On Monday October 5, 2015 after a 16 hour travel day from BOS to LAX to KOA, I arrived in Kona.. and boy was it hot and humid!
I have never seen my ankles so swollen from a plane ride, but I was happy to be in Hawaii for the first time ever and smelling the salty air. I used this awesome bike back from BIKND and it was fantastic… highly recommend it. My bike counted as luggage for American Airlines, not bad at all. I just paid the additional bag fee and sent my bike on it’s merry way. Best of all, it arrived in Hawaii all in one piece, safe and sound.
Arriving in Kona there was so much so much buzz; triathletes all about, nervous excitement all around. Even the airport that night was flooded with triathletes from all over the world. Soon I realized that I was there with the BEST of the BEST. This was not just your average triathlon setting… this was the Superbowl of triathlon and I was part of it.
I spent the days leading up to the race doing practice swims in Kailua Kona Bay, short recovery runs on Ali’i Drive and bike rides on the Queen K. I also spent time (and money) at the expo (probably too much) and some QT with my Coeur ladies. Oh and how can I forget the infamous underpants run! I’m pretty sure I walked around with a perma grin on my face the entire time leading up to the big day. Since I was there to mostly have fun, and not race for a PR, the pressure was off. I wanted to do well, but more than anything, I was there for the experience.
Here’s what I was up to before the Big Dance:
Tuesday before the race was all about registering, checking out the expo and then just relaxing. IRONMAN gave us these totally awesome Kona backpacks/dry bags. Also buying everything “KONA” at the expo #sorrynotsorry
I enjoyed my first practice swim that afternoon from Dig Me Beach. It was everything it looks like on TV and more. There were so many people swimming along the course that it looked like a freeway for swimmers. I made time to have some fun in the water with the go-pro, after all, it was an easy swim. This also included a visit to the infamous coffee boat (I don’t drink coffee but it was fun to look at). My first reaction to the water in Kona was the water is “SO SALTY.” Seriously, the saltiest of ocean water I’ve ever tasted. While swimming in the bay I couldn’t help but notice all of the tropical fish, coral and beautiful water that surrounded me. I was nervous of colliding with someone because I was in awe of where I was actually swimming.
Here are some photos and my friend Jana aka Czech Chick, splashing around in the water:
The water is so buoyant, you actually feel like you are floating – thanks to all that salt!
Wednesday – The day started with the Coeur Girls Photo Shoot – I had a blast meeting Coeur Teammates for the first time IN REAL LIFE. This was so special! Professional Photographer, Jay Prasuhn from Lava Magazine took the photos of us and we even got to model the 2016 styles. Being with these wonderful women made being on Team Coeur even MORE meaningful than it already is. SO SO SO proud to be a part of this team!!! And I must say, we had the best/prettiest kits around:) Special shout outs to Kebby and Reg Holden from Coeur for being so AWESOME and helpful the entire week!! I love my Coeur family.
Post photo shoot it was time for a practice swim, where I met pro triathlete, Liz Lyles. Crazy enough, Liz recognized me from Instagram and I was totally honored. She is super sweet in real life and I enjoyed talking with her! That’s one thing I loved about Kona, all of the pros were doing the same things leading up to the race as the amateurs… we were all in it together!
That afternoon I hit up the ART tent, which was right on the beach.. how awesome is that?! I had this awesome ART professional massage my legs and I felt as good as new! Nice little tune up before the race to work out the kinks from traveling and tapering.
Thursday was the Underpants Run (UPR) with my Coeur Ladies and Guys. I have never smiled for an entire mile like I did that morning. There are photographers, drones, screaming fans everywhere.. it was like nothing I have ever experience before. The Coeur Ladies were looking hot and we had a blast!!! What a rush of excitement that was, wow, just wow. There are literally cameras everywhere and people cheering, you feel like a celebrity. I must say, I think we had the best looking “underwear” and group of ladies (and guys) if I do say so myself… there were fit bodies everywhere… talk about the fittest of fit people running a mile all at the same time. Abs for days!
Coeur Ladies looking hot!
Me and my boyfriend, Brian goofing off 🙂
Me and Erin, friends in real life!
Later that day…
I ran into pro triathlete Beth Gerdes at the Felt Booth and had to introduce myself! She is so sweet!
And how can I forget the Banyon tree… my favorite.
Then it was time for a practice bike ride on the Queen K in the brutal wind. I actually thought I might die out there… winds were up to 50+ mph and I could barely get anywhere. The winds were supposed to get better on race day, so I tried not to freak out too much, but holy hell that was scary. Gusts were raging up to 50 mph and it was the scariest wind I have ever experience on a bike in my life. Talk about a morale bust.
Thursday night was the athlete banquet… very cool but way too long… I was ready for bed about two hours before it actually ended..
Friday was Bike Check day – walking in front of Danielle Ryf and Sebastian Kienle , star struck. Also special thanks to the Cervelo guys in Kona who helped tune up my bike for free before the race!
The day before the race was all about relaxing and trying to keep my feet up… trying to stay calm. I did go on an easy 20 minute run with Brian to shake the legs out… crazy to think about what was ahead the following day.
I watched the sunset that night, while eating my pasta dinner, thinking about the day ahead of me, not knowing what to expect. This being my second IM in 2 months there was a lot of fear and anxiety, but also a sense of readiness. I had done this before, I could do it again. It was just a matter of how the elements would treat me…
More to come…