2010 Ironman Hawaii Race Report

Wow, what a race. I gave it all I had and I’m happy with the result. It was awesome to share the experience with so much family present (Deb, the kids, Mom, Dad, Terry, Mariette, and Amy). Their cheers of support helped me get through a hard day. Ironman Hawaii is everything that they say it is. It was an incredible feeling to run down that final stretch of Ali’i Drive to the finish line.

Swim = 2.4 miles = 1:13:47

Transition 1 = 5:21

Bike = 112 miles = 5:32:11

Transition 2 = 4:14

Run = 26.2 miles = 3:31:58

Total = 10:27:31

The field was insanely competitive. Even in the Ironman XC division, three deserving athletes bested me, with Greg Penner taking the XC title. Overall, there were 1926 starters who braved the course. In many ways, this race was very different from Ironman Lake Placid and Ironman Brasil. My times weren’t as fast as in Brasil, but the Hawaii conditions were the hardest of any of the many endurance races (triathlons and other) that I have ever done. The searing sun, baking heat, and of course, the brutal wind, were all factors. Of course, the beauty of this sport is that on race day, every competitor has to deal with the same conditions, grueling or tame. Yesterday, they were grueling.

I got up at 4:15 A.M., had some dinner food (Thai) for breakfast that I had gotten to go the night before, dressed, and headed to body marking. After marking, I went to the transition area to make final adjustments to my Seven Kameha SLX. I hung around transition for a while, soaking up the vibe. It was an amazing scene, with the bright lights illuminating the pier. I stuck around until the other XC athletes prepped their bikes, superstitiously checked my tires one last time, and went to do a short warmup jog. Conveniently, with our room overlooking the pier, I returned to the hotel to change into my swim gear and then made my way to the water.


The swim was the most intense triathlon swim that I have done. With so many top athletes in one event, it made for an aggressive start. The professional men and women started 30 minutes earlier at 6:30 A.M. That left the more than 1800 age group athletes to battle it out when the canon went of. People describe the Kona start as “the blender.” Whatever you call it, it was chaos with arms and legs flailing. It took a while for me to find some open water and some room to focus on my stroke and not the body to body combat that characterized the early part of the race. No one was giving an inch. I would have liked to swim 1:10, but ended up just under 1:14, which was respectable for a no wetsuit swim in the biggest race of all. This was around 10 minutes slower than Brasil, where wetsuits were allowed.

My family got to view the start of the race from a boat in the bay, which was an awesome experience.


The bike was my rough leg yesterday. The wind, oh the wind. I suffered a great deal and struggled home with a 5:32, which was 16 minutes slower than Brasil. The course is more hilly, but it was the heat and the wind that played a major role in my pain. On the road up near Hawi, I had a lot of negative thoughts. I was really hurting and that was even before the wind started to blow. The first shot was fired when we broke through an opening where there was no lava on both sides of the road and a blast of wind shifted the rider in front of me three feet to the left in an instant. I bared down on my aero bars expecting the worst. I held on to my bike, but the next hour was a battle  to the turnaround and back.

This is when the pro men began to pass me going in the other direction on their downhill return leg. I saw how they were forced to lean into the wind to keep from being blown over. I thought it was harder to ride uphill in the wind because the lack of momentum works against you, but it was bad in both directions. I don’t know what bad wind on the bike course is. I’ve heard horror stories of years when it literally blows people off of their bikes. I saw the aftermath of one crash, but it seemed that folks were prepared for the worst and rode cautiously. Looking out over the ocean was incredible. The sea was frothing and foaming with white caps as far as you could see.

The wind seemed to come from the hills up near Waimea and from the ocean side too. I don’t know what direction it was blowing, but it was blowing hard. This slowed my pace to a crawl and I was forced to ride in the cowhorns. The tradeoff is that when you are in the aero bars, you make your side profile smaller, but it is nerve-wracking to be extended like that when a big gust hits you. It was bad going up to Hawi with the road climbing several  hundred feet and it was bad coming down too. I lost a lot of ground on this section of the course. Thankfully, my Seven Kameha is an awesome bike that fits me well. If I was on my twitchy Cannondale, I would have been far less confident.

Just like you are told, the 80mi to 112mi section of the bike leg is lonely. The gaps increase and you have to will yourself back to Kailua knowing that you have to run a marathon next.


Given the conditions and the painful bike leg, I was pleased with my run. At 3:31, it was a couple of minutes slower than Brasil, but the heat was oppressing. I had also been on course 5% longer than Brasil and every bit of time spent/wasted conspires to slow you down at the end of a race like this. The run course is also more hilly, though not as hilly as Lake Placid. The hills are rolling and not so steep, but they make a difference.

I struggled a bit in the middle of the run, but was able to pick it up at the Natural Energy Lab and then have a strong finish on the descent into town. I played leapfrog with some of the XC athletes on the ride and the run, though our final positions were secured half way through the marathon. About a quarter of the way into the run, I started doing mental math so I knew what it would take to break 10:30. I was confident that if I paced myself and didn’t blow up, that I could do it. I never walked and my plan worked well. I had a few moments of doubt, but ran a measured race, opting not to risk a big surge.

Throughout the entire event, my fueling (eating and hydration) strategy was good. I was still sick to my stomach afterwards (just discomfort), but that was the same at my other full distance races. Taking in so much water, electrolyte drink, and energy food over the course of a day when digestion is not a priority, is rough. Your stomach sort of shuts down. I had my salted potatoes and wished I had brought more. During the marathon, I dumped a cup of ice down my shirt at just about every one of the 25 aid stations. I don’t know how warm it was, but it was uncomfortably hot.

I had sunscreen on, but that didn’t prevent me from getting one of my worst sunburns of all time. It kept me up last night and will likely make for some uncomfortable days ahead. This isn’t the Hawaii tan that tourists dream about!

The pro race was won two Aussie’s. Chris McCormack took the men’s title for his second world championship. Mirinda Carfrae took her first title in impressive fashion. They both had great days.

All in all, Ironman Hawaii lived up to the hype. Again, having my family here was very special. I would have loved to share the experience in person with more of them. They had a great time too. The pain and sunburn need to subside before I consider a return to Kona. I know it won’t be next year. You have to give too much of your soul to this race, never mind the crazy impact on the time that it takes to prepare. A lot of sacrifices were made.  Still, there is an allure to constantly improve upon your performance. The experience would help in a return to the Big Island. It will take a few days for this to soak in, but having this race in my palmares is an impressive achievement that I will cherish for a long time.

Ironman XC Race Results

Ironman World Championship Overall Results/Tracking

Photo slideshow credits, Stan Livingston, Debbie Livingston, and ASI.

23 Responses to “2010 Ironman Hawaii Race Report”

  1. 1 Who knew 12 miles could take so long? « life, liberty and the pursuit of a DPT Trackback on 10 October 2010 at 5:00 pm
  2. 2 Oahu Fun « Life Adventures Trackback on 17 October 2010 at 9:01 pm
  3. 3 Ironman Hawaii: Highlights & Recovery « Life Adventures Trackback on 17 October 2010 at 9:34 pm
  4. 4 2010 Cycle-Smart International Cyclocross « Life Adventures Trackback on 7 November 2010 at 11:14 pm
  5. 5 Upchuck 50K « Life Adventures Trackback on 14 November 2010 at 11:00 pm
  6. 6 2010 Manchester Road Race « Life Adventures Trackback on 25 November 2010 at 4:31 pm
  7. 7 Shenipsit Trail End-to-End Run « Life Adventures Trackback on 27 November 2010 at 10:06 pm
  8. 8 2011 Traprock 50K « Life Adventures Trackback on 16 April 2011 at 7:17 pm
  9. 9 2011 Shamrock Duathlon « Life Adventures Trackback on 22 May 2011 at 12:55 pm
  10. 10 2011 USAT Age Group National Championship « Life Adventures Trackback on 21 August 2011 at 8:16 pm
  11. 11 2011 Vermont 50 Mile Ride or Ultra Run « Life Adventures Trackback on 26 September 2011 at 10:09 pm
  12. 12 2011 Grindstone 100, Part 2 (Full Report) « Life Adventures Trackback on 10 October 2011 at 11:15 pm
  13. 13 Unconventional Training Wisdom « Life Adventures Trackback on 14 October 2011 at 8:36 pm
  14. 14 2012 Monroe Dunbar Brook Trail Race « Life Adventures Trackback on 7 October 2012 at 7:11 pm
  15. 15 2013 Ironman Mont-Tremblant | Life Adventures Trackback on 23 August 2013 at 9:14 pm
  16. 16 Ironman Mont Tremblant 2013 by Scott Livingston – My Race Recap Trackback on 29 August 2013 at 5:02 pm
  17. 17 Our Story: Vermont 50 Mile Ride & Run-Anniversary Edition | Life Adventures Trackback on 25 September 2013 at 9:19 pm
  18. 18 The Revised Toughest Ten | Life Adventures Trackback on 3 September 2014 at 8:54 pm
  19. 19 2015 Mansfield Hollow Cyclocross | Life Adventures Trackback on 10 October 2015 at 7:26 pm
  20. 20 2016 TRI-MANIA Summit and Expo | Life Adventures Trackback on 20 March 2016 at 10:01 am
  21. 21 2017 Hardrock Endurance Run | Life Adventures Trackback on 22 July 2017 at 11:32 am
  22. 22 Manage emails Trackback on 24 November 2017 at 5:53 pm
  23. 23 Crash! Part Deux: My 2018 USA Cyclo-Cross National Championships Story | Life Adventures Trackback on 18 January 2018 at 9:07 pm

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@thecubscouts #pinewoodderby never gets old. Pack 157 Bolton, Connecticut #cubscouts So that little injury caused by my @renocxnats crash on Saturday afternoon wasn’t so little after all. It’s a broken leg (fibula). Prognosis is good, but it hurts like heck. My blog post report with blow by blow details is linked in my profile. #cxnats #teamhorstsports @horsteng #crossspikes #crossisboss - - -

This #lifedeathcyclocross stuff is true!!!! I crashed out of the Singlespeed Championship @renocxnats (on the dreaded off-camber) but not before having more fun. @artroti43 raced on the frosty course ❄️ at day break. 🚴🏽 We met a lot more @horsteng #crossspikes customers. I hung with little bunny hopper 🐰 Miles, the Junior 11-12 year old Silver Medalist.🥈I cheered for Nic, who represented @the_ccap in the Junior 15-16 age group. @sportstert and Iva came down from Tahoe to cheer LOUDLY for me. 🎺 I got my badly sprained ankle taped and iced. I had a beer. 🍺 I’m even looking forward to my red eye flight home ✈️ . Best of all, I’ll see @trailrunningmom and the kids on Sunday. I can’t explain the sensation, but despite the pain, I’m ready for next #Cyclocross season to begin... after some rest. #teamhorstsports #cxnats #horstengineering @parkavebikeshop #crossisboss #lifedeathcyclocross #crossiscoming You could say that at least for this week, I’m married to my #bicycle - - -

@renocxnats #cxnats @seven_cycles #sevencycles #teamhorstsports #horstengineering #crossspikes @horsteng #chapelofthebells #Cyclocross #lifedeathcyclocross Good day representing @horsteng at @renocxnats in the 45-49 age group. It’s a great course. The wind was blowing hard, but the sun finally came out. I’m happy with 37th place but should have made a move to get to 29th, which was 30 seconds ahead. That’s a long way when you are going flat out and cramping. 4,500 foot elevation was a factor. I’m disappointed that they cut one lap of my race when I wasn’t close to getting lapped by the leaders. You train this hard and come all this way; and you want to get the most racing for the $ and time invested. They only let 25 riders do the full six laps. The only positive to come out of that was that I watched fellow New Englander @adammyerson execute a perfect final sprint to win the Stars and Stripes again. Teammate @artroti43 had a good ride too. 
@seven_cycles #sevencycles #horstengineering #teamhorstsports @bicycleseastct #crossspikes #cxnats #renocxnats #Cyclocross #crossisboss @therichardsachs didn’t have the race he hoped for but it was still great to see him @renocxnats and “pit” for him. He said he officially started his second off season, but first of 2018. @artroti43 and I played soigneur/mechanic for 90 minutes, but minus the massage! atmo #renocxnats #richardsachs #teamhorstsports @horsteng #crossspikes #hauteframebuilding #Cyclocross #crossisboss #lifedeathcyclocross I previously hadn’t published this image, but it recently received an Honorable Mention in the 2017 @appalachianmountainclub Photo Contest for the People Outdoors category. Check out my blog (link in profile) for the interesting story of his photo (shot with this iPhone 6s), a trip report from this amazing Maine adventure, and past contest history. I love this image of two of my favorite women. I’m barred from submitting images to the 2018 contest, but I’ll be back in 2019. #appalachianmountainclub #baxterstatepark #katahdin Congratulations to Master Park, the Park Family, and the entire team at Park’s U.S. #Taekwondo at the Grand Opening of the new facility in the former VFW building. Our kids love it! So much better than being next door to the pawn shop and liquor store.😊#tkd 🇺🇸🇰🇷 This morning, the @trinitycollege Main Quad was bathed in beautiful sunshine ☀️but it was frigid and the wind was blowing! ❄️ The chapel was packed with an overflow crowd to celebrate the (shortened) life of a lovely friend. She will be missed. #circleoflife 🌏

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