To be honest, at the point we left off, finishing was a huge question mark. I started running and the wind and cloud cover allowed me to move again. I couldn’t believe it! I was running again and feeling ok. Not much to say about mile 13-22 except that I kept the recipe the same. Minimize time losses and keep temp down. I was running much faster though. I kept looking up, preparing mentally for the energy lab. This is theoretically a soul sucking stretch of the course that takes you through a solar energy field in the middle of the lava fields. What a heinous place to run. However, I found that the energy lab is way over hyped compared to Ali’i. I will take 4 miles of heat vs. 10 miles any day. I blasted through it. I saw Matt after the energy lab, hugged him and said, “I love you buddy, get through this and we don’t have to do this shit anymore for a long time.” He was in full-on stagger/death mode but he had come too far and the fastest way back to town was to run. People who know Matt know he can take it deeper than just about anyone. He nearly killed himself doing three lengths of a pool underwater… he chose to black out rather than to come up short and not get to the wall and he nearly died. Ridiculous, I know, but it is a story for another day.
I looked at my watch at mile 22 and it seemed possible to get under 10 but I would have to book it. I was still stopping at each aid station but running 7:15- 7:30 pace between them which was way closer to my projected pace. I was officially off death’s doors. However, the renewed quest for sub 10 put me back on the doorstep very quickly. I hit mile 24 completely smashed as I headed up the final hill. On my limit, I tumbled down Palani and nearly fell over. I was completely ragged as I headed towards the pier. Words can’t describe how out of control I was during the last 2 miles. I threw up bile 6 or 7 times and ran into a side railing as I staggered into the finish. My buddy from MSU, Greg Boyd shouted that I had two minutes to go sub 10 and I found a small pathetic burst but it was something. My vision kind of blurred and I lost focus on everything aside from the clock, blinking in the distance. I hit the finish chute and saw 9:59:55 ticking and was too far out. Damn it. I eased up the final 10 yards and crossed at 10:00:09. I swayed and collapsed into the volunteers. They tried to put one of those stupid flower necklaces on me and cover me in thick towel. I refused both. I was completely fried. I did not need a thick towel and flowers are just pretty trash in my opinion. The volunteers dumped ice water over my head as my vision flickered in and out. I was carried into the med tent and hooked up to an IV. My family (Caitlin, Rachel, Dad, and Mom) wasn't allowed into the med tent to see me but sent a note saying they were proud of me and loved me. I teared up as I spilled hot chicken broth on my chest. I sat up and hobbled out of the tent to see my family. They are the best.
I felt much better for the next hour and saw Lauren, Kiplinger, Boyd, and the Inch clan. They all came in for the race and were ridiculously awesome super fans. Boyd, Kiplinger, and Lauren even made tricenter at the Hawi turnaround!
Things started to go south after that. I wandered into the transition to collect my things and headed back out...it must have been 5 minutes total. In that 5 minutes, I went from chipper back to black out mode. I was using my bike as a walker when my Mom saw me. She and Eric carried me back to the car. I was having trouble keeping my eyes open again as I was ushered into a bed. I was third-spacing electrolytes and swelling like a pufferfish. This made it tough to poke a vein but we finally got an IV started. One liter later and I was still in and out. We popped in another and I drank a couple sips of tea and broth. Finally after another liter, I was back in business... It was a long day.
After a couple days of thinking about the race, my overall thought is that I made good decisions the whole day and I don’t think I made any glaring mistakes. The pacing was dead on, the nutrition was too, and when I went into system failure mode, I did what it took to minimize my losses. Like I said, the one thing I would change is wearing a long sleeve shirt like Thunderbear. I think this may have saved some problems on Ali’i but hindsight is annoyingly accurate or however the saying goes. I wore sunscreen and was ready for the heat but the sun was something I hadn’t fully comprehended. Overall a 10 hr Kona on the first go around is pretty satisfying, especially considering it easily could have been an 11 if I had allowed it. I am not buying into the ‘oh woe is me’ perception that this is an impossibly difficult course with a mind of its own. It is a problem and all problems have solutions. I was very close to nailing it and I will next time.