Tuesday, June 8, 2010

2010 Honu 70.3 - Fun Stuff (part 4 of 4)

This post is the bookends to the race reports. And it has pictures so D will actually scroll through it.

I got into Kona on Wednesday afternoon. Thankfully the flights were uneventful, because if they weren't I would have to spend a lot of words bitching about the airlines and what a total f***-show they all are. That fact remains, but it wasn't wagged in my face this time.

After getting the rental car, loading up my bike and finding my accommodations - which were stellar in every way, thank you very much Warren and Jonathon for helping me out, the place is unbelievable and the location is amazing, I'll be back - I sent out emails and text messages to all the peeps who were in town and made the foolish mistake to agree to meet me in person.

The incredibly fabulous Bree Wee was the first to respond. She invited me to swim with her and the Kona Aquatics team that night. After pestering her a few more times to get directions to the pool and to find some cheap, tasty place to eat - Taco Del Mar = SO GOOD I went twice - I drove around Kona and soaked in the Aloha spirit. I drove up and down Alii Drive about five times and just couldn't believe THE Ironman finishes on this little street, but it was so cool - it just gave me goosebumps.

I made it to the Kona pool and introduced myself to Bree - who is as nice in person as online - and met her little boy Kainoa who promptly whacked me with a towel by way of saying, "hello." Kids can see things in a person adults miss - he read me like a picture book and reacted accordingly. Well played, Kainoa. Well played.

I hopped in the pool and started warming up. I just paddled around in the middle lanes, figuring there is no way I would be able to keep up with the speedy lanes. Coach called everyone to the wall and announced the first set and the intervals. Easy 8 x 100 on 1:30 for lane 1 - the speedy lane. Shit, I do that no problem so I duck under a couple of lanes and there I am in the middle of the pack in the fast lane. My stroke felt like hell - no feel for the water, ass dragging, stroke all over the place - but I stuck with it and ended up clicking off sub-1:15s without breathing heavy, keeping pace with the rest of the lane, no problem. The rest of the workout was much the same and although everything still felt weird, I kept up without effort and was encouraged - my swim could really kick ass, I just need to get in the ocean to make sure.

Afterward, I changed and then grabbed some sushi for dinner and went to bed exhausted but happy to be in Hawaii. Then I woke up at 3 AM because I have been waking up at 3 AM for the past two weeks - why change now?

Thursday the Hawaii peeps stared arriving. MM caught an early flight with a friend of hers and I offered to them up at the airport. They got in a 6:30 AM, but I was going to be awake more than likely so why not pick them up. We crammed three bikes and assorted bags in the car and made MM's friend, Cody, sit in the back seat with his feet on his bag and his knees up under his chin and then headed north to where they were staying.
The highway north - the Queen K/
Queen Kaahumanu Highway - is long and for much of the way cuts through desolate lava fields. We would be racing on this highway for much of the bike course. It would not be an easy ride.

After dropping MM and Cody at their respective accommodations - actually I dropped Cody at Foodland because he didn't know what condo he was staying in or the gate code to get into the complex. It was kind of funny to leave him there on the sidewalk with his bike and bags - I got a hold of Kerrie Wlad and family. We had passed them on the highway going in the opposite direction and they were now swimming at the pier in Kona. I zipped back to my place to get swimming stuff, but by the time I got to the pier they were gone (probably out in the ocean swimming) so I changed in the car and hit Lava Java - they said they were getting brunch there after - and settled in for some stalking.

I also ate breakfast and drank coffee and messed around on my computer while I waited, so it wasn't completely weird sitting and staring at strangers - only partially weird sitting and staring at strangers. When they finally showed up they walked by me a few times without recognizing me (one of the advantages of having a hedgehog on a rooster for a profile picture is that no one recognizes you in real life) so I bought their drinks, introduced myself and promptly inserted myself into their family vacation. We hung out while they ate and chit-chatted. They are an incredibly cool family and I'm not just saying that because they might read this, they were very funny and the kids are super cute and very nice. GG isn't nearly as odd as he appears to be on Kerrie's blog, but he's close ; ) (oh and later on he is FAST and Kona bound in October.)

We parted ways and I went back to my place to grab a nap and put my bike back together. It went together no prob and I took it to Kona Bike Works to go for a spin down the Queen K and then have the guys there tweak any issues. It was 99% perfect but I took it in to have them look at my rear derailleur and brake. I walked up to the service department and who was sitting there having her bike worked on but Bree Wee. We chatted for about a half-hour or so while they were working on her bike and then they gave mine a quick once over - they were awesome.

The rest of Thursday I was on my own. I would be heading up north Friday morning to meet MM and the gang she was hanging with for an early ocean swim, race registration and run gear drop off. At the expo we got a picture with the blogger friends we ran into.

It was kind of weird because MM and FL kept having strangers walk up to them and say, "hi" - these strangers were all commented on their blogs and recognized them. No one recognized me because A) I have A follower and B) my profile picture is of a bespectacled, pipe smoking, sweater wearing cool guy. (Actually, it's kind of strange that no one recognized me because that is exactly what I was wearing at the expo. And a pair of bike shorts.)

Me + bike shorts = approachable (or not)

We went back to their condo and went for a quick bike, run and then a nap. After that we checked in our bikes and then made an awesome dinner. Grilled salmon and chicken with rice and green beans. One of the guys, Erik, and I manned the grill. We were the dream team and everything came out delicious and no one got sick - always my fear.

I headed home and was in bed by 10 PM.

Saturday we raced.

(Thanks Debra Perretta for the great pictures.)

Saturday evening we went to a post race party. It was fun, but everyone turned into a pumpkin at about 10 PM. It was funny to see. At almost the same time everyone when from wide eyed and energetic to eyes half-mast. Before the party Marcy and Bo were scrambling around looking for their car keys. I left early to get gas. (This all seems like tangential details, but it all comes together.) Then I met everyone at the party. I got back to my place about 11 PM and slept OK considering I had a terrible sun burn.

(My children, who I badger about using sunscreen, are never going to let me live this down.)

I woke up about 6:30 Sunday morning and dug in the pockets of the shorts I had on the night before looking for some lip balm to soothe my sunburned lips. I pulled out the lip balm and my car key. But wait, I was looking at my car key on the desk. I have two car keys. That look identical. I AM A TOTAL DIPSHIT! I HAVE MARCY AND BO'S CAR KEYS! And have had them all night.

I texted Marcy (luckily she had texted me earlier) and asked if they were driving a Ford Focus. Yes, indeed they were and I had their keys. I threw on clothes and headed north. I was going to just throw the keys over the railing of the lanai (porch) so no one would be able to punch my face for being a total dipshit. I was completely embarrassed. Leave it to me to do something completely alienating. Luckily, everyone had a very good sense of humor about the whole thing and Avis didn't have to come out and unlock the car ($55) and cut a new key ($200).

When I got inside I was greeted by the following scenes.

Triathletes eat a lot of food at a race and make a huge mess.

Bags of wet stinky clothes and bikes in various stages of being disassembled.

Why yes, I would love to have some fresh papaya from the tree outside. Wait what's this garnish? (That, my friends, is a good sized pot bud. Found in the middle of the parking lot. The Big Island is a very friendly island.)

Here is a picture of the gang that was nice enough to put up with my mainlander ignorance for several days. I very much appreciate you guys welcoming me in. You're all wonderful people.

Here is me with the gang looking kind of like a giant. Bo is happily holding up his keys and taunting me for basically being a complete moron.

I went back to my place to pack up while they all packed up as well. Then I met MM and FL for a loosen up swim at the pier.

Here we are playing around about a quarter mile off shore on the Ironman course. I could swim in the ocean all day. Every day.

Then we went back to Lava Java for brunch. This omelet has grilled pineapple chunks and roasted pork in it. It was absolute heaven on a plate.

From there we wandered around Kona for a while. I bought gifts for the family back home. We drove the Ironman run course and then they went to the airport and I went back to my place to pack up and check out.

The rest is boring because I had to hang around until 11 PM for my flight out of Kona. Then I got home.

My kids were so impressed/horrified by my sunburn that they asked me to show their class. (I was at school anyway helping the teachers with some end of year moving, so it's not like it was a special trip.)

"This, children, is why it's important to use sunscreen. And most importantly - to reapply."



Kathleen @ ForgingAhead said...

Awesome race report! I read every word. The run sounded brutal -way to tough it out. Nice to see what you really look like and I'm glad that Bree Wee is as sweet in person as she seems on her blog. Maggs too!

Question Authority. said...

Have enjoyed your trip to Hawaii. Need details on the underwater camera, thx.

Court said...

sounds like a great trip! Awesome photos. There is nothing like an ocean swim. I bet it's hard to come back and jump in a MN lake!

Teresa said...

always an adventure in Kona...but so much fun! Ps. Mark's arms look exactly like yours...well different number (cuz he got his first DNF), but you get the point. ha!


Jill Costantino said...

Ah - I am a bit envious of you adventure to Kona! Congrats on your race!

SSB said...

You should have taken the pakololo to school for show and tell ;-)