One of the reasons I had so much fun last weekend was that I got to meet a bunch of bloggers and facebook friends... in person! Funny, because I felt like I knew these people even though I don't really know them, but I swear, when you read someone's daily diary that they post online, it's easy to get a good feel for them. That being said, these people's blogs will make even more sense now that I've had some face to face interaction with them. :)
The first blogger encounter I had was with Ange. She's another athlete coached by Jen (who I've still never met by the way!) and is from Maine. On Thursday after I got officially registered, Moana and I went into the merchandise room where I was trying to figure out which Ironman logo stuff I wanted (there wasn't a lot, by the way). Apparently Ange was checking out my necklace (the M-dot gold one) and then realized that she recognized me. "Michelle?" she asked. I was so psyched to see her I gave her a big hug. That might have thrown her off a little, but this is how well I feel I know these girls. It was like running into an old friend you haven't seen in years. We chit-chatted for a few minutes until Moana made it clear that she was done with the adult conversation. Unfortunately I didn't see Ange again until we were out on the run course, where we smiled and gave each other a little cheer as we passed in opposite directions. The most impressive thing? Her husband, Mark, yelled out for me somewhere in the second half of the run... impressive that he recognized me given that he'd only met me once for a few minutes. I heard, "Hey, GOOOO Ange's blog friend from Hawaii..." Too cute.
Immediately after meeting Ange in the store, I met Marit! Apparently Marit saw Ange and Ange told Marit I was right around the corner... and again, another big hug coming from me! Marit and I had spoken on the phone a few days prior so seeing her in person was great! The best part about that encounter was that she held Moana for me so I could purchase another M-Dot visor and tank top. Moana really was done shopping by that point. My encounters with Marit went on and on... we spent the whole hour before the race together keeping each other calm (ok, I was keeping her calm I think!). I never saw her out on the course even though I was looking for her... that bummed me out because I thought maybe she had a mechanical on the bike or something and dropped out... I was thrilled to see her later at the finish line though! Yay Marit! I also got to take Marit sightseeing in the ocean off of Waikiki yesterday. I think it's funny that she wanted to swim even though she's scared to death of the ocean. Just for future knowledge, Marit is much more talkative once we're OUT of the ocean. I tried to stop and tread water and chit chat out there a few times but Marit wasn't having any of that. ;)
At about mile 90 of the bike course on Saturday another rider came up next to me and I heard, "Michelle? Mama Simmons?" It was Charisa! We kept our chit chat short, mostly because she was flying by so fast! Congrats to Charisa for her podium finish in her age group. What a stud.
My encounter with ELF was just as brief... I saw her standing on Ali'i Dr maybe 2-3 miles into the run when I was suffering the worst of my stomach cramp issues. I knew she was giving updates to Jen all day and I was kinda bummed that the update would not be good at that point. I was happy to see her again at mile 7-8 and told her to relay the message to Jen that I was working through my issues and was going to be fine. :)
I was bummed that I hadn't met Kerrie- I knew that she passed me somewhere on the run, but Kerrie doesn't post a ton of pictures of herself so I wasn't sure I'd recognize her anyway... but then Sunday night at the awards dinner I was getting my food from the buffet line when I ran into her... we recognized each other right about the same time, though really, I only knew it was her because I recognized Glen. She posts lots of pictures of him. Anyway, we ended up sitting together at dinner so she got to meet Scott and Moana too. Can I just say how good those two are with kids??? Wow. Glen finished up his dinner and asked if he could walk Moana around. Once again, Moana was all done with this adult function and just wanted to be free to practice walking, so Glen took her away and played with her while we finished out dinner in peace. Those two are just awesome.
So there you go. Blogger friends in person! Don't worry though- the rest of you are just as important and I hope to meet many of you someday... in fact, here's what I looked like at the end of the race when I finally got my hands on my phone and could check my Facebook page. HA!
One more shout out I have to give is to my friend Jennifer Chalmers. Jen and I were training partners way back when we both lived in Arizona and had different last names. I knew Jen was going to do well in Kona, but I didn't know she was going to WIN our age group!! GO JEN! Talk about a stud. Jen has opened up a tri-shop so you can buy all your tri gear at TriBuys. Check it out!
Here's Jen and I on Sunday... we went for a little ocean float to chat about our races...