Monday, October 10, 2011

Kona 2011 Vacation

I'm back in Kona for the Ironman World Championships, but this time as a spectator; my friends Steve and Gary are doing the race. I've watched a lot of people race a lot of Ironmans, but this is probably the first time I'm actually a little sad that I'm not participating.

The first thing I noticed when I got to the Ironman village is that all of the merchandise is WAY better than last year. The t-shirt designs, the sport bags, all of the graphics are just a lot cooler. And don't get me started on the finishers medal. I actively dislike the medal I got last year - it's creepy looking. Unfortunately they don't let you trade them in for the latest design. But it makes me mad how much nicer everything looks this year.

Thursday was the Underpants Run. I packed some undies to run in, but was very much relieved when Steve told me he didn't want to do it. Phew. I was self-conscious enough doing it last year when I was in relatively decent condition, but I really didn't want to run it again 20 pounds heavier. Teresa told me that the local access TV station was running highlights from last year's run and I was shown several times in my Ironman Mickey ears, so I feel I've contributed enough.

Instead of prancing around town in my skivvies, I went snorkeling with the sea turtles. This is one of my favorite things to do in Hawaii, but I had a little bit of trouble this time. I found a turtle to hang out with quickly enough, but he was feeding on top of a shallow reef. When a wave came in, we were in 2-3 feet of water. When a wave went out, we were in 1-2 feet of water. Which mean I kept being dropped and dragged on the rocks and coral. It was uncomfortable, but I didn't think much about it since my honu (turtle) buddy was having a good time.

It wasn't until I got out of the water that I realized how rough the ocean was on me. I walked on to the beach and a random woman said to me "oh, you're bleeding!" I looked down and saw I had a 2-inch gash on my stomach and my belly was covered in blood. It looked worse than it actually was, but you know how just a little bit of blood can stain a large area. I also had a big cut on my foot which was getting sand in it. There wasn't much I could do about it, so I just rinsed off and went back to the hotel. I'm fine, but the scab does itch a bit. Overall, not my best turtle experience.

I spent most of Friday helping Steve with random pre-race errands and giving him all of my wisdom and insight about the race: "It's really hard." We had lunch at Splashers Grill, the place where I had a bit of a nervous breakdown last year, and Steve had a bit of stress this time. I'm starting to think that maybe there's nothing stressful about the Ironman World Championships in Kona, but there's just something bad in the food at Splashers. My advice to all future Kona racers: eat some place else for lunch. (Eating at Splashers is stressful. Drinking there is another story.)