Let's go back a few months. It was sometime in April when I caught myself obsessing over the USAT website about their Level 1 Coaching Clinic/Certification. This had been going on for awhile. Anyone who knows me is well aware that when I decide I want to do something it's going to happen, simple as that. Once I realized there was a Level 1 Clinic in Kona the SAME week as the Ironman World Championships...done. This also gave me something to look forward to (or distract me) post Ironman Wisconsin - perfect - I didn't want to go through the post Ironman depression of 2011.
So how did the week go?
First of all, when I say week I actually mean closer to 5 days...this girl only gets so much time off from work every year SO I made the best of it. Although I must say next time I visit Hawaii it will require a longer stay.
Once we got to Hawaii we quickly got settled into our "cottage." It was about 15 minutes above the town of Kona and was gorgeous!! Check this place out...
It was also hilly, quite dark, and housed what seemed like several thousand roosters which we quickly found out during our early morning runs haha!! Luckily we had headlamps and night gear...and boy did we get in some hill work. I thought Kona was supposed to be windy ;)
Anyway...the first 2 days in Kona were full days at the USAT Clinic. I LOVED every minute of them. We had some really amazing presenters and I learned so much...both on coaching and how to personally be a better athlete. Exactly what I wanted. I met some awesome people in the clinic, and it solidified for me just how much I love this sport.
This is where we got to each lunch on clinic days, I could get used to this.
While I loved the clinic, I was excited when we finished up...it was time to enjoy Kona! It was raining a bit that afternoon, but it had cleared up just as we were leaving. We saw a rainbow on the way out which I'll take as a good sign :)
It was off to a great dinner with Jeff and Maxine (we got to sit right on the ocean) to celebrate! Friday started out with a run on Ali'i drive where we got to see all the athletes doing their pre-race workouts...it was awesome. Everything I wanted it to be. Everyone was so fit, and it was just fun to be around it. Am I really here???? We spent most of Friday at the expo, did some shopping (obvi), and just had a great time hanging out in Kona.
These were unfortunately not one of my purchases.
Before we knew it Saturday came and it was race day. After our last dark and hilly run we were down at the swim start just as the pros were taking off. We were really excited to see the event, watch the pros, AND see our coach race as well. After we had signed up for the clinic our coach Jen Harrison (www.jenharrison.com) qualified for Hawaii...frickin awesome. So we spent our entire day spectating, cheering, and chasing around everyone we wanted to see.
I have always been inspired by Ironman events...volunteering, spectating, and racing them...but this was different. I've always thought Kona would be an awesome race to do, but it's always scared me to admit how badly I want to race there. Being there has only made me want it more. That isn't a short term goal for me (I live in reality), it will take years and lots of hard and consistent effort...but I'm up for it. It may be decades from now (seriously), but I will race there.
This was one of the coolest experiences I've had in my life. I feel beyond grateful that I had the opportunity to be a part of everything that Kona had to offer last week, life changing no doubt. The Big Island is filled with some of the nicest people I've met, amazing terrain to train on, and an insane amount of inspiration.