Monday, October 29, 2012

XTERRA World Championship Maui - October 28, 2012

Race Report

Total Time 3:46:35
9th out of 32 in my Age Group and 4th in US Age Group.
Not Bad for my first year of doing Xterra :)

Place  Name                              Swim     Bike       Run       Overall
   9     Beata Wronska #804          33:42    02:13:00  00:59:53    3:46:35

Xterra 2012 World Championship Highlights

I would like to Thank everyone that followed me and cheered for me on during my amazing adventure. Also huge Thanks to all my sponsors that helped me with making my dreams come true.

I had an incredible race and everything went as planned. I consider 9th place in the world in my group as a great start! I'm sore but already hungry for more.

Weather was awesome, besides the tsunami that was coming our way the night before the race! When we got back to the beautiful Kapalua villa from the nice Night of Champions dinner to our complete surprise we heard the news about an earthquake in Canada.

I was supposed to get to bed early to be rested for the morning race and unfortunately I found myself sitting in front of the TV and not knowing if what I’m seeing is real. The newscaster said we had less than two hours to evacuate and a 6 foot tall tsunami wave was heading directly at us at 600 mph speeds. Everything went through my head that night. It was pitch black outside and I could only see the ocean outline and a siren out of a helicopter. I imagined this huge tidal wave coming straight to us, over the beautiful cliff we were on and just washing the villas away. I could not believe it. They said no one will be allowed to step to the ocean for weeks because of the disturbance and possible strong rip currents. OMG, but we are supposed to have the World Championships race tomorrow that I qualified, trained for, went to and now race might be cancelled? Race without swim? No race? There were a million things and scenarios that I created. I felt like I was in a dream. I did not panic I just could not believe it. We watched people already stuck in traffic evacuating from other parts of the island. My husband walked over and spoke to the neighbors in the villa next door and he was told that wave would have to be some 50 feet tall or more to affect us in any way. Apparently we were on a 80 foot tall cliff and were safe. It didn’t feel safe to me but we decided finally to go to bed still not knowing if we were racing in the morning.

When I woke up I thought to myself how destroyed the DT Fleming beach will be and that debris will be up to the transition area. We will be doing a duathlon and all my swim training will go into nowhere. I was concerned of the swim but at the same time I wanted to test myself. Later this morning Xterra crew announced that the race surprisingly will go on and that all the warnings had been lifted. Apparently nothing happened and we didn’t get a tsunami. Oh yeah. I had my breakfast and headed on my bike to the transition.

I got set up and went to the end (oh where is the end!) of the body marking line of some 200 races at least. I was there so long that when I was done I think 15 minutes was left to the race start. Oh shoot, I still didn’t eat my gel, warm up in the water and put this chafing cream on! I ran as fast as I could to do what I had to do as quickly as possible and jumped to the water. I think they already wanted all of us out but I really needed to get the feel for it.

Ocean was definetly not calm today but also not super angry as in the previous days. There were still some big swells on the water and it got very choppy all the way to the buoys. Even though it was not so bad but still it was the roughest swim I did so far in my life. Right before approaching the first buoy I saw a sea turtle below me and then the camera man! That cheered me up a little. It was a very long swim and I know I could have done better, but at the same time I'm glad I got back to the shore safe. I took my turns wide to avoid water traffic, this did good and bad for me since people close to the buoy instead of turning total 180 they were swimming on some weird diagonal angle and pretty much crossing and swimming over me and my lines. Considering the current in the ocean and bad direction from my co-racers I drifted twice too far to the right making my swim longer than it should be. My choice was to be swum over and suffer or get away and be by myself but swim peacefully. I chose the latter. Thankfully I didn’t get thrown out from the ocean by the shore break as some people did and I headed for a long run to transition. My vision stayed clear Thanks to Speedsocket from Speedo.

My transitions were too long. I really need to work on them! Finally after trying a few times to stand straight on one leg and trying to put my socks and shoes on I was successful and headed up and up to the mounting line.

Bike ride felt not as brutal thanks to the north winds and some cloud cover that we were lucky to have that day. All the climbing was tough however and there were tons of people on the single track leading to the higher mountains. Exactly on the parts of the course that I felt confident I could ride fast.

My bike ride right from the transition started pretty much this way with me announcing: “Passing on your left”, “on your right”, “left”, “right”, “thank you”, “can we go any faster?”, “why nobody is biking!?”, “pedal pedal!”, “please don’t stop now”, “will be passing on your left”, “thx”, “have a great ride!” Yes, all this talk is part of Xterra too. I had to convince a whole row of riders “walkers” walking the pine forest to move to the side and allow people that are still on their bikes to bike up the hill. It worked! I was pretty tired I must say but I managed to handle all the ups, pass tons of people, master the technical parts of the single track and what’s best to Bomb the descends at 30.2 mph that I reached on the “dusty hill” that was leading us toward the ocean below.
I was so proud flying down this red dirt path so fast and just wanted my husband to be there with me so he can witness it himself. I handled great all the technical parts of the course, especially when there was no one there to stop me from doing what I know how to do best, bike.
I was thankful for not getting a mechanical on those long 2 hours of riding. On the hike a bike climb I noticed my Floridian friend Melissa right in front of me walking her bike up. After a while I was able to catch up to her and make a pass on the wide dirt road that was still taking us up and up on mile 15. I was able to finish strong and stay ahead for the remaining miles. Final two technical miles were fun. I found no problems with them even with running quite slick tires for such loose and sandy conditions.
Finally I reached the transition and got ready for my run. Grabbed my belt and took off. Run course took us however straight up and I did find out quickly that it was not going to be as I imagined. Simply in the first quarter of the mile my legs started to give up, they didn't want to cooperate at all. They felt heavy and didn’t like the steep angle. This steep angle and constant up just didn’t feel natural to my body, especially coming from flat Florida. It was tough, very tough. A minute didn’t pass and my Floridian friend just jetted by me and little later some girl from my age group. “Oh my” I wondered if everyone that I just passed on the bike was going to pass me now back. It was not pretty. I had to implement the walk and jog scenario to keep moving forward. However to my surprise on the second mile brought me also a second wind and some relief and I was able to find my pace finally and start running. I felt better now and it was more like what I had in mind. It was painful on the ups, some little fast descents and up again but I did handle it fine. On the 3rd mile half way through the steep hill I was with my friend Melissa once again. This time she was walking up slow and steady. This girl is made of steel, but I kept moving up and was able to make a pass. After that I reached the lake and had one more climb before reaching the top and starting to head straight down. After this point I knew that it was a matter of staying safe and going as fast as you can at the same time. The run down was very challenging but also super fun! I flew once again through the technical parts and was happy to see that actually I was passing people again and making ground. It got tough again and hot on the last two miles however and I was just hoping not to pass out. 

On the final climb of the road crossing I noticed a girl from my group right in front of me. I had to have her now. I picked up my speed and parked on her heels for a smooth, fast run on the edge of the red mountain that was leading us to the beach below. On the turn I made my pass and went even faster. This way or another no matter how fast I run I kept hearing super-fast steps right behind me. I figured this girl really wanted this spot so badly, she will fight for it to the end. I wondered how long I will be able to go at this pace! But I didn’t want to give it away. We passed cactus alley and the final road crossing and were about to jump to the gully when I looked back and there was actually some other girl behind me not the one I was worried about.

Now all I had left is to do the final beach stretch. 

Reaching the beach finally seemed to be relieving but also it was so hard to get through. People were yelling, “great job”, “you are almost there”, “keep pushing”. My legs stayed strong Thanks to KT Tape.

On the approach to the finish line all the emotions started getting to me and it was a moment I will never forget. All this hard work, all the training, hurting, dreaming and planning came to this one moment. Tears started just pouring from my face. I could not stop, it was so emotional. I waited for this moment for so long…I accomplished something that I wanted so badly with all my heart. I still have tears now writing about it. I don’t even know anymore when the beautiful lei flowers were put over my head and one of the volunteers just rapped me in this nice and cold and wet towel, held me on her shoulder while I was crying away for a long time…

I had my husband, family and amazing team mates waiting for me on the finish line. My friend Jen who finished just before me, just picked me up, and spun me some 100 times in the circle and we both just laughed and cried for a long while…

Me and Jen
Volunteer consoling me

Me, Melissa and Jen (MTB girls from Florida)

Also Xterra Style - Must Watch !!!

After the race in front of our villa.

My husband and I after the race on the day we go back home.

Me at the shores of Napili

Pictures from the bike course and my Garmin of the Bike course.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Tsunami Warning for Hawaii the night of the race...

Tsunami Warning for Hawaii the night of the race...

Wow. I just got back to the condo on the cliff after amazing Night of Champions Dinner for 17th Xterra World Championship and we put TV on and found out there was an earth quake in Canada at 7.7 Richter scale and Tsunami is coming our way!
We are on the North East site of Maui, we have less than two hours to Tsunami to reach us, there are expected 6 feet of few hours long surges.
And I was just worrying about my race and my swim in the morning tomorrow and now we got Tsunami and we are stuck on the eadge of the water on the little island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Maui, Hawaii. Everything in between racing..

Race is almost here. Maui is beautiful. Mountain biking and run trails however are hot and brutal. 5000 feet of elevation gain on the bike and run combined to just preview the course takes toll on the body. I stayed very calm and very relaxed for most of the week until last night. Now nerves started to kick in and the mind can only wonder if everything was done right. All previous days it was very calm and sunny here, today however we are getting very strong east winds and water become just as angry as it can be. We swam today in monster waves, the force of rip current is just unbelievable but what is worst is the shore break wave that comes in to the beach and crashes with full force. I happened to be caught in one of them; it pulled me in and took me for a "washing machine" ride which I never experienced before in my life. While in the wave my body started turning, water picked me up, turned me up side down and kept spinning, all I could see is sand everywhere and I kept tumbling a few feet above the ground. I did somersaults while inside and a wave crushed me on my back, picked me back up and kept spinning, when it spit me up somehow I happened to stand back on my feet. I did a complete 360 degree turn with a hard fall and thankfully nothing happened. After that we took some breather and took a closer look how the waves behave. We decided to swim some more and experienced just amazing waves charging at us feeling like they were some 10 feet tall. It gave us the perspective how powerful forces of nature are.