10/12/12: Kona – Day 3

First off, HAPPY BIRTHDAY JANEE! My beautiful wife is my everything and has been completely selfless during my preparation for this race. I owe her big time for putting up with some of my high-strung antics…We’ll also be properly celebrating her birthday on Sunday here in Hawaii!

Posted on fb on Friday:

Well, it’s almost go time. The outpouring of support that I’ve gotten from so many people the last few days and months, even from folks I don’t know very well, is incredible to me. I thank all of you, and one of my main goals tomorrow is to honor your well wishes with the absolute best that I can give. We race individually, but all of you will be in my thoughts throughout tomorrow helping to bring me to the line. I completed the toughest training I’ve ever done leading up to this race, at times thinking Bettina (my coach) might be trying to kill me ;). When the training started tapering off, the focus turned to the mental aspect needed for such a tough race and I am confident that I am prepared to suffer with the best of them. But if I suffer, I’m doing it with a smile on my face because I am grateful just to be here. I will take it all in, even if it hurts, and I will enjoy it. Thanks again to each and every one of you for your well wishes and support! Repping RACELAB, NAU, ARIZONA, and OHIO!!!

The foothills of Mauna Kea

It was CRAZY windy the higher up we went, and you can see the blowing dust in this pic

Over 9000′ up on Mauna Kea hiking to a good spot to reflect, make peace, and think about tomorrow

This dude (partially obstructed by the mirror) was riding up from who-knows-where and I’ve gotta hand it to him! It was STEEP and WINDY.

Lava, lava everywhere. Note that we’re above the clouds.

Well, I could see the telescopes at the top when I took this, but you can’t seem to see them in the pic

The bike count gauntlet at bike check-in

Mr. Rasmus Henning, a day before his retirement race

These lizards were everywhere

Millipede

It’s for real now!

10/11/12: Kona – Day 2

Cool date today haha – 10-11-12. That reminds me, I think Kevin Taddonio’s wedding was today! Congratulations! Kevin’s a really good guy, nice enough to let me borrow his Tyr Torque swimskin for this race. Him and I also had identical finishing places in our first Ironman races, which were both IMAZ, his was just two years earlier (I think).

Well, another day down on The Big Island! Loving the energy, not loving the energy I’ve expended to get around. BUT, I’m about to get a lot of great sleep, trust me, and tomorrow will primarily be spent off my feet.

I had a pretty easy time getting up at 7 today since that’s 10am AZ time. I like the time change when it’s in this direction! I ate and got into my skivvies for Kona’s famed underpants run. This is one of those Kona Ironman must-dos from what I hear, especially for a first-timer. I ended up doing an easy jog down to the start location (which took about 10 minutes, max) and found a sea of undie-clad hard-bodies, right next to the actual sea, on Ali’i Drive. The energy was fantastic and fun, we took an underpants run oath (left hand on “junk”, right hand raised) and then we “ran” the 1.2 mile course with a short session of calisthenics thrown in.

After that, we grabbed some 100% Kona coffee, my first time having the stuff, and it was tasty! Not mind-blowing, but tasty haha. We sipped that while checking out the lava beach behind the expo area. Then we headed over to the swim start area and I went on an easy swim where I passed over a massive school of fish – It was mildly scary but cool. It was awesome to be able to see the bottom/coral/fish the whole way, and funny to see some advertisements pinned to the ocean floor with rocks.

After that, I got some necessities at the race shop and went to see Kym Wilkens of Wilkens Chiropractic in Flagstaff. Her and many other ART (Active Release Therapy) practitioners journey all the way to Kona to volunteer to work on the athletes, which is incredibly awesome. She did a fantastic job of working the kinks out and then we went to eat! We then finally went back to our place where I got a much needed hour-long nap, followed by a short bike-run brick. I finally got to ride on the Queen K! The road is super smooth and I loved it out there while taking it all in. I followed the ride with a short run, ending at my parents’ place, and we had a great dinner.

More pics below – 1, (one), O-N-E more day…

Grinning about physically being on THE famed Queen K!

10/10/12: Kona – Day 1

Whew, long day, partly because of the time change I suppose. Yesterday, we drove from Flagstaff to Phoenix, then flew to Oakland, CA where we spent the night. This morning we flew from Oakland to Kona, arriving a little before noon (3pm AZ time). After waiting quite awhile to get our rental car, we drove and checked in at Kona Hula Girl, got settled just a little bit, and then headed straight for athlete check-in, which was due to end at 2pm.

I got all of my schwag (and saw Sebastian Keinle there!) and the very next unwavering priority was food. We ate at a very good Thai place at Kuakini Hwy and Palani Rd. We were the only people there, but it was delicious! Then we walked quite a distance to the expo to check it out and to pick up my bike from Tribike Transport. Oh, how I missed my bike! I dropped it off at it’s departure location in Phoenix on 9/23, and I’ve been using David Rakestraw’s bike since. That’s not to say David’s bike isn’t rad – it’s just that my bike and I have been through some killer workouts together and we function as one…;)

While at the expo, I saw and got to talk to THE Mark Allen, and I also saw Chrissie Wellington, Leanda Cave, Luke McKenzie, and Normann Stadler. For some reason I couldn’t work up the nerve to ask Mark Allen for a picture with him haha.

After the long walk back to the car, we went back to our place, chilled a bit (literally), and headed to the grocery store. We went to a local one and were expecting higher prices than we’re used to, but these were astronomical so we headed to Safeway where we found much better prices. Then we went straight to the airport to pick up my parents who had a huge 6 hour time change to combat coupled with two layovers. We headed to their place, very close to the race venue, had Hawaiian haystacks for dinner, and went back to our place around 9pm. Below are the only pics taken today, more to come!

Mauna Kea peeking through the clouds

Where the swim takes place

My parents’ roommate