After getting back from town, I met up with John Hirsch – top 10 pro finisher at Ironman Louisville. Yeah, this guy’s got some fast legs. He tried to get me to hike up Mauna Loa but my legs were in no mood for that. Somehow he convinced me to go on a 90 minute “recovery walk”. I was a little concerned. What the heck is a recovery walk and will I need a gel? I knew I was in trouble when he showed up in racing flats.
Walking down Alii Drive I found my first but not last treasure of the day. In the shoulder of the road - a CD that said GANGSTA. I so had to pick it up. When I got back to the condo later and played it I got in touch with my old school gangtsa roots kicking it with...Ice Cube.
We ended up walking south on Alii Drive up Royal Poinciana which in case you don’t know is a giant hill. Immediately I broke into a sweat and John fresh off 10 days of full rest was breathing heavy. Don’t think I didn’t notice, John. We talked “shop” and I realized that no matter who I meet, from where – even if it’s the first time – if they are a cool cat triathlete, we’ll connect. It’s like having a giant family around the world. I only wish I could scoop everyone up and plant them in houses around my neighborhood so we could all get together and hang more often.
The walk was a little more than recovery walk though John did his best to convince me that getting the blood flowing (read: by raising your HR while walking up 10% grade) was a good thing. By the end I almost bonked and had blisters. I had to stop at the Gatorade tent on the way back. And bandage my chafed heel.
The entire family headed down to the beach – minus Chris. I however responded to the call that Sherpa Thomas had arrived. Pick him up at the airport and convinced him to go straight from the airport to the condo to the ocean. He couldn’t argue. I wouldn’t let him. Here’s a picture of me before we left. As you can see, I’m in full spectathlete mode.
By the way – in case I forget to mention this – spectating this race is already 100 times more fun than doing the race. You can actually “do” things in the days before the race other than…sit and wait!
At the beach we snorkeled –minus the snorkel but with goggles nonetheless. You could say I was working on my hypoxic skills holding my breath. What can I say about the ocean and the fish. It was beautiful. A full spectrum of colorful fish and then – a sea turtle. Lazy like him I floated along watching him duck in and out of rocks, his giant feet flapping in the water just like mine. Except mine have a few more blisters.
Then, the second treasure of the day. I’m swimming along and see something that looks like money floating on the ocean floor. Really? When I saw a $10 bill I knew I was diving down. Ended up $13 richer. Tomorrow, coffee is on me.
Back at the condo it was time to cook dinner. Here’s Kevin making a meat helmet. Or, in his words, building a meat castle.
By dinner Chris was feeling better. Turns out I think he had a bit of dehydration and travel stress. Not to mention a little pre-race holy shit I’m in Kona and everyone looks fit and I feel fat nerves. I knew he was better when I saw the Sea Salt potato chips that I had THROWN AWAY earlier in the day (ants) on the lanai table. Yes, he went into the garbage for them. Safe to say he's back at 100 percent health.
Problem with the chips like everything else we leave on the counter, it was covered in ants. Chris’ dad defended his son’s trash can diving with what can you catch from an ant? Hey, let’s not find out. All I know is that this condo is like a giant ant farm and by the end of the week I will have eaten a pound of ants.
Dinner is next. It smells delicious. Fresh fruit, vegetables. Chris’ mom bought the entire market I think. We’ve gone through avocadoes, papaya, tomatoes, starfruit, dragon fruit and have yet to touch the rambuktan. Dinner is a delectable salad full of fresh color; papaya, tomatoes, green leaf lettuce, avocado, mango, fresh fish, rice and sprouts.
Hawaii. Could you imagine a life like this everyday? Swimming, coffee, snorkeling, hiking, fresh fruits, vegetables and an island full of friends? I’d never leave.
A very lean and fit Desiree Ficker running along Alii as Nina Kraft hauled ass going the other direction.
In & Out List:
Here’s my take on what is in and out this year in the Kona tri scene…
In: Zoot racing shoes
Out: Crocs or Newtons
In: K Swiss
Out: Under Armour
In: Compression race socks
Out: Compression race socks (seriously they will never look cool)
In: Team TBB
Out: The Germans
In: Speed suits
In: Wearing a full race kit
Out: Wearing something blank
In: Practicing paceline on the Queen K
Out: Triathlon as an individual sport
In: Having a motor scooter pace you or protect you along Alii Drive
Out: Garmin 405
In: Coffee at Lava Java
Out: Will coffee ever be out? Let’s hope not.
Tomorrow – is a long ride. Seiichi, Thomas and I are heading out to Hawi. Thomas is – rightfully so – scared. I told him I would bring the camera. And that he should put his mom’s phone number on speed dail #1. Because I’m going to need to know where to send the picture of her son laying alongside the road sucking his thumb on the climb up to Hawi. Yeah, it’s game on. I’m in Kona – what can I say.
This next picture is for the Tri Blogger Chicks. And for the record too. Notice how here we are laughing carefree. Tomorrow I suspect the picture of Sherpa Thomas will not be quite the same. Cheers...