Tomorrow is Race day!
As I sit here in my Condo looking out over the sea, the sun has just set but the waves are still crashing in and I am am scared and excited at the same time! But now it really is in the hand of the Gods and what will be will be. All I can do is make sure that I am prepared for the long day ahead. For me trying to stay cool (or not over heat ) and stay hydrated are so key. I need to do everything I can to make sure this happens. Avoiding disaster then I plan to enjoy the atmosphere of the biggest and best triathlon in the world, I will enjoy the last few hundred meters down Ali drive.
I will write one more post after the just to let you know how it went and hopefully share some of the emotions of the race.
But as I sign off now it just leaves me to thank the sponsors, friends and family that have made all this possible. Without your help this truly would not have been possible.
Before I came out to Kona this time I really thought that I would have so much spare time that I would be able to catch up with lots of things I need to do!! As it turns out all it has been so full on with just doing stuff that nothing has got done including my blog for the last 2 days.
This trip to Kona for me was always going to be about 3 things – The journey, the race and the experience.
The journey firstly qualifying and then just trying to get in my best shape possible so that I could have a good race. Whether I have managed this I am not really sure! I do feel in good shape and I do feel ready but i also feel that I have not really had any good races this year. It is also hard because I know that at 50 i really can not race as fast as I did when I was 25. Most athletes will come here aiming to race faster, I need to come here and just try to race to the best of my ability.
So for the Race I can honestly say that I have no goals in terms of time or position. But my goal is to race well and to hopefully to 100% of what I am capable off. When I tell people that I want to be able to remember and enjoy the last km of the run I really mean it, I want to see the people and saver the moment. I have never done this before and I feel I am unlikely to get another chance. But I also want to make my family proud.
For me the over all experience of Kona is the thing that counts most! No matter what happens in the race I will go away from here with positive memories. To share this trip with my family and friends was always the goal and it has been amazing, I feel the time we have spent together and the memories that we have will be with us for ever. To catch up with old friends has also been amazing, people I raced against, coached or just have not seen for years.
Sorry but it is going to have to be a day just for photos as its getting late and past my bedtime – 8pm !!
Morning swim with stop at the Blueseventy boat for a quick coffee
Relaxed breakfast at Huggos
Oscar getting ready for the Ironkids 1 mile race – which he won
Photo with Dave Scott – 6 time Ironman winner. In my mind the best there ever was and I really want the kids of today (my kids) to know about the people that made the sport. This is one of them.
Dinner and now bed ZZZZ
Today was special.
Beautiful morning that we set out to swim the IM course. The plan was to start together with Dorte, Oliver, Oscar and Mette but then at the 1km point only myself and Oliver would continue out to the 1.9km half way. When we got there there was no one else so it was very calm but then we were joined by a pod of about 50 dolphins that just seemed to want to be around us, some entertained us with there flips and spins and others just happy to swim within a meter of us. Its something very special and to share it with Oliver made it even more special but a little disappointed that oscar and Dorte were not there. Fingers crossed that we can be in the right place again and all of us can be there and we have a camera. We ended up been in the water for 1hr 45 – hopefully I will swim faster in the race !!
Latter in the day Dorte and the boys had beach and surfing time
Oscar waiting for a big wave
while I went back to the energy lab (as I love it in there so much) with Stu Andersen to run a few laps testing out out new kit.
What can I say except this is the nicest kit I have ever had. So massive thanks to Richard Melik at Team Freespeed for sorting it out and also a massive plug for the brand Cuore that made it.
Days are just going past to quickly now and it just seems I have not had time to think! or write a decent blog!! I will do better these next few days.
Great that the family arrived safely yesterday evening and we have had a day of just taking things easy. Easy swim 1st thing this morning in pretty choppy conditions, followed by the compulsory relaxed breakfast at Huggos on the rocks, then a bit of swimming with turtles and yes we saw our 1st Dolphins out in front of our new home for the next 10 days.
First day / first swim done
Turtle getting a selfie with Oliver
Family are on there way.
I just hope they have a better trip than me as I was stuck in LA customs for 2 hr meaning I missed my connection which meant I had to spend the night and then arrive via Honolulu the next day.
5 years ago they made the same trip – so they already know what they are heading too and so will be so excited to get here. I just can not wait to they arrive.This was them arriving 5 years ago – lets see how they look when they arrive tomorrow
Triathlon, especially Ironman and even more especially Hawaii is a funny thing as it takes over your life and often leaves little room for much else. Dedication, commitment, motivation, hard training, financial investment. All for what? Well for the pro athletes its to try to be the best of the best, to make big money, to reap the rewards of all the hard work to take the fame and the glory. But for age group athletes why?? there is no money and there is little fame or glory but it is a massive achievement, this is Hawaii Ironman the most iconic race in our sport, not everyone gets to compete so those that do should feel honoured and feel they have achieved something truly special. But ultimately the only ones that really care about how you do are your friends, family and yourself. So I feel incredibly lucky that the ones that care the most are here to share the experience with me. For so many triathlon seems to be at the expense of their family, I am fortunate that my family are not only supportive but actively involved as all compete themselves. I really hope in the coming years as I get slower I can keep helping my boys and wife get faster. To be honest in some things they can already kick my butt now, and I love it.
Watch out the Hobson are about to hit Kona
Things are hotting up.
Morning swim is starting to get busy now and still over a week to go. There is a definite buzz that is increasing in intensity. But there is also this underline fear that the race draws close and it is going to be tough, maybe the toughest, we are going to suffer? Are we physically and more importantly mentally ready, we don’t know but we hope that we are. Time will tell. One of the most feared element of the race is the drop into the Natural Energy Lap – this comes at about the 26km mark on the run and is normally hot hot hot – but once you come out its only about 10km home!! So i went running there today in the midday heat and made my peace with the Hawaii gods – now I am not afraid but actually looking forward to the Energy Lab. (well if I keep telling myself this I may be ok)
The remaining Team Freespeed members will arrive today so looking forward to catching up with them all. And then only 2 days to my family arrive which really for me is the number 1 reason I am doing this race! This may sound wrong but I will talk more about this tomorrow.
Were are all the Dolphins? I seem to find myself constantly staring out to sea as I know they are out there and people keep seeing them and swimming with them but they seem to be hiding from me! Maybe they are threatened by my awesome swim speed!
Anyway I had a lovely ride this morning the first half went super fast as I was riding with Jodie and it was just great catching up with her. I have so much respect as she along with a few others a true hard core and have not got to were they are without a huge commitment and perseverance and a fair amount of natural talent. Along the way I managed to help a damson in destress as she had a flat and her spare tube valve was to short! Then 1km further on we met a (what’s the male term for Damson in distress?) well we met one who turned out to be Tim Don – he was sitting in the verge and from a distance looked like he had either crashed or was a homeless person selling stones to passers by. As it turned out he had a mechanical that we could not help with but he had already sent back for a rescue party. But as the true professional he is he went out again in the afternoon to get his session done.
As I bump into people out here that I have known for many years but not seen for many years it really is special to be able to catch up again. But it also reminds me of the people that made my first trip out here so special back in 1994. Here is a photo that was used as part of a Speedo advertising campaign, with Robin Brew and Julian Jenkinson. Both played a big part in the sport around the same time as I was pro and both made the trip to Hawaii a very memorable one.
Oh I aslo bumped into Alison Rowatt and Frazer Cartmel – so now Team Freespeed is up to 4 with more arriving tomorrow.
Another beautiful day here in Kona. Good night sleep followed by a bit of swimming / biking / running and even shopping! But not in that order.
Heading out on the bike course with Charlie and Alain – 2 really motivated fast but chilled athletes. Think I best stay at the back for this bike ride:)
One thing that I have really come to realise is that this race for me is not so much about what happens in the race but about the journey to get here and then been able to share the journey with friends and family. I am fit and I do want to race well but this would just be the icing not the cake of what I hope will be an awesome experience. So this next photo is one for my boys special memories
Heading out tomorrow morning for what I have been promised will be an easy bike ride with Jodie Swallow – I know Jodie quite well and I also know that her easy is not quite the same as my easy!! But anyway it will be a great chance to catch up with her. Just for the record I will not be doing all of what she has planned.
Oh look its 8.30 – my bed time
So after just over 50 hours of travelling I did arrive safe and sound and very happy to see fellow freespeed team mate Charlie waiting to collect me at Kona airport. Even better my bike turned up safe and sound as well, which I was really not expecting!
To me Kona is a strange place and its hard to put my finger on why I think its strange, its not a place I would come for a holiday, its not a place I would come to train, its not even a place I would do any other race – but its special and it lovely to be back. Dig me beach – water this year is 2 or 3 degrees warmer than previous years
Freespeed team now up to 3 – 4 more to arrive – just a coincidence we all have the same blue seventy swim trunks
The thing I had been most looking forward too – Breakfast at Huggo on the rocks looking out on the swim course.