With the Ironman World Championships coming up next weekend, I want to write out a post that I probably should've written last year prior to stepping foot on the big island. It's going to be disjointed and not too many snazzy photos or links, but here goes nothing:
I've always had what I like to refer to as a pipe dream to get to the Big Island. It had consumed my thoughts and training for years and to race alongside the greats and be on the same course where history is made each year, I guess I've had a "healthy respect" for getting there and always been superstitious about it all.
When I first started out in the triathlon world, you realize after a few short whiles what the World Championships actually are. Sometimes, you meet someone that has been to Hawaii, stepped foot on that hallowed ground and you hold them in the HIGHEST regard. For folks still in Rochester, two LEGENDS of the sport that come to mind are Curt Eggers and Dennis Moriarty. (Dennis is actually still the Rochester record holder of the fastest time in Kona) But anyway, you meet them, are in complete awe of their accomplishments and then you try to surround yourself with everything Kona that's possible.
In 2006, I did IMFL and my dad came down to watch. Ironman was running a "Road to Kona" promo and they had a Ford Edge filled with these t-shirts at the expo. If you put in an entry to guess how many shirts were in the car, you got a t-shirt that read "Ford Ironman Road to Kona". I held on to that crappy cotton shirt with all the stains and everything from 2006 until 2011 and actually used it to clean my bike in the condo in Hawaii. That one went full circle and I thought that was fitting!
I trained in my basement on a trainer for years, when it came time to buy a fan to cool things off, I bought a "Hawaiian Breeze" fan. I tried Kona coffee and had it for a year even though I didn't like the bitterness of it, but I knew it was from a sacred place. My go-to summer beer was the Pipeline Porter from the Kona Brewing Company, where else? And I tried so hard to find a t-shirt that I saw an old racing buddy wear after he got back from Hawaii. I think he got it at Lava Java, but it just read on the front of it "Gotta Lava Tri" and I thought it was a hilarious play on words and I loved it!
Needless to say I was completely overwhelmed when I found the news that I was going to go last year. I had auto-qualified and I could add my name to the list of folks that were lucky and skilled enough to make it there. So if you are one of the lucky and brave souls bearing the heat this weekend and racing on hallowed ground, good luck! I'll be watching from a far! If not, keep dreaming and working hard and you might just realize your dreams someday. I really hope you do...cheers!