9/30/11

Kona Countdown 6 days: Reflect and stay focused

"Being able to see the end result, rather than just the task, eliminates obstacles, focuses your energy, and provides motivation to excel".

Well, today was my last "long" brick workout. In Kona-like winds, I did a 2.5 hour ride w/ 3 x 20 min over/under tempo intervals (15 min recovery) followed by a 4.5 mile run. The weather was absolutely beautiful, in the upper 70's and I had a lot of fun riding with my hubby during my warm-up. Tomorrow I have an hour bike + an hour run, followed by a long flush-massage, w/ visualization from Marjorie. I welcome this last "long" weekend as a way to test out every item that I will be using in training. I have my race outfit, shoes and aero helmet ready to go as well as my fuel belt, visor, sunglasses and running shoes.







On Fri I very focused at work today as we had another busy patient load at the hospital. I saw some very interesting patients and as always, learned A LOT! In the past few days, my energy has continued to build and I found myself nearly BUSTING out of my scrubs with excitement.

I find myself constantly reflecting on the past 13 weeks of training, in addition to the past 6 years of Ironman training. Right now I have a full-tank of energy and my mind is in the right place. But I can't help but think about all of the "good days" and "bad" days that helped me get to where I am today. Although the Big Island of Kona will be filled with the top Ironman athletes from around the world, who have qualified for the Ironman World Championships, the one common thread that unites us all (no matter fitness level or finishing time) is that we ALL have dreams and goals and we are not afraid to try and reach them.

One of the fabulous things about being an athlete is that your status as an athlete is not defined in one race and your ability to improve is not determined in one season. For in the sport of triathlons and running, there is always another distance and another opportunity to reach your goals.

It's kinda funny thinking about the last 6 years since I started my Ironman journey. In the first year of my IM training, all I read about was training long. Doing that 100 mile bike and that 3 hour run was the "BIG" thing to do. In my 2nd year of training, it was all about nutrition. Finding out what works and of course, what doesn't work. In my third year, there was the theory of becoming metabolically efficient, being able to use the least amount of energy while getting physiologically stronger, as you focus on nutrient timing. And lastly, in my fourth and fifth, it was all about time management - quality training.
Now it is 2011. It has been 6 years since watching the Ironman World Championships on NBC in 2005 (while in graduate school - studying in the library) and saying to myself "I WANT TO DO THAT!".
I never take for granted an Ironman finish and I feel lucky that I have started and finished every Ironman that I have signed up for.
But nevertheless, I am still trying to find ways of becoming a faster, stronger and smarter Ironman. I love the power of goal setting and doing everything possible to reach that goal. Not only am I a goal setter, but I am a dreamer. I am constantly thinking about life and what I want to achieve in life.

Mental training has been a vital component of my training. Having the right amount of confidence is an essential component of a successful Ironman athlete and helps to build a strong mind. Regardless of the finishing time, an Ironman athlete has to
trust his/herself, in all parts of training and racing. We never train in order to fail so stop thinking about all of the "what if's" that did not stop you from getting out the door and having an awesome 100 mile ride or a great brick workout or that long swim that you never thought possible. And while you are at it, in forming positive thoughts, don't forget to reflect on all of the obstacles that you overcame in life and training, that helped you get to where you are today.


I believe I AM READY! I KNOW I AM READY!




"Accomplishing anything in life requires discipline... not the regimented, abusive kind of discipline... but the discipline that requires you to remain focused, committed, enthusiastic and motivated to do whatever is necessary to achieve your goal.

The discipline to persevere with your goal, to deal with obstacles as you face them, and to continually take action on your goal...

This kind of discipline is the empowering kind of discipline... and allows you to achieve whatever you desire in your life!"




I wanted to share this video that was posted on the Trek Bike Store of Jacksonville Facebook page. I Hope you enjoy it!





Speaking of mental training...here is a GREAT series of articles from LAVA:
Mental Fitness: The Fifth Cornerstone : LAVA Magazine

9/29/11

Kona Coundtown 7 days: Fueled by plants























In 7 days my body will be racing for 140.6 miles at the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii. The human body is absolutely amazing in that it can endure a 10+ hour event. As athletes we rely on our mind to stay focused and alert. Our amazing heart muscle beats faster and faster with every hard effort, in order to provide nutrients to the body, clear waste products, provide glucose and oxygen to the brain and to pump blood to keep the body warm or help with cooling. The lungs help with gas exchange, removing carbon dioxide from the blood in exchange for oxygen-rich blood. The muscular system is no less complex. Although we can easily recognize when our heart beats too fast or when we need to slow down to grasp some air, it is the muscular system that we can identify with the most, as it allows us to facilitate movement on a daily basis. Either involuntarily or voluntarily, muscle tissues receive signals from the brain in order to contract or relax..this allows us to move. Because the heart and lungs play a vital role in our athletic performance, I find it extremely important to do everything in our power to take care of the human body on a daily basis.

I am always amazed by the body when we ask it to train for an event. Whether it is a 5K run/walk, a triathlon, a marathon or an Ironman, we put stress on our body in order to gain strength. Over time, if done correctly, we not only gain strength but speed and power. We also gain mental strength, an ability to connect the mind to the body when under pressure, stress or fatigue.

The feeling is always indescribable when I think about the human body when it trains for the Ironman. Every workout builds on one another in order to prepare the body for a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and 26.2 mile run. We also train our mind to be able to dig deep when the going gets really tough. Despite our previous fitness or athletic resume, we have the ability to get stronger and faster while training for an event, even as we age or overcome the many obstacles (and set-backs) in life.

When I was interning to become a Registered Dietitian, I never knew the impact that my education would have on my personal life. Wanting to learn more about the human body and nutrition, I was nervously excited to become a clinical dietitian in a hospital. Being around sick/ill patients is not the easiest career to look forward to on a daily basis, but I just love being able to have an impact on the healing/recovery process. Although I have only been a clinical dietitian (working PRN - as needed) for the past 3 months (since passing the RD exam in June 2011), I have quickly learned about common symptoms, lab values and complaints in terms of final diagnoses. Although the body is very complex, patients who have similar lifestyle practices/habits appear to have similar outcomes.

Certainly there is always the anomaly, the person who never smokes and gets lung cancer or the morbidly obese individual who does not have diabetes. But for the most part, patients who have get diagnosed with liver disease or get diagnosed with cancer often have similar past histories often demonstrating modifiable lifestyle habits. It is my passion, goal and responsibility to my body to take care of my body for the rest of my life, by prioritizing a plant-based diet. Although we can not prevent disease, we can certainly reduce the risk and I find it very important to do everything I can to improve my chance of living a quality-filled life.

Knowing the impact of nutrition on the human body, I respect food for fuel. Throughout my Ironman journey, my mission was to keep developing a healthy relationship with food but to further my passion of being fueled by plants. Having been meat-free for over 18 years, I find that I feel more alive, with every year I age, due to providing my body with quality food.

My camera is filled with Trimarni creations and I thought I would share (a few) of my favorite meals that have fueled my Ironman Journey...Enjoy!














9/28/11

Kona Countdown 8 days: My Team

From my first Ironman to now my 5th Ironman, I do not take the journey of becoming an Ironman very lightly. Although an Ironman finish looks like a thrill of a lifetime when watching it on the internet, seeing pictures or reading a race report, any Ironman athlete will tell you that balancing training with the rest of life is a constant struggle and often requires wishful thinking for the stopping of time (or a magician) and 140.6 miles of swim, bike and run does not come without its ups and downs (both mentally and physically) on race day.
Although the Ironman is likely the most exhilarating, mentally challenging, life-changing experience that many of us will voluntarily commit a year of our life to, the journey of becoming an Ironman requires much more than sheer determination, an individual training plan and good nutrition.

In 2006, I was recently out of graduate school w/ my Master of Science degree in Exercise Physiology, had just finished an internship with the Ironman Corporation (WTC) and started a new job as the Wellness Coordinator of the North Pinellas YMCA. I was broke, living with my parents, starting my writing and speaking career and dedicating my entire life to training for my first Ironman. With high ambitions to qualify for Kona in my first Ironman, my entire life revolved around the Ironman.
A few Gearlink Cycling Team members wanted to set me up with a very sweet and smart guy who was an exceptional fast Category 3 rider and had a very cute Czech accent. Although I didn't want a boyfriend at the time, Karel came into my life and it was hard to push him away. Unsure of how to balance a boyfriend, work and IM training, I focused primarily on the Ironman and entertained myself with the idea that if Karel actually wanted to unconditionally support me throughout the journey of my first Ironman, he would likely be someone that I would want to spend the rest of my life with.


With great excitement, I ended up qualifying for Kona by winning the 18-24 age group at my first Ironman.

And marrying this wonderfully amazing, smart and thoughtful guy..who still has a cute czech accent :)
Now 4 Ironman's later, Karel is my husband, best friend, coach and love of my life. He continues to support me as I pursue my Ironman dream of one day standing on the Ironman World Championship age group podium but he also challenges me to reach my goals and ambitions in my personal life. He has shown me that triathlons is a great lifestyle but it doesn't have to be my life. Therefore, in pursuit of helping others reach their personal dreams, I continue to feel blessed to have so many wonderful people in my life. Therefore, he is not alone when I think of all the people who have been in my life, supporting me and believing in me, throughout every IM journey.

Ask any Ironman athlete and they will tell you that months of "IM" training can not be complete without a great team. A team that is supportive, helpful, informative and understanding. A team that believes in you when you find yourself lacking the confidence and motivation that is needed to reach the IM starting line and a team that encourages you by saying "you are almost there!" when really, you are only at mile 1 of your 26.2 mile IM run. We all have different team members but I think you'd agree with me when I say that the Ironman Journey is not complete without a BIG THANK YOU to our team members.

There are 3 very important Team Members that I would like to thank.

MOM, DAD and AARON






I come from a family of hard-working individuals. Although my brother and myself had our moments as teenagers, my parents raised us to the best of their abilities. My parents never forced us to do competitive sports but I believe they always wanted us to challenge ourselves. I played piano at an arts school and performed/was judged for most of my young life. I started swimming competitive when I was 12 and my brother started gymnastics at a very early age. We both continued our sports throughout college and my parents supported us no matter the cost or time commitment. I am not only grateful that my parents allowed us to focus solely on school and sports up until the end of college, but I am extremely grateful that my parents encouraged us to always reach for our dreams.
I was always the athlete and student that had to work a bit harder than everyone else. It would take me longer in the pool to progress with my swimming and I would spend hours and hours studying, only to grasp the material that was just taught to me in class that day. But despite lacking "natural" talent, I believe I came out a winner because my parents encouarged me to never EVER give up. I am not afraid to come in last, I am not afraid to pursue a challenging degree and I am not afraid to speak or write about something that I am truely passionate about.
Thank you mom, dad and Aaron for believing in me, for allowing me to be me and for always encouraging me to hang in there when life got tough and I really, really, really wanted to quit.

Karel



What a year this has been!!! After qualifying for Kona at IMWI in Sept 2010, you were my number one supporter throughout my 10-month internship. Thinking that the Ironman was one of the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, my internship challenged me in ways that I could have never imagined. And just when things were starting to look bright, my hips started to give me extreme pain around early Feb and I went without running for 14 LONG weeks. Once again, you did everything you could to keep me staying positive and you told me to focus on school and that everything would be just fine for Kona. As you always say, "trust me, babe".
Karel, you never stop believing in me but I want to say that I will never stop believing in you. I will always be there to support you, cheer for you and believe in you, no matter what you want to do in life. We both have worked really hard to be where we are today but because of you, it makes me want to work that much harder. We certainly have a lot of fun together and at the end of the day, we always keep life balanced. You don't even think twice to try my TriMarni creations and you are always surprising me with new triathlon-related gear. Even though you joke "Why run, when you can ride a bike?" I know that you support me in triathlons and always want me to succeed. But more than anything, you support me in LIFE and I truely appreciate that from the bottom of my heart. I wish words could describe how much you mean to me and how great it feels to be your teammate for the rest of our life. LOVE YOU BABE!!


CAMPY





By now, it's probably easy to see that my life is shared with Campy. When Campy came into our life around 3 years ago, I never realized how much he would change Karel and myself. Campy was found behind a building around the age of 8 months or so. We found him from a foster family and we welcomed him into our family in Oct 2008.
Campy is now an east-coast traveler and the most popular cycle dog at Florida Cycling races. No surprise, this dog goes EVERYWHERE with me.
Rather than thinking that my life revolves around Campy, I feel as if I am truely LIVING my life because of Campy.
The wonderful thing about dogs is that they never judge you. They never run out of unconditional love and they make you feel special, without even trying.
What I love the most about Campy is that he makes me feel balanced. When life gets stressful, I know a walk with Campy will help me clear my mind. When I feel anxiety for challenging situations, Campy has a way of kissing you, telling you that it will always be all right. Without knowing it, Campy continues to make me a better person.
Campy is one lucky dog but I believe WE are the lucky ones. I always have a running partner no matter what the time of day and even if I feel I am out of energy, Campy's smiling face gives me the boost to do just 1 more "campy" mile. No trip is boring without Campy and Karel always tells me that he races better, with less pressure, when Campy is around because Campy never seems to notice a "bad" race. Every day is a lottery winning day for our furry litle one.
Campy, you know how much I love you 'cause I show you every single day. Thank you for making my life complete and I look forward to making many more memories with you!



Lastly...
To all my blog readers, thank you for believing in me, for reading my articles and for checking out my blog on a daily basis. To my internship preceptors for being so very patient during 10 hour interning days and for putting up with me when I was completely stressed and overwhelmed. To my friends, both near and far, thank you for accepting me for me and for letting me be a part of your life. To Marjorie, thank you for the best massages and for giving my body the right amount of energy to keep me balanced. To my athletes who inspire and motivate me on a daily basis, thank you!
And lastly, to the many people who have emailed me your stories, asking for advice, help or just someone to listen - thank you for reminding me of why I do what I do and why I worked so hard for all my credentials.
To the Jacksonville Running Company, thank you for having the most fun, smart and kind staff to help me with all my running needs. I am always in good hands at JRC and Campy and I just love visiting the store just to say hi (and Campy likes his doggy treats). To the Trek Bicycle store of Jacksonville - THANK YOU!
To my Oakley Women ambassadors and crew, thank you for inspiring ME to perform beautifully both in sport and in life.

A big thanks to the Hammerhead triathlon club for a wonderful Kona send-off party, for 7 of us, heading to the big island next week!

9/27/11

Kona Countdown 9 more days: Time to pack!



I think most athletes would agree with me that a triathlon can be a bit time consuming (and stressful). For in a running event, you must bring your shoes and well, that's really all you need.
We have a full day of flying on Tues October 4th. My parents are leaving from Tampa Florida on the same morning and they arrive to Kona around 1 hour after we land on the big island. Our longest flight is 8 hours and 20 minutes (Houston to Honolulu) and the other two flights are fairly short. I think Honolulu to Kona doesn't even count as a flight. Our 37 minute trip will be a quickie!
I will be bringing my bike with me on the plane, as will Karel. He is looking forward to doing some climbing while in Kona - any suggestions as to where he should ride? I am just so happy that Karel and my parents will be with me as we all love traveling together and spending time together. I know my brother will be cheering loud from Pittsburgh as he recently started a new job with Ernest & Young and wasn't able to get away for a vaca.

As for the packing......




Certainly there is a lot to bring for a 140.6 mile event. I wish Campy was on my list :(
Although this event is in paradise, my days before the race will not be spent laying by the beach in a bikini, soaking up the Kona sun.
Although I have only completed 4 Ironman's (I suppose I am no expert compared to some Ironman veterans), I know what works for me at this point in my racing career. Each year, something new or different is added to my pre-race routine/packing list but overall, my packing list represents what I would do to prepare for a long weekend of training as well as what has worked for me in the past. However, in an effort to help you prepare for your upcoming event (Ironman, running race or triathlon) I'll share a few tips in an effort to get your mind ready for the upcoming event.

Prior to packing, I like to have an itinerary. I find it super helpful to have a plan of what I need to do every day. Ask any triathlete and they will tell you that the days go by very fast in the week before a long distance race. While at one point in your training the race couldn't get here any faster, but now you only wish time would slow down so you could take a few deep breaths.

On my itinerary I do the following:
1) Workouts - on the week before an Ironman, each day revolves around my workouts. Although I won't be doing much volume, I want to be sharp for my workouts and feel at ease before the day gets ahead of me. Since I am use to working out early in the morning, I plan on doing my training in the morning. I emailed Karel (coach/hubby) my plans for Wed, Thurs and Fri so that he knew my obligations as far as registration, underpants run (can't miss that!), packing my transition bags, athlete dinner and bike/gear check in. I also told him when I would like him to "workout" with me as well as when I would like a little down time. Because it is very easy to be busy ALL day in the days leading up to an Ironman, I want to give myself at least an hour or two to just relax. My parents will be volunteering on Wed and Fri as well as doing body marking on race day morning, so this allows time for Karel and myself to drive the course.
2) Schedule - I am a flexible planner. There is a lot to do to prepare for an Ironman in terms of checking in, packing bags, re-packing bags, checking in bike, etc. and I like to have a schedule so that I keep myself on track and to minimize stress. After 12+ hrs of flying, I have 3 days to get myself Ironman ready in terms of gear but I also have 3 days to enjoy the island. I don't plan on spending every hour working out and then resting in my room so my schedule allows for chunks of time when my family, Karel and myself can explore the island. Taking my mind away from the race itself (although, it is hard when the island is filled with athletes, either racing or spectating) is important to me. So, after Karel sends me my training/workouts for the week (Mon swim, Tues off/travel, Wed (Bike + run + easy float), Thurs (swim + underpants run), Fri (pre-race swim+bike+run), Sat 140.6 miles, Sun - celebrate!) I then put it my "tasks" from my itinerary (ex. registration, athlete dinner, bike/gear check-in, meals/snacks, etc.) and plan for "free" time.
3) Don't stress!! - Once I have my itinerary, I find that my mind is at ease. Also, you can pick up most forgotten items at/near your race venue or the race expo so don't get overworked if you think you forgot something.
I don't want to overwhelm myself with a huge to-do list as it is important that my body stays relaxed a I continue to taper and manage the rest of life/work. Perhaps other athletes don't like to have a schedule, but I find it helpful so that I keep myself stress-free and enjoying every moment on the days leading up to a race. I find myself smiling and laughing A LOT on the days before an Ironman and I credit my family, Karel and friends for being extremely understanding, supportive and enthusiastic in the days leading to an Ironman. I enjoy surrounding myself with people who give me energy and confidence and I think that helps me stay calm (and fun to be around) before a major event.
In addition to several massages this week (for both mind and body) and my taper training schedule, I also avoid ordering new things in the 2 weeks prior to the race. I believe in testing things out and not listening to the hype of what others are doing. Certainly, it is good to get advice from others if you are a newbie or are doing a new race, but it can become very overwhelming to try to do what everyone else is doing, especially when you have already prepared your body to the best of its ability, for this 140.6 mile event.
I recommend getting your bike serviced around 4 weeks before your race. This will likely be your last service prior to having a "tune-up" around a week or 2 before your race. 4-weeks out, this will likely be your last "big" weekend of training so if you are wanting new race wheels, cassette, brake levers or cables (to name a few) this is a good time to test them out, as well as new clothing. As for new shoes for bike/run and goggles, these should be purchased at least 2 months out to ensure that you are comfortable training with/in them, prior to swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles and running 26.2 miles. As for extras like compression, fuel belts, etc, these are often "last minute" decisions by athletes and it is important to recognize what has worked in training and in the past and to try out things prior to using them on race day. In most cases, clothing and accessories are more of a "comfort" issue than anything else so it is good to continue to use them throughout your entire training if you are considering using these products on race day.
And lastly, as for nutrition, my suggestion is to use what has worked in training. On race day you will likely use a bit more calories than normal for pre race nutrition and during the race. I recommend prioritizing LIQUID calories as to ensure that you are meeting fluid, calorie and electrolyte recommendations and to view anything else as "stomach satisfiers". You will get your "energy" from sport nutrition products (gels and sport drinks) will help you stay hydrated, fueled and chemically balanced. As for gummies, chews and solid food, I would not suggest using these items as your "primary" fuel source but rather 40-60 "extra" calories as needed throughout the race (if you choose). Take advantage of aid stations if you can tolerate what is on the course and prepare your own nutrition plan for the race based on what has worked best in training. Nutrition is VERY individual when it comes to the Ironman and it often changes for people year after year. I only use liquids and stay around 220 calories per hour on the bike, but in years past I would use a lot of different products (gels, food, drinks, gummies, etc.) because I wasn't as efficient with my training. Because I use Hammer as my primary nutrition source, I find myself very metabolically efficient due to proper periodized training, nutrient timing and a wholesome and balanced diet. Again, use what has worked best with you with your training and be consistent with your nutrition throughout the entire 140.6 mile event.

Here's my simple packing list:
Pre-race/after race gear:
Pants
Sweatshirt/long sleeve shirt/t-shirt
Sandals
Visor/hat
Hair bands
Watch
Sports nutrition (Hammer)
Sunscreen (spray)


Race gear:

Goggles (2)
Cap (given at registration)
Body Glide
TYR Speed suit
Safety pin (for timing chip)
Sports nutrition (bike and run)
Bike shorts (bring extra for race week workout)
Bike jersey (bring extra for race week workout)
Sports bra (for under race day outfit)
Baggies (for sports nutrition)
Oakley Women Sunglasses (2)
Aero helmet
Bike gloves
Power meter (new batteries, don't forget wire to download to WKO+)
Socks/compression (bring extra for race week workout and extra for T1 and T2 bag)
Race belt (2)
Garmin (don't forget charger!)
Spare tubulars
CO2 (buy when get there)
Fuel belt w/ flasks (bring extra)
Water bottles (3 for race day, bring extras)
Band aids
Visor
Spray sunscreen
Running shoes w/ lace locks

Extras
Permanent marker
Towels (small)
ID
USAT card

A few things. I have never used or packed (except IMFL, IM #1, but didn't use the special need bag that I packed) a special needs bag so please take that into consideration if you are planning on using/preparing one for the bike and run. This list is not finalized, I find it important to walk yourself through the event while packing and to do one sport at a time. Think about pre-race as well as race day and start with the swim, the move onto the bike and then run.
Once you have your priorities packed (all things Ironman-related), then you can pack/think about the fun stuff for exploring the island, things to keep you entertained while traveling and LOTS of snacks/food to keep your body happy.
Of course, shipping your bike will require a little extra time (and attention to detail) so plan ahead and discuss with a shipping company or with your local bike shop on helping you get your bike packed and ready. Karel will be packing our bikes on Monday and my last bike ride in Jacksonville will be on Sunday.
Here is an article that I did which you may find helpful:

Traveling with your bike

9/26/11

Kona Countdown 10 days: Kona-inspired dinner

First off...who turned up the heat and humidity in Jacksonville Florida over this past weekend??? I was beginning to get use to the 80-degree temps but I guess it was all a big tease.
After my last "long" brick (4 hour ride + 4 mile run) I spent the rest of the day resting with Karel (watching cycling on Universal Sports). Around 4pm, it was time for a 3 1/2 hour trip to Bartow Florida for Karel's 9pm criterium race. Karel absolutely LOVES criterium racing at night and this 80 min crit in downtown Bartow was no exception.


(Loving my new Oakley Women Short Sleeve Roadmap tee)



It was too dark for me to take any pics of Karel but here are two from the official photographer at the race.



It was so exciting to watch Karel race as he was really active during the race. I remember just a few years ago in 2006 when he did his first Pro 1,2 race. He was completely exhausted and after his first few races as a Category 1 rider, he continued to tell me "I don't know how those guys do it?".
After riding his bike for all of his life, now at the age of 35, I continue to be inspired by Karel for never wanting to give up and for always wanting to get better. Despite racing with many riders who race as a full-time job, Karel manages to squeeze in 250+ miles/week of training while working at least 45 hours a week as the general manager of the Trek Bicycle Stores in Jacksonville FL and I never hear him complain about anything. I feel super lucky to have Karel in my life and because of him, I continue to find myself wanting to challenge myself in both athletics and in my personal life.

On Sunday evening, my close friends (Mallory and Tyler, Kari and Adam and their beautiful twins Cameron and Logn and Ryan and Katrine) had us over for a Kona-inspired dinner. We enjoyed an evening of good food and lots of laughs (babies are super entertaining!). We caught up with Katrine and Ryan after they both placed 5th in the 25-29 age group at IMWI and had fun chatting with Mallory and Tyler who are participating in the 2-day MS 150 ride this weekend. Karel was surprised with a Key Lime "birthday" cake and I had a special "Tri Marn" cake which was made out of my blueberry muffin recipe!!
I made a yummy "Hawaiian salad" w/ spinach, star fruit, almonds, tomatoes, onions and pineapple and we ended the night by giving our friends a big THANK YOU for supporting both of us as we live a very active lifestyle. Despite our friends being super busy and active themselves, they had time to make me a beautiful card as well as a gift bag filled with thoughtful gifts for my time in Kona.
On the card, they listed several Hawaiian-inspired quotes (perhaps they know me a little too well!) and one of them spoke loud to me:

"Hawaii is the land of big dreams, for both islanders and guests. Those dreams born in Paradise can, indeed, come true" -Sharon Linnea.