10/8/07

Kona Day 1

I'm officially here. I'm unpacked, I've had a taste of the water and I've riden the Queen K. I kinda ran (yep-I can kinda run, more like a shuffle) around our parking lot and shopped along Ali drive. Yes-I know I am an Ironman athlete but I look like everyone else. Pro's I saw today- Norman Stadler at the pier before my swim this morning and I think I saw Michelle biking and Kate Major running. This morning my dad ran the PATH fun run. Well, it was supposed to be fun but he thought it was a bit competitive to be fun. In order for my dad to say he raced in kona, he decided to push it for a 5K. Congrats to my dad-what a runner he is!!! With a fast time of 27 minutes and a 2nd place age group finish, my dad walked away with a hand-made medal and Kona coffee as an award. I'm so proud of my dad!!! My mom did her share of walking since she accompanied me to the pier so I could drop off my gear as I swam and she walked back to the race to watch my dad start. The swim was just great! I love open water swimming and I could just clear my head as I swam for 25 minutes in the ocean. The water was a little cool as I started and didn't really get warm the entire swim. That is a great thing cause I don't like swimming in warm water. I will try out my zoot speedsuit tomorrow. After 15 minutes of swimming I decided to push it on the way back and I was in great company with a gazillion other triathlets. The water is so clear you can see right to the Kona floor. I was also in great company with all the fishes in the water and I remembered why I love triathlons so much. With this injury I really lost my drive and passion for triathlons and I even questioned my dream of racing as a pro. But today in the water I realized why I love it so much. It isn't for the competition (well-maybe a little), it is because I really enjoy swimming, cycling and running. After I swam I headed back to the condo with my parents and rested for a bit as I ate breakfast. About 2 hours later I was on the bike heading along Ali drive, to Palani to the Queen K. Wow-my first ride on the queen K. I felt good on the bike but I can't really push too hard cause of the hip. On race day, I give it my all. Today I wanted to see the course and enjoy the scenery. As I biked past the entrance to the Natural Energy Lab where we run, I really felt like there was nothing that would stop me come race day. The lava on my right was unreal and the white rocks which spell out the names of athletes was just like what I see on TV. On my left was the water and as I passed the airport the wind was clearly at my back. The lava was on both sides of me and I was heading up and down some rollers. Had a coulple light drizzles from some clouds and I knew that anything is possible on this island. Who knows what the Kona gods will bring to the athletes come race day! There were lots of people riding on the Queen K and it wasn't soon after I hit 32 mph going downhill that I looked at my mileage and I was already at 16 miles. I decided to turn around and face those winds that were graciously pushing me and seduza up and down the hills. I felt ok with the side winds but it is funny how the winds change every couple miles. At one point I was going on what I thought was downhill and I had to shift up to a lighter gear in order to pick up my 18 mph speed. Funny how you can struggle going downhill in kona. Once I arrived back on Ali drive I found myself relaxed and enjoying the moment. Again-athletes everywhere! The next couple of hours went by fast before we headed down to town for some shopping and dinner.
I want to congratulate Karel for his last race of the year! With a great finish yesterday in the Pro 1,2 race, he showed his "ironman" strength and completed two races this morning. With around 130 miles completed this morning and a 5th place finish in the 30+ division and 19th in the Pro 1,2 race I am always impressed with karel. With the thought of not even racing today because yesterdays (sat) race was so hot and exhausting, he comes back and races two races. What an inspiration. I am always inspired by people who make no excuses when they race or train. Of course we all have excuses but it is truely a test of the soul to push hard when the mind, body or both want to quit. Through every person that I have met (and not met) in my life, who has showed determination and strength to reach their goals, I will be thinking of YOU on saturday as I try to do the same.