Ironman Kona Training · Training

Week 46: Pack Your Bags We’re Going to Kona!!

Between big news, great workouts with friends, and bouncing back after my funk last week, this has quite possibly been the best week ever. As they say in Almost Famous, “it’s all happening”…

What?! Me? KONA!?!

The Ironman World Championship, or simply “Kona” as it’s referred to in the tri world, is the ultimate goal for many triathletes. The qualifying standards are so rigorous that more than 80,000 athletes attempt to qualify and only ~2,000 actually make it to the start line. It’s an iconic and passionate race in the birthplace of the event… Hawaii.

Each Ironman around the world has a certain number of Kona slots allocated to it. Ironman Lake Tahoe had 50 slots for top age group athletes, so when the race was cancelled the company decided to do a random lottery instead of absorbing the slots and re-allocating them elsewhere (thank you!).

The WTC told us that November 14th would be the day they would announce the winners. The night before the 14th I actually woke up twice in the middle of the night to check my e-mail to see if I had been chosen. I eventually woke up at 5:30am per usual, was getting ready to head out for my spin intervals, and an e-mail came through…

The header was “WorldChampionship” and all I had to see was “Congratulations…” and my jaw hit the floor. I freaked out, jumped around, and maybe shed a happy tear or two. I couldn’t believe it!!! HOLY %@#$ I’M GOING TO KONA!!!!

Photo Nov 14, 6 13 33 AM
The E-mail

My solo dance party and elation soon turned to sympathy. There are thousands of fast, fierce, strong triathletes who try their whole lives to get to Kona, and here it’s being handed to me on a silver platter. I’ve never even done an Ironman before, so why should I go and not someone else more deserving?

My very wise sister-in-law brought me back down to Earth and reminded me that I’m going in addition to everyone else, not in place of anyone.  In fact, if I don’t accept the slot then it disappears and doesn’t transfer to anyone else. And then my Dad also reminded me that I had to deal with the sadness of having my first Ironman be cancelled 5 mins before the starting gun so of course I deserve to go!

Not only am I going, I’m going to train and race with all of my heart and represent all of the IMLT ‘refugees’ out there as well as GGTC. I was actually planning on going next year to spectate because the race coverage looked so much fun. I can’t wait to participate in all of the crazy activities, maybe meet some pros, and race with some of the most fit and inspirational people in the world.

The other thing is that my passion for triathlon actually started in Kona when I did my first triathlon in 2013 on the big island. If you had told me I would be back in 2.5 years for the World Championship I would’ve said you’re crazy!

I’m obviously still trying to work out the details but everything will work itself out. Here we go!

Want to learn more about race week in Kona? Check out this awesome 16 minute video. The swim start at 4:27 is the craziest part!

IRONMAN World Championship | Kona, HI
Hawaii. photo credit:

Here’s what I do know:

  • This is going to be an experience of a freaking lifetime!!
  • Ironman Cozumel in 2 weeks will be great Kona prep when it comes to racing in very humid and windy conditions, and swimming without a wetsuit
  • The course in Kona makes it one of the hardest Ironmans in the world
  • I’m going to work my butt off this year so I can feel confident on race day and feel even slightly deserving of entry into this iconic race
  • I need to think about how I improve my work-family-dating-social-travel-Ironman balance over the next 11 months. It’s a constant work-in-progress.
  • I’ll be rockin’ our stylish GGTC gear and will represent the club the best I can
  • There will be a lot of people coming to watch which makes me SO happy! I’m already hearing from so many people who are planning on trekking to Kona. And I appreciate that more than you know!
  • This is insane and I’m so appreciative of all of the encouragement and support so far. Let’s do this!!!!

Ironman Dress Rehearsal

Saturday was my final big day before Ironman Cozumel and consisted of a swim, bike, run. This was a great chance to practice my nutrition, outfits, and transitions. I went out to Napa and swam 2,000 yards in a local pool before hopping on my bike to do 70 miles on the Silverado Trail and then a 5 mile run.

The day couldn’t have been any more gorgeous. If you live in the Bay Area and haven’t been to wine country in the Fall, get there now! The vineyards are beautiful orange Fall colors and the air is crisp and chilly, just like Fall in the Midwest.

Photo Nov 15, 12 46 40 PM

The swim was nice because it was an outdoor pool and there was randomly a Masters class starting up that I was able to join. We did some drills and I learned a couple new things about my technique.

HealthQuest in Napa
HealthQuest in Napa

The bike was also really nice and I spent almost the entire 70 miles thinking about Kona. I was on my road bike since my TT bike is already en route to Mexico and honestly, I missed my road bike so much! It’s so much more comfortable and fun. But the TT bike is faster and more efficient and better for race day of course.

As seen at the pool right before biking :-) So true!!
As seen at the pool right before biking 🙂 So true!!

The run was felt strong. The first mile was a little wobbly but I found my rhythm pretty quickly.

All in all a successful and beautiful training day in Napa and things fell into place really well. This was in stark contrast to last weekend when I felt defeated, frustrated, and ‘over it’. I’m glad I got out of my funk!

Adventure Run

Sunday I had a 2 hour run with rolling hills on my calendar. I was debating whether to wake up early and just run solo or join GGTC friends and “Body by Hayatz” for a long run in the Presidio. I’m so happy I opted for the latter!

The goal was to team up and see as many landmarks in the Presidio as you could (wine bunker, campground, Immigrant point, etc) and snap photos along the way. We re-grouped at several points to make sure people didn’t get lost on the trails and had some fun!

I was mostly running with guys so they pushed me and motivated me the whole way. It was so much fun and also a very challenging workout! Thanks for organizing, John!

The beginning... 1, 2, 3, JUMP!
The beginning… 1, 2, 3, JUMP!
Goofy :-P
Goofy 😛
The Presidio is gorgeous this time of year
The Presidio is gorgeous this time of year

GGTC Kona Viewing Party

The night I found out I got into Kona GGTC hosted an exclusive commercial-free and early access viewing of the NBC broadcast of the 2014 World Championship at a local movie theater. It was inspiring and gave me a brief look into what’s coming next October. The big take-away is that the island is super windy there’s almost no shade. Heat training and practicing biking in windy conditions will be pretty key this coming year.

The broadcast highlighted stories of those who have overcome significant adversity to cross that finish line. We also got to see Apolo Ohno crush his race; what a beast!

After the event I was mostly a deer in headlights. After seeing how windy and treacherous the course was it makes me nervous, but mostly excited for the challenge. Big thanks to Mark and the GGTC crew for organizing such a fun event complete with Hawaiian beer and cripsy tofu sandwiches. I ❤ GGTC!

Fe = Iron :-) Cozumel or Bust!
Fe = Iron 🙂 Cozumel or Bust!
El presidente kicking off the event
El presidente kicking off the event

This Week’s Training Log 

  • 16th. Run. 11 mile Presidio run with hills.
  • 15th. Run. 5 mile brick run. 9:20/mi
  • 15th. Bike. 70 miles on the Silverado Trail.
  • 15th. Swim. 1 hour 2000 yards with drills.
  • 14th. Bike. Spin intervals. 1 hour.
  • 12th. Swim. Morning swim. 2,500 yards.
  • 11th. Bike. Indoor spin intervals. 1 hour.

Thanks everyone. Swim. Bike. Run. Eat Plants.

4 thoughts on “Week 46: Pack Your Bags We’re Going to Kona!!

    1. Thanks Dorette!! What a year! And you’ve been there by my side for 8 months of it! I’m looking forward to the next adventure. But first… Cozumel.

  1. OMG THIS IS SOOOO EXCITING! Congrats! I have a tri friend that is also doing Cozumel, I will need to do an introduction 🙂 Best of luck in your prep going into race weekend, you are soooo close! So happy for you 🙂

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