I tried to not rush our IM Kona journey but somehow, it all seemed to happen so fast!
Before we knew it, we were packing and packing and packing for our 2-week trip to Kona, Hawaii.
This past weekend was rainy and cool which made it easier to pack and also to get excited to head to the big island on Tues morning.
Karel packed up our bikes on Sunday and by Monday, we were gathering last minute items for our trip and making sure our house was ready for our departure.
I dropped off the cats with my mom on Monday afternoon but just couldn't part with Campy just yet. Karel and I needed one more sleep with our little nugget.
On Tuesday morning, we woke up around 5:45am to give myself time to answer some emails before a full day of traveling and to pack-up the car. With Tuesday being a day off from working out for me and Karel, we took Campy on a long walk before we headed out at 7:30am to head to my mom's house.
Sadly, Campy didn't know he was not going on a road trip with us but instead, heading to his "Grandma's" house for his vacation but nonetheless, he really enjoyed his trip in the car.
It was a rainy day so we had a lot of traffic in route to my mom's but on the bright side, it was a little extra time with Campy.
We dropped off Campy with my mom and like always, he was excited to see his Grandma (and be reunited with his sisters). By 8:20am, we were off for our 2.5 hour drive to ATL.
Not only was it national coffee day, but Karel had a free birthday coffee from Starbucks so he went big with the quad venti latte. We had a good laugh from the Starbucks fail on the name.
Hmmmm. Carlo doesn't sound Czech but I think Karel can pull it off.
Atlanta is often much more affordable for us (even with paying for off-site parking) to fly in/out of so we don't mind the 2.5 hour drive. When we lived in Jacksonville, we would do the same thing and fly out of Orlando. Also with flying with our bikes, the less stops, the better.
We parked in the hourly parking garage across the street and checked in only our bags and bike case and then went back to the car to drive to our off-site parking ($2.90 per day) at a nearby hotel (1.5 miles away) with our carry on bags. The shuttle for the hotel was there when we parked, which worked out perfectly. I allowed us extra time for our drive which was good because we had a few delays in route to ATL due to the bad weather.
Finally, around 12:30pm, we were passed security and officially "in route" to Kona.
We were ready for lunch before our flight so I ordered the warm vegetarian eggplant, mozzarella and roasted red pepper sandwich on ciabatta bread (which was delicious!) from the Boars Head Cafe and Karel ordered a burrito from Qdoba Mexican Grill.
Our flight from ATL to LAX was around 4.5 hours - a warm-up for our 5 hour and 18 minute flight from Lax to Kona. Luckily, we each had TV's on the seat back in front of us which made the time pass by quickly.
I packed a bag of snacks so that we wouldn't get hungry (hungry athletes on a plane are no fun to be around).
After a smooth flight, we were ready to stretch our legs during our 2 hour layover. However, our arrival gate was right next to our next departure gate so we walked to a place to eat and enjoyed our "dinner" at 4pm pacific time.
We ate at Rock and Brews and Karel ordered the steak sandwich with fries (I stole some fries) and
I ordered a delicious salad with sundried tomatoes, hardboiled eggs (I asked for one but they gave me two), goat cheese, pine nuts, onions and cucumbers on a bed of greens with the dressing on the side.
Dinner was excellent and totally hit the spot.
And finally, it was time to head to Kona!!
There were a handful of athletes on the plane which kinda made it all feel a bit more real that we were not only flying to the beautiful island of Kona for vaca but instead traveling to Kona to race in the Ironman World Championship.
I was super restless on the flight and had trouble sitting still so I was up and down a lot on the flight. Seeing that we had been up since 5:45am EST and didn't land until 8pm Hawaiian time (2am EST), I managed to rest my eyes for about an hour on our flight. Karel is a great napper and sleeper on planes so he slept a lot more than I did. My body/mind doesn't know how to nap.
When we travel, I try to book aisle seats for one of us and whenever possible, I try to book two aisle seats next to each other so Karel and I can both stretch our legs and get up as often as we want to stretch.
It was a bummer to fly in at night as seeing the big island of Kona from above is really cool but we were just so happy to step outside the plane and smell Hawaii. Seriously, the thick humid, fresh air mixed with the ocean smells amazing.
We picked up our luggage rather quickly (the Kona airport is very small and all outdoors) but waited and waited and waited for our bikes. Apparently, a different luggage cart was designated for the 30 bike cases on our plane and arrived to the baggage pickup area about 15 minutes later.
We finally got the most important piece of luggage that we packed and it was time to get the rental car from Budget (Ford Escape) and head 7 miles down the road on the Queen K hwy to the town of Kailua Kona.
Because we qualified for Kona last year in September, I was able to book our condo on VRBO.com soon after IM Kona last year in October and I found the perfect one bedroom condo with a water view (also overlooking Ali'i drive) at the Kona Plaza condos. And a great deal too!
I knew of this place because my parents, Karel and I stayed at the Kona Plaza Condos (on a different floor) for my 2nd trip to the big island in 2011 (two bedrooms). It's in the perfect location with it being a short walk (less than 7 minutes) away from the Ironman swim start/finish and it has a big underground parking garage.
Stay tuned for the recap of our first official day in Kona.
To keep up with the happenings of our Ironman World Championship race-cation, you can follow us on Facebook at Trimarni Coaching and Nutrition.