We woke up at 5:30am and I had an English muffin, banana, RedBull. I put on my USA Scody Sleeved Tri Suit and grabbed goggles and my ROKA Viper Swimskin. We grabbed Karen and I drove us down to near the King K hotel. The line was long with athletes everywhere for the checkin of the 4th annual Hoala Ironman Training Swim, a 3.8km swim race that covers the same course but finishes on the left hand side of the pier, not the right side via Dig Me Beach. I spotted my 2nd pro Sara Pampiano who won IMBusso where Fi and Karen qualified and was 7th here last year. She is looking for a podium and could be there in 3rd position after Rhinny and Daniella (my predictions). We suited up, checked in bags, had a Clif Gel and some Gatorade, walked over to Dig Me Beach. Wow. I was here! Kisses to both and wish them well. Swam the 200m out to the imaginary line and saw Fi again, another kiss.
My plan was to treat it like a race and do what I will do on race day. I started pretty much on the second line and as the horn blew, I took off. I started to the left and tried to get into a quick rhythm. I was looking for feet but also just focused on my own swim. Contact was no where near what I am expecting and have read about for next Saturday but I held my own and felt really really good. I saw lots of fish and it was pretty awesome swimming in your own aquarium! The buoy’s weren’t well labeled and kept breathing to my right side so knew I was working at race pace. I turned the first buoy on 27:46 which was fantastic but I know the currents are stronger on the way back in. 29:15 at the next buoy so if that was 100meters, I was holding around 1:30/100, awesome! My body position felt great with the Salt Water too. On the way back in I really started passing more ppl, even some completely stopped. I knew that I would pick it up here so looked for feet but at times had a lot of open water. About ¾’s the way though I looked at the watch and saw 46min. I thought how some pro’s would finish now but kept moving with focus, power, and good form. I saw the hut, the King K and 56min on the Garmin 910XT. It picked up at the end of course and finished on the beach in an unofficial 1:02:21. I was absolutely thrilled. I want a sub 1:05 for race day so this was a major confidence booster especially considering this was my 3rd fastest Ironman distance swim in a race. I went 55:37 at Ironman Australia on a fast course in a wetsuit in 2015 and 1:01:06 in difficult conditions with a wetsuit at Cairns in June 2016. My swim coach has done a great job in a very short amount of time of 14 weeks.
Fi did great too taking it easy in 1:03, Karen finished in 1:27 as well. After we put the bikes together and did a 1hr15min recovery ride over the start of the course. We climbed Palani and saw what that was all about. We ended up at a bike shop where I made a Monday booking to remove a screw that I threaded while tightening the bike too much which pissed me off but it happens.
We headed to Safeway for food, Walmart for some other things we needed, and came back to the hotel.
Being back in my country after nearly 6 years of living in Australia is eye-opening and a bit of culture shock. The amount of things you can by and the diversity of our packaged, processed foods, is without a doubt one of the most disturbing things about our country. The amount of junk food filled with sugar is at an ultimate extreme and like our people, the size of the cars are absolutely ridiculously big. There are 5liter mustangs, massive escalades, and trucks who’s front so big, I just don’t know why anyone has a purpose for it. I was used to Bologne, Lunchables, and a ton of other shit in our foodstores because I didn’t know any better, but travel, culture, and the best sport in the world have enabled me to open my eyes to a truly healthy lifestyle which my team fully embraces and builds upon day after day, just like our training.
Back at the condo, we got ready and did a 4mile recovery run. As we headed out along Alii Drive I saw a tall runner with Oakleys on his head. Then when he was parallel with me I knew it was him. I yelled out “Go Andreas!” who was 2nd in the world, 4 times here. He gave me a wave and I also saw him again when we were heading back in. It was really awesome to see this Pro out there like so many others. And, he as well as Dimity Duke and Anabel Luxford were all wearing normal running clothes. All the age-groupers are running around with their shirts off, in the sun, without protection, just to show off. It’s really quite stupid. Yes, we know you’re good, this is a World Championship, but really? Put on a shirt! It’s not like you can race that way!
Fiona and I made dinner consisting of white rice, veggie Salad with Balsamic and strawberries, and a Hawaiin Curry with mixed vegetables and Hawaiin Tofu. Karen, Jock, and Izzy brought local fruit for desert. Mom and Tony came and we all caught up as a team on the balcony. It was a great time all together and we really enjoyed ourselves. This was the first time I had seen my mom and Tony in 2yrs 3months since Fiona and I got married in NYC, USA.
Back to sleep without any A/C but the sounds of waves; I could get used to this.