Kona 2017: Race Week

Kona 2017: Race Week

It’s the week I’ve been training for since I was here last in 2013! Kona Round 2.

I usually include a pre-race section in my race reports, but since Kona is a week-long party, I figured it deserved a post of its own.

Since IM Canada…

The lead-up to Kona since IM Canada at the end of July was tougher than I’d hoped. Between recovery and a few minor illnesses, I had a less intense training block but shorter taper than I would have preferred. Coach Ben and I have confidence I’m well rested and can feed off of some of that early season fitness.

A few weeks ago, Colorado went aggressively into fall-mode: cooler temps, rain, and pumpkin spice (my fav). It made for some great Norseman-esce rides, but I had to rely on Sauna sessions for heat acclimation.


Sunday was an all-day travel day from Denver with Mom & Dad (now Colorado residents!). With the 4 hour time change, we crashed immediately but were awake at 5:30am after a good night’s sleep.

After a hardy breakfast at Lava Java, I was ready to swim the course (complete with a trip to the Coffee Boat). The water was a little choppier than I remember, but just as clear. Watching fish swim is way better entertainment than a black line.

I built the bike, then headed out for a ride down the Queen K with VO2 teammate Stacy. Hot & windy, just the way I like it! (Or need to, anyway, if I’m going to conquer Saturday)

Having to get last-minute accommodations was a challenge (hey, I tried to qualify a year in advance… it didn’t go too well). We ended up on the pricier side, but it has the perks of a wrap-around lanai with perfect ocean views.


I snuck in a short swim that wasn’t on the schedule (Don’t tell Coach Ben!); how can you be in Kona and not want to spend every minute in the water??? There was a delicious breakfast for AWA Gold athletes (people who spend too much time and money on this crap), but it was fun to listen to Dave Scott and Mark Allen answer questions (and give advise like “race your own race”… anyone see the irony there?).

After race check-in and a quick trip to the Expo (where I found the perfect t-shirt), I enjoyed some time with the feet up and the condo, then went for a ride & run. Legs are feeling good – let’s hope they stay this way for another few days.

We went into town for the Parade of Nations (it rained for about 15 minutes and the temp dropped 10 degrees. Can someone make that happen around 2pm on Saturday please?) and enjoyed Lava Java Fish Tacos for dinner.

Should have bought it


It’s been an uneventful day, but will get crazy soon! Mom swam in the bay and reported waters were rough and crowded. Coach Ben, Ann, and John arrive this evening as well. The chaos is beginning!

Outside of a trip to the airport and a swim in the Kona Aquatics Center (enjoying the benefits of all this sea-level oxygen), it was a much needed day to relax.


What a morning!

We started with the Kona Underpants Run – a few thousand people “running” (parading, really) mostly nude through the streets of Kona. I’m sure the locals love us.

Another great swim in the bay (made it to the coffee boat this time), then it was off to Brunch. Along the way, we bumped into none-other than 5x world champ Crowie Alexander, who we had met 7 months ago in Tuscon. We had a great chat and he doled out some great advice for Saturday!


This is it, the end of the road to Kona; tomorrow is race day! The penultimate day is always a mix of chaos and calm. Personally, I’m trying to keep 100 things straight while relaxing and always end up a little grouchy at one point or another. Now imagine a town full of 2,500 of the most type-A perfectionists you may ever meet (I say that in a very endearing way), all nervous about what’s about to hit them in the face tomorrow. Occasionally someone gets distracted and wanders into traffic. At least everyone is walking around in helmets before bike check-in.

The day began with a simple race rehearsal: 30mins in the pool, 30 mins on the bike (10 easy / 15 IM tempo / 5 easy), 12min run. Everything feels great and ready to race!

The fun story of the day involves the sticker you put on your bike stem (with your number so they know it’s your bike when you check it out). I was charging my shifters (1 of only 6 batteries that needs to be fresh for race day) with the bento box out of the bike (leaving a hole in the frame) and laid the sticker on the top tube. Fast forward an hour, the bike was ready to go (minus the sticker). Thus began the hour-long scavenger hunt to find said sticker and eventually, through process of elimination, determine it is somewhere inside the bike frame. Another 15 minutes of bento box disassembly and upside down bike shaking (most expensive shake weight ever) and the sticker was in hand.

Around 2pm, I checked in the bike and bike/run gear bags and was ready for some downtime. We had the VO2 crew over for dinner. They got steak, I got chicken and white rice (simple and low fiber, but if it works, it ain’t stupid!)

Thanks for reading the wanderings of my mind. I’ll have the race report up in a few days (or a few weeks, depending on how painful the memory is to re-live).

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