you are so HAPPY to be done this one-hell-of-a-race!”.

Finally!

Finally!

So, here are my race results from last weekend with my previous race results from 2006.

Note I was in the same age group both races, 35-39.

2009:  Swim-37  Bike-2:09  Run-1:07  Total-3:53:25

Place-4th

2006:  Swim-33:50 Bike-2:17  Run-1:10  Total-4:04:57

Place-2nd

Thus, I improved my overall time in 3 years (and had my 2nd beautiful daughter in the middle of them), but everyone else got even faster than me!

I have to say this. I am so inspired by all these ladies out there, who are working professionals with consuming jobs and beautiful children and family responsibilities, who carve out a training program within a demanding schedule and then succeed in attaining such fitness and skill.  I am inspired by these amazing female athletes to never give up myself, to keep trying to improve on my weaknesses, to shoot for personal best despite the challenges and time constraints.  Thank you to all you women out there who kick butt in this crazy world while racing in this crazy sport.  You inspire me to be the best that I can be in our shared passion of XTERRA while balancing an amazingly full life around it.

Molikini In the Distance

Molikini In the Distance

I want to thank my husband and daddy of my daughters, Pierre, for being my best friend, my own rock I can lean on when I am burned out, and for sharing with me the immense joy of fitness and fast mountain bike rides down really steep mountains.

My Rock

My Rock

Now, what crazy awesome fitness goals will you set for yourself in 2010?  Let me help you in whatever it may be, for that is the purpose of my blog.  It is meant to inspire you to get out and MOVE, be ACTIVE, and ENJOY and SHARE the fitness challenge of getting to your own personal best.

What do I plan for 2010?  HMMMM, I’ll have to sleep on that one.

Aloha my friends!

Token Maui Sunset Pic!

Token Maui Sunset Pic!

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