By Kortney Haag USAT Level I Coach
As I am sitting here contemplating foam rolling the thought of it terrifies me…I am not too sore in the legs but my body is sore from the beat up on took on my fall on the bike Saturday. Getting to Kona was a dream I have had since the first time I decided to do an Ironman. My first Ironman in 2012 at Wisconsin didn’t go as planned as I had GI issues through the whole run. I figured out what I needed to change in 2013 and placed first in my age group and second overall amateur that year. It is funny how things work out for a reason because in 2002 Derek and I came to Kona, HI for our honeymoon. Little did we know that the Ironman race was going on the next day. I still remember walking through the King Kamehameha hotel wondering what all these fit looking people were doing. We got up the next morning and watched the whole race unfold and were in awe of these amazing athletes. We didn’t get into the sport of triathlon for a long time after but I knew I wanted to come back and do this race someday. What is even more special is that this is our golden anniversary, for 12 years I have been married to my best friend.
I arrived on the island earlier then Derek and the boys so I could have a couple of days of training and adjustment. I stayed with Hilary Patzer and her mom – what amazing, special, selfless people both of them are. I can’t say thank you enough to the two of them for taking me in for a couple of days. When the boys arrived on Tuesday the nerves were starting to come. Everyone checks you out when you are biking, running or swimming and with the sport of triathlon there are so many body types that it doesn’t matter if you have the best looking abs!
My training week was pretty easy and low key but there were some important sessions I needed to get in. I went for a training ride out on the Queen K and could tell something was off with my bike – when I got back to Hilary’s place I saw that my tire was low and noticed a gash in it. Derek came right from the airport, picked me up and took the wheel to the local bike store, but it wouldn’t be ready until Thursday. I had a ride to do out towards Hawi on Wednesday so I could see how the winds were blowing and Hilary let me borrow her wheel for the ride. The whole time I was nervous something was going to happen to it, luckily nothing did and I was able to give it back to her in one piece! Thursday after the underwear run, Derek wanted to test the bike out with the new tire on it and my front brake cable snapped off! So back to the bike shop it was – luckily it was an easy fix but still I was getting a little frustrated wondering what the heck is happening to my bike! Friday we had to turn in our bikes, T1 and T2 bag. Derek took the boys to the beach for most of the day. Bike check in closed at 5:30 so we headed down there around 4:30. Normally you can put things in your T1 and T2 bags in the morning and that is what I was used to. I eat Smuckers Uncrustables on the bikes and they stay frozen so I wanted to keep them frozen as long as possible. I asked my volunteer just in case if we could put things in T1 and T2 and she told me no…I thought I was going to freak out. I rushed out of transition and we sped up the hill where we were renting a house, grabbed my nutrition and had five minutes to spare. Needles to say I was a little stressed out at this moment and thought to myself what else is going to happen to me?
I usually can sleep well the night before a race and I probably fell asleep at around 8:30 with a wake up call at 4:30 so about 8 hours of sleep. It was pretty awesome to be around all of the buzz there and I still couldn’t believe I was going to be doing this. I found Hilary in the craziness and we gave each other a big hug and said go do your thing, you are here and that is all that matters. The swim was quite choppy – I had swam in the ocean everyday I was here and it never felt like that to me. Women were clawing and grabbing. It was worse then Age Group Nationals and I didn’t think a