10/7/11

Tracking for Ironman World Championship



Bike is checked in. Transition bags are hanging. Compression is on and I am waiting to pick-up my favorite pre-race meal - OUTBACK!!!

The nerves are building but what I am feeling is to be expected. I have known about this race since Sept 2011 when I qualified. I have dedicated the last 14 weeks to prepare my mind and body to be in the best possible shape for this event.

I can't wait to enjoy this experience to the fullest. Every mile I will be thinking about the past 5 years and all the obstacles and exciting moments that have occurred in my life. Knowing that there were many times in the past 5 years when I could have given up on pursuing my athletic and personal goals, makes me proud to have this opportunity.

I can't tell you how much I appreciate the emails, text messages, facebook messages and kind words that I have received in the past week. More than that, I am so thankful to have so many supportive people in my life, who have believed in me no matter what I set my mind to in life. Thank you.


For tracking/watching the event tomorrow, links to the race will be on this page:
IM World Championship

BIB NUMBER: 1846
Last name: SUMBAL
Age group: W25-29


You can watch the entire race, which will start around 12 or 1pm EST on Ironmanlive.com. I highly recommend watching as much of the race as you can online (especially the swim start at 6:30am for the pro's and 7a for the age groupers - Kona time, 6 hours earlier from EST as well as the run). The pro race will be extremely exciting and there are always nice stories on featured athletes.

You can follow along with the pros and the age groupers by putting in the information that I listed above (that is my info) as there will be several check-points along in the race.

If you are new to IM tracking or Kona tracking, there are a few things to consider while "watching" all of us athletes on the course.
The swim course is a mass start...this makes for an exhausting but fast swim for many of us.
The bike course has a quick section in town with a few short climbs and an in-town out and back section, before we head out onto the Queen K hwy. We hit HAWI around mile 53 where we will have a 6 mile climb to the turn-around point. At this point, we descend down 6 miles in what is typically the start of some brutal crosswinds. Typically, the winds pick up in the late morning but that doesn't mean it won't be windy for all 112 miles. However, it is typical and not unusual to have crosswinds and headwind, with gusts up to 60 mph, for at least 40 miles, heading back into town. Pacing is extremely important on this course (thank goodness I have my power meter!!) so bike check-points may vary along the course. I will be focusing on my average pace, not necessarily trying to hold a certain "speed" throughout the entire 112 mile ride. Today when I was warming up I was soft-pedaling at 23 mph with watts below 90 but on the way back into town, I felt the wind and my power was in the upper 160 (watts) and I was holding around 18mph.
The run has an out and back section in town where the crowds will be cheering like crazy. Both the bike and the run include a super steep climb up Palani drive (out of transition and leads up to the Queen K hwy). There is a turn around at the church on Ali and then once we make our way on Queen K, we have 6ish long miles until we reach the natural energy lab. I think this section is a short 2 miles out and back, but then we have 6 long miles back into town..where we then feel the energy and get that much closer to the long-awaited finish line.

(almost set up!)
The Queen K hwy is NOT flat and there are many gradual climbs. The entire run course has ZERO shade so ANYTHING can happen on the run.

Thank you again for tracking. This has been the most wonderful experience and I am really looking forward to crossing my 5th Ironman finish line.

Best of luck to the Jacksonville Hammerhead tri club (shawn, tony, kevin, kerry, don, susan, libby) and I'm wishing that all the athletes have a safe, fun and memorable race..I'm hoping that we can all have the race of our life...the race that we have dreamed about while pouring our heart and souls into every training session leading up to Kona.

Kona Countdown - LAST DAY!!



"Being relaxed, at peace with yourself, confident, emotionally neutral, loose, and free-floating - these are the keys to successful performance in almost everything."
-Dr. Wayne W. Dyer


The energy is building on the island and the weather is AMAZING!! Last night at the opening athlete banquet, it POURED for almost 30 minutes!!! Rain on this part of the island is not too common as most of the rain occurs in the mountains. More so, the Ironman World Championships is known to have 85-degree temps on race day but the black pavement and lava producing temps up to 115 degrees. Right now the weather is a "cool" upper 70/low 80 degrees and feels refreshing.
Of course, the winds are still brewing out on the Queen K so, without a doubt, Saturday (regardless of temperature) will make for an incredibly challenging day. Then again, there is no thing as an "easy" Ironman so it is what it is and we will all hope for a safe race day.

As I write this blog post early on Friday morning, the day before the 2011 Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii, I must quote Shawn Burke on his FB post (Karel's coach and a many-x Kona qualifier) "Kona is cloudy and "cool" again this afternoon...1600 people hoping for it to be like this on Saturday means there is probably NO chance".

After Karel finished his 3.5 hr ride (with over 5300 feet of climbing), we relaxed (after I packed my transition bags), ate lunch at the condo and headed up to the mountains to Greenwell Farms for a coffee tour and lots of free samples of coffee.
Here's the website for more info: http://www.greenwellfarms.com/
I highly recommend this tour/visit if you get a chance to come to Kona. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and I learned a lot. Karel tasted all the different types of coffee and what a difference to taste hand-picked, 100% Kona coffee. Karel is the real coffee drinker as I enjoy 1 or 2 cups in the morning, but we both enjoyed the smooth taste of the delicious coffee from Greenwell Farms.

Around 4pm we were back in the condo and I had a little snack before resting my eyes for the second time on Thursday. I am a horrible napper as it is not easy for me to turn-off my brain and sleep in the middle of the day but coach Karel has been keeping an eye on me (and my bike) making sure that I am doing everything possible to prepare myself for Saturday. I seriously don't know what I would do without the support of my parents and Karel. Having them here with me is the best feeling in the world.

Around 5:45pm we made our way behind the host hotel for the outdoor, athlete banquet and dinner. The food was absolutely amazing!!! Not sure about the meat/fish selections but the Marni-friendly food was wonderful!!! I hade roasted veggies, pasta salad, potato salad, salad, fresh fruit, bread and veggie lasagna. Although the food was super delicious, the performances were great! The theme for the 2011 Ironman World Championship is Ko Aloha La Ea - Keep Your Love (http://ironman.com/events/ironman/worldchampionship/dawn-henry-describes-this-years-ironman-world-championship-theme#axzz1a28ITb9y)
and each performance was dedicated to the theme. The motivational words by announcer Mike Riley and the videos gave me chills. I have this indescribable feeling that my body and mind is ready and hungry to compete for 140.6 miles and I am honored to share the course with so many inspiring and motivated athletes from around the world.










10/6/11

Kona Countdown 1 more day: creating memories

I always learn so much about myself, life and my body witin every Ironman Journey. I learn about my ability to overcome obstacles and I also become aware of my limits. But when I train for an Ironman, there is nothing more special than creating memories with those who I love and who have supported me in every Ironman journey. Additionally, I love being able to inspire others through my blog, emails and facebook, and to encourage others to set and pursue individual dreams and goals.

I received a few emails from close friends yesterday regarding an article on Triathlete online that was recently published. What would I do without my faithful friends!
The article was on
7 inspiring age-group athletes who are participating in Kona. It is a privilege to share this article with 6 other, amazingly talented and inspiring athletes who all are not afraid to "go for it". Sometimes it just takes a single step or a thought to get started but most of all, we should never be afraid to make the decision that we are going to change our life...RIGHT NOW!!! Why wait until tomorrow?

“If there is no passion in your life, then have you really lived? Find your passion, whatever it may be. Become it, and let it become you and you will find great things happen FOR you, TO you and BECAUSE of you.”

I created lots of memories on Wednesday.
While Karel and myself were out exploring the island on bikes and feet, my parents were volunteering at athlete check-in/registration (from 8:30-2:30). As I ate my yummy french toast (w/ PB), scrambled eggs and fruit (peaches, kiwi and banana) out on the patio, I relaxed as I waited for Karel to finish "fine-tuning" some of our friends' bikes. There are 8 of us from Jacksonville Florida here in Kona and I am so excited for our Hammerhead Triathlon Club crew to represent here on the Big Island!

After Karel did his magic on a few Trek Speed Concepts, we made our 10 min walk to the pier (swim start/transition area) and then headed to the host hotel. My dad greeted us at the door to tell me where to go to Register.

I love all of the "steps" during Ironman week because the volunteers make you feel so incredibly special. I thank every single volunteer for taking their time to help us out. The lady who checked me in said that she has volunteered for the past 10 years...and she isn't from Hawaii!!! That is just wonderful.

After signing lots of papers, I finally received my race packet w/ my transition bags (5 of them - I will discuss in later blog post when I pack my bags), chip w/ timing strap, 2 race numbers w/ my name on them, a bike sticker, helmet sticker, bike number and an awesome Ironman World Championship backpack w/ poster, goodies and race guide.

Karel and myself checked out the Ironman expo and then made our way to the HUGE athlete village. We made a quick stop at the pier to check out the fishies. We both had goggles so we swam a little above the water, but mostly submerged ourselves to check out the beautiful coral and LOTS of fishies!!

After our fun dip/play in the ocean, I made sure to say hello to the 110% Play Harder booth and to thank them for allowing me to be an Elite Jacksonville, FL Team member and for making the BEST gear for recovery.
http://www.110playharder.com/index.htm

I also ran into Chris Lieto at the Trek boot/tent and told him how we are rooting for him and are so proud to be part of the Trek Family.

We made a stop at the well-known, hot spot hang-out, LAVA JAVA cafe and Karel got a coffee. On our walk back to the condo, we stopped at the Farmers Market where I smiled at the huge assortment of local fruits and veggies and couldn't resist bringing home some local produce to fill my kitchen.

The rest of the day we relaxed and made a quick stop at the local grocery for some food for dinner.

This morning Karel and me made our way down Ali drive to the swim start where the Hammerhead tri crew gathered in our AWESOME custom-made shirts (Thank you Shawn Burke!!!) for a few pics.

While I got myself ready for a swim, Karel met a group for a hilly 3-hour local group ride.

I checked in my gear at the swim start and put on my TYR speedsuit. My good friend Ange met me at the swim and since we are both pretty close with our swim times we swam together for 20 minutes in the bright blue ocean. The water was really choppy but seeing the bottom of the ocean floor was priceless. Ange and I swam out about 10 min, did lots of spotting as there were SO many athletes out swimming and then made our way back.

After the swim it was time for the notorious Underpants Run which was a blast! My parents met me for the super short run and it was nice to see everyone smiling with only 1 more day until race day.
I saw several familiar faces and lots of half-naked bodies. I took pics with Beth and Kim (Team Ballou Skies) and we both smiled proudly as we are all three Registered Dietitians!!
I then spotted Jackie Arendt (Pro, Team Timex) who gave me her slot last year at IMWI as she just turned pro this year!! I can't stop thanking her for if it wasn't for her turning from age grouper to Pro, I wouldn't have had the opportunity to participate in this event. Go Jackie....best of luck!!

What a fabulous two days and I can't believe the athlete dinner banquet is tonight!!
After I pack my transition bags here shortly, we will be heading up to the mountains for a tour of a local coffee factory.

Hope you enjoy my pics!
























10/5/11

Kona Countdown 2 days: Aloha oukou!!

Aloha kakahiaka!!!


We have arrived and the big island of Kona is no less beautiful than the first time I came here in 2007. However, this time around I am not injured, I am a stronger and smarter Ironman athlete, Karel is with me, my parents are volunteering 3x this week, I am no longer a "student" and I am really, truely, absolutely enjoying every single second and making sure I soak up every minute on this island. Although I am here to race this Ironman World Championships and put my training to the test, digging deeper than I have ever dug before, I will not push beyond what I have trained my body to do as the Ironman is not about the fastest athlete, but the smartest - the one who slows down the least.

Our trip went very smoothly. Continental was great with our bikes and followed up with us on the plane that our precious cargo was with us, heading to Houston. Pheww. Once we got to Houston, Karel and myself passed time by eating breakfast and stretching our legs. This trip is very special as it is Karel's first time to Hawaii and our longest trip together since we met in 2006. I absolutely love creating memories with him and I have a feeling this Ironman is going to be really special for the both of us.

Around 9:30am on Tues, it was time to board our 8 hour and 20 minute flight to Honolulu. I pre-packed a full bag of food including 2 bagel sandwiches (PB and J), a tofu and cheese w/ veggie sandwich for me, carrots, pears, kiwi, bananas, pears, apples, almonds and a carb "trail" mix of pretzel thins, triscuits, mini teddy grahams and cheerios. In order to acclimate as quick as possible, I napped (or rested my eyes) every few hours, ate small snacks/mini meals (ex. 1/2 sandwich or fruit and nuts) every 2-3 hours and tried to get my mind onto kona time. Thank goodness for my compression tights and stretching/standing every hour because I found myself getting more and more energy as the day went on.

Once we arrived to Honolulu, we had a 3 hour layover which made for a perfect time to have a great meal at Stinger Rays. I had a great fiesta salad and the waiter let me substitute fruit for the chicken that came on the salad. Hawaii has the nicest people and they have this amazing way of making you feel incredibly special.

About an hour before our 37 minute flight to Kona (which was filled with LOTS of bike cases under the plane), we met up with my parents who left an hour after us. It was GREAT to see them and they are super excited for their second time to Kona. My parents have never missed one of my Ironman events and I just love having them around. However, not sure how much I will see them 'cause they are volunteering on Wed (athlete registration), Fri (bike check-in), Sat (body marking). My parents just LOVE the Ironman and I just LOVE the volunteers that make this event so very possible for all of us athletes.

Once we touched down in Kona, Karel and myself were totally on Kona-time. A bit tired due to our long day but ready to stretch our legs. To make sure we had a good night of sleep and didn't wake up at 2am (or around 8am EST), we had a nice pizza dinner on Ali drive around 6:30 and my parents went to the grocery (wal-mart) to stock our fridge.

After Karel put together our bikes, we were ready for bed around 8:45am.
*Karel always suprises me with something new on my bike before an Ironman. One of my favorite surprises was a pink chain but this year I have awesome white handlebar tape, aerodynamic quick-release skewers and a new crank. Thank you Karel!!!

After a great night of sleeping, I woke up at 5:45 and was super glad that I was able to adjust to the new time zone so quickly. I had a WASA cracker w/ PB along with my coffee and around 7am, Karel and I headed to the Queen K for a LONG awaited bike ride.

The wind was already picking up and it was hot but nothing abnormal for this Florida girl. I welcome very similar conditions to my summer in Florida and I am about to explode with energy...which I am saving for race day.

It is very easy to do too much before an Ironman, especially in Kona. Therefore, I am sticking to my schedule, focusing on my electrolytes, calories and hydration and making sure that I am well-rested for race day.

Today I did 5 intervals on the Queen K (main hwy that we bike and run on) which included 3 x 3 min IM watt pace intervals and 2 x 5 min intervals. Karel rode behind me on my intervals and I drafted behind Karel during my 5 min recovery. Of course I had to stop a few times for pics but overall, I felt amazing.

After a 1 hr and 22 minute bike ride, I headed back to the condo (which is .5 miles from start/finish) and grabbed my fuelt belt and visor for a 20 min run. I warmed up a mile (which felt effortless despite it being really hot) and did 4 x .25 mile fast around 6:05 min/mile pace. I didn't realize I was flying as I will NOT be running that fast on race day but today was all about waking up the legs and just getting a feel of how my body is feeling. I have to say...body and mind are feeling rested and energized.

Karel finished his ride with another hour or so climbing the mountains. He said the climbs just went on and on and he is just loving it here.

Well, time to go check-in, get weighed and get my transition bags, wristband, chip and cap. Here's a few pics from our 22 hour day on Tuesday and our first morning in Kona. Thanks for all your support...I am smiling a lot here in Kona as I think of everyone who has supported, believed in and have inspired me to pursue my Ironman dreams.


10/3/11

Kona Countdown 3 days: Up, up and away....

I am writing this on Mon evening but when you read this, it is likely that Karel, me and our bikes will be making our long trip to the big island. Our plane leaves super early so that makes for a 3:45am wake-up call, a hopeful smooth check-in with luggage and two bikes and a 6am lift off for the first of three flights. ETA 4:30pm Kona time (10:30pm EST)...hopefully with two bikes :)
Bags are packed and I have PLENTY of TriMarni food to keep our blood sugar stable and bellies happy throughout our 19 hour day. I'm super excited to get there and see my parents, who arrive 1 hour after us. We are staying at a condo, about .5 miles from the start/finish so that makes for easy walking to Ironman village. My furry (and fishy) crew will be well-taken care of when we are away but I'm already missing my furry best friend. It's always hard to leave Campy but Karel has been keeping me in good spirits, telling me that it is time for Campy to go to "Camp" as he will be able to play with his furry best friend Bman (Beethoven) at Laura's house.



My last meal in Jacksonville, FL was super scrumptious and left me feeling great as I relaxed with Karel. After over 13 months of waiting, the time is finally here and we are heading to Kona!!
Karel's plate:
Fresh bread w/ hummus and chopped garlic
Edamame
Carrots
Salmon patty (courtesy of Whole Foods)
Rice (not pictured)

My plate:
Bed of romaine
Black beans
Rice
Sweet potato fries (made in the oven, tossed in olive oil and sprinkled with no-salt seasoning and a pinch of sea salt and pepper)
Grilled tofu (made in oven, sprinkled with paprika and crushed fresh garlic)
Tomatoes
Onions
Fresh cheese (shredded)
Edamame (not pictured - snacked on it w/ hummus while cooking this meal)


Since I have lots of reading to keep me occupied on our trip (in addition to a new book of Sudoku), I thought I would share a few of my latest articles. I hope you enjoy them!

Taking Your “Plate” to the Big Island : LAVA Magazine


Getting spicy in the kitchen


Kona By the Numbers : LAVA Magazine

If you want to follow along with all the Kona action, be sure to LIKE Triathlete magazine, LAVA magazine and Ironman World Championship on Facebook. Lots of great articles and info.


Also - my amazing Oakley Women ambassador friends (and myself) would love to share this video with you....What's your athletic/personal goal for 2011 as well as for 2012???

10/2/11

Kona Countdown 4 days: Dear Body

Dear Body,
Last year I wrote you a Letter, thanking you for all the finish lines that you have allowed me to cross.
IMFL

Ironman World Championships, Hawaii

IMKY

IMWI


Once again, I find it very important to give you the "thanks" that you deserve in helping me reach my number one goal of getting to every IM starting line. In the closing of my last letter, I told you how much I wanted to qualify for Kona. Of course, you knew that since you endured many long hours of training in order to gain the strength that was necessary to race the girls in the 25-29 age group at Ironman Wisconsin. Well, body - WE did it and I can't thank you enough.

It's been 13 months since I wrote you a letter and perhaps this letter could not have come at a more appropriate time.
I am four days away from racing in my 2nd Ironman World Championship and my 5th Ironman triathlon. We are 29 years of age and can you believe that we are still going strong at learning how to race for 140.6 miles?

Body, we have a great relationship. I really do love you a lot. I am proud to call you MY body. I realize that we have had our ups and down, moments in life where I didn't like the way you looked and I was likely a little too hard on you for something so trivial. But you know what, you told me to focus on progress. I listened. You showed me that I need to respect you and that you are not perfect. I listened. You told me not to be so hard on myself as life should not revolve around food, calories and body composition. I listened. My happiness is not determined by a number on a scale and I know that there is no purpose of having a lean or toned body, if I can't do anything with it.
It's been a few years since I have had all those negative thoughts and I am so fortunate that I found many other positives in my life to distract me from the constant pressures of looking a certain way. You wanna know something body, the way I feel about myself right now is indescribable. I removed the negative words in my vocabulary like fat, bad, off-limit and I acquired a sense of balance in order to stay focused with my personal goals. 'Cause frankly, my weight and the way I look has nothing to do with my career, athletics and ability to love others. The most important thing is that I give love to myself.

Body, what I find so wonderful about you is that my weight has nothing to do with achieving my goals. For if I provide you with the right nutrients, I know that you are going to enjoy every workout that we do together. My weight does not determine if I will have a good or bad workout and when I am out, getting a good sweat, I know I am working towards my performance goals and not working out to burn calories. Body, I do not restrict food and we have worked really hard in developing a healthy relationship with food. After so many years, I think we have made great progress and we are on our way to a lifetime of happiness, health and fun.

Body, we spend every day together and body and there is not a day that I am not proud to live my life with you. My passion in life is providing you with quality food as I hope to live a long, quality-filled life. There are so many places in this world that I want you to see, so many adventures that I want to take you on and so many people that I want to help. I promise that I will always nourish you in order to reduce risk for disease and to keep you at a healthy weight and I promise to respect you when you are sore, tight or feeling overworked.

Body, you repeatedly tell me that life is all about balance. Remember my 3 day TriMarni training camp, when I took you to Coldstone w/ my family and Karel and we all enjoyed REAL ice cream without feelings of guilt? There was no way that I would choose fat free, sugar free, etc. as that is not real food and I only want to give you the best. That was a lot of fun and Campy LOVED licking my cup. Because it was an occasional treat, we enjoyed every yummy bite and life continued on as normal, without any harsh feelings of eating "bad" or as if I "failed" you. It's moments like that where I am proud to eat well most of the time so that we don't have to worry about the rest of the time.

Now I have to admit, you have a way of confusing me, at times, of what you want to eat after intense or long workouts... but I think I figured you out. For it isn't that you are asking for ice cream, a few bowels of cereal, something fattening and rich or a bakery treat. Rather, you are asking me to give you something nutritious and balanced. For at one time I thought that I could treat myself to something indulging after every long workout but when I thought deep and hard about what you were really wanting me to provide you in order to refuel, repair and rejuvenate, I quickly recognized that in order to reward you for all your hard work in training, it was necessary to provide you with quality fuel to prepare for future workouts.

This past year has been filled with tribulations and blessings, but not one day has been taken for granted. We have been through a lot and I think this is the perfect time to thank you for all you have allowed me to accomplish.

Body, it is funny how life provides us gaps in life to really soak up the moment. But don't you find that life passes on by, way too quickly? Sometimes it's hard to find opportunities in life to become a better person, to reach dreams and accomplish goals but body, but I love it how we like to search out those opportunities. Life will never always be perfect but we can certainly make the most of our days, here on earth.

Body, you have taught me so much over the past decade of my life. So much of my adult life has been dedicated to endurance sports and setting athletic goals for myself to achieve. But in this last year, I had a different reason for living.

For the past 3 years, but more specifically, from July '10 - May '11, my life revolved around dietetics. Despite wanting you to help me reach my personal athletic goals, I asked a lot of you to help me reach my educational goals of becoming a Registered Dietitian. In doing this, you were extremely stressed, tired and overwhelmed with information but you were also required to be sharp and alert - so I didn't fail my internship!

As much as I wanted to balance it all, something had to give. In February of 2011, you gave me a wake-up call that I was doing too much and it was time to take a back seat from structured training and just exercise.

Although I cried a lot and envied everyone who was able to use their two legs in order to run freely while enjoying the outdoors, you told me to be patient and that it would all be worth it. You told me to not focus on what I CAN'T do but rather what I CAN do.

Well, body..once again, you were right. I was able to take my passion for triathlons and move it to my internship but still live my triathlon lifestyle. Rather than wanting to become a better triathlete, my purpose for life was dedicated to becoming a better dietitian and living a healthy and active lifestyle.



After 3 separate internship rotations (community, food service and clinical), alongside MANY finals, exams, portfolio's and projects, it was time to study for the RD exam. I was SO stressed before taking the National Registered Dietitian Exam in June 2011, but you told me that I had prepared you in the best possible way.

It's kinda crazy but body, every journey that I take you on, you make me more and more proud to be alive and healthy in order to experience everything in life. I don't know how you do it but you have showed me, once again, that life is all about balance and appreciating every opportunity that comes into my life.

I realized that I CAN do it all, so long as I make realistic goals, keep life balanced and remove pressure to be perfect at everything. For the only person I have to please is you. You are all I got body, we are in this together for the rest of my life.

Although I don't want you to be perfect, I think you are really awesome. Thinking about all of the courageous people in the world who battle with uncontrollable diseases and illnesses, I think we have it pretty good and it would be silly of me to focus on your meaningless aesthetic imperfections that have nothing to do with my health, pursuit as an active individual and purpose of living a quality life. For no matter the number on the scale, I know that I am doing my part in providing you with food that fuels my active lifestyle and making you move on a daily basis.

Body, this past year has been amazing and I could not thank you enough for helping me overcome all of the obstacles that make life so bitter sweet. My 3 goals over the past year were to fuel you with quality food, to keep you moving and to respect you when you speak to me. Although I admit that I doubted you at times, you continually showed me in the smallest ways that this year was going to be a great year.

What a year....
July - started my 10 month dietetic internship
Sept - participated in my 4th Ironman, qualified for the Ironman World Championships
Feb - May - wasn't able to run due to hip issues
May - finished my 10 month dietetic internship
June - passed the National RD exam and started my new job as a clinical dietitian
July - started my 14-week "KONA" training plan
Oct - ??????

Just a few more days until Oct 8th 2011. I can't believe the time is here for the Ironman World Championships! I do not ask a lot of you as I know I have trained you in the best possible way and you are in the best shape of your life. Body, I can't believe I MADE you the strong, healthy and educated person that you are today. It wasn't easy, but I never gave up. Body, please don't ever give up on me 'cause I will never give up on you.

So, body. In order to compete in the gusty winds and blistering heat that makes the big island of Kona so amazingly remarkable, I only ask of one thing.

Please give me the strength to dig deep when I forget how much I want this.... as 140.6 miles is a long way to go and there will be times when I will be hurting and want to give up on my dreams. Remind me of the many great days in training and in life, where I felt so lucky to be alive....lucky just to be able to move without pain. Body, when a bad moment comes (which I know there will be more than one), give me ability to connect the body to the mind, as I did so many times during training. Remind me that my life does not revolve around this race and life WILL go on but don't be afraid to find that inner strength that is necessary to get to the next mile, and the next, etc. Body, please shower me with positive thoughts throughout race day. Fill my head with cheers from all of the people who have supported me and have believed in me. I absolutely do not mind if you send those cheers to the other athletes on the course, because at times, they may need them more than me. Lastly,
have a great time and don't forget to smile (for the pictures, of course). Enjoy every single mile of this event as there are many people out there who would (and do) give everything to think, dream and try to do an Ironman.

Body, thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for allowing me to reach my personal athletic goals as well as giving me the gift of passion of being able to inspire others to reach both personal and athletic goals.

Love always and forever, Marn