By the time you read this, this finish line screen will be complete and the race will be underway. There is something about this that is beautiful - perhaps the green palms contrasted against the ocean blue banners. Scenes like this filled Alii Drive today as Kona prepared for the arrival of Ironman race day.
But for now, it is still late Friday. I am sitting here with a volcanic-sized piece of chocolate cake covered in fudge frosting with a thick layer of chocolate cream frosting in the middle. I am sure you are wondering how and why this fits into my Ironman training nutrition plan.
It doesn't. But it does fit into how to survive 10 days on an island with my in-laws plan.
The past 24 hours have been filled with many moments of restless Ironman energy and anticipation. On Thursday evening, Thomas and I walked down to town for about the 100th time in 5 days. If you multiply that by 1.5 miles each way you get about 2940932 miles of walking. This is great for Ironman training recovery by the way. All of the miles, however, were worth it when I stumbled upon this...
Yes my friends that is me and Terrenzo Bozzone, my new boyfriend. He just doesn't know it yet. I figured I would wait until after the race to tell him.
After recovering from that encounter, we sat at Lava Java people watching and eventually watching the sunset. Tracy Robertson-Frack and her husband Shawn also walked by. Tracy is a new pro, qualified for Kona at IM Canada. GO TRACY!
Friday morning started late - 6 am. Considering I have been up as early as 4:38 am so far - this was sleeping in. The entire family headed to Lava Java for coffee. Afterwards, some went to see the volcano in Hilo while Thomas, Chris, his mom and I stayed behind. The walk back along Alii Drive - we saw this beautiful flower...
Then Thomas and I headed out to the Queen K for a 3 hour ride. The ride was eerie. Heading out it was quiet and calm. No wind. Neither of us would say it knowing that if we did, Madame Pele would let us know she heard. This is what you see for miles along the Queen K.
The scenery is monotous but there is something otherworldly and beautiful to it all. I feel like I am standing on the moon surrounded by small tufts of grass.
Though today was an easy day along the Queen K, this scenery still becomes repetitive. Yet you can always make it better by looking left. Out towards the ocean. The entire trip the island has been engulfed by cloudy vog so I haven't see the blue of the ocean from the distance but it is out there nonetheless.
To pass time, we played a new favorite game out there - spotting the treasure in roadside trash. You pick your favorite from road or shoulder debris. My favorites were the leopard skin car mat and then - the result of what you know had to be marital discord at its best - the trash can in the lava fields. You know some husband got sick of a wife saying 'take out the trash', drove to mile 78 along the Queen K, tossed the can and said 'there, it's out!' We also looked for bungee cords. Did you know that you see a bungee cord a day along the highway? Thomas wanted to sprint 30 seconds every time we saw one. I wanted to go hard from bungee cord to bungee cord. A good idea until it was about 15 miles between bungee cords on the way back.
Here you can see the shoulder is very wide and leaves plenty of room for roadside trash.
After the ride, Thomas and I walked to town while Chris rested. I suggested that we stand by the gates where athletes were checking their gear in to ogle the hotties and heckle everyone else. Let me tell you - heckling is where it's at. In the time we stood there we found more uses for duct tape, hose clamps and plastic bags than you could believe.
A world of emotion filled the faces of those that walked by. Some visibly looked scared. Fearful of the day ahead. Uncertain. Overprepared, underprepared, overconfident, cocky, spacey, calm by way of qualification or lottery - they all walked by. Guess who else walked by?
We both agreed - spectating is more fun than racing. Next we spotted Cait Snow, Chrissie Wellington, Luke MacKenzie. Then this two time age group world champion. You will notice she is wearing two watches and has a Power Tap computer in her skirt. Rachel Ross is clearly ready for race day.
Then this hottie walked by...
I have also learned that when spectating you can easily spot those giving out free stuff. And you can easily convince them that though you are not racing, you need the free stuff. Check out what I scored - that would be one visor and a cool pink Cervelo shirt.
For awhile, we found a wall to sit on by the start of the check in line. And this is where the real fun began. At first we tried to get people to dismount at the line. Then leave their compression garments at the line. Then we tried to disqualify those for inappropriate use of packing tape on their bike. We had fun but perhaps it was a language barrier with everyone else or the fact that they left their sense of humors about 3 months ago in training.
Another walk back to the condo then Thomas and I went for an easy run. To shake out the legs. Turns out it shook me entirely. The beach trail we headed towards involved a 20 minute drive over lava rocks and unmaintained roads. Let me give you a warning: do not attempt to drive a PT Cruiser on an unmaintained road. It was like Mr. Toad's Wild Ride and several times I asked to get out. As Thomas cackled in the driver's seat, the joke was officially on me when we saw someone driving another PT Cruiser the other way and Thomas said "IT CAN BE DONE!"
It could - but not well.
Finally we end up at the trail but maybe we didn't find the right one because it was all lava. I ran about 10 minutes and called myself done. Thomas took on the lava while I waited. Around me was pahoehoe lava flows and thick chunks of rock. The volcano grew out of the horzion but then disappeared into a cloud of vog. The wind was quiet. In fact, the entire day the temperatures were low and the wind was quiet. There was only one explanation:
The lava was resting today
Because tomorrow I believe it - and the winds - will rage. You can feel it in the air. You can sense it. You could see it in everyone's eyes. And because it's just been too darn quiet, cool and overcast all week. Where is the epic heat? The legendary winds? Perhaps tomorrow will know and we will all finally feel the island's volcanic energy.
Less than 24 hours from my husband will cross under this start line for his finish. I will cheer loudly for him along with all of my other friends. I am ready to be a world championship level spectathlete. To all - be safe, smart and strong on race day!