Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Amber Finishes 21st at Kona!

This blog will start where the last one ended: with cliff jumping. This time Amber was convincing her father that it was a good idea to jump into the ocean from a cliff. After only a fair amount of cajoling, she did convince him.
Amber's father and Amber getting ready to jump
Kona: The finish First
                                                   21st at the World Championships!!!! Such a wonderfully painful sufferfest. Loved every moment!
This time, Amber had already completed Kona finishing in a time of 9:45 which was good enough for 21st female. While not terribly excited about her finishing rank, the race did give her confidence that she could contend with the best triathletes in the world. And the fact that she was able to do a  4+ mile hike with 1,500 foot elevation gain the very next day tells me it was the conditions more than her fitness that prevented a higher finish.

A hike? The day after Kona? Yep. That's Amber for you. We hiked to the Captain Cook Monument which you can only access by boat or hiking. Last time we were there we kayaked across the bay but this time, joined by her parents, we hiked down to it. We spent the afternoon snorkeling around and then had to hike the 1,500 feet back up to our car. I definitely prefer hiking in the opposite direction where you get the hard stuff out of the way first. The next day Amber and I went stand-up paddle boarding.

Look at all the nice pictures of Amber and I stand-up paddle boarding:

Oh don't see any? Well that could be because I lost my underwater camera after my 32nd time falling off my paddleboard. Meanwhile, Amber two days out from an Ironman, was paddling around without issue. I would like to say that there was something wrong with the board but I think it was the operator that was the issue. Anyway, here are a few pictures from our hike instead.
View from Captain Cook Monument

The hike down

The cliff we hiked down is in the background
 Luckily before we hiked, Amber stopped, for the 13th time, at Lava Java where she restocked her depleted carbohydrate stores with a little cinnamon bun.
That's the size of my head. Or half the size of yours Danny.
 Oh yeah, why were her carb stores depleted? The Ironman!
So it ended with the marathon which she did in 3:21 which was a bit off her race pace but considering the heat and humidity was still pretty amazing. Every time I saw her she looked strong.
 Miki Moto's photo.
Amber on Ali'i Drive
 The first time I saw her on the run, she actually turned to me and started talking to me. I had to yell at her to just keeping running. After the race I found out she was telling me how windy the bike course was and how she almost got knocked over on several occasions.
Still Smiling
 Before she got on the run, she had a little 112 mile bike ride to do which I was lucky enough to see her at one point, the hot corner, several times. Each time she looked strong and riding confidently.
After we were able to catch Amber a few times in the first few miles of her bike, we sent her off on the Queen K.
Amber coming up Palani

 What we missed from the times we saw her were the miles in Hawi where the wind was the worst it had been in the last 20 years. Being on the slighter side, Amber had a considerably harder time keeping the rubber side down than her bigger, yet still fair, competitors. Due to the wind and the oppressive heat she finished a few minutes off her goal race pace but still came onto the run in 22nd place.
Amber getting out of the swim on the bike.
 The real question is what would have happened if Amber was able to get in with the pack of women just ahead of her in the swim. Despite a strong swim, she didn't come out of the water where she should have which made riding more challenging. I think, had she come out a minute or two earlier, her whole day would have turned out definitely.
Amber putting on her TYR Torque speedsuit

View of the swim start
 That's the beauty of racing, there are always areas in which you can improve and make yourself more competitive. For Amber, she had a solid day but not a spectacular one and I know that if the elements all come together, she could get a better result next year for sure.
Amber at Lava Java before the race
Again, thanks again to all of Amber's supporters out there who helped get her to Kona early to acclimate. Having only been out there for a few days, I was dying in the heat but she seemed to handle it fairly well. The plan is to get her back out there again next year and this time as a contender. Stay tuned.

Up Next: Amber will be taking a much needed week or two off before getting ready for the winter race season which includes a winter triathlon and the World Snowshoe Championships. Who knows? She was talking about entering a Spartan Race the other day.

No comments:

Post a Comment