After 6 hours of being in a car, being given a smoking room and finally arriving in Santa Cruz on Saturday I was ready to swim in the Pacific ocean with sea lions and thrashing triathletes!!!
I was using the Big Kahuna as a late training for Ultraman Hawaii which will be my last race of the season. The tri had all the right elements it was based on Hawaiian Mythology, they had the spirit of Aloha.. and that is where it ended, the ocean was a nippy 58 degrees I felt like a sea lion in my Profile Design Wet suit!! As the gun went off the 35year and older women ran into the water. Brrr. Cold concentrate cold water aside it was an easy swim course go past the red buoy on the left of the Santa Cruz wharf turn right around the wharf past the next huge buoy and swim for the shore!!! A little chop but not much. The transition to the bikes was about a third of a mile I decided to take a shower at the wharf and while I was at it rinse off my wet suit and get rid of the sand !
I ran carefully up the street to where the transition area was and took my time to put on my socks and long sleeve Hammer Nutrition Jersey as it was colder than I prefer.
The bike was 56miles of great coast line, rolling hills nothing too difficult, with 2 railroad crossings both a little dangerous if approached too fast or from the wrong angle, I did see one athlete go down and that was the end of the line for him!! The turnaround was at Pigeon Point lighthouse, I made sure to take my endurolytes every hour and did not fret when a huge train of women past me I kept an even cadence made sure my polar monitor kept my heart rate in the low 150s, there were aid stations at mile 12, 27 and 44 of the bike. I kept well hydrated with Hammer Heed and perpetuem.
I made the bike transition happily unclipping and running into the transition area I put on my Brooks running shoes, my feet felt great as I had sprayed them with Kool N Fit!! I took a few enduroyltes and was off on a very picturesque 13 mile run along the coastal path to the Natural bridges park. 2 miles was on trails the rest on bike paths. The view was breathtaking every few miles there was hammer gel, hammer heed and water available great job!! At the turnaround on a cliff top I went around a huge Hawaiian Kahuna!! Made me laugh at mile 7 my left ankle was hurting I stopped to see what had bit me and discovered my timing chip was wedged between my sock and shoe. Then I looked at my Polar watch and calculated if I kept an even pace I would do a sub 5 hour 30 minute race! Three miles to go my heart rate is 150 this is great I can almost smell the finish line. Before long I am going into town and am led to steps that take me to the beach where I had began this journey of swim, bike run!! The last half mile or so is on the beach it takes a few awkward steps to get used to the soft sand under foot!!
I can see the finish line tiki torches and hear great music I run under the pier grateful that the tide is still low and do not have to run through the sea water, keeping my shoes dry. The last 100 yards is a mass of cheering spectators yelling me to go faster!!! Then I hit the timing mat and then go under the official Big Kahuna Finish banner. . Number 228 is finishing I hear the announcer say my name!! I look at my monitor and it is saying 5 hours and 25minutes!
Post race was plenty of food, fruit and burritos yes burritos no poi or baked pig!! lots of refreshments to re hydrate. The finishing medals were ceramic Kahunas and race staff where dressed in Aloha shirts!
My friend Sinta did a great job and that evening the tri connection team celebrated a job well done.
I would like to thank AVON of Puerto Rico as they will donate $492 to find a cure for Breast Cancer, Hammer Nutrition, Rudy Project USA, Brooks USA, Polar USA, Kool n Fit, Spinergy wheels, Profile Design & Aquaman Wetsuits, Serfas Tires , Hawaiian Tropic, my husband AL and Sinta for driving to the race. Last but not least Coach Tony who had me on a monster week of training, would not let me eat chocolate and finally said Job well done!!
photo Getty Images