For all of the action from Day 1, click here.
Ugh. Its so early and I am wide awake, thanks to the 6 hour time difference. I tried so hard to fall back asleep, but it just wasn’t happening. In typical form, I decided to get up and do some squats and lunges. Yes, I did strength training at this hour. What else am I supposed to do? I can’t play on Twitter…no one else in the world is awake yet! I also sent a few e-mails and looked over our itinerary for the day! Today is going to be a big day and I can’t wait! I also checked out the list of vendors that will be at the expo. Y’all know how I love me a good expo!
Run is done! I gave my new Saucony Kinvara’s a try and I like them! I have been running in Brooks Pure Connects and Pure Flows for the last year or so and I had almost forgotten what Kinvaras feel like. I was able to hang with Jackie for a couple of miles, but finally I just told her to go on ahead. I got in 4.75 miles though, so I am pleased with that. Sarah finished her run shortly after I got back and we bonded over planks in the living room of our condo. Good times.
We are all piled up in our super fly Chrysler Town and Country and headed to breakfast! Yep, that’s how we roll! First, we are heading to Lava Java for breakfast and then we are heading to a book signing by Chrissie Wellington!!
We are headed over to the expo to find the media check-in and pick up our stuff! So exciting!
Our credentials were not ready to be picked up, so we have to return tomorrow at 8:00AM to pick them up. No worries! Just another excuse to visit the athlete check-in area! Now we are off to do some shopping!! Like a complete moron, I managed to get all the way to Hawaii without a freaking bathing suit. Yes, really. Who does that?? Me, that’s who. Oh well, that just means I need to go buy a new one!
Bathing suit purchased! Surprisingly, I managed to find a bathing suit that makes me feel almost cute (shocking, I know). On that note, if you are ever in Kona and need a swimsuit, go find Carrol at Mermaids Swimwear and More on Ali’i Drive! She was so helpful and friendly and knew a lot about finding the right cut. The whole group met up and we headed over to the Ironman swim start to hop in the water for a little while! So fun!
We needed grub. BADLY. Chicken quesadilla from a hole-in-the-wall beach restaurant for the win. There may or may not have been deliciously seasoned waffle fries involved. Heading back to the condos to catch up on e-mails and get ready for the Parade of Nations tonight!
The Parade of Nations was wonderful! I know this is a world championship event, but I was surprised just how many countries were represented. There were even athletes from Gibraltar! (Should I admit that I don’t even really know where that is?) The Timex jeep rolled through and all of the athletes were handing out cowbells. You know this made me happy. I love me some cowbells.
As the Parade of Nations ended, the expo opened and it was buzzing! We spent some time at the Timex booth, where we met Keith Meyer!
I also spotted Scott Rigsby in the Timex tent! If you don’t know who he is, check out his site. His story is AMAZING and you can’t help but be inspired by his level of determination. “Can’t” is not in his vocabulary.
We didn’t spend a ton of time at the expo, but I did get a chance to visit some of my favorites! I spent some time playing hanging with Rachel at 110% Play Harder, Lacey at Oakley, and Rich at B.o.B. Running Strollers. I also visited blueseventy and LifeProof! I definitely want to spend more time at the expo tomorrow. I didn’t get to see even a quarter of what I wanted to!
Time for grub…again! The Timex crew headed over to Kona Brewing Company for dinner!
I had the pepperoni rolls and Pipeline Porter (made with Kona Coffee!) and both were DELICIOUS!
Today is the day! I am off to Kona, HI for the Ironman World Championships! I am so excited to be able to share all the action from the Timex tent and beyond with you. We received our itineraries in the mail last week and our days will be jam-packed with activities, time at the expo, conducting interviews, banquets, etc. We will be busy, but I am not complaining! Since the next week will be hectic, and since I don’t want to miss sharing one single thing with you, I plan on live-blogging as much as possible for the whole week. Each day I will start a new post, and chronicle the day’s activities, updating the post as often as I can throughout the day. That being said, if you check my blog first thing in the morning, there probably won’t be much action posted, but later in the day, you can catch up on what’s been happening! And of course, you can always follow along on Twitter or “see” what I’m up to with instagram (@katieRUNSthis)!
So, without further ado…
Alarm going off. I am grumbling curse words in my head and hurling myself into the shower. Let me just say, it is just not right to have to be awake and functioning at this hour of the day.
Throwing last minute items into my bag, zipping it up, and hitting the road. The Charlotte-Douglasville Airport is about an hour and 45 minutes away, and I want to get there in plenty of time. You never know how long it will take for the shuttle from long term parking, security, etc. The last thing I want to do is miss my flight!
Parking at long term parking, catching the shuttle, and heading to the airport. Of the 30 or so people on the shuttle, I notice that I am the only female. I am assuming that most of the people traveling at this hour are doing so for business, but don’t chicks travel for work too? Huh.
Made it through security, grabbing a coffee at Starbucks, and finding my gate. Okay, so I am WAY early for my 07:41AM departure, but again, I would rather be early than late. I find myself spending the time at the gate pouring over the latest issue of LAVA and Inside Triathlon. The total geek-out set in! I am really about to get on a plane to go see some my triathlon idols from all over the globe compete in the pinnacle event for the sport of triathlon!!! Say whaaaa!?
Landed in Phoenix. The journey to Kona is half-way over…well, almost. I spent the first flight (4 and a half hours) reading every word of my most recent running and triathlon magazines and making a list of all of the athletes I wanted to watch and a few “fast facts” about each. I know that sounds tremendously absurd, but I know that if I have the fortune to meet any of them, I am totally going to lose it. I don’t even really know why I made the list. I know if I meet anyone on my list, I will be doing good just to remember my own name, let alone anything interesting about their careers or any questions I have for them. Ugh. I’m going to look like such a dork, I know it. Seriously, there is no I’m going to be able to maintain my composure if I am able to meet Chrissie Wellington or Mirinda Carfrae. NO WAY. I also spent an hour watching the DVD from last year’s event that Timex sent in our packages. The athletes’ stories…the famous athletes and the regular Joe’s…are all amazing. Some of them even made me teary. The reasons that people race. The sacrifices they make for training. The personal obstacles they are conquering. All of it, nothing short of INSPIRING. Watching the DVD took my “level of PSYCHED” from a 2 to a 10! There is no doubt that the spirit of the Ironman competition is palpable in Kona and I am ready to feel it!
Boarding my flight for Kona! It is absolutely insane to me that when I get off of this aircraft, I will be in Kona, Hawaii. I can’t even handle this right now! This is going to be the longest flight of my life! Two of the other Timex social ambassadors, Ryan and Sarah, are also on this flight. I was hoping to give them a quick high-five and hello before boarding, but all of us were cutting it so close from our previous flights that we had to just board and get in our seats. SUCK. I’m in a window seat. For 6 and a half hours. Well, I try my best to stay hydrated when traveling, so if I have to go pee 37 times during this flight, the nice couple to my left is just going to have to be understanding. Ryan and Sarah’s seats ended up being in first class (LUCKY!) so I didn’t even get to see them as they were boarding the plane. Sarah did, however, walk back to wave and say hello!
On a side note, I am super excited to meet Sarah and get to know her better. I am looking to start eating better and I am looking forward to picking her brain on some healthy recipes. She used to work at Diets.com, but now she is a full-time blogger. Plus, I know she will want to work out while in Kona too. I have the Runner’s World Half Marathon coming up in less than two weeks, so I will have to do a couple of long runs. I am glad to know that I won’t be the only one of the ambassadors who will be fitting fitness into the itinerary. Be sure and check out Sarah’s blog, Sarah Fit, and YouTube channel!
I have now made all the small talk I can with the couple next to me. She seems pretty cool. Him, notsomuch. No worries. I am breaking out a book that Timex sent me, called Iron War. It is about the 1989 Ironman World Championship and how the men’s title came down to Dave Scott and Mark Allen. As another side note, Dave Scott has trained Craig Alexander in recent years, so he is definitely going to be one of the competitors I will be watching. He is a seasoned Ironman Kona athlete, and I think he just might win (again) this year!
Touch down in Kona! This airport is SO small. Even the baggage claim is outside!
We made our way over to the condos! I got paired up with Sarah! Woo hoo! This is the view from our patio…I mean, lanais! This is going to be a very rough week!
We are heading out for dinner…FINALLY! Even though it seems like an early dinner, most of us are from the East Coast so it feels like 11:30PM to us! We are starving! We are heading out to Huggo’s On The Rocks for dinner!
Check out this amazing sunset! What a beautiful view for our dinner! After dinner, we watch three adorable girls do some hula dancing! I loved it!
We hit up our local Wal-Mart…that’s right, I came all the way to Kona, Hawaii and I still went to Wal-Mart…to grab a few snacks for our condo. Water, KIND bars, Clif bars, and unsweetened apple sauce for the win!
LIGHTS OUT for this girl. Today has been surreal, to say the least. Sitting over dinner, we talked about the “greats” in the sport of triathlon, many of who we will see compete in just a few short days. We talked about all of the fun stuff Timex has planned for us too! You are going to want to stay tuned! The next few days are going to be PACKED! I’ve now been awake for right about 24 hours and I have hit the wall. Its time to get my beauty rest! After all, tomorrow begins with an early morning run down Ali’i Drive! ‘Night!
The last few days have been a whirlwind! I know I keep saying that, but I feel like I am in this time-space hurricane where the days are all just swirling around me. I flew into Chicago last Thursday afternoon to work the Nuun booth at the Chicago Marathon expo. When I arrived in the Windy City, I immediately noticed how cold it was. I had been so busy in the days before the trip that I had not even thought to check the weather report. Since I would be spending most of my time indoors at the expo, I did not really think to bring heavy layers, but I should have. It was stupid cold. (Note: To me, “stupid cold” is anything below 45 degrees.)
After I grabbed my bag, I hopped in a taxi and headed over to our hotel, the Hyatt Regency Chicago. Okay, I know this is going to make me sound like a country bumpkin, but all I could do when I arrived was look around with my mouth agape. It was beautiful! And HUGE. The last time I was in a hotel that big was when I was traveling back and forth to Japan for work. (Everything is big in Japan…well, except the people.) Check-in was a breeze and I quickly made my way up to the 16th Floor to meet my friend, Kim, who works for Nuun. She had a fancy-shmancy Chicago Marathon social thing to go to for a little while, so while she went to that, I was in charge of picking a restaurant for dinner.
Let me just say, I super suck at picking restaurants. I don’t discriminate much when it comes to food, so I am pretty easy-going when it comes to eating. Since it was cold as you-know-what and raining outside, we decided to go somewhere quickly walkable. We settled on a place called Houlihan’s near our hotel. It wasn’t anything fancy (which was fine by me), but the service was good and the food was tasty. (I had the buffalo blue cheese salad.) After that, we made a bee-line back to the hotel since we knew we had a long day ahead of us.
On Friday morning, we were dressed and ready to head to the Chicago Marathon expo at the McCormick Center around 7:30AM. Working an expo is pretty fun because you get to go in, walk around, and check out all of the booths without having to be shoulder-to-shoulder with thousands of other people. Kim had a system down for setting up the booth, so she said I could take some time to check out the expo floor. I walked around and looked at just about every single booth. By the time I was done, the expo was just opening up, so I headed back over to the Brooks booth.
Let me just say this…Brooks Running does it up right. They always have the most fun and interactive set-ups and their marketing TOTALLY works on people like me. If you have ever had the pleasure of seeing their Cavalcade of Curiosities exhibit, you know what I am talking about. Those folks know how to have fun!
They were doing free gait analyses and since I had not had one since Baby Key was born, I wanted to make sure my gait/stride had not gotten too wonky since being pregnant. Luckily, the analysis confirmed that I was running in the right shoes for me (neutral, non-stability shoes). For racing, I really like the Brooks Pure Connect. For longer runs, or for when my feet are feeling fatigued, I really like the Brooks Pure Flow. Anyway, I digress…
After the gait analysis, they gave you a scratch off card to win a prize. You could have won a free pair of shoes, a bag of Brooks custom runaroni pasta, or a CD of accordion jams. I won the CD of accordion jams. At first I was like, “Eh. Great. Accordion music.” Then I turned the CD over and realized it was a kick-butt running mix! SCORE! Don’t worry, I’ll make sure all of the songs get added to my running music page.
On my way back to the Nuun booth to start working, I passed by the Mizuno booth. They had a monitor up and they were showing a company video. Out of the corner of my eye, I see my friend, Pat, on the screen! I knew he worked for Mizuno, but I didn’t know he was in their company promo video. I was like, “Hey! I know that guy!” It made me feel all big time knowing a guy who was in a fancy company video.
Once I got back to the booth, the CRAZY set in. We were busy slinging Nuun all day. I got all warm and fuzzy when someone would come up and say, “I LOVE Nuun! It’s the only thing I will drink other than water!” or “Nuun helped me get through my training runs!” Lots of Twitter friends came by to say hello, which I super loved! As I have said before, I always love it when online friends can become in-real-life friends. I finally got the chance to meet Gene from boutdrz.com, since he was working at the Arctic Ease booth. I got to reconnect with old friends like Valerie, and I also got to see one of my old #RunLA buddies, Ed!
After the expo, we headed back over to the hotel where we met up with Jocelyn, who had come in town to participate in the race. I heart Jocelyn. I really do. I swear she has a smile that can light up a room. She is so kind and funny! I met Jocelyn when I went to run Hood to Coast with Nuun. While she wasn’t on my team for Hood to Coast, she was on my team for some of the activities we did the day before the race. I loved getting to know her then and was thrilled to get to see her again. (PS – Check out her blog, Enthusiastic Runner!)
Since we got back late, and since Kim and I were EXHAUSTED, we just ordered room service and went to sleep. I know it sounds pretty uneventful, but after working a 12-hour day and visiting with Jocelyn, there has no gas left in our tanks.
Saturday was pretty much the same, only busier. Much busier. Jocelyn even joined us in the booth for the first part of the day! It was really fun when people came by and said that they had followed our Hood to Coast adventures on Twitter or via our blogs. Sometimes I wonder if people ever really read this blog, but…it seems as if they do! (Thank you so much for reading, peeps!)
Even though 99% of what I did while in Chicago was work and sleep, I did get to have an awesome experience. It seemed like every time I took a break to grab a bite to eat or run to the restroom, I was seeing someone famous! I have never been to an expo with so many famous folks! Literally, in two days, I found myself within a few feet of Dean Karnazes, Hal Higdon, and Deena Kastor! Crazy!
On Saturday night, Jocelyn just picked us up some sushi from Whole Foods. I was glad not to have to get back out after we got “home” from the expo. There was a huge football game going on (Notre Dame vs Miami) and football fans were EVERYWHERE. It was nice to just grab a quick bite, and again, head to bed early.
On Sunday morning, we all got up early to help Jocelyn get ready for the marathon. She had all of her stuff laid out the night before, so getting ready was pretty quick. Since it was so chilly, she made these homemade tear-away pants out of a pair of navy blue child-size sweatpants from Target and white duct tape. I wish you could have seen these things. They were pretty…special. But, hey, they worked, and that’s all that mattered! Kim and Jocelyn put on their trash bags for warmth and they were off to the race!
And that’s as close as I got to the actual Chicago Marathon…unless you count watching the live news coverage while I was packing my stuff up or being able to look out of my hotel window and see the elites pass by. I wish I could have stayed to see all of my friends finish, but my flight left Chicago at 10:30AM. With all of the street closures, I had to start making my way over to the airport shortly after Jocelyn and Kim left. Boo.
Although I wanted to stay in Chicago, I was glad to be heading home to my guys. I missed my husband, baby boy, and pup so much. I landed at GSP around 1:00PM and Brent and Baby Key were waiting for me! Oh, and did I mention that Baby Key started WALKING while I was gone?? C’mon! I was gone 24 hours and he started walking. What the heck! Being home was nice, though brief. All I had time to do was unpack, wash my clothes, spend a little time with my guys, repack for Kona, and head to bed. Before rolling over to go to sleep, I set the alarm on my phone for 3:00AM. I can’t remember the last time I got up at 3:00AM for ANYTHING. 6 hours of sleep won’t be much, but I probably won’t be able to shut my brain off anyway.
I’m heading off to Kona tomorrow and I am PSYCHED. I’ll be putting in a lot of time on the airplane, but it will SO be worth it! So many thoughts are swirling in my head about this trip that I can’t even start on that now.
More tomorrow! The next time you hear from me, I’ll most likely be in Kona, HI for the Ironman World Championships! What what!!
Well, it is only the 3rd of the month, but October is shaping up to be busy, busy, BUSY!
October 3: International Walk to School Day
Did you know that today is International Walk to School Day? I didn’t either until my super awesome friend, Jil Littlejohn, who happens to be Greenville City Councilwoman, filled me in! Over the last several weeks, I have been coaching Jil to race her first 5k at the end of this month. We are currently in Week 5 of her 8-week training. Normally we run at Cleveland Park, near downtown Greenville, but today we ventured over to Nichol Town Green. The new route brought on lots of twists and turns and steep hills! After the run, we went over to the playground area where all of the children were gathering before heading off to school. Jil put on her City Councilwoman hat and helped present a check for $39,474 to the neighborhood. The money will go to making improvements to the trail so that the children will have a safe path to travel on to get to the school every day! Thanks, State Farm for helping to improve our community!
October 4 – 7: Chicago Marathon with Nuun Hydration (Chicago, IL)
I’ll be working the Nuun Hydration booth at the expo for the Chicago Marathon! If you will be there too, swing by Booth #584 and say hello! One of my best good friends, Valerie, will be running her very first marathon ever in Chicago and I cannot wait to cheer her on. Plus, I will get to see Jocelyn, one of my Nuun-mates from Hood to Coast, again! All around WIN!
October 8 – 15: Ironman World Championships with Timex (Kona, HI)
If you missed the big announcement the other day, click here to find out all the details. Since then, I have received a sweet welcome kit from Timex! I received a pretty blue Timex Kona t-shirt, a commemorative Timex Ironman Kona watch, the promotional DVD from last year’s event, and a Visa gift card! I *love* the watch! This particular design/style is sold only at the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii and the social ambassadors are the first ones to receive them! AWESOME.
October 18 – 21: Runner’s World Half Marathon (Bethlehem, PA)
I am so excited to be able to participate in this inaugural event! Again, I will get to reunite with a few of my Hood to Coast Nuun-mates…Elizabeth, Jess, and Laura! I will be going up a day ahead of time to participate in some blogger activities like a BBQ at the Runner’s World headquarters and a shakeout run with the editors of Runner’s World. This will be super fun! Plus, I will get to hang out with my boy, Bart Yasso again! Good times! If you have not signed up for this race, but want to register, use code BLOGGER23 to save 10%!
October 27: Spinx Run Fest (Greenville, SC)
This is the big day for Jil and I! I will be pacing Jil during the Big Punkin 5k for the Spinx Run Fest. I have run the half marathon that is part of this running festival and I loved it! Maybe next year I will do the full marathon. Who knows, maybe next year I will be pacing Jil through the marathon! All of the races that are part of this running festival offer beautiful courses and I would highly recommend them if you are looking to run a race in SC! This is also the same weekend as the Marine Corps Marathon. My friend, Tess, will be running her first marathon there, so I will be cheering her on from afar!
October 31: Halloween!
This will be Baby Key’s first Halloween! Woo hoo! I am a total GEEK for Halloween, so we need to come up with a good costume for him! Should we do coordinating family costumes, or is that totally nerdy? What do YOU think?
WHEW! I’m exhausted just looking at all of this, so I better just take it one day at a time…
So, here it is…I have teased this announcement and I have held my breath until I thought I would nearly pass out. Are you sitting down? You should definitely be sitting down.
I AM GOING TO THE IRONMAN WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS IN KONA, HAWAII.
Okay, before you get *too* excited…no, I am not going as a competitor. (Whomp, whomp. Sorry to let you down.) However, I will be spectating as an Ambassador of Timex!
A while back I saw that Timex put out a call to arms, seeking socially saavy endurance sports enthusiasts to represent them at the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii. After I read the job description, I immediately knew that I was the right person for the task! I hurriedly sent in my application. And then I waited…and waited…
Was this a total long shot? Yes, indeed.
Was this my total dream assignment? Yes, indeed.
Long story short, yours truly got selected as one of the finalists! WOO HOO! So, what does this all mean??
This means that I will be onsite in Kona from October 8th through October 15th spectating the Ironman World Championships like, well…a champ! This will be my first time at an event of this magnitude and I simply cannot wait to share all of the events, excitement, and happenings with you. Thanks to the great world wide interweb, I will be able to fill you in via my blog, Twitter, facebook, and instagram (@katieRUNSthis), so be ready for some posts, photos, and videos! And if I am really feeling frisky, I might just hope on Ustream during the annual Underpants Run so that you can see what is going on…in real-time! And don’t forget…to see all of the other action and to find out what the other ambassadors are up to, be sure to LIKE the Timex facebook page!
This is going to be so much fun! I. AM. PSYCHED. I never, never thought this would be happening, but alas, here it is. I am so ready!
I have to give a huge, HUGE shout out to Timex. I mean, massive HUGE. I am so thankful for this opportunity to see this event and, more importantly, share it with all of you! I already know that I will get inspired to pursue my goal of being an Ironman 70.3 finisher!
Immediately, I suppose this means two things…
I need to pick out a decent alternative to “next to nothin’” skivvies for the Underpants Run. This mama will NOT be out there running in a thong. (Yeah, yeah…call me a poor sport. Trust me, it would not be good for anyone!)
I’ll have to add some sweet tunes by Iz Ka’ano’i Kamakawiwo’ole to my running mix to start getting me in the mood!
Many, many more details to come over the next couple of weeks! As soon as I know them, you’ll know them! I promise! Stay tuned, boys and girls!
In the meantime, I need some suggestions! Which competitor would you have YOUR eyes on? Which triathlete would YOU love to meet? What should I see while I am there? Where should I eat? Any advice for traveling that far?
Before we get down to the nitty gritty, here is a brief summary of our accomplishments:
Chief Running Officer of Runner’s World
Member of the Running USA Hall of Champions
Invented the Yasso 800′s
Has completed races on all seven continents
5 time Ironman finisher
Weekend road warrior
Beastly running mama armed with a running stroller
Has completed races in 11 states
Yep, so now we know who is #winning. And its definitely not me!
HAPPY FRIDAY AND HAPPY RUNNING!