Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Hanging in Kona

So I landed on this magical island Friday evening, after taking a not so short flight with a 3 hour layover in HNL, vs the non stop on Alaska on Sunday.  Worth the extra travel time to get her Friday at 6:15.  Sun is setting as we depart the plane into the tropical air.  Found a fellow D3 athlete in HNL and killed the time eating and chatting. Then found more friends on the plane to Kona.  I was thinking back to my first time here in 2007 and I knew maybe 2 people. And now I see friendly faces in airports, on the street and around time.  It's like old home week!  I am so awesome ;)  totally kidding

Without my sherpa loving husband I had to manage the bike bag, duffel and briefcase - but did so without grace but with ease, mostly.    Got the car and onto the Kona Reef.   Office closed, random phone next to it and I call and hear the woman so who, what is your name?, when is your arrival.   That feeling of sheer dread is pouring over me that I may not have a place confirmed for the busiest week on this Island, even though I have a confirmation number and an email confirmation that she says means nothing to her. It is not 7:30 or 10:30 my time, well past the I turn into pumpkin time and I am starting to lose it as in cry on the phone.  I am looking at my van thinking can we live in this for a week?  Will I have to sleep in it tonight.  After a LONG wait she comes back on the phone and gives  me a unit # and a code for tonight.  She then tells me to go to the office at 10am and they will "try" yes try and sort this out.

I fitfully went to bed.  As the office did not open until 10am ( welcome to HI)  So I headed to the Ho'ala Ironman Training Swim.  This is a great pre- race swim if you can get here by Friday. It is 2.4M and is the Ironman swim, finish is a bit different but you get the 1 loop LONG swim.  Water start and relatively mellow.  It is a good reminder of how far out we go.  Sensational water- so warm and clear. Sheer heaven.

I came back and worked on my bike,  after I hit Lava Java for coffee and my favorite Island style macadamia nuts.  Yummmm.   I was fogging up the glass on the office window "let me in"  LONG strory and 90 min later it was sorted out....some issue when I changed my reservation to arrive early.   It was locked, cancelled, moved - who knows BUT the saint in the office got me our ocean front condo, and I only cried once.   Got my bike built up and hit the Queen K with Sarah, another D3er and it did not disappoint.  Lovely on the way out and hello WIND on the way back, welcome to Kona.
BEST EVER
pancakes with bananas and

Did a HOT run on Alii but loved it!  OMG I love this place.   And on Saturday it is still pretty mellow.... quiet streets without the crazed athletes.   Food shopping ($250 for a $125 worth of groceries-  Kona pricing)  and went to ugh Wal Mart, after going for my mom when she was sick, I swore I would never go t this store again, but there I was.  Buying bikes for kicking around town and for the kids to use on race day. Rentals are $100 a day and mopeds are $300 for 2 days. So for $109 each I got the f'ing heaviest bike you can imagine but it rocks!  

I was wiped out and laid low on Saturday....Sunday there was a random 10K which I did NOT do but was psyched to have the streets closed for my run.  Waking up with the ocean crashing, drinking Kona coffee on the Lanai- this is what Kona is about.  Great run and off to pick up John!!  
Walmart special $109

We settled in and went out exploring on our bikes- no expo, no madness just pineapple at the farmers market and a killer dinner at the Fishhopper with some old friends and new friends.   Sheer heaven!  

Monday hit the swim early and another majestic AM in the ocean- ton of fun with Kevin and his go pro - I was so excited I went and bought out and used it this AM.  Seems I was off on the settings so I video the inside of my swim top the whole way out, stopped it to view the fish, started it in my top and stopped it to view the dog on the SUP, resumed in my top and stopped it for the Coffee Boat.  My career in video needs help, just saying.    Dinner that night at On the Rocks in the sand with more friends from Smash.....we all met at camp in March and here we are on the big island sucking down Mai Tai's  not really, eating Kale Caesar with fresh Mahi Mahi and loving life.

smash girls and a betty
Riding, running and swimming with John and friends makes this place magical.  It's a slice of heaven each day.  Tue it gets real...seems like 9000 more people, expo opens and registration - when the wrist band goes on and you pick up another $800 back pack, it is GULP, this is a bit more than a Hawaiian vacation.  More and more really thin people, time to start freaking out about weight- I know I know but it's hard not to feel fat on Alii this week.   Man should have done that juice cleanse last week, where is my 6 or 12 pack hiding.

My weight neurosis is so bad that when I did the Gatorade Sweat test I made the nice tech (female) come into the tiny hot changing tent and take my weight. She was so nice and understanding when I told her I could not look at the scale :)

And BTW John knocked out 28 miles runnning on Alii Dr on Monday!   R3 training

Kona moments...
1- the couple who rang up $1611 of IM World Championship Merchandise  and the card was declined- guy goes nuts yelling at the cashier.....
2- the women I registered with and I ask if she is ready?  " its in God's hands now"  Wow, how big are those hands anyway?
3 - 4 inch MDot tatoo with 6 race logos tatted below it- what happens next? tatoo that says "see front" for the next 6?
4- Bike porn...wow just wow-  I definitely need a $15,000 bike
5- so many products that are "guaranteed" to make be faster, fitter, stay hydrated and fueled well- I'm planning to try them ALL on Saturday and new shoes - why not?
6- No matter how fit you are, you are fat in Kona