“It’s All About The Journey” Cont…
By: Lynnette Horton
My family and I headed for the Big Island on March 23. We left two weeks prior to the race to get some good training in as well as to adapt to the climate. I left the frigid weather in Idaho confident in my swim and run but due to training indoors all winter on the bike this event seemed to be playing second fiddle to me now. I had many questions that needed to be answered.
My first week in Kona was filled with heavy training prior to tapering down prior race week. There had been times in the past in which I have had a bit of anxiety in the ocean, almost like a bit of claustrophobia. That was not the case this trip. Our first training day was a 1.2-mile swim, I didn’t even hesitate, in fact I left my sister in the dust. It was a great swim.
For our second day of training we headed out to the Waikoloa to run a brick on the course. 27-mile bike and 4-mile run. We were greeted with high wind advisories and 30 mph winds. It was a tailwind on the way out and we just flew down the Queen K. Following the turn around it was a whole other story. Where we were riding at 25-30 mph on the way out it was 6 mph on the way back. Still we were ready to transition to the 4 mile run. We covered many surfaces on the run from asphalt, to stone, to coral, and sand. I now realized how tough this course really was but the important part of today’s training… When we finished this brick I began to cry, this was the first time I really new that I was ready to compete. All of my questions have now been answered.
Upon arrival my step mom had discovered she had a cold. She was so conscious in trying to keep us from getting the cold. I stocked up on anti cold remedies but unfortunately I did get the cold. The good news was it did not really affect my training and it came during the taper week.
The Thursday prior to the race we had a day off. My family and friend planned a trip around the island. First stop was a helicopter ride over the volcano, and then we headed for Akaka Falls. Our last stop was The Black Sands Beach. I have always felt a strong connection with the islands. My dad moved there with my step mom almost 25 years ago. I have always loved stopping at this beach and the amazing sense of peace that I feel when I am there. As all of my family and friends were off seeing the sites at the beach so decided to sit down on the lava field and have a little heart to heart with the island. I asked for relief from my cold and that Patti and I and all of the other racers have a safe race. It was at that time I felt the weight of having the cold slipping away. I new the cold would not affect me for the race.
It was time now to head for the Waikoloa, tomorrow is race day and it is time to get checked in and then meet the family for dinner. Patti and I headed into pick up our packets and to get our race number. I was so calm I could not believe it. It has been one year since my sister reached her goals and now it was my turn. Patti has taught me so much over the past year. I have had so many ups and downs, and I have reached so many of my milestones. I have had so much support from all of my friends and family, I could not be more thankful! After getting marked we headed to the pre race meeting. All in all it was pretty fantastic. We spent the evening having a wonderful dinner with our family and then Patti and I headed off to bed. I love her so much!
Well, it’s race day, still not nervous just eager and excited! The beach was once again filled with fans and contestants just as it was a year ago when I was there to watch my sister. Now it’s my turn. As they began calling the waves to the start line I was more nervous that my family hadn’t arrived than I was to begin the race. After I helped my husband get my family settled I headed down to join my wave. Patti and I found out that we were getting to start together. I had thought that I was going to start in the wave prior to hers but since I turn 40 this year we were able to start together. The bad news is I would have had a 10-minute lead on her in the other wave. As we approached the water we found our Dad and our Step Mom. This moment was so special for me. It is not often, anymore, that all of my parents attend such a special event. Having my mom, dad, and step mom there was priceless.
As the starting gun sounded 300 triathletes began to fight for their position in the ocean. The hardest part of my swim was settling in among them to set a pace for myself. I worked my way to the outside and some open water from there it was smooth sailing. I maintained my outside position throughout the swim. In the final ½ mile of my swim I saw a beautiful Honu, (Sea Turtle), swimming amongst the rocks. It was almost as if he had become the spectator in his ocean while all of us swam by.
As I approached the beach in the last few meters of my swim I could hear the crowd cheering. I was now starting to think about the ride. As I exited to the beach I heard my little boy saying “go mommy go”, it was not long before I spotted him, Sheree, and her daughter amongst the crowd cheering me on. This brought such a smile to my face. I made my way to the Transition area where I was excited to get rolling on my bike. Along the way I saw my mom, my husband, and my step mom. I was told Patti was behind me but I new she would not be far.
As I headed out for my 27-mile ride I was so excited. Patti and I had a great ride hear the week prior and it was windy then. Today was much different, there was a slight breeze and a few clouds in the sky, a beautiful day for a ride on the Queen K. As we headed out we had a slight head wind, but that was not going to slow me down. After a few miles Patti finally showed up and passed me. I kept up with her for some time but she slowly crept away. I tried the next 20-miles to catch her. We caught a bit of a tail wind after the turnaround but it was not enough. As I returned to the transition area I saw my Dad, and Sue, (my step mom), Sue told me Patti was ahead of me by three minutes. I parked my bike in the rack and got into my running gear. I drank my fuel and a little bit of electrolytes and then I was off. Time to hit the Lava.
The run has always been one of the hardest parts for me but through my training I have gained so much confidence there. As I glanced down at my watch I quickly realized that achieving my goal of completing the race in less than 4 hours was achievable. I was calculating the match in my head and I new that I had to at least run a 15-minute mile. I had been running about a 17-minute mile at home. At the first mile I was about 14 minutes so I picked up the pace. This was so achievable I could not quite looking at my watch. It was about mile 4 where I passed my sister. I maintained my pace and the 4-hour mark was slowly closing in. As I crossed the lava and the coral I enjoyed the beautiful sight of the waves breaking on the shore. How much more motivation does a person need? As I rounded the corner I began to her the music at the finish line. I glanced at my watch and I was about 13 minute prior to the 4-hour mark. The sand was so dense but it did not matter. As you ran by the people on the beach they began to cheer. I entered the path that took us around the tsunami damage and I had about 10 minutes to make it to the finish line. The path snaked around the lagoon and the music was getting loader. I could even hear the names of the contestants crossing the finish line ahead of me. When we reached the end of the path we had to re enter the beach for about 50 yards before the finish line. My intensity had been building and I just took off. There were about 8 – 10 people ahead of me on the beach and my sister said “I looked like a car going in and out of traffic”, I crossed the finish line so fast they announced my name when I had already finished! I just could not hold myself back. The emotion was incredible! The volunteers greeted me with a Lavaman Medal and a “neck cooler”. Immediately followed by my sister with a lei. We were ushered into the photo area where we had our photo taken together. I worked my way across the beach finding all of my family and friends. It was such an amazing experience! Here are our final times for the Lavaman 2011.
876 PATRICIA WELTER-HENDERSON 48 F Holualoa, HI
Swim Rank 53 Swim Time 41:50
Transition 1 2:49
Bike Rank 42 Bike time 1:36:07
Transition 2 2:28
Run Rank 47 1:21:19
Mile Split time 13:07
Overall Time 3:44:31
587 LYNNETTE HORTON 40 F Boise, ID
Swim Rank 69 38:53
Transition 1 5:02
Bike Rank 75 1:41:40
Transition 2 2:09
Run Rank 79 Run Time 1:25:16
Mile Split Time 13:46