When you utter the word Kona to a triathlete they immediately assuming you mean Ironman World Championships- Kona. To triathletes Kona is the Super bowl of our sport. It is the biggest professional race of our sport with $150,000 awarded to the male and female winners as well as Championship for the top amateurs around the world who have qualified.
In my 10 years as a triathlete this will be my 5th time on the start list. I feel privileged and honored. Sacrifice, hard work, commitment are just a few of the words that describe the journey to this special place.
For those going to the “big dance” as it is so nicknamed, it is an amazing week of warm island winds, Lava Java, rubbing elbows with the pro’s, the amazing sponsors, the give always and the sheer fun of Ironman week. There are 1000 #kona posts a day on Instagram and Facebook. The people here are proud, have earned it and want to share the experience.
8 years ago not going to Kona was different. There was no #Kona16, no daily updates/photos and check in’s the Lava Java. If you were at home, you went about your day and on Ironman Saturday you logged into your laptop and followed along. In 2015 and 2013 when I was at home, Ironman week was a daily reminder that I was not there, I was not in Kailua Bay, I was not riding on the Queen K, I was not drinking Kona coffee and eating macadamia nut pancakes at Lava Java and it was tough. Whether it was due to injury or just not going fast enough I was not there and it hurt. One more photo and I was going to scream.