Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Pro-Stalking in Kona

Aloha from Kona!

So I'm sitting out here by the pool while Moana floats around… she is very much enjoying her Kona vacation… As am I! We got off to a rather rough start and in the first ~15 hours we were we were operating under the premise If it could go wrong, it probably will… But even at 9PM when Moana was sitting on the sidewalk eating store bought mac-n-cheese with her fingers outside in the rain while I fumbled fruitlessly with the lock box on the condo we couldn't get into, we managed to keep our chins up and believe that eventually we would figure it out and get settled, and eventually we did! 

I've been on a bit of a training rampage this week and I have to say, there's really no place better than Kona during Ironman week to be an athlete in training! Screw that taper stuff… There's an ocean here where the water is clear and temps are perfect and buoys are all set up marking a full 2.4 mile ironman course. So swimming really could not get any better. And so far I've run ~24 miles, mostly along Ali'i Dr so I've got this nice view of the ocean and all the triathlon related nutrition companies have a table/tent set up somewhere along the way where you can stop and fill your bottle with whatever they are serving (and it's all ICE COLD so nice). Cytomax, Clif, GU, Skratch, Powerbar, you name it… They're all out there! And they're not the only ones… Tons of athletes, some racing but many just training, are out at all times of day walking and running and riding so there's pretty much no way to be out there without spotting *someone* you know. So that is cool!

I'm also trying to keep track of the past World Champions I have spotted in the last 2-3 days… Chrissie Wellington, Paula NF, Michiele (sp?) Jones, Mirinda Carfrae, & Pete Jacobs so far. Will keep looking because playing "Who Can Spot a World Champion" is a fun game to play here this week. :)

Yesterday I let down some of my inhibitions and totally allowed myself to be the dorky triathlete who walks right up to pros she recognizes and introduce herself (vs just silently gawking!) The Parade of Nations was going on along Ali'i Dr and there were tons of big name people there… I saw Jesse Thomas and without even thinking just JUMPED up from my seat on the curb and was like JESSE!! I AM A CRAZY ASS FAN! Yep. It was that bad! But when else do we little peons get to do stuff like that?? It went well with Jesse- he was genuinely nice (of course) so that gave me courage… So then when I saw that Tim O'Donnell tweeted that if we saw him walking we could introduce ourselves and he would give us a sweet Castelli Stealth cycling top so of course I was looking for him (and I found him!) Supposedly that top would (theoretically) save ~6' over 112 flat windy miles (um Hello IMCoz) so when I scored one of those the positive reinforcement I felt for approaching pros went through the roof! Next up was Mary Beth Ellis… Then tonight at this little Thai place we went for dinner, Julie Dibens walked in and I couldn't help myself b/c I'm a HUGE fan of hers and I think one day she is going to WIN this race and that's what I told her tonight. Yep. Full on pro stalking dork right here ladies and gentlemen! But it made Julie smile when I told her that so it's all good.

I'll be done with the pro stalking since it's now like 2 days before the race and time for everyone to get serious. Besides, I'm going to be on my bike for most of the next 2 days anyway and I'm guessing most of the athletes who are racing are not going to be out there drillin' it on the Queen K or anything… too late for that for them… but not for me! It's funny b/c I wasn't going to come for the whole week this year… I didn't think I'd want to be here since I wasn't racing. But the universe sort of conspired to allow it to happen and now that I am here I'm thinking I was crazy to think about missing this bc it really is such a cool experience, whether you're racing or not.

So what else?? Everyone staying at this condo complex seems to be from Europe (or so I'm guessing based on the languages I'm hearing). It's easy to forget what a truly international race this is until you hear people talking and realize you have no idea what they're saying… Lots of triathletes train in what look like race kits which I've found interesting. I tend to run in run gear and bike in bike gear but here I feel like I am in the minority with that.

Jen Harrison popped over this afternoon and we spent HOURS gabbing about anything and everything so that was super fun! I felt like I knew her already but really we just met for the first time today! She is exactly how I pictured she would be, but they always are when you can tell the blogs and social media posts are honest. :) 

Scott arrives tonight... Then Kelly and Patrick (my 2 athletes here racing) are coming over tomorrow night for dinner so that will be awesome to see them again! (And I can make sure they are eating well... it's all about the fueling you know!)

OK so that's the scoop for now! More later since I found an internet connection I can hack into if I sit in just the right spot on the couch...


Anonymous said...

Seriously, what better place to feel motivated and train your booty off?! Sounds like you're having a great time! And I bike in bike gear and run in run gear too... it's part of my I refuse to be a triathlete thing. Have fun on your bike! And thanks again for the Moana video - LOVED IT!

Anonymous said...

I'm 100% convinced hanging out in Kona sounds better than racing.

So, when I was racing pro, I wasn't very good right, but we'd have these pro meetings with all these really crazy pro champion people, so I totally like went up to Mirinda Carfrae one time and was like 'hey, I liked that thing you wrote on the internet' and she was like, uh...and I felt like a TOTAL WEIRDO. Ah well.

Jennifer Harrison said...

Great to meet you!!! Moana was great and so patient and I could have stayed all day! Thanks for having me over and it was SO good to finally meet you. :) See you Saturday!