My Kona IronMan 2014 experience…. Written by the biggest fan of a loved one….
Aloha Kona; what’s going on?
Picture this: a heady mix of athletes and supporters drinking Kona coffee laced with almond milk or iced coconut water, or sitting in cafes offering meal options named after the pros or walking through the town as she prepares once more for IronMan. Then imagine the procession of athletes in training passing on TT bikes or running half-naked showing off bodies that are deeply bronzed, fit, toned and yet showing unspoken vulnerability as they glisten drenched with sweat. Add to this the usual mix of locals and heady honey-moon love. Yep…. a potent busy mix!
This place is buzzing; that there is no denying.
The cafes are packed, the Kona IronMan registration was busy indoors in the Marriott hotel and the Expo outdoors is a hive of companies catching dollar bills and athletes passing through using a variety of slower paced struts than their usual training gallop. Just as the business world has its movers and shakers the athlete world is a spectrum of the humble and grateful, the nervous first-timer to the calm focused experienced athlete, and right up to the entitled and egotistical competitor; which one are you I ponder?
I have no doubt that karma plays her hand to keep a level playing field.
Nothing in life comes to you as smoothly as the quiet intention of self-determination, self-belief, gratitude, humility and hard work. None are more deserving than these peaceful athlete warriors. Their success is always hard-won. These are the extraordinary people who started out with a belief that they can push their bodies beyond, to not only compete but to compete well and then to make qualification times, and fast forward on to race the race of their life on IronMan day.
Qualification is a privilege for the talented AND hard-working.
The cut offs for the age groupers in Kona are tight. These are the fittest tri-disciplined athletes in the world. This is also the pro’s job and there are also a few celebs that buy their way here and I hope that they raise important awareness for sport and charities along the way.
However I am most in awe of the age group IronMan male and female competitors and to me the numbers of hours sweated before getting here is humbling.
There are no excuses, there is not a snooze button, there are not enough hours to sleep, and these ordinary people must fit in extraordinary training hours (on most days twice a day) all juggled around work, family, bad weather, and life commitments.
Every athlete pounding this hot rock of an island on Saturday 11th October 2014 is all too familiar with the pain of sacrifice – the pain this Saturday can only be medicated with mental strength, courage, and self-belief. Before getting here I believed that focus, visualisation, and fitness is what takes away the pain of the searingly hot and windy 180 km bike ride, or the 42.2km marathon distance run. But apparently that pain is always there; it is how you make friends, make peace or beat the hell out of it that determines your triumph.
Self-belief, faith in something bigger, a cause, and the love and support of family will form the background track of motivation during this race but there is something more that gets an IronMan over the line and that quite simply is the person themselves; the person that they are, competing, alone.
This my friend is what makes me so terribly proud for loved ones and friends…. and strangers alike.
I know speaking personally that my heart and mind will be with my special love as much as possible while he is on his journey with Kona sea, land, rock, sun and wind. But as much as I love him and send positive energy his way – this is his personal race. It will never be for me to judge this race, or his place, or the days performance or anyone’s for that matter. I truly cannot understand and this makes me feel a tad helpless as support; but I will be so very proud, humbled, and ecstatically happy for and with him when he crosses the finish line.
I have made good friends while here in Kona. Bright, bubbly, positive people, strong and inspiring athletes; this is more than an IronMan. I have supported in the small ways that I can and it has been a privilege to do so. I will be shouting out for these athletes and I hope this isn’t where the journey ends. When I meet positive, inspiring, strong, and special yet modest people I make a space in my life for a lifelong friendship. Good friends are part of the person that I am.
I want to wish Garron, Annchen, Claudia and new friends all the best of luck for their events on Saturday. The work is done…. the day is tomorrow…. the performance of a life is one sleep away and I love you all.
And PS thanks for kicking my ass into a pair of underpants 🙂
And so here we are in the 24 hour countdown mark. It is 5 am and I am writing this blog while athletes have a rare sleep. Their work is done and all that is left is to fuel the body, hydrate, and nourish the mind with getting into the zone; that and a million preparations I will never understand…
All is calm and peaceful; until tomorrow.
Want to watch the event? Watch here: