Welcome to my new website! I've created this blog to keep an easily accessible record of my adventures as an elite triathlete. While I plan to primarily post updates and pictures of training and racing, I reserve the right to occasionally include completely non-sport related ramblings!
So here we go. Yesterday was the 2008 Hawaii Ironman World Championships in Kona. It lived up to all the usual hype, and then some! Despite being a non-Ironman competitor (so far), I've actually been following this year of Ironman racing with a higher level of interest than usual. Part of this was due to the fact that I was laid up for most of the season with a badly broken arm(a story for another time) and had some extra time on my hands. The second reason is that the Ironman distance has been taken to a whole new level on the women's side in the past twelve months. In past years, the men's side has generally been the more anticipated race and has drawn more media coverage. This year the women definitely topped the bill. The incredible Chrissie Wellington had a lot to do with that, but there have been some absolutely stellar performances produced by other Iron Ladies this year (Erika Csomor, Sandra Wallenhorst, Belinda Granger, Yvonne Van Vlerken to name a few). I won't go into all the details (you can find them at a number of other websites), but when the eventual winner is stuck on the side of the road with a flat tire for 10 minutes and STILL manages to secure a victory by 15 minutes, you know she is in a league of her own. Also having two women run sub-2:59 marathons (the two fastest female run splits ever on the course) speaks to the talent of the field. Simply amazing! And kudos certainly go out to Linsey Corbin, the top American who finished in 5th place. Yeehaw, you go girl! Also congrats go to Caitlin Snow, running a 3:01 marathon in her Kona debut and finishing in 12th place (qualifying with a win at Lake Placid in July and a sizzling 2:59 run split!). It's really neat to see someone I used to race against at ITU events taking a successful crack at the long distance.
As for the men, Madam Pele was her usual temperamental self, smiling on some but not on all. Defending champ Chris McCormack was one of the unlucky ones cursed with a mechanical issue on the bike that took him out of contention. In the end, last year's runner-up Craig Alexander prevailed, nipping the jack-of-all-trades Eneko Llanos of Spain by three minutes. Uber-swimmer Andy Potts, 2004 Olympian and defending 70.3 World Champion, was top American in 7th place despite never having done an Ironman before. Watch out gentlemen! When he starts training specifically for that distance he is going to be unbelievable.
One other notable I must mention is my good friend and former co-worker BJ Christenson. In his second trip to Kona, he placed 21st in the 30-34 age group with a 9:37:19. He had significant improvements on his swim and run legs from the last time he was at the Big Dance, and overall was 3 minutes faster than last time on the course. Way to go Beej!
So what did I draw from the Hawaii Ironman this year? It was definitely inspirational, but I sort of felt like a kid left at home from a party that everyone else was invited to. I can imagine how magical it must be, but there's no way I would really know unless I experienced it for myself. I'm finally starting to have a gnawing interest in my gut, wondering what I could do if I tackled that distance. Guess there's only one way to find out...