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Race Result

Racer: Dan Frost
Race: Ironman World Championship
Date: Saturday, October 16, 2004
Location: Kona, HI
Race Type: Triathlon - Ironman
Age Group: Male 35 - 39
Time: 11:07:18
Overall Place: 540 / 1577
Age Group Place: 114 / 243
Comment: A great season ends in a great way

Race Report:

Ah, the Kona race report. It is something that I’ve been looking forward to writing for a long time. Yet, it is also something that I have been patient and deliberative in constructing and distributing.

Give me a year and I’ll write you a book, or even a motion picture screenplay, about the entire Kona experience and everything relevant that lead up to it. I could throw us back in time all the way back to the day I dreamed of being in THE Ironman Triathlon…to places passed on the journey near and far…and with stories of colorful people going in similar directions. I’ll spare you those chapters for later.

I’m also, for the time being, going to spare you the chapters or scenes about the race itself. What?!?!? A race report without a race?!?!? Yes. Call me crazy if you haven’t already. My experience of October 16 has already been, at least imperfectly, chronicled by websites linking me with numbers and images. There are also the stories already posted by fellow competitors with whom I shared the Ironman course, providing hints to the common perspective and experience we all had. Certainly, there are some things that numbers can’t measure, a camera can’t show you what is inside someone, and only my journey of 140.6 miles lasted exactly 40038 seconds. Someday, I will reveal the rest of this story to you. I am proud of it. It has a happy ending.

What I do want to share with you now is part of the rest of my race experience in Hawaii, with the hope of addressing one of your primary reasons for reading this far…answering that ever-important question of “Is it worth it to do this race?” Call me crazy again, for I have just insinuated that there may be a set of people (aside from the tens of thousands who attempt to enter the Hawaii Ironman annually and the untold numbers of others who dream of racing it in the future) for whom the Cost-Benefit Analysis™ may not be favorable. This is where I illustrate the example of David Glover, a gentleman who has raced in Hawaii previously but for now is quite content showcasing his gifts elsewhere in mid-October. I have to say that in a year where I made a heavy investment in attempting to reach Kona, David seriously challenged my paradigm on Ironman racing. He was not alone, for I have met a number of people this year deciding to either turn down slots to Kona that they had earned, or deciding to race elsewhere. I accept the great words of Fig Newton Boy [“In the truest sense, I believe Ironman triathlon is a race against oneself and the clock.”] and of others who wrote of their experiences at Chesapeakeman, Blue Devil, and (soon) Great Floridian. I’ve heard nothing but good things about those three events, and they indeed fulfill a need. So if it’s just a matter of yourself-against-the-clock, why do it 5,000 miles away?

It didn’t take me too long after arriving in Kona to understand why it’s good to be there. I had arranged to meet my coach, who is from Connecticut, and some of his friends at the Morning Swim on my first full day (Tuesday) on the Big Island. That eventually let to a big group breakfast at a great little place that is a favorite of Mark Allen. After receiving my honorary CT residency along with a tasty meal, I eventually made it back to town and on my way to Registration. While heading to registration, I stopped at Hawaiian Pedals on Alii Drive where the Oakley folks were. In a matter of seconds, I had Lori Bowden signing a water bottle for me while a young Oakley rep replaced, with no questions asked, my terminally broken sunglass frame with a shiny spare. I continued to Registration where I bumped into another old friend (“Dizzy” Schuette, famous for his race this year at St. Anthony’s) and met his family for lunch. Afterwards, I took the bicycle for a two-hour spin to ensure its workability, returning to town to pass the Parade of Nations which would finish at the large Ironman Exposition at the moment of its ceremonial opening. I didn’t get to spend much time at the expo that night, since I had to rush off to Corey McDaniel’s condo party down the road.

And that was a TYPICAL pre-race day. The Ironman Triathlon World Championship is the Super Bowl of the sport. It is the Pinnacle of the mountain. If you have been to an IMNA event, the level of excitement, sponsorship support, activity, and media coverage is at least a few orders of magnitude higher in Hawaii. The town lives and breaths Ironman for a week at a high pitch. There are competitors from all over the world. It is a collection of who’s-who in the sport before, during, and after the race. Plus, you’re in Hawaii which is a beautiful, special and unique place in the world. That means that even if the economic engines of triathlon turned all their energies instead to a place like Lake Placid or even San Diego, the special effect wouldn’t be as grand.

That still doesn’t mean that Kona is for everyone, and certainly not for everyone every year. No one has ever done every race there. Even I do not plan on making a return to Kona a goal for 2005, though I’ll go if the opportunity arises. In fact, for the first time in two years, I am not committed to a future Ironman race and maybe you’ll see me at ChessieMan or BD or GFT in 2005 if the IronBug dares to bite me again…

…but the night after crossing the finish line on Alii Drive, at the Kona Brew Pub for the Triathlete Magazine party, surrounded by famous faces but enjoying most of the festivities with a few great friends, drinking a great local brew compliments of Zoot Sports and listening to the music of talented local artists, under a sky of bright stars…I could hardly imagine a better way to end this triathlon season. That night, I could not help but to be overcome with happiness.

Yes, Virginia. Go to Kona if given the opportunity. Even if you don’t qualify but can travel there, there are many things for the non-racer to do in and around the race and the Big Island.

Thank you very much for reading.
- Frosty

P.S. As far as the race itself, I'll at least mention that the Navy team finished in third place, behind Army and the Marines but in front of the Air Force and Coast Guard. There was a very large rate of DNFs this year (about 10% overall), yet in my age group (M35-39) only seven of the 250 starters DNFed.