Thursday, October 13, 2011

Kona Memories

After spending the last ten days in Kona, I flew back home to San Diego yesterday. I hadn’t planned on going to Hawaii this year since I didn’t start racing until June and was too far behind in points to qualify for Kona (with the new points system, 5 races throughout the year count towards your world ranking as a pro, and for women you have to be ranked top 30 to qualify, for men top 50). However, a cheap flight and an invite from a friend to stay in her rented Kona mansion, had me suddenly planning a mini Hawaiian vacation/training camp.

The last 10 days were jam packed with training, a few sponsor obligations, meeting up with friends I hadn’t seen in a month to ten years or more, and of course enjoying a bit of Kona coffee drinking, and breakfast eating at Lava Java.

I had mixed feelings about being an Ironman spectator. I was happy to support my friends, and motivated beyond words by so many of the athletes. But in the end I’m still a competitor at heart, and a good spectator I do not make. Whether because of my inability to sit still longer than 5 minutes, my desire to be racing, or the temptation to do a long ride in the Hawaiian sun, I found myself doing what I love most - taking off on my bike for most of the day – and getting back just in time to see the second half of the marathon.

There are different reasons behind people’s decisions to live their lives the way that they do. A friend of mine who was a rower in the Olympics once told me that you should live your life so that you have the most memories to look back upon. To see athletes from all over the world training/racing in Kona, living life to the fullest, and happier than the average joe, made me realize that neither money nor material possessions can buy true happiness. I think a more accurate measure of happiness are the great memories that we make along the way.

So a big Congrats to all of my friends who raced Kona and came away having met their goals and given it their all. I hope like me that they have great memories to always look back upon.