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Thoughts from Kona - Part 1

Day 1 Breakfast: Oatmeal with MCT oil Lunch: Lentil Salad with carrots, onions and kale Dinner: Salad greens and quinoa with Ahi poke Snacks: Banana, Enerex Raw Phyto proteins

An early morning wake up and three non-eventful flights later, I landed in Kona-Kailua, the Big Island. While traveling to Kona for the Ironman World Championships, I was flooded with thoughts and emotions. Up until this point, I hadn't had a chance to stop and think. Like many other athletes I have been using a training program and checking off each workout.

How did I get here? Just a few years ago I had an idea to complete an iron distance triathlon. Not knowing how to ride my bike and use clip in pedals - I started a training program. I enjoyed the training but heading to my first iron distance triathlon I really had no idea if I would make the cut off time especially for the bike portion, my weakest event. Fortunately, I finished the race and loved the experience, so I decided to sign up for another one. This is how my journey started. I have had many ups and downs in my training and I truly believe that "anything is possible". Ontario, Canada has had a hot humid summer and so I thought I should be race ready. Even the day before departure, temperatures were in the high 90's with humidity. With weather like that I should be in great shape to handle the "Kona heat" that I have heard other athletes speak of. The instant that I got off the plane in Kona, I was immediately greeted with heat. At 4pm, it felt like I was a standing in an oven. My mind immediately connected 4pm to the time that I would be running the marathon portion of the Ironman. With my husband & Mum, we picked up our rental car which they upgraded because they already had five other athletes return the mid-sized SUV because their bike didn't fit in the back of the car. Our first stop was to pick up groceries. It seemed more expensive than the other Hawaiian Islands that I have visited in the past but overall they had everything that we needed. Fortunately we rented a cottage so we had a full kitchen. Our cottage is small and has no air conditioning. However, what it lacks is made up for by its location on the ocean. The cottage get lots of trade winds and that cools down the temperature quickly. It's perfect, but it is hot. This is a blessing in disguise as I think this will help me acclimatize to the heat faster. I am glad that I decided to arrive to the race early. After a long day of travel, I head to bed early so that I can get a good start on the morning. Day 2

Breakfast: Local Hawaiian granola with a banana Lunch: Salad greens packed full of vegetables and a side of Quinoa Dinner: Big salad with a side of Pasta and wild Salmon Dessert: Apricots and honey plums

Snack: Enerex Greens Lots of water and electrolyte drinks I slept really well despite the heat. Enjoying a solid 9 hours sleep. Early morning proved to be beautiful and by 7am the sun was hot and humidity was on the rise. I nervously unpacked my bike and built it back together. Fortunately, I remembered to pack everything and nothing was broken. I started my workouts for the day. I head down to swim start. The swim course was already set up and there were quite a few people in the water. When the buoys are set up for a full iron distance course, I am always surprised how far they look out in the water. I started the swim and saw lots of fish immediately. They were everywhere it was very pretty. After a few minutes the water became very deep but you could still see the bottom - it was beautiful. Where I swam at the beginning of the course, the water was not rough but it was very salty and buoyant.

After the swim, I headed out for a short ride and happily confirmed that my bike was in working order. I decided to go down Ali's drive, there was a nice biking shoulder. The drive was very busy with cars and tourists going in and out of hotels and beach parking lots. After the bike, I went for a quick 20min run off the bike. Despite the heat I felt like I was running well.

Day 3

Breakfast: local Hawaiian granola with a banana Lunch: Salad greens and quinoa with beans and vegetables Dinner: Vegetable risotto at Lava Java

Snack: Enerex greens, Enerex Raw Phyto proteins Lots of water and electrolyte drinks

Today began with another swim, bike, run. I decided to head to the famous Queen K Highway. I thought it would be safer than riding on Ali'i drive. I decided to avoid Palani Rd because it's quite steep with traffic lights up the hill and I would have to ride all the way through town. So I biked up Hualalai Rd, it's a steep road but it has no traffic lights. Sometimes it takes a little longer to cross over the Queen K because there isn't a traffic light at the top of the intersection. The highway is very busy with cars but it has a huge bike lane that goes all the way to the other end of the island. I had a good speed doing my IM pace. I was surprised at how hilly the course is. There is no shade on the bike course. The wind was actually nice as it kept the sweat out of my eyes. Once I got back from my ride, I headed back out for a quick run off the bike. It was hot but bearable. We drove the bike course in the afternoon to see its entirety. Over 90% is a lava field and the wind picks up the closer proximity to Hawi. All of the plants were swaying; there definitely is a strong wind on the course. Early evening, we explored the Kona downtown strip. Since arriving, it has been noticeably getting busier with tourists walking the town and driving the streets. One tip we learned was to avoid driving in or out of the town around rush hour (4ish).

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