Sunday, September 09, 2007

My First Peaman

PeamanPeaman biathlons (swim & run) are fun, free training events held several times a year in Kona. I'd heard about them a while ago but never seemed to be in town when one was held. This trip I got lucky!

My swim instructor Karlyn Pipes-Neilsen said it was one of the longer Peaman events, a 3/4-mile swim followed by a 4 mile out-and-back run. The swim was along the Kona Ironmman swim course and the run was along Alii Drive, right past our condo. Couldn't be more convenient.

No entry fees, no applications, no bib numbers. Swimming with fins, masks and/or snorkels are all allowed and the run is optional, or you can choose to do just a 1-mile run, or you can have someone else do the run for you (i.e., relay). In fact, if there isn't an existing division that you fit into, they'll create one. Isn't that cool?

Well, I was still feeling pretty fatigued and sore from the 3 hour run the day before (Saturday) so I decided that I'd wear fins during the swim and play it by ear on the run, maybe skip it altogether. Before I left our condo, I took a couple 8-hour Tylenols. Then I mustered a VERY slow 1.5 mile jog over to the swim start at the pier (easier than driving and trying to find a place to park).

A hundred or so people were there, I'm guessing, many with snorkels and fins :-). Sean "Peaman" Pagett, the organizer, gave event instructions that included a request for everyone to "swim with aloha," namely, please try not to elbow your neighbor (double cool!). Then there was a countdown from 5 and we were off.

I'd lined up in the back and to the side as I usually do in tris, but found myself passing folks because of the fins. I settled in amongst others swimming my pace and was hardly ever touched or bumped (amazing!). I got out to the turnaround sighting on my own but then followed/drafted a guy back in for a while. I finally looked up and then saw he was pretty far left of the course and had to swim extra distance to get back on course. Lesson learned: Check to make sure the person you're drafting is swimming in the right direction!

Once back on the beach, I got a disk with a number. It said 59, which I would later find out meant I was the 59th swimmer out of the water. I put it around my wrist with the attached rubberband and then headed over to where my shoes were and looked for some water to wash all the sand off my feet. Didn't see any and forgot to bring my own - Doh! So I just put my socks on right over the sand and pulled on my shoes (hopefully my feet will forgive me!).

I was still undecided about whether or not to really do the run, though. My legs didn't feel all that bad after the swim but I knew I couldn't/shouldn't run very hard and there were several swimmers just milling around rather than preparing to run (including my fellow swim camper, Judy). I procrastinated a bit more by putting my fins back in my bag (the transition area was not secure) and eating a gel to get the saltwater taste out of my mouth. Finally, I made up my mind to run, dug around my bag for my sunglasses and headed out. How far? TBD.

The run was on sidewalks and on the shoulder of the road if there weren't any sidewalks so we were dodging tourists, other runners just out for a run, and a little cross traffic at times. As I approached the 1/2 mile marker signifying the turnaround for the 1-mile run, I was about to pass the first person who appeared to be doing the event but she turned around unexpectedly. I couldn't bring myself to follow her and kept going. So, it was decided. I'd be doing the full 4 miles after all.

I continued running at a moderate pace and noticed that the sand wasn't really bothering my feet much. I passed a couple other women in the event (telltale signs: wet hair and wearing swimsuits) but a couple guys passed me, too. After the first mile, I began to see a number of folks who were already on the return leg including Bree Wee, one of the best female triathletes on the island (Karlyn introduced me to her at the pool the other day). She looked to be the first place female in this event so I gave her a big cheer -- GO BREE!

At the 2-mile turnaround, there was a water station, to my surprise (I carried a water bottle with me thinking there wouldn't be any), and I set my sights on a young woman wearing a tri outfit like me about 50 yards ahead. I didn't want to push my legs too hard the day after a long run so I reeled her in slooowly. About a mile later, I finally caught her and picked up my pace a bit more as the course flattened out (less than a mile to go!).

When I reached that 1/2-mile marker again, I was feeling great so I let loose for a speedy finish. I passed one more guy on the final stretch along the water and was handed a popsicle stick with the number 50 on it at the pier.

They asked my name (no age), what distances I'd done and whether I'd worn fins when I turned in my disk and stick. There was no mention of race times, and I never saw a clock or heard anyone yelling out finishing times, so I assume the results are just relative placings within the various divisions: Peas, Finned Peas, Split Peas (relay), Pea Wees (kids), etc. Supposedly, the results will be published in the local newspaper. When? Who knows, who cares.

After I'd cooled down, had some snacks and chatted with some folks, I realized that I'd forgotten to stop my watch at the finish (total event time was like 1:20-something by then). Heck, I didn't even hit the lap button to keep track of my run/swim segments for my training log (WHOOPS!). Guess I'll just have to guess.

A sign of too much fun. Thanks, Peaman!

Congrats to all who raced this weekend, especially those at Ironman Wisconsin. I'll post more about the swim camp when I get back home. I actually have one more swim session with Karlyn in her Endless Pool before I leave end of this week.


CewTwo said...

Wow! That sounded like a lot of fun and a great way to spend the day!

Interesting commentary and thank you for it!

(I'm jealous!)

Petraruns said...

Shirley that event sounds like so much fun and you really got into the spirit of it - good for you! And it really is nice that you're online on Kona now as well!

Petraruns said...

Oh and I am jealous too... Of Kona, of swimming in the sea and of your amazing abilities!

Brent Buckner said...


I look forward to your camp report.

Maddy said...

What fun! A "competition" without a bunch of pressure!

It sounds like a blast!

What an experience!

ShirleyPerly said...

This was, hands-down, one of the most fun events I've ever done. Just show up, decide what you want to do and go. I would have surely stayed home if I didn't have options or if it were a serious race.

Every town should have a Peaman!

Susan said...


MarathonChris said...

It was a "Zen" race - sounds like a really fun event!!!

Have a safe trip back!

Rural Girl said...

That sounds like a fun and low-stress event. We need those to keep everything in perspective.

nylisa said...

Biathlon huh? That sounded like so much fun! Very lively race report!

The Wrench said...

We need more fun stuff like that here.

Wendy said...

Split Peas and Pea Wees? Too funny!

It sounds like a wonderful event, Shirley!

(Lookin' forward to more on swim camp!)

Anonymous said...

Aloha Shirley!

I was just introduced to your blog and must say i was happy to have met you from Karlynn! I am so proud of you doing that peaman after a 3 hr run on Saturday! Those races are the best and you are awesome for showing up and racing!

Best of luck with the rest of your training!

Bree Wee