Tuesday, October 11, 2011

IM Kona: Pre-race

Where to begin.....where to begin?  At the beginning I suppose but where exactly is the beginning?  This year Kona was an all-week event for me with lots of fun highlights but I was in Kona for a reason.  To race. So I guess I'll start with Friday!

PIC and I woke up early as usual - PIC had a pretty restless sleep and I woke up feeling less than rested as was the case all week.  It's not that I wasn't sleeping well, I just wasn't sleeping long enough.  By Friday morning I had dark circles under my eyes!  Son tried to make me feel better by saying it was because my glycogen stores were all loaded up but c'mon.....I don't think so.  And, it was raining when we got up.....it had been raining all night......it had rained out the welcome dinner!!  I know that was weighing on my mind.  What if.....it's pouring race morning?  What if.....it rains the entire day....what if what if what if..
The rained out welcome dinner.  In Hawaii when it rains it's like a faucet from the sky opens up!
It was 24 hours before cannon time and I felt oddly relaxed.  It was strange - I even commented to CV about it.  But soon enough nerves settled in.  All I needed was to start packing my bags and the "gravity" of the task at hand became painfully obvious.  It was no longer fun and games and running around in my underwear.....it was GO time.

Shoot, I knew I forgot to pack the kitchen sink along with everything else 
Nancy did an amazing job decorating my bags!
In a kind of cool/surreal twist, PIC and I had our own personal photographer following us on Friday.  Courtney and AJ work with Tri-Magazine and are putting the first print issue out at the end of the year.  They asked if they could follow us and document age groupers preparing for Kona.  So in our tiny apartment, there were 7 of us:  Uncle Norm, Keith and Nancy, Courtney and AJ, me and Son.  It was great though. The conversation was light and the 5 of the non-racers were helping us out!

The sun finally came out and it was time for our pre-race warm-up.  We headed to the pool (no ocean swimming after all that rain...who knows what's in that run-off) and got a great 20 minute swim.  Back to the apartment for our jog and then the last check on the bikes.  Everything was a GO!

A little breaky at Lava Java, a few kisses to my wonderful family and then it was time to go chill alone and get ready to put our game faces on.......for bike check-in.
Sonja heading into the madness
Now, if you haven't heard about bike check-in at Kona, well it's like nothing you have ever experienced EVER!  It is complete madness.  There were throngs of people, family, athletes, supporters and gawkers everywhere.  And they all seemed to be looking at us...but really, our bikes.  As we entered the walkway, you are checked for your wristband.....and then it's time to strut your bike down the "runway".  Industry peeps are sitting in lawn chairs checking you your bike out.  Number count!  I had the song "I'm too sexy" rolling in my head and even though I was all nerves and shaking on the outside, I managed to strut just a little bit:)

My bike passed the safety test and a lovely woman named Bearte greeted me at transition and escorted me to my bike spot.  I hung up my bike and run bags and that was it!
Glad she hung out with all the other bikes in transition on Friday.  She was tapered and ready to go fast and was kind of getting annoying with all her nervous energy.
Special needs packed.  Bike and run bags turned in.  Bike in transition.  Ready to go.  But it's only 6pm. Dang.....the waiting IS the hardest part (well not really).

3 comments:

RMS said...

Hi Michelle,
I am a friend of Sonja's and therefore know you really well without ever meeting you - that sounded very stalker like. I just wanted to point out your very unique achievement on Saturday....you are the only particpant to finish in the same time as your bib number. You probably knew it already but I thought I should point it out just in case. Ron Francis

goSonja said...

Ron, Wait until you see her finish line picture! It rocks! Well, PIC, we made it to the finish line, whew! It seemed dicey at moments. I'm so glad we got to share a week together and that we got all the pre race nerves together.

RMS said...

Speaking of the finishing line, next year when you are both there can you make sure that the Ironmanlive webcam not only shows the finishing line but also the finishing time. It should not that difficult for them :) Hope you are having a great time and it was fun following both of you online on Saturday. Did you notice three British women in the top four, now if only Ironman distance was an olympic event!