I started this blog to journal about IRONMAN training and create awareness around pancreatic cancer. I learned a lot about myself through this journey and, along the way, I hope I’ve educated some of you on the symptoms of pancreatic cancer, what to do if you don’t know where to turn and on the great work Sky Foundation is doing.
Through the past several weeks, you’ve read the steps I took to prepare myself for a tough course and the additional things I did to best prepare for the heat, humidity and wind. In addition to those things, I had talked to many friends and read many articles about having a great race in Kona. Since arriving in Hawai’i, I scouted and rode the bike course, swam the swim course and visited sections of the run. I was the most prepared I have ever been for a race.
Going into the race, I was careful not to set a time goal. I honestly just wanted to cross that finish line on Ali’i Drive. And at 10:10 pm, a total of 14 hours and 50 minutes, I did just that!
It was my single worst result of any IRONMAN I have done to date. Yet the emotions you see in the picture are not sadness because of the time. They were for overcoming the challenges I faced during the day.
Yes, it was hot, humid and windy. My goggles wouldn’t seal during the swim, and I had to stop twice to reseal them. The climb up to the city of Hawi and back down was super windy, and there was a very steady headwind for the last 35 miles of the bike. But none of those are what caused the problems. I had unforeseen nausea that settled in around mile 50 on the bike and wouldn’t dissipate despite chewing on Tums and peppermint gum. I was heaving at parts of the course…not exactly how you want to tackle the remaining ~90 miles. Unfortunately, the nausea caused me to back off my tested nutrition and hydration plan, putting me in a deficit of calories, sodium, carbohydrates and the all-so-important hydration.
The stomach improved a little once off the bike, so I was able to manage a run/walk approach during the marathon. I’d run until I felt like throwing up and then walk again. I tried various different foods and drinks at the aid stations, but nothing seemed to help the nausea and most seemed to make it worse.
With grit and determination, I managed to keep moving forward (holomua as the Hawaiians say) and eventually ran down the final carpeted chute and under the IRONMAN finish arch. For a more detailed race report click here.
Through this journey, I have heard from so many people. You have thanked me for spreading the word about pancreatic cancer, the Sky Foundation and for inspiring you.
You all have humbled me. Your support whether via a simple thumbs up, heart or an encouraging message have meant the world to me. You spread awareness of pancreatic cancer through your shares. And your overwhelmingly generous donations to Sky Foundation (together we raised just shy of $20,000!!!) are so very significant – I personally thank you for your support and, on behalf of the Sky Foundation Governing Board, we thank you! You have helped to make a difference!
I felt each and every one of you out there and you encouraged me to keep swimming, pedaling and running. Your kind words and generosity propelled me forward all day.
Mahalo to each and every one of you. Mahalo to my family, my friends near and far, my EY family, and my Sky family. A huge and special mahalo nui loa (thank you very much) to my mom and her best friend for traveling with me and putting up with all my pre-race crap and to Scott, one of my best friends who made the special trip for the race. He went above and beyond with the Sherpa duty, navigating the course and making sure I had support throughout the entire race.
Below are some additional pics from our trip and the race. Aloha!