Kona Race Report: Pete Politis 15:31:59Posted by Pete | Categories: MBtriclub News
It was an honor and a privilege to race in Kona. It was amazing to be able to race with all the best Ironman athletes from around the world. Racing with the elite in all age groups including the ones over 80 was humbling. This experience is a once in a lifetime and I will cherish it for the rest of my life.
Around Sept 1 was my last day I was able to train for this race. Soon after I developed major quad issues that walking was very difficult. I think I got in about 40 hours of training in the 7 weeks. Most of them I had to stop with in :45 min due to the pain. Tuesday leading up to race day I was not able to run for :30 min. I believe I managed a 10:30 pace. I knew that the race coming up this weekend would be extremely difficult to finish. My goal for race day was just to finish the swim, bike with with what I had to work with and try to manage a walk.
Race day: Swim
I was very nervous and terrified of the swim. All my races that I have done were wetsuit legal. This one was not. Being out in the middle of the ocean without my security blanket was going to be a challenge. As soon as the swim started I found myself swimming next to a guy the entire race doing the breast stroke. I remember my buddy Joey Arakas once said he did Louisville swimming the breast stroke. I just imagined he was next to me to comfort my anxiety. It felt like I was never going to make the turn around. We were battling a cross current. I checked my time when I reached there and it was 1:05. I begun to panic thinking I may not make the swim cut. I then tried to pick up the pace. I was taking in the view of the shore from about a mile out each time I was rolling to breath. I then began to panic again thinking OH MY I am way out !! I then started to sing the theme song from Nemo “Somwhere beneath the Sea” and began to think of my little girl Maya. She was my inspiration to finish. I was very happy that I conquered my fears of the Open Water that day!
The bike course was extremely beautiful. Most of the way I found myself riding alone. I was just taking it all in. I managed to ride with about 140 watts out to about mile 45 with a tail wind and some brutal crosswinds before my legs gave up. I was trying to go easy hoping I could manage to get to the turn around before this would happen. My heart rate stayed at zone 2 but I felt my legs no matter what I was doing they were in zone 2 on the descents and zone 3-4 on the climbs. Around this time the pros were heading back. I was really amazed watching them go by. On my way out to Hawi the wind picked up enormously. We even encountered rain. It felt like I was riding into a tropical storm. This part was brutal. My watts disappeared to about 100 and had to climb that felt for hours! After the turn around I was excited that I would get a tail wind all the way back. Well this just happened for only about 10 miles. Most of the way back was a brutal crosswind that had you holding onto you bike with your dear life trying not to get blown off. Around mile 75 was the part that I began to question if I was going to make the bike cut off. I began to get really sad and emotional thinking this was it. My quads were reduced to nothing. I had nothing left to ride with. I kept thinking of everyone back home cheering for me. I could hear everyone on each mile. This was my next plan. Just get to the next mile. Each mile I would stop for a bit then go. Around mile 85 I was thinking this was it. I need to accept this race was over. I then began to think I will ride till they take my chip off. I will not quit. They will have to take me off this course. I hit every aid station and started to eat oranges. I then got a sugar rush that helped me push a bit harder. It felt like mile 90 would never get here. I got to mile 106 and had a sever right hamstring cramp. My hamstrings were taking most of the load since my quads died out hours ago. I could not ride anymore. I was very emotional at this point thinking this it. 4 miles left and I would not make cut off point of 10:00 hours. I than began to ride with my left leg for most of the way back. The last part of the course was next to the run course. Most were just cheering and giving me encouragement for most of the way. I knew for the ones back home that knew about the cutoff time were very anxious. I could hear them routing for me. I managed to make it back just under the cutoff time by 15 min. That was close. I had 7 hours left for the run.
Having 7 hours left I knew that if I just walked I could make it to the finish line. I began to get excited to I do have a chance. I may actually finish this. I started the run very well to my surprise. I trying to stay more upright and heal strike to engage mostly my hamstrings. I just ran to a point then walked to conserve. I picked my battles with the hills. I walked most of them. At this point I was always assessing possibilities of rupturing muscles. I wanted to play it safe and avoid ending my race early. About mile 5 Coach Lee & Regina found me. It was very comforting to see them. Having them around race day was very helpful. About mile 6 I was telling Regina my stomach was not feeling good. I was feeling like I wanted to puke since mile 75 on the bike and it is getting worse. She was very helpful mentioning soup and coke would help. My nutrition for the rest to of the run was coke and soup. I managed to hold everything down with this. We parted ways around mile 6 since as I was heading out to the energy lab fields. This area on was very dark. If it was not for the glo sticks you would not have been able to see anyone. I was always worried I may twist my ankle on a pot hole or on someone that passed out. I preceded with extreme caution. I kept with my running with run/walk.. I was extremely happy that I was able to keep this up. At some points I just walked more than walked to get a break. After the turn around at mile 18 I began to pick up my pace. I wanted to push it and manage to be under 16:00 hours. Most of the way back was downhill. It was a lot easier to run but I could feel my legs and body had enough. The last mile was epic. So many people were out on the road just giving you high fives and encouragement. I felt like I was flying!! I made it the Ironman pearly gates!! I imagine Heaven will be like this. Getting across it was very surreal!! I was an Ironman again. A Kona Ironman.
Immediately after the race I felt like I wanted to pass out. The volunteers walked me to the medical tent. I did my weigh in and lost 14 pounds. As I sat there I felt weak, dizzy and nausious. I started pucking soon after. The medic said it was blood and I need an IV. I stayed in the tent for about 1:30. The highlight of this part was that they brought in Lou! 82 year old that finished his I believe 20 th Ironman. I was right beside him as we both were getting IV’s. This was the first time I had to seak medical attention after a race. The last 4 Ironman I finished I just dealt with sore legs and chills. This one was the most I have ever worked hard for to finish. I had so many times counted my self out. I just managed to pull myself to end with all of your support and prayers. I raced ’till I collapsed!