We are on our first flight of three from our home in Sahuarita, Arizona, just south of Tucson, to Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. We are leaving behind our fur-child, Coach Sydney, and her brother, Fenix the cat. I am joined by my wifey Fiona who this time will be spectating. We will also meet up with a fellow athlete Kylie from Adelaide, Australia who is friends/teammates/qualifier with the Legend Karen McPherson. 3 years ago, it was Karen, Fiona, and myself, a trio from the Outback town of Alice Springs, Australia that had together, competed in the greatest single day endurance race on the Planet, the IRONMAN World Championship. We also were joined by lots of family and other friends like Robbo who had too qualified.
My journey to the 41st edition of Ironman Hawaii started in 2018. During that year, Fiona and I competed in 70.3s in California, Utah, and Arizona, then trained for 6 months for IRONMAN Arizona. I expected to come between 5th and 10th in my A/G which would mean a tough chance at 1 of 2 spots for the 180 in my A/G. But, I had a strong day breaking 1hr in the swim for the 2nd time, set a PB bike of 4:44 and stayed steady on the run, improving 10min to a 9:34 over the prior year (my 2nd best IM behind 9:22 at Western Austraia. I took 2nd of 134finishers behind the #1 overall amateur and beast Dylan Gleeson, my best ever performance. I was 53rd of 2,244 finishers. I was very lucky as to who showed up on the day but you can only conpete against those that race. Unlike th 2016 Ironman Cairns roll-down getting the 6th and final spot from anothr a/g after 3 turned it down, this tim I was on the poium truly earning my spot.
In 2019 we deferred IM Ireland till 2020 and transferred IM Australia to IM Cairns so that Fiona had a better chance to secure a spot and join Karen (secured at Western Australia), and myself. Unfortunately, 1month out she was diagnosed by Sam at BodyCentral Tucson, with a sacrum stress fracture which took her out of run training for 3 months. Lionel Sanders and Ben Hoffman, 2 top Professionals both had the same diagnosis from Sam. After many sessions with Sam, Fiona is back running training for a halfmarathon in December with Hansons Running Method. I still competed at Cairns but had a very lousy race, nothing I was really proud of.
My ongoing injury for several years was chronic neck/trap issues which was worsening in training leading to numbness in my fingers. Massage and Chiropractors did not alleviate the pain so I went to Sam. He improved and rid me of the numbness. I then had a new Bike Fit from him after 3years without one and we rose the seat and cockpit on my Argon 18 E119 Tri+. I also went to him 2 weeks before Kona for a Run Gait anaylsis since he gave one to Fiona and has given one to Pro Sebastian Kienle. Turns out the reason my ankles get a bit sore this time of season is that my foot pronates in before push off so I need a stability shoe vs the neutral Altras I wear now.
We had 2 training camps held at altitude in Flagstaff. I also ventured to Oreo Valley multiple times as well as the Oro Valley Community Center where there is a sauna I used probably 5-10 times in the months till Kona. I did 95% of riding and running on Zwift and treadmills and did 2 Big Day Outs (8hr day at race pace) I lifted 2x per week during the first pasrt of the season after Ironman Cairns and also bought a heater and humidifier for the training room where I trained the first BDO for 5hrs at race pace with 90F and 70% Humidity. (My himilayan Salt lamp melted all over the place!!!)
I stuck to a vegan diet probably 90-95% of the time. We never bought chicken or steak at home, eggs maybe 2x, cows milk 1x, never butter, never yogurt, but definitely ice cream. (I have no discipline with free food at work). I come into this race weighing 183pounds, 3lb heavier than races where I had more discipline with being vegan. But, i am excited that Vega is the IMWC sponsor. I have been using their Recovery powder for years when I make vegan protein shakes with Raw Fusion Plant Protein, mangoes, banana, and almond milk.
Using Yoga over the last several months, I am looking to accept the pain that is coming my way, the 95-100F heat and 70% humidity, because this is Kona, the best of the best. I can not wait!! Stay tuned to more reports and the Hoala swim report in 3 days!!!
Lastly, my bike is already on its way as I am using TBT TriBikeTransport for the first time. Lastly, thank you to my Bike Sponsor at Sahuarita Bikes currently located in Nogales, AZ who picked up my bike from my house gave full service and returned same day for free. I appreciate you Tom!!!
My goals are simple, improve over last time.
Will be racing with Team Wattie. The best gear I wear!