Friday, May 2, 2014

Creating Inspired Moments

My cat turned 6 yesterday. I fed her some of my almond roasted gelato to celebrate because she was begging me for some.  She's much like me... she really wants it in the moment and then majorly regrets it later (well I never majorly regret it later- but she sure did!).   How does this relate at all to a sports blog, racing or coaching?  Well let me tell you.  It was May 1st.  That means that in about 18 days... I will have officially been on the island of Oahu for exactly 7 years!  Yes, 7 years.  I think about all the experiences I've been though, the friends who have come and gone, and the many transitions and phases I have grown up into in life.  By far, I think a person can make the most leaps and bounds in their 20's.  I know that in this past weekend, I was thinking about what a huge step it was for me to have gone from being a beginner triathlete 6 years ago to now being able to lead a group of athletes in their own training camp.  And a hugely successful one it was.  Let me divulge.
My Cat 6 Years Ago....
And her stunned (-ing) bday look...

Myself 7 years ago... yes, my shoulders were ACTUALLY
larger when I was training for trials ;-)
And 2 weeks ago... pretending to surf CL's wave

Since BC Endurance is a much smaller group this year I had the leeway of asking the athletes if they wanted to stay on island or go to the big island.  The consensus was that everyone wanted to stay on Oahu and do an on-island training trip where they could stay downtown in hotels and pretend like they were gone but still attend to their cats/dogs/ and families (if necessary).  I decided I could take full advantage of knowing the entire island and set up some pretty cool training days!

So on Friday we set out to do an around the island bike ride supported by a sag wagon (or vehicle) following us and stopping at set-points.  I had 5 athletes participating in this... 4 of which had never gotten to the 100 mile mark before (and some even past the 60 mile mark).  They said they were a bit nervous... but what they didn't realize was how much more nervous I was.  The last thing I want is to have to peel 5 athletes off the pavement from bonking at mile 90 and figure out a way to bribe them back to their hotel.  I shouldn't have worried.  I don't think I've ever been on or coached a smoother 112 mile bike ride before.  We had a blast.  Slowly, towards the end... we even started skipping schedule aid stops because the athletes were doing so well! At the end, after all the high-fives... we all looked at each other and said we wanted to do it again.  It was that much fun.  Of course, there are some harder points... like my one athletes telling a tourist on Pineapple Hill that the Polynesian Culture Center was MILES AWAY (and pointing them back through the pineapple fields)... but those are the moments to laugh about and reminisce on for months to come (and honestly... who stops a cyclist in the middle of a climb to ask for directions when they missed their destination 45 min ago?!). Definitely a successful day and silent victory for me to have safely and happily have gotten these athletes around the island on their first 112 mile bike ride.
100 Mile Mark for these four athletes!
Did I mention the street sweeper we got stuck behind?
It was like a personal escort... at 7 MPH.  Fun for... a mile? 
Gil (our strength coach) and rest stop #2. His part in the bike ride was to squat my bike without dropping my bottle on his head. 
A great group of athletes for the bike ride... missing two so we'll be doing it again!
Gerald and Tara ... at mile 15 still smiling!
Rest stop 1. Makapuu.

I knew that the next day would be harder than the bike around the island because everyone would be tired.  But we were all very inspired to put on this triathlon for one of our athletes who had raised over 16k for his mythical bday triathlon (all went back into programs and outreach at the church if you are wondering).  So I set up a course and played race director for 'Paul's Inaugural Unofficial Odd Distance Triathlon.'  It wasn't an easy course... and being race director and the swim buoy made it even harder for the participants.  I drifted a bit towards diamond head (unknowingly;-)) and only the first few athletes really did a 1500 m swim... the rest- well... it was an unknown... 1.2mi ish swim avoiding the reef at elk's club and trying to find the channel back in at kaimana- type swim.  The bike was windy but great and the 8 mile run just capped off any energy that my athletes thought they had left.  We were very lucky to have over 28 + participants because Team Jet joined us and modified the course a bit and then I had a few Pac Velo teammates and other friends join in for the training.  The camaraderie of just being able to get together with all different clubs/ friends/ and triathletes really made it a great training triathlon and we all agreed it would be fun to do it again!

Expecting a picture of the Triathlon?  Those are coming later... this is way more appealing than watching 28 athletes run into overhead waves and swim into reef... well, wait... I'll definitely make sure to post those later!

Of course... there was more training.. food, fun, laughs, and more training for the rest of the weekend.  But what really was amazing was sitting at lunch on Sunday and realizing what a great group of athletes I have to coach and how satisfying it can be to get through a weekend safely with each person feeling accomplished and still in good spirits about the work they put in.

I think the reason why this is such a reflective blog report is because you hear about a lot of athletes and their races/daily life.  But at some point- the tables turn and it is nice to hear about inspiring other people.  Inspiring people to achieve THEIR dreams, THEIR goals, and THEIR a-races.  Don't get me wrong-  I still love to race, to train, to do well.  But sharing this passion with others is quite as inspirational as well.

Photo is Courtesy of James... one of my athletes.  It has some wonderful biking shots.  Yes, biking.  I nearly had a heart- attack as I was riding behind him and telling him to watch out for curbs and cars as he tried to take the perfect picture to update his status with.  Thanks for the memories and moments and inspiration.  


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

New Beginnings

It's weird for me to think of 2014 as a new beginning.  But somehow I needed to think of something to kickstart off my racing season.

I realized that my last post for this blog was after my Xterra World Championships in October.  Little did I know that I would actually take all of November and December off to heal up my separated shoulder from the accident and my worn out body from all the racing.  I think it was the best thing that I could have done.  I spent those months on the island hiking, laying on the beach, reading, and watching an insane amount of Netflix.


Some pics from taking time out of the saddle/water and exploring the island!

Then came 2014.  I had plans stewing for signing with a new team.... but I really couldn't say that it would be finalized... until it was finalized. I also was in a bit of a self-conflict because the team that I absolutely love, Pacific Velo, had supported me for the last year and just nominated me for being a board member. Luckily, Pacific Velo was very understanding that even if I wasn't racing in their jersey- I still wanted to be part of the team at the local level.  However, at the national level, the Timex Multisport Team was something I had been aiming/shooting for since I became aware of its' existence in triathlon.  To be a part of something so prestigious seemed unbelievable so I didn't want to say anything though until it was actually finalized and the papers were signed.    I think when I finally signed the 4 page sports agreement sometime in January that was when it really dawned on me that I needed to start training again... and signing up for races.
Swimming the Kona course (or at least half of it) with Pac Velo friends!

Repping a new kit for the ride to Hawi! (ignore the aero helmet... gotta travel light!)

Planet Sun athletes and roomies for Lavaman Waikaloa 2014!

So here we are in April, four months into the year.  Each year is a bit different.  Last year I had the goals of qualifying and competing in 3 world championships.  Check.  This year, well.. I really am just trying to maximize what my body can do with a bit different sort of training.  I am trying to confuse it with crazy hikes, rowing, crossfit workouts designed for endurance athletes, and anything out of the norm.  I put in the miles last year.  Hands down... You would find me on the bike for miles and miles at a time.  It was traditional.  But it was good for that year.  I had a training partner who entertained me with the idea of joining me for insanely long rides week after week.  Mentally, I can't do that this year.  I even bought a waterproofed ipod nano (or is it a shuffle?) after my channel crossing to listen to music and I am hardly seen without it for even one hour paddleboard interval workouts or 30 min trainer sessions.

This year I took on the job of coaching/directing a triathlon club.  I knew it would be challenging and fun at the same time.  Although some people might say that my training suffers from it- I think it only benefits from it.  Yesterday I received an email from one of the athlete's in the program saying that each time he received the weekly email it was like a little christmas present.  Maybe not because of the intensity (okay, I'm not known for the hardest workouts), but because of the most unusual.  I like to mix in trail running, climbing (in a loosely used term- just in case the person giving me the insurance is reading this blog), between (close) island swims, and lots of hill biking and sand training... oh and did I mention the cross fit coach I hired as the strength coach?  So as far as a new beginning goes... this year has been a blast to see how 7 athletes can handle all types of different training to prepare for an (half)ironman.  Anyway, they all love the camaraderie, as do I... and I am excited to see how they will perform in the end!
Burpees and swim mix workout Hawaii style with my athletes !

Anyway, so what is next you might ask?  What are my goals... my races?  That's a really great question.  I ask myself that each day I train.  I always think that's something to keep in perspective because if you don't then you might lose sight of why you are even out there training?  

My goals have recently shifted this year back to a bit of a water/run focus until June 1st (well I mean that in the sense of swimming wise and running wise).  I would love to have another great year coming out of the water at Hawaii 70.3 and then to be able to finish with a very strong run.  
After that... I will be focusing on my climbing skills for a little bit (on the bike) and honing in on the paddleboarding in prep for the Molokai to Oahu World Championship channel crossing... again.  This time hopefully a hurricane doesn't make it like a lake.  I am excited to be paired with Timex- and to take their new products out with me on the water and on the bike.  This is the first time I have ever used a cycle computer on my bike (yes.. I was living in a stone age and I very much liked it!) and it's a lot of fun to watch the distance/speed as I go along!  I also am excited to try to use the run trainer as my main GPS unit for paddleboarding.  Since I usually do interval workouts during the week with it... the thing is the perfect set up!  It balked a bit when I took a hard plunge into a wave and said "Lost GPS Signal" but that wasn't really true.  It rebounded quickly enough and never actually lost the signal and kept tracking.  I'll put the watch through its paces probably more than any athlete :-).
This computer got the best views for the first 100+ miles!  All coastline in Kona! 

Run Trainer 2.0 turned into my new GPS monitor for my prone paddleboard workouts.  BAMN! It has more intervals than any other watch (which we use)... feed and water alarms (which I personally don't use- if you know me ;-)).  And the orange buttons are stylishly matching my board!

And finally, I am super excited to say that I will get a chance to climb Haleakala in the race Cycle to the Sun in late June... and that my brother and his wife will be my support vehicle in their first trip out to Hawaii since I moved here almost 7 years ago!  They thought it was an all day event.  I nicely had to explain that I really hoped it wouldn't be!  

Anyway, until next time... stay inspired in your training and make sure to keep your goals in mind.  Stay happy and healthy!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Xterra World Championships: Karma, Leis, the Good and the Bad

I do believe in mana, or spirits, and although I am not superstitious... I do believe that there is race karma.  So I have this certain tradition after each race.  If I have received a lei then I make sure to go throw it back into the ocean and offer it back to the seas as a way of a silent thanks and protection for future races.  

So, in keeping with tradition, after racing Kona Ironman, I went down to the ocean, and took my finish line lei and went to toss it into the ocean.  The darn flower petal broke off in my hand and the lei went backwards and landed in the grass behind me.  I, of course, picked it up and tried to give it a good toss again.  This time, a good gust of wind came along and the lei landed on the rocks at my feet.  At this point, my friend walked out (with a huge smirk on his face because he knew that my karma was shot!), balls up the lei into a fist size lump of flowers, and told me to throw it as hard as I could to get it in the ocean.  I mumbled to him that I thought my next race might be doomed if this was any indication of it. 

Two weeks later I found myself at the starting line of Xterra World Championship triathlon.  It was the quickest two weeks ever.  I had spent most of the two weeks laying on the couch with no motivation to do anything except watch tv and feel guilty about not working out.  I justified my lack of working out by paddleboarding, jogging 3 miles, and hike-a-mountain biking on one of the saturday mornings.  I worked a ton, did a tv interview, a newspaper interview, and did more running through the water for a photoshoot than I did in most of the two weeks between the races.
Newspaper article by Cindy Luis in Honolulu Star Advertiser
Interview with Guy Hagi on KHON/Hawaii News Now about Xterra with Amy Eck
who has done the double too (and won!)

So here I am at the start line for Xterra and one of my friends from Oahu who has raced these events in the past pulls me aside and says "Kathryn, go get blessed!"  I then realized that she was referring to the Kahu (leads a hawaiian blessing) who was personally blessing racers with the ocean water and tea leaves.  I of course, needed all the help I could get for this race and ran over to get this Hawaiian prayer before the race.  
Anyway, the cannon went off for the females in Xterra 2 min after the males.  Before the first buoy I had already caught the first males who were surprisingly super nice and not even trying to be competitive on the swim.  My timing chip slipped off and when I headed back into the beach run portion of the swim... I told one of the race directors and he told me not to worry about it. I'm still not entirely convinced I have the right swim split because I had no chip on when exiting the water... but who knows.  That wasn't my concern of the day... it was the bike.

Sooo... I ran into transition for the bike and they were handing out chips like candy.  Literally, two gals were standing there asking me if I needed a timing chip?  Sure! So, I now had to put on a new timing chip in T1.  Think hospital bracelet... I had to put it through the hole and snap it on.  Definitely a little loose but at least I had something so my parents back in Colorado wouldn't think that I DNF'ed the swim (which later they admitted that they were a bit worried when I didn't have a swim time).  
Hope you didn't want this tri kit back Sandy...?  I slightly broke it in with Kona sweat and Xterra mud!

Anyway... coming out of T1 I saw someone I knew to be a top mountain biker.  Oh goodness... I thought, if he is just now exiting the swim that means I have TONS more of mountain bikers like him behind him!  I started getting passed right away on the mountain bike.  I quickly caught on that people were going to pass me on EVERY side... sometimes 2 at a time and that I would have to just simply realize that I would need to try my best not to fall at the time someone was passing me.  Well... it's really hard to keep it calm right at the beginning of a race when this is a new concept and you're a newer mountain biker.  So at mile 1.75 on the bike... I was going down a slight downhill single track-ish section and had a lot of fast mountain biker guys behind me that wanted to pass.  So I didn't break... and then hit some sand (at least I think I did), and started to slide out and then missed the turn and slammed too hard on the brakes and went over my handlebars and into the tree.  

My first thought was ... wow, my head.  My head hurts.  And then I kinda looked and realized that my bike was still in the middle of the trail and moved it to the side to assess.  It survived.  Ok... I looked down at myself.  I seemed fine.  Nothing seemed to be bleeding.  Just my head took a really hard hit.  Good thing I was wearing a helmet! I then tried to get back on my bike.  My chain had been knocked off.  It's super funny how you don't think too quickly in these situations, because all I could think was- I can't fix mountain bikes.  The funny part is... I can fix a mountain bike just as well as a road bike.  The chain thing is super easy to get back on... I just wasn't thinking clearly!  So I stood there spinning my pedal forwards and backwards for a few times before realizing that I needed to simply lift my chain to put it back on.  Situation solved.  Back on the trail going A LOT SLOWER than before.  I was simply just going to try to finish the race now.  Game plan changed.

And that's how the rest of my race went.  I kept having people ask if I was okay.  Maybe I was going really slow.  I honestly was in a bit of a daze for the rest of the course.  I realized 2+ hours later that I was missing my right lens from my sunglasses.  Apparently it popped off and I had no idea until I went to rub my eye.  

I finished the bike with a big sigh of relief.  I was alive and only had the run to do.  I knew then, that my knee was having some issues but I could manage a 10 k even with knee issues.  I had fun on the run.  As I said, I was there just to have fun and to finish the race.  It was a tough course.... finishing it was just an accomplishment.  
I'm smiling cause I'm almost done...
 but I'd much rather be swimming in that water rather than running by it!

Post Race:
Soon after I finished the race I realized that my knee was pretty swollen.  The med tent guys made me come check in when a friend tried to grab ice and explained that I had hit a tree.  They declared my knee stable and said I didn't need x-rays.  They made me scrub my already dirty wounds with iodine and put some neosporin on them and sent me on my way!
Yay! 6 days back in Maui!

I did win the double and now have a lovely 6 day vacation to use in Maui.  I do have some lovely plans for this trip already... and no, it doesn't include: training, a boy, or whales.  But it includes: vacation, family time, and R&R to look forward to.  

Oahu Xterra Athletes
More amazing athletes and support!

What Now?
So I am currently experiencing some post-race relaxation on the couch.  My knee is doing a lot better and I have been cleared to exercise in a few days and can now decline the MRI that was scheduled.  My neck is still giving me pain, but should hopefully clear up soon.  I had my neck x-rayed for damage too... but nothing was seen and it is mostly muscular and is mending on it's own also! So with any good  luck... I will be back in action and running the Honolulu Marathon in my best (running) shape ever!

More updates on future plans will be coming soon....    

Always having fun....!

Oh yea... and post-Xterra... I did go throw more leis.  I'm happy to report that they peacefully drifted back into the ocean waves.  

And one more thing... For those of you who were tracking the double like the head guy at Xterra... He did the math for me and wanted to let me know that if I kept the same pace that I did for my Xterra race- that I would be doing a 25 HOUR Ironman.  Feeling better about yourself now?  Okay, I'll leave you with that thought because even I like to see the humor in it too ;-).      

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Da Kona Race Recap

I figure I would take a moment on my day off to write a bit about the race day experience.  To me, it's always amazing how different each athlete's experience is from the next... and what the spectator sees versus what actually occurs.

So rumor was that tattoos were being used this year. However, they weren't in the race packet and it was a mystery as to how they were going to temporary tattoo 2100 athletes on race day morning.  Well, leave it to Ironman to have it so organized that they had it all sorted out by number so that you could zip through in less than 10 min with a weigh-in included.  Funniest part of this was when I went to step on the scale and the doctor goes... "by the way, the scale is running heavy today so don't be surprised." I looked at her and laughed and said... "it's ironman race day! that's the last thing on my mind right now!"
The tan lines from a tattoo... #2071 for the next few weeks!


I haven't said this before.  But this was probably THE MOST VICIOUS SWIM i have ever experienced in 6 years of open water swimming.  If you know my open water swimming history, you know that I have raced for cash before... $10,000 take all (clearly, I didn't win).  I have raced multiple open water races with great swimmers and multiple mass open water starts with terrible swimmers.  But I have never, ever... gotten to a start line and had males with such big egos that they punch, kick and taunt the females (they were not Americans...) just because they are females trying to hold their position on the front of the starting line.  I'm talking 20 min before the cannon was even supposed to go off... having some early- mid 30 males literally just not stop elbowing, kicking and trash-talking to point where I ended up just saying.. "have a great race, I hope you learn that kona is a different beast and I wish you all the best" and moving away to find some females who were experiencing the same thing and telling me that it was ridiculous how rude the males were being at the front.  But it didn't stop there...
As soon as the cannon went off the swimming was absolutely HORRID.  Perhaps it was because I had gotten pushed back to about 4 rows back (because that front line of males were pushing out so much past the start line and I refused to go there).  My swim skin immediately was unzipped, I was dunked under, my cap and goggles was pulled on by someone going over top of me.  I counted my blessings for having played water polo for 10 years.  At least I knew I wouldn't drown and I could take a few elbows and punches.  But they didn't stop.  All the way down to the turn around of the swim I got kicked, elbowed, swum over, etc.  At the turn around I made a decision to go wide and take my own line- swim in my own ocean.  I was OVER all the darn people who couldn't swim straight.  I literally had been fearing the whole way down that someone's safety pin would come undone and just tear into my skin because I kept getting nailed by the velcro and nails of people kicking me as I passed them.
So on the way back to the pier I went outside the inner line of people swimming the buoy line and enjoyed the ocean to myself.  Until the end of the swim.  Of course, about 20 yards from the finish some guy still had to stroke wide and literally try to dunk me under and pull my leg again as I tried to swim past him (maybe because he didn't want to get chicked?)  I made sure to come in before him.
View from the pier
Anyway, so it's funny when people keep telling me that I had this awesome swim because it was literally a BATTLE from start to finish and I felt like I was hardly swimming at all and rather fighting for my head to stay up.  I didn't get tired because I never got a chance to actually get into a swimming rhythm or pick up speed with out having to dodge head strong ego-ed males that didn't want someone to pass them.


Rumor was that there were No Winds heading to Hawi.  I had never heard of such weather before let alone experienced it.  All I can say is this.  Up to Hawi- piece of cake.  I felt like I was flying.  I wear a Garmin on my wrist that I hardly ever look at (it's like jewelry for me and I feel naked without it), except when I hit 56.2 miles and I saw that I was at 2:30:00 I did a silent happy dance on my bike.  I was smiling because it was the easiest bike ride I had ever done and I knew I just had to keep pedaling strong because Madame Pele likes to whip up the winds when least expected.  I started to slow a bit when I hit some head winds on the way back from Waikaloa... but I knew that would happen.  I didn't want to disappoint myself, so I kept setting small time goals (like every 5 miles I had to keep on track and I gave myself generous buffers so that I would achieve these goals).  I was very excited to break 5:40 mark in the bike... something that I never thought I would do because my friends were betting that anything under 5:45 and my run would suffer.
Speedy Pink and Blue


As many of you know... I am not a stellar runner.  So this year- I focused on my run.  Coming off of the bike knowing that I have a marathon is probably the hardest thing mentally for me to get through in an ironman.  So I started with this hand-held bottle... and then ditched it at mile 1 and decided that my reward for running the marathon would be walking the aid-stations.  And that's how I mentally got through the whole marathon and felt fine!  I might have been able to push a bit harder, but a 4:07 marathon for me with walking each aid station is a huge achievement over last year's 5:15 marathon.  I was able to thank a lot of the volunteers on the course, take in the water and ironman perform without spilling it all over myself (or choking on it), and actually ran ALL of the uphills with even a smile on my face!
Captured Smiling


I never thought I would actually blog about this.. but a lot of people keep asking me what I do and what I train with.  I will preface it with this .... I AM AN ODDITY to the sport.   So last year, I started with taping 6 Gu's to my bike because that's what people did.  It looked super cool.  I did the same in Honu, I did the same in Coeur d'Alene.  But as I became more attuned to my body- I started realizing... it's not what LOOKS COOL it's what works for you.  So while a lot of people talk about how these diets of gluten free, all veggies, no sugar, etc. etc. works for them- it simply doesn't work for me.  I was... actually eating a pint of ben and jerry's and cold left-over pizza the night before kona (you're cringing.. I know).  In my defense, I did make some pasta with meat sauce and tried to cram some of that down too (although I was pretty full from the ice cream).
That being said... I now dive into my race day nutrition.  I make sure to have a really good breakfast.  And by really good... I mean, really large.  I will not actually take in any coffee because I feel that it makes things in your system speed up and I don't need that because my nerves are already speeding things up enough.  So I find some alternative form of caffeine (be it cytomax's drops with caffeine like I had race morning in kona, or some chomps with caffeine).  Then I just eat way more than what I would think until I'm not hungry... Kona race morning was... 2 packets of oatmeal, a banana, the cytomax chomp things (they were free from Alii drive), and some powerade.  It doesn't sound like much but after dinner the night before at 8 PM... that's all I could fit!
My race day nutrition has become basic.  No gu, no anything extra.  A bottle of Herbalife Endurance Formula and a bottle of water.  Once those are gone then I switch over to perform and water.  Sometimes it's A LOT (depending on the heat and humidity) sometimes it's not.  I had 2 cliff bars stuffed in my jersey for the bike ride and I gave one to another triathlete who missed his special needs bag.  I didn't eat any of my other cliff bar until T2 when I had a bite and threw the rest in the trash on the way out.  When I get a special needs bag for a run... I always put a sugar-free red-bull in it.  It gives me the wings to fly out of the energy lab :-).  I had 2 bonk breaker bites when I got hungry on the run (they tasted surprisingly good... just make sure to have water around because those things are dry!)... and some perform, water, and coke.
All in all- I tell people, practice what you think you'll race with and if you get thirsty on race day... then throw the nutrition plan out the window because Hawaii is a different beast.  It is HOT.  While I might train with 2-3 bottles per 56 miles on Oahu, I have been known to consume 7-8 bottles for the half Ironman distance in June. I don't freak out... I roll with it and adapt as I go.
The amazing Kona finish.  Best feeling ever!

Dan, my age group swim coach, flew over and watched.  He was a finish-line catcher and got to be the first to give me a big congrats hug!
Awesome support.. it takes Ohana to help on pre-race and race day to post-race. 

Thanks for messages and support... from virtual FBing, to posters, to texts.  I read all of them and they all mean a lot to me.


In general, this year Kona was a blast.  It exceeded my expectations in so many ways.  I met a lot of really amazing and fun athletes from Oahu and other places.  The stories that I hear never cease to intrigue me and inspire me.  More than just a race, the Kona Ironman is about the journey and the phenomenal people that are there and around the world supporting and helping in so many different ways.
The Oahu UPR group made the cover pic of triathlete news.   Nothing but fun and smiles!


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Kona is for Kim

Everyone has their own reason to train. Their own reason to race. Their own reason to push when their on the brink of breaking.

This year... Kona is for Kim.

My first half ironman in Hawaii was spent practically on Tom and Kim's family vacation to Waikaloa in 2010.  I had a blast going down the water slides in the Hilton Hawaiian Village the day before the race (maybe not the greatest pre-race activity if you are serious about tapering... ) and making the most out of a weekend of family fun with their two younger boys.  In October that year Tom, myself, and a few other people were able to get over to watch Kona Ironman and I promised that I would not come back as a spectator again.  Only as an athlete.  We both have kept that promise so far.

This year, Tom was able to race Ironman World Championships 70.3 for his wife Kim.. who is in a race of her own.  For her life against cancer. It really puts a lot of things in perspective.  For me, it has made me sometimes stop in the middle of a workout... look around, and just say a quiet thanks for all the good fortune I have had on the road and in the water.  So, now that all the bike training is done, here are a few pictures to take everyone (and especially Kim who hasn't seen the Koolau's in quite some time), on some of my previous biking journeys done during my Kona training.

Through rain, sweat, flats, sand, and red-dirt... there has been lots of smiles, jokes, story-telling, hard work and 7-11 stops.  The hard work is done, it is all mental now.  That is why I will keep this one for Kim.  Race for someone who has a bigger heart than all of us and more strength and dedication for family and love than I can even understand at this point in my life... and possibly ever.  Kim- this Kona is for you.