Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The rest of the Kona trip & Seattle

It was my true intention to blog every day while I was in Hawaii but after the very first blog post on, technically, day zero, it simply wasn't going to happen.

When I'd finally sit down on the computer, it was with mediocre wifi, so more often than not I'd resort to my smart phone.

The trip as a whole was fantastic! I set out to try and connect with as many people as possible in hopes of finding a job in this industry that could keep me in the US or somewhere cool abroad, and I left with numerous promising leads.

It was fabulous to see new and old faces, and spend some time helping out at the expo and for the first time, getting involved in the keiki (kid's) race before Ironman.

The Saturday right after I arrived I found out there was an organized race of the full swim course and jumped in last minute with a friend which was amazing because it felt like I was racing again but then emerged to find fruit and bagels waiting at the King Kam beach restaurant.

Every day I'd run and/or swim, mostly solo but got in a solid 11 miler with Hillary ( all along Alii, and another short one with Beth before finally leaving the Island- got to meet little Wynne too :) The swim highlights were: obviously the "race", finding the Smash girls mid-sea and joining them for the remainder, and the last dip from the Pier getting to swim out to the 1.2 bouey with Chrissie Wellington, and the Grangers.

For the majority of the trip I shared a condo with Holly, SOAS' Steph, and her sister Andrea- it was awesome spending time with these great women! The night before last, Jen Barber let me crash with her before slumming it back down to Uncle Billy's "hotel" and we had a great dinner and a failed attempt to find late night local Big Island ice cream despite miles of walking in effort.
 (Jen, Me, Jordan Blanco at the Aloha Party)
(Our yummy dinner with an awesome view at Daylight Mind)

I also had two long lunches with some of the Mexican athletes and it was cool to hear of their journey to Kona and how/where they train back home.

The rest of the sun and fun is all in pics....

some amazing salads: Ultimate Burger (in a bowl), Lava Java Greek chicken, & Huggo's seared ahi :P

Sinfully hydrating Nuun cocktails at the Triathlete house party

 One of the first swims in my new Betty suit (

Rad view from our stay at the Royal Kona the night after the race!
Finally stole a pic with this legend!

cheering along the run course!!
Race Day!

Sebastian the King of 2014

What a performance by Ben Hoffman!!

Fun times at the ClifBar party

Day after the after-party on a couple hours sleep with Tawnee for a "swim"
Shiono Sushi- top notch!!

The best for last: Rinny in absolute Beast Mode about to cross the mat for her 3rd Kona title!

From Hawaii, I was set to travel back a whole 17.5 hours to Texas with stops in Seattle and Dallas. The Ebola scare in Dallas coupled with the agony of being sleep deprived in airports felt enough to warrant getting off in Seattle and stay with my good friend Sam a few days. I'd only passed through Seattle in 2007 en route to Portland for Nationals, so never explored any of it.

Aside from the gloomy weather, the people, abundant culture, fantastic food, and general love/support for outdoor activities made me think I could totally live there! We enjoyed walks to some amazing coffee, cocktails at the chic Edge Water Hotel, a swim in Mercer Island, and a fabulous dinner at Anthony's Home Port in Kirkland.

Icing on the cake was getting to play original Nintendo and meeting Sam's horrendously cute rescue dog, Mimi.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Kona 2014 Day 0

It happened! For the 7th year I'm back at the Hawaii World Championship- 3rd time not racing...except last year was a total catastrophe as I spent only a few days on the Island sick and counting down the minutes to return home. Needless to say, I didn't stay even to the race week and sort of left apathetically without looking back- more concerned about fixing my own work/life situation than playing around in the Hawaii sun.

However, this year the Kona plot began brewing early summer when the TriCabo races and events were being planned at full gear and I was set to come promote the camps and primarily our inaugural Cabo Whaleman. As well, I wanted to help some friends out at the Expo- LAVA Mag & SOAS.

The almost too-good-to-be-true fun of 2012 was begging to be repeated and 2014 had to be it. Then Hurricane Odile came through Cabo and did its little dance of destruction and there went Cozumel 70.3, and any concrete thoughts of promoting Cabo tourism through Ironman week.

Fast forward to a few days ago, sitting at home in Texas, regrouped and looking at everything through a "blessing in disguise"/"glass half full" lens and tick tick the dots connected and...well...ALOHA!

It's hard to succinctly describe the feeling of touching down in Kona. Wait, backup to getting on the triathlete-filled plane at LAX, and feeling a mix of butterflies as if I was going to race again, and an excitement of the week when this whole community of swim, bike, run lovers unites in paradise to celebrate the best of the best. I ran into a good friend, Pablo who was seated just across from me, and it was amazing to hear about all the endurance racing he packs on year after year! The baggage claim was full of people from all over the world, each with their unique story of how they got to be at this year's World Championship.

I got my suitcase, which was all I had since my bike is still cozy in Cabo, and another good friend and Kona local, Cody, picked me up and we went to grab lunch at the Kona Brewing Company. I'm not a beer person, but their Longboard is fantastic and after a whole morning of travel it went down like liquid gold.

From lunch he dropped me off to check in at Uncle Billy's where I'll be two nights before joining some girl friends at a condo for the remainder of the trip. At the lobby I met the cutest woman- in one of the elder categories- that was telling the receptionist she qualified in IM Sweden but had never swam without a wetsuit and was nervous and just hoping she'd make the swim cutoff. I couldn't resist, and asked her if she wouldn't mind me helping her out these next few days in the ocean to give her a few pointers and get her more comfortable so she makes that cut off no problem! So tomorrow we'll start bright and early :)!

Quicky, I unpacked and put on my bikini to head straight to the beach to get back some of the color I lost since Odile. I enjoyed a little swim in the ocean and was feeling surprisingly awake despite the 4am TX-time wake up, so also went for a run on Alii.

Now I'm starting to wind down and will just relax the rest of the evening.

Tomorrow after I swim with the woman I met, I think there's a group doing the whole course so why the heck not?!