Kona Part II

Wow, how time flies!  It seems that as soon as I finish one blog post, I’m already procrastinating on the next one: )  After several friendly reminders today, I figured I’d post a quick race recap before Kona ’09 is here. . .

Just gettting to the start line in Kona was a huge celebration for me this year–much more so than any other year in Kona, or any other race, for that matter.  Independent of all the pre race excitement, I was thrilled to be racing because a year ago, I was in Kona watching and wondering if I would ever race again.  After spending all of the ’07 season battling chronic fatigue (I know what you’re probably thinking . . .”Does that really exist?”.  Trust me, it does.), by the time Hawaii rolled around, I could no longer even fathom completing any one of the disciplines, much less racing a full Ironman.  My “workouts” for the preceeding six months had consisted of sessions like 45′ on the elliptical and walks on the beach.  Even that was exhausting. I wasn’t unmotivated or lazy, I was just–for lack of a better description–completely cracked. 

Last year, after a full week of being inspired by a collection of the fittest human beings on the planet, my own race day workout plan consisted of a 30′ jog. . .of which I completed about half before needing to walk.  After one failed attempt, I then decided to swim to the first buoy and back, which nearly resulted in a drowning. The rest of the morning was spent spilling tears of frustration under a Banyan tree along Allii Drive. 

This year was much different.  Not only was I there to participate, I was there to race.  I had a good swim–the pro wave is not that big, and I am far from the strongest swimmer among them, so it was a relief to find myself in a pretty big pack after the initial frenzy.  The effort felt controlled, but not too easy; probably the closest thing I’ve found to an ideal draft scenario in a race.  Despite the chop, I found myself actually enjoying the swim.

I exited the water feeling good, hi-fived Andy as I ran into transition, and jumped onto the bike.  The bike is where I am always looking to make up time, and for the first 56 miles I was doing exactly that, although to be honest, my legs never felt quite right.  Just after Hawii, however, things got really, really tough.  The winds were blowing hard, and I really wanted out of that saddle!  Energy wise I felt great, but my biking legs were not out on the Queen K with me. 

Strangely, as soon as I got onto the run, the bad patch was over.  The miles along Allii felt like one big party, and I just built that part, feeling good and enjoying the scene.  In fact, with the exception of a few tough miles coming out of the Energy Lab, the entire run went really smoothly, and I finished feeling strong, which as been an unrealized goal for quite awhile!

Challenges are opportunities for us to grow stronger.  Needless to say, I grew a lot from that experience last year, and was able to carry a lot of that motivation into my season this year.  I was also really fortunate to link up with LifeSport last year in Kona, and owe the majority of my success this season to Coach Paul.   Thanks to his good coaching, patience, and sometimes blind optimism, I was gradually able to build back from the months of “not being able to run 20” to 3 IM races this summer, including two top 10 finishes and a day in Hawaii that didn’t involve any crying under a tree.


3 Responses to “Kona Part II”

  1. Flatman Says:

    Glad the run went well for you!

  2. Bree Says:

    Yay Katya… it was so much fun seeing race after knowing all you endured in 07. I still remember biking with you for the first time, with Jen, down Queen K and thinking to myself, “Man this gal is fast”… and I knew then you were on the mend…

    Have fun with your future hubby… 09 will be even better for you!

  3. Annie Says:

    Thanks so much for sharing your story. I am a distance runner, a high school cross country coach and track coach and was just recently diagnosed with CFS. I am miserable and wondering if I will ever run again; if I will ever see a day without a headache or fatigue. I have spent many tears trying to imagine what my life will be like. However, I am beginning to adjust and am learning to rest and relax. Thanks for the hope. I have been told that I could recover, and your story gives me more hope that I will. Good luck in your trianing and may you stay well for the rest of your life.

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