It’s That Time of Year Again!

I’m coming to you live from the big island today and I’m back to race one of my favorite courses, Ironman Hawaii 70.3, which will take place tomorrow at 7 A.M. local time.


In years past, this course has served as my qualifier for Ironman World Championships, held each year in October just South of where tomorrow’s event will take place, with portions of the bike on the very same route on Queen K then out to Hawi and back.


Due to a change in which races can serve this capacity, it’s no longer an option to win one’s slot to Kona here, but athletes from all walks of life can opt to have a go at what is, in my opinion, one of the best half-ironman races out there.


For some, the goal will be to earn a slot to the 70.3 Worlds held this year in Austria and for others the mission may be to complete their very first half.  For others still, it’s simply as straightforward as a very enjoyable place to take a vacation with just a little bit of exercise peppered right in the middle!


If triathlon doesn’t happen to be your thing, here are some reference points:


  • The race consists of a 1.2 mile swim, followed by a 56 mile bike ride and then a half marathon, which is a run of 13.1 miles
  • An average of 1,700 people compete in the Hawaii 70.3
  • There are 30 qualifying slots to the 2015 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in Zell am See, Salzburg, Austria
  • Originally from:


This will be my 7th Honu, as it’s locally known and 2015 marks my 18th in the sport; my very first tri being the sprint in Catalina back in 1998, where I committed more than one newbie blunder, the silliest of which was forgetting to take my helmet off during the run!


Back then, my reason for racing was simply that I wanted a fun reason to workout, something less stressful than wanting to keep at a certain weight regardless of how that end might be met.


I recall a college friend at the time asking me if I’d ever race Ironman and my reply, without missing a beat, was that I’d never in a million years be able to do something like that! Little did I know that a mere two years later, I’d change my tune in a big way.


I’d gone to spectate the Ironman in California, known now as Ralph’s, which, in its first two years was a full. A good friend was racing and I cheered her through her outstanding performance and then, chose to carry on watching the other athletes cross the finish line.


I saw many a fit-looking person run through the tape, embracing a loved one or kissing the ground in sheer delight for what they’d just accomplished. That alone was exciting, but it was what came next that would change my approach on training, racing and affect my life as an athlete in a way more profound than I ever could have dreamed.


I saw an athlete cross the finish line in his wheel chair. And I saw a gentleman (Bill Bell), who was over 80 years old at the time, finish as well. And another athlete with a prosthetic leg. And an athlete who was blind with his guide!


I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, and to this day, even now as I write this, I feel chills down my spine and tears in my eyes when I imagine what their day to day life must be like, let alone the courage it must take to decide to race.


That was my moment. I realized hard and fast that the idea that “I couldn’t do it” was asinine. There I was, not even 25 years old yet, with a healthy body thinking I couldn’t. So, I knew I had to do it, and the very next day I signed up for what would be my first Ironman, the 2001 IM California. The rest may be history.


Since then, I’ve experienced so much. From the years I still had to work through the terrible sickness that led me to starting a true Paleo diet, to the wonderful people I met through the sport, including dear friends, and my husband. What the sport provided me then, continues to provide an exciting, exhilarating, incredible mode of training, racing, competing, and most importantly, a chance to continue to push myself beyond limits for no other reason than “why not” today!


I’ve probably told this story a million times, and my reason for sharing it is not to suggest everyone needs to be an Ironman. It’s because I believe we all need a reality check sometimes, and it takes something significant to give us some perspective.


Consider yourself: what are you doing to take full advantage of the fact that you have a choice in the matter of how you treat your body?


There really are no excuses, and the goal I’d have for anyone reading this post is to remember one thing: you have only one body and you can choose to treat it as the proverbial temple by moving it and nourishing it with real food. Or, you can choose not to. If you choose the former, outstanding! Conversely, if you choose the latter, make sure you factor in what you’re taking for granted.


So, as far as tomorrow’s race is concerned, what are my goals? 


Do I want to smash my times and those of my competitors as well? Of course! I love some healthy competition and I love seeing how I can improve my own times year on year.


I’ve experienced it all on this course- from 2007 when I punctured my tubular so badly it couldn’t be ridden 9 miles out from T2 and lost over 20 minutes waiting for support, to 2010 when I raced my guts out and came across the line as the first female amateur.


I learned, and I continue to learn so much from this sport. It carries over into other parts of my life, which is another reason I am so keen to recommend participating in sports to clients and their children, no matter their age.


There’s just something very special about racing on this island. Whether it’s the fact that these are the hallowed grounds where the big show takes place each year, the warm, welcoming culture, or the lure of the tales of the island Gods, it’s an honor to be here each and every time, and I look forward to a day in which I am present each and every second.


Much respect. Aloha!


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