This past Sunday I crossed the finish line for the fifth time in one of my favorite Olympic distance triathlon races, the Lavaman Triathlon, in Waikoloa, on the Big Island. The first time I raced Lavaman was in 2007, and for some crazy reason Tim decided to sign me up as an elite athlete. It was the first time I had such a small number in my arm, and also the first time I racked my little bike next to very expensive ones. I didn’t deserve to be in the elite start group, but I also didn’t really care and I just had fun with it.
The next year, Tim and I learned that I should probably sign up as an age grouper, and that was a good decision because I won my age group! It was very special that year because it was the last time the race was giving away slots to Ironman Kona. And I won the slot to Kona for my age group!
Then I raced Lavaman again in 2012. That year I got a flat tire in the middle of the bike and, I didn’t have any tools to change my flat because I usually don’t carry them on short races, so I decided to sit down on the road and cheer for the other participants. I waited for the bike support vehicle for almost an hour. I thought, “no problem”, I am going to use the “rest” to my advantage, to run my best 10k ever! And I did it!
In 2013, a very special friend passed away a few weeks before the race, he was one of the dearest members of our triathlon community. So that year I raced with him in my heart and in my mind. He was there racing with me, and we finished 2nd overall.
Last year I raced again with a group of friends, and it was a blast, especially the after party! I didn’t have a spetacular race, but the after party was fun, fun, fun! I think the Lavaman after party is one of the highlights of this race. Participants, friends, and family stay at the beach after the race listening live music, drinking beers, and eating a delicious buffet that it is all included on the package. Don’t you think all races should have a party like that?
This year we brought a group of Brazilians to the Big Island, to race Lavaman for the very first time. Among the group was my coach Raul, he came back and raced his first triathlon in four years after taking a break from participating in triathlons. The Brazilian group were very excited to ride their bikes on the famous Queen K. So this year, I felt that we were racing together as a team. Pushing each other throughout the whole race. I am not in a very good shape, but somehow I finished 3rd overall. Oh! One thing that definitely helped was borrowing Bree Wee‘s wetsuit, it shaved some serious minutes off of my swim. Thank you Bree!
One thing that I learned during all these years of chasing finish lines is…when I cross a finish line, I make sure to enjoy those precious seconds when my body stops, regardless from how fast or slow, how easy or hard, I focus on the simple feeling that “I did it!” Don’t get me wrong, I am competitive, and I love to push my limits, break my PRs, and place well in my age group and overall. However, before I start to check any numbers, and compare myself with my previous times, and among everybody else’s times, I try to focus on and be present and grateful for what I did that day. Crossing a finish line is always rewarding, maybe that’s why I keep chasing it.
How about you? What do you think and feel when you cross a finish line?
bike: Ceepo Katana
running shoes: On Cloudsurfer
post race outfit: Mau Mapu tee
photos by: Waguinho/MundoTri
some dreams are worth sharing…