Wednesday, September 28, 2011

My History With Kona...

I had a longish bike ride today (by myself) which gave me plenty of time to think... and I started reminiscing about my experience with Kona... starting from the beginning... and then I thought that some of you might find this interesting? So here you go!

In 1995 my boyfriend was a triathlete (he was the one responsible for getting me started with this crazy sport!) and he was doing Kona... I was in college at Arizona State and I spent the whole day in the computer lab (internet was kind of new- I didn't have it in my little apartment) hitting refresh on the IronmanLive website. This guy was absolutely amazing in my mind but Kona took him like 14+ hours that year (he could do other IMs in like 10 hours) so my first impression of the Ironman in Kona was that it was a ridiculous endeavor.

In 1996 I think it was the same story. Same boyfriend. Same finish time in Kona (or maybe he DNF'd that year? Can't remember). What a bastard of a race that one was!

By 1997 the love affair with the boyfriend had ended but my love affair with triathlon had not. I did my first Ironman in Canada and finished in like 14+ hours. (Isn't that how all Ironmans' go? LOL) I didn't bother attending the awards ceremony but it was brought to my attention later that the Kona spot for my age group (20-24) rolled all the way down past my name... somebody told me that since I essentially 'turned it down' by not attending the awards that I was forever cursed and now would never get to do Kona. Whatever. Did you see my finish time?? I would never be anywhere near fast enough to do Kona. Duh.

OK I can't actually remember every single year (aren't you glad about that?) but I know that from like 1998-2004 I was (for the most part) living in Arizona and I was training with a lot with other athletes who would do Kona every year. Most of the time I would tag along on their long rides (I've always liked riding long) but then I would go get ice cream while they did their brick runs. (Um, hello!? It's like 110 degrees why would you go running after you just biked 110 miles??) Somewhere in there I finished a bunch of other Ironmans. I also got and conquered cancer.

By 2005 I was living in Hawaii so I went over to Kona to watch some of my friends who were racing. It was a blast! We were trashed before noon and hanging out in bikinis in front of Lava Java cheering at all the pro men as they started the run... We were yelping, "You're SO HOT!" That was easily one of the best weekends of the year!

2006 was much of the same... went over to watch... spent much of the day drunk as a skunk as just had way too much fun! I Love Kona!! :)

In 2007 one of my training partners informed me about the Hawaii State Qualifying spots to Kona... What!? So if I was the first Hawaii resident in my age group to finish Honu then I could do Kona? Seriously? I didn't know if I was good enough to do that but I was going to try!  Crossing the finish line in 5:22 at Honu that year turned out to be enough to get me a spot on the start line in Kona (oh my how times have changed). Holy shit. I was in! I was ridiculously nervous that year and felt completely inadequate. Consequently I made some big mistakes but I dragged myself across the finish line anyway... 12:12... then promptly started convulsing in the med tent. What a bastard of a race this one was!

While the race was happening in 2008 I was about 3 weeks from giving birth to Moana so I sat right here at my computer that whole day sulking watching online and feeling fat and blah and wondering if I would ever regain my pre-pregnant self? Poor me. That really was not very fun. But then I got this. So it really wasn't that bad of a year. :)

But in 2009 I was back with a vengeance! Indeed, within a few months I'd regained my pre-pregnant self and I once again snagged the state spot at Honu... With the help of JH I was much better prepared for Kona that year... still suffered a pretty big meltdown on the marathon but whatever! I got to do Kona again and finished in 11:17... a big Ironman PR for me before my daughter even turned one. I felt very satisfied with that one.

In 2010 I missed out on the state spot at Honu by 3' (damn flat tire!). I was there in Kona all week working for Coffees of Hawaii... had a blast working on the Floating Espresso Bar and seeing all my friends race but I will be honest- I woke up race morning feeling severely unhappy to be on the sidelines. I made a bit of a promise to myself that I was going to get myself fit enough so this year I would get to be in the water when that cannon fires! That spurred my decision to find my awesome coach, and well, the rest is history.

I think the lesson in this history goes something like Make a decision about what you want and then act on it... and that while it sure is easier if you do, you don't have to win the genetic lottery in order to qualify for Kona. You just have to be ridiculously patient and committed and consistent. :)

So YAY for making decisions and acting on them! It's 2011 I get to race again!  Funny, last time I did this race it seemed like everyone started asking me "Are you ready!??!" I swear I have not been asked that question once this year. Lol. Duh. I've worked my ass off this year and can't wait to race. Fire that cannon already! :)

17 comments:

Nat said...

Awesome post, and I'm so excited for your race!

Kim said...

You are as tough as they come. Marathon meltdowns and sidelines will be exactly that: HISTORY. Thanks for sharing your story. Ready is an understatement!

Beth said...

Love reading about your history with Kona. See you soon!!! :)

mmmonyka said...

Love the post!

But wait! You used to eat ice-cream after long rides, was lalala about your training (who does not want to do bricks???) and got drunk and yelled at Faris Al-Sultan he was hot. Whereas I am not allowed to eat muffins and to date a guy who is not a serious athlete. What the...?!? :)

"Make a decision about what you want and then act on it..." So true. I will make mine after next August.
And I hope (for my sake) that not all first Ironmans' go like that...haha

PS: Clearly, I have much higher athlete-boyfriend "standards" than you used to have:) For me, anyone who does not cross Kona finish line in 09:xx:xx is one huge coach potatoe and should go for a run.

Jennifer Harrison said...

AWESOME re-cap! HOW fun! How funny the years I did Kona you were drunk watching! LOL

YOU will have a great race this year, Michelle -- and you are a great example of wanting something and getting it (while working your butt off)!

GOOD luck next weekend! I'll be cheering loudly from Chicago!!

Libby said...

god I love this post girl. so true that years of perseverance and dedication pay off. you are one tough cookie- I cried when I read your cancer post. you are the toughest woman I know! hope we get to meet up in kona!

Rebecca DeWire said...

What a fun post. Thanks for sharing.

Molly said...

Woohoo!! I am so excited for you :)

Kiet said...

Read the BatShitCrazy post too, great numbers, you've done all you can, time to crush and enjoy.

GoBigGreen said...

This made me smile. The cancer comback ( check) and the ongoing quest. Made me realize i need to keep plugging along and i will get there someday! ( and if its as a sherpa that may be more fun, lol) good luck girl:) you are ready:)

Charisa said...

Have a GREAT race Michelle!!

Jill Costantino said...

Yahoo! I will be sitting at my computer watching all of you Go FAST! Super congrats on ALL of your acheivements! Especially that little Moana! I bet having her cheering you is the BEST ever!

Clydesdaletri said...

Love the story! Felt so bad last year when I asked if you going to have fun cheering last year (came out without thinking). Its been great reading about you and your athletes this season and I'm excited to join in the Kona fun!

Teresa said...

Love your story! Can't wait to see you race and celebrate! Go Michelle!
tn

Regina said...

Love this. By far my favorite post of yours ever. Of Course you're ready!

andreajwilson05 said...

They were pretty hot... Fun times! Now I'll just have to yell that at you. ;-)

Karen said...

YEAHYEAHYEAH!!!! So excited for your race! Set the standard on Saturday and I'm gonna one-up you Sunday in Portland :) hehe. Go get 'em!