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Monday, November 17, 2008

KONA- Part 2...

Oh yeah..so Shave Ice. That is where I left off. I swore by it. Everyday, right before sunset, I would have a large one...sometimes with the frozen yogurt inside. It was so good. I really really love that stuff. Wouldn't have it everyday if I were not training or racing, but a definite treat.

The day or two before the race, people were still running around training heaps, as if they hadn't trained enough for it. I am sure there are countless people who are injured that go into Kona- because they qualified at a race so far before the actual October dance, yet they are not going to miss this- the most important one of the season. I mean, there are lots of people who end up walking the marathon, just to finish and say they completed Kona. Not sure if I would have been able to do the same, but I wasn't in their shoes. Very very tough to NOT do Kona, a race that you worked so hard to qualify for- some people, spending their entire lives to do the big race.

The day before, I was getting all of my stuff ready. Monty went out with me to do a short jog, and then Lisa gave me her skin suit to try for the swim. I was thinking about it- as we can't wear wetsuits for the swim. I was thinking that I would wear the fast suit, but then again...was also thinking it would be too much hassle. After all, had never wore one in a race before, or even practiced enough in it. I decided to shave instead- I shaved everything, from my arms, to my legs of course, to my hands, to my feet, to my tummy...everything that was exposed to water and would feel the fastness of the shaven skin against the water.

I had all of my Transition bags packed and headed into the T-Area to check my bike and get my bags ready. The bike count at Kona is always crazy. Lots of bike people sitting at the entrance of the Transition area counting the brands of bikes. Cervelo won again this year, much thanks to Wellington and her wins. Kuota was in 2nd place, though. Good job for them. Honestly to me- it is really not about the bike. I was on a Felt that I had to borrow in order to win Oceanside, so that worked that day for me. It was really me who biked the shit out of that course- not the bike. But, honestly, it might be my Kueen-K who shows up this weekend and bikes hard on the Tempe course. Looking forward to this weekend for sure!

I had a nice dinner prior to the race. I had a cheeseburger with some fries, and a beer. Pretty good mix of carbs, fat and protein. No need to watch your calories the night before the race. I never do. In fact, the entire week before, I try to eat healthy in healthy portions. I don't always eat red meat, but the night before, it gives me the extra boost of energy.

I went back to the hotel and fell asleep by 10 o'clock. I was getting a ride in the morning at about 4:45, and I thought that would be plenty of sleep. Honestly, I don't sleep all that well the night before a race, but that night, I really did sleep well. I slept very well. So, when the morning came, I was ready.. Heat or winds, bring it on...

Part 3- Race Report- to come...

Friday, November 14, 2008

KONA RACE REPORT- Finally! (Part 1)

Okay...so, I apologize for this taking so long, but I am finally done with it. I mean, I have let the entire experience soak in and now I can finally publish all the sights, sounds, feelings, and emotions of the week..in this little space. I am not going to tell all, just most- and if I forget anything, that is ok- I am sure I will remember in another blog...

I might even split this up into Part 1/Part 2...

Part 1: The days leading up to the race...The race is on October 11th. I got to Kona on the 3rd and was hanging out by myself for a few days. I checked into the Royal Kona Resort and had a room right on the water. I was hungry, so went down to eat at Huggos on the water- and had a waiter who had done Kona 10+ times wait on me- and tell me his stories. Campbell is his name. We had a great chat and over a traditional Mai Tai and steak dinner, it couldn't be any better. I woke up the next morning and saw what the stretch of Ali'i drive was going to be like- and found Lava Java. Yes, everyone and their mother goes there for coffee fill and food- way over-priced, but did I mention- EVERYONE goes there :) It is a great place to meet other tri dorks and see the pros- If you are into that...

I tested the waters at the swim start. I was only 1 mile away, so I would run nice and easy to the water in the morning, swim for 40 mins, and then run back (hittin' up LJ on the way back). You can imagine the water- clear as you can see down, fish the colors of the rainbow...and, rough and rugged triathletes tearin' through the water and not paying attention to the beauty around them. That is what I wasn't getting- so many people training, so serious..everywhere you looked. I vowed to not fall into that trap and enjoy the beauty that I was taking in...and, still, get focused. You can do both, you really can. This water was just unbelievable- nothing like East Beach or Manhattan- or even LaJolla..or even Laguna. Laguna- maybe 1/3 as clear as the beach in Kona..maybe...

Still...breaking in my surroundings. I had 3 nights at the Royal Kona, and then, was going to move back up the road a bit to my permanent stay Condo, in which my coach Rachel sponsored me for (you are awesome coach!! thank you so much again). I had met a few Belgian guys at Huggos and we had decided to meet for a little ride out on the Hwy- 2 hours or so, easy spin, on the 5th. So, we did, and I had my first taste of what the scenery was like. I knew that part of the ride was going to be through these lava fields, and then, once a left hand turn made up to Hawi, I was going to see a bit more of a windy-type/far-off ocean view scene, with some brush trees blowing in the gusts...I shouldn't get ahead of myself- didn't do that with the Euro guys during the ride, just FFWD to the race...not there yet. Still on Part 1.

Every night, I had to fend for some dinner- and you had to eat out, always. I wanted to meet as many peeps as possible and share some non-tri stories, but that was pretty hard to do. I met a guy Nate at the pool at the RKR, and we shared a dinner that night and chatted. he lives in San Diego- and had gotten into the race via Lottery. That is cool, I must say. I have nothing against peeps who qualified and/or did lottery- everyone deserved to be there. But, Nate was saying peeps gave him some grief for not "officially" qualifying- are you kidding me? Anyway, we had a great dinner. His entire fam was coming to watch. I had Monty coming, and some friends that were also racing coming. Mike and Clancy just got married- and were going to be there to watch me and some other peeps as well. Was looking forward to it!

I made my Shave Ice a ritual everyday- I am sure you read that in the previous blogs. Crocs were the official shoes of Ali'i drive, and I walked away from the race week with a pair myself- bright yellow. Super ugly shoes, but comfy as hell and definitely attention grabbers. Met a local who ended up making me a palm-leaf bracelet. I also met some great peeps at the ABC store, and my friends at the Kava Bar...Security Guard on Ali'i drive who said I had amazing Hawaii spirit- and my friend Kelly at the Condos, who took care of anything/everything I needed and also said she loved my Aloha spirit. I really could love it over there, but not sure enough to live permanently...

Well, I must go for now.. I promise to pick up where I left off. I am thinking I have 3 parts to this story...Not quite finished with Part 1..but stay tuned... Until then...I HAVE IRONMAN ARIZONA IN 9 DAYS AND I HAVE BEGUN THE MENTAL PREP AND TAPER..BRING IT ON!

~Aloha, Erika

Clancy, Mike and I

Clancy, Mike and I
SB Tri Finishers- Nice Tiles!