What happens to the body that endures 6-8 hours of hard training for 8 days straight…in the heat? Apparently it gets pretty inflamed. Things felt pretty puffy. I’ve heard that about ultra running but have never experienced it …but then I’ve never trained like I did in Kona before.
In 8 days we did 950kms or riding in the heat, up monster climbs, 75 km of running, and 25km of swimming…we capped it off with a 40km Time Trial race (to which we rode 30km there and back), which happened also to be the Hawaiian State Championships. Coach Norton is now the 1st woman in the state—she killed that ride. I am now 5th in the state. That was fun, but painful having just ridden 850 km…
The most epic climb my trusty Speed Concept and I endured was up the 10000 PLUS foot Mauna Kea volcano. This was at the very end of 123kms hilly, hard, grueling ride. The 17% grade over some sections was certainly enough to make me feel like I was about to fall right over, but…we made it. Looking down at the clouds from the top was just a little mind blowing…I couldn’t believe we’d made it that high…as Coach T said when we were struggling to breathe, “we are headed to the top of the world” and it sure as hell felt like it!!
There were numerous moments where I felt like I was having a black night of the soul…a confrontation with the ugliest thoughts in the most beautiful and spectacular setting. And yet, a moment later, from the intensity of the cotton-thick heat came a salt filled breeze off the ocean—an instant reminder of the elements that have our backs, an opening into some as yet undiscovered reserve…and I realize I kept finding those on the Big Island. We all did, and we learned a little more about how to access them on demand. It was truly exceptional.
On the last day before heading into my 12 hour flight, Tara, Etienne and I went for a short swim on part of the IM course and were engulfed by a pod a 40 or more dolphins. NOW THAT WAS MAGICAL!!!