Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Postcard from Kona

In keeping with my lack of blogging myself and instead writing for other sites, my club the Kingston Wheelers has published a little blurb I wrote in a rather introspective moment in Kona (complete with a photo that's only a tiny bit photoshopped, ha ha. Those familiar with Kona will know what I mean!)

Here's what I wrote:

It's now halfway between our arrival to Kona and race day, and I actually feel normal again. Jetlag from the 24-hour trip - and along with it an 11-hour timezone shift - have passed, though we still rise every day before 6.00am: early mornings are the best part of the day here. We've been surrounded by fit, fast, and bronze-bodied triathletes since we left Heathrow, sharing our flight with over a dozen other competitors judging from all the bike boxes that were unloaded at LAX. The flight to Kona was entirely filled with people sporting Ironman finisher's shirts and M-dot tattoos, and every day more arrive here to enhance any feelings of insecurity or inadequacy I might have had about this race. That girl running 6-minute miles, is she in my age group? That guy motorpacing, surely he's a pro? TT bikes outnumber every other type of bike 10-to-1. Not a minute goes by without someone running down the road past our flat, and on the highway it's one cyclist after another, all riding alone in full aero mode. Mornings at the beach are packed with people swimming the course, followed by the required breakfast at the iconic Lava Java bistro. It's all a bit overwhelming... and it's not even race week yet!

So today instead of wrestling my bike through 40mph crosswinds, running in 30 degree heat or swimming mile after mile with the tropical fish -- all of which I've done in the past few days - we took a day just to be tourists. With a rented boogie board we headed to the beach where I tried my hand at surfing with the local kids while Jim sat in the shade with his book. It was a welcome relief from the constant reminder that everyone here for this race is just as fit and ready as you are, with the speed, body and kit to prove it.

Any training I do from now on will just be to satisfy my mind and keep my body reminded that there's a race to come. I've come to know the course, I've steeled myself for the relentless heat and wind that are hallmarks of Ironman Hawaii, and I've made sure everything I can do to prepare has been done. Now it's just a waiting game until Saturday when all of us line up at the start, eyeing each other warily and wondering who will have the race of their lives and who will be reduced to a cramping shuffling mess by the finish. Needless to say, the former is the only option for me!

More to come later, with photos I hope, as I go to town to register and check out the expo. Nothing planned but a short run today, otherwise it's IM tourist time!

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