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!
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?
Yesterday was a celebration! I celebrated carrying my baby boy for 26 weeks (which, according to The Bump, makes Baby Key a nearly 2lb, 14in hothouse cucumber), and I also celebrated FINALLY becoming a triathlete!
Last fall, I set a goal for completing a half Ironman competition by the end of this summer. When we found out about Baby Key back in February, that goal (for this year) went right out the window. Being determined, I consulted my doctor for a “work around,” if you will. What can I say? If there is a loophole, I will find it.
We agreed on no open water swims and a short, sprint distance triathlon. Having been a runner and cyclist pre-pregnancy, all I would have to do is add the swim. I had read that it isn’t necessarily good to take up new sports during pregnancy but my doctor said that swimming could actually be good for me and the baby. (By the way, having a doctor who supports your craziness is super important.) So, I quickly ran home, scanned my race calendar and selected this year’s Rocketchix II Triathlon as the winner. At the time, it was 5 months away, which gave me plenty of time to find a swim class/coach, learn to swim, and at least get somewhat comfortable in the water.
So…fast forward to yesterday…
My morning started at 4:45PM. I wanted to be out the door by 5:15AM, and since I had packed the night before, this was plenty of time to get to the opening of transition at 5:30AM. Surprisingly, by the time yesterday morning rolled around, the nerves that had started settling in on Friday were subsiding. My whole mindset had changed. In other races and duathlons I had participated in or trained for, I had a bad habit of letting my nerves get to me.
This race, however, was different. In my head, I assumed that because I am pregnant, people would expect me to be slow. So, if things didn’t go well, and I actually came in last, it would be okay. I would not have disappointed anyone else, even if I secretly disappointed myself a little (after all, I didn’t *actually* want to be LAST.) Mentally, I set my goal for this 350m swim/12mi bike/2mi run competition as 01:45:00.
I got to the event, set up my gear in transition, ate one of my Picky Bars, and met up with some friends. Seeing my girls helped squash the last little bit of leftover nerves from the day before. The goal was to just finish. Before I knew it, the competition us under way and swimmers were entering the natatorium. The swim portion was self-seeded and I sandwiched myself in the 12:00-12:59 group. When my group was called and we lined up along the pool, I took a deep breath…knowing that I just HAD to do this. No backing out now. I was dressed, I was there, and it was “go time.” All of a sudden, I was the next swimmer up so I crossed the mat, heard the beep and knew it was time to dive in.
As soon as I was in the water, I started to freak. For one, the pool was twice as long as the pool that I had learned to swim and practiced in. The pool at the fitness center was 25m and this pool was 50m. Without realizing it, I must have come to depend on the 25m turn-around because the first length of the race seemed SO long. I tried so hard to get myself back on track physically and mentally. Also, it wasn’t until I was surrounded by so many other swimmers that I actually feared getting accidentally kicked in the stomach. Throughout training, different people had mentioned it to me, but I suppose I did not take the threat seriously enough because I was used to swimming alone. It wasn’t until I was in the water, surrounded by people all scrambling to get out of the pool, that it really made me nervous. By the second length of the pool, I decided the backstroke was the way to go for me. My racing heart decided to slow down, I was able to control my breathing, and, most importantly, I could keep an eye on anyone getting too close to my bump. And, you know what? I passed someone! That gave me a little bit of confidence and all of a sudden I realized that I only had one length left to go in the pool! AAAAAAAAAAMEN! Since I knew I would be strong on the bike and strong on the run, the goal was just to make it through the swim. JUST GET OUT OF THE POOL. I watched the overhead flags as I swam and when there was about ¼ length left, I flipped over and swam to the end. (It definitely didn’t hurt that the LSU men’s swim team was there helping us out of the pool.) :)
After getting out of the pool, I had planned to walk over to the transition area. With the slippery tile of the natatorium (even the wet mats get slippery), I wanted to take it easy. But, I was feeling frisky, so I jogged. Not going to lie, my T1 time SUCKED. It took me FOREVER to get out on the bike. Being pregnant and obviously not my regular size, I did not want to invest the $200+ in a new tri suit. I ended up wearing a Nike speed swimsuit with the intention of putting on my cycling shorts over it. This was a perfect plan…in theory. Once I got over to my bike, I had the HARDEST time wiggling my wet body into my cycling shorts. But it was my only option so I just had to deal with it. Before hopping on my bike, I ate half a Clif Mojo Peanut Butter pretzel bar and two Clif Bloks. I threw on my helmet, sunglasses, and shoes and was ready to go. At this point, I was just psyched that none of my muscles in my abdomen were pulling weird and I was not even feeling tired. I jogged my bike over the mount area and away I went.
Getting out on the bike immediately put me at ease. I LOVE riding my bike. The bike course was out on River Road which is wide open and has no trees. Although it was HOT, the wetness from my body and suit kept me cool. It was really nice. The bike course was also really flat so I considered it pretty easy. I seriously must have passed at least 20 people on the bike portion. According to my Garmin, I rode the 12-mile course in about 47:30…not too shabby for a pregnant lady on a “fat tire” Trek hybrid! Woot!
I really expected to start feeling tired by the end of the bike route, but I wasn’t AT ALL! I think it must have been the adrenaline. After dismounting the bike, I did walk my bike back over to the rack instead of jogging. I want to give my body a chance to find my “sea legs” to avoid any chance of my legs bricking. After I re-racked my bike, I took off my helmet, threw on my visor, grabbed my race belt, and pulled my “Running For Two” tank over my swimsuit. I was determined to finish wearing that tank top. :)
Getting out on the run, I was so proud of my legs. They didn’t fail me or start acting wonky AT ALL. In my head, I was already on that runner’s high! I was thinking, “Dude! I’m already out of the pool and done with the bike! Its ONLY 2 more miles! I do 2 miles ALL THE TIME!! I have SO got this!!!” And I did. My goal had been to walk ½ mile/jog ½ mile…twice. I didn’t even need to do that though. I got through the first mile, walked about a ¼ mile, and then jogged the rest of the way. My time goal for the run portion was 25:00 but my Garmin had me coming in at under 22 minutes. As soon as I saw this, I knew I would be my original time goal…I just was not sure by how much.
When I turned the final corner and saw the finish, I could see and hear my mom, husband, and #RunLA fam cheering me on! Having that kind of support when you are about to accomplish something so important to you is truly priceless. They helped make the experience even more special and memorable! I ran into the chute, throwing my arms up, breaking the invisible tape! The announcer said, “Katie Key…you ARE a Rocketchick!” (You know, in his best Maury “You ARE the father!” voice.)
Then he jokingly suggested that I count as a team since, technically, I was running for two. :)
Putting this race bling around my neck felt AWESOME. I ran over to my mom and husband and gave them hugs! I then made my way over to my fellow #RunLA Rocketchix and we shared proud sweaty hugs! We were all triathletes now!
That half Ironman is still in my bucket list but I definitely want to keep easing into it. I plan on doing a couple more sprint triathlons and duathlons (to really master my transitions) and then move on to an Olympic distance triathlon before making the jump. Given the time, I know I can do it!
After all, I AM a triathlete now….at 01:31:35!! WOOT!
Last night at Happy’s Running was fun, despite being able to only complete 2.25 miles of the 3.1 mile route.
0.00 miles – 1.28 miles: Run
1.28 miles – 1.50 miles: Walk
1.50 miles – 1.76 miles: Run
1.76 miles – 1.85 miles: Walk
1.85 miles – 2.25 miles: Run
Total time: 27:03.
Obviously, I am struggling. Everyday that I go “slow” humbles me more and more. I am still fighting with my emotions over my “slowness” but I really am thankful that I can still get out there and run.
After the run, Brent and I handed out some of the #RunLA shirts and they were a HUGE hit! I was so excited! Everyone seemed to love them! SportScience makes amazing shirts and I think everyone was intrigued that they while they have the soft feel of a cotton t-shirt, that they are actually dri-wicking! BONUS! When I ordered the shirts, I tried to think ahead and ordered myself a medium AND a large…thinking I wouldn’t have to be putting on the large until much later in the summer. WRONG. I wore the medium last night, but I was seriously pushing MAXIMUM DENSITY in it, so I might be rocking the large from here on out. The large size is still a little big, but no worries. These days, I would rather wear something a little roomy than something that makes me feel like a sausage. Here are some pics of the other #RunLA shirts:
I am really enjoying watching the growth of the use of the #RunLA hashtag on Twitter. It is doing amazing things for the runners in this state. I love that we can watch and keep up with runners running ultramarathons to those training for their first 5k. When I first got started running, I know that I often felt overwhelmed and frustrated…or that I would never “get there” (you know, that point where I really felt like I could call myself a “runner”). I am thrilled to see this supportive community growing! Social media is here to stay, so we might as well maximize it find others with the same interests! Do you use a hashtag to connect with runners in your city or state? If not, get one going! You would be amazed at the awesome people you can connect with.
In other news, I also gave my new GO Sport ID band a whirl last night. I have an officially review of it coming, but all signs point to –> LOVE IT! It was super comfortable and it is so light that I did not even remember I was wearing it. I even wore it to work today!
Oh, and how about this nugget of awesomeness! Since I was selected to be a Mommy Blogger for Woman’s Hospital, they are going to let me go to any and all of the prenatal fitness classes (held at my local Destination Maternity store) that my little heart desires! Woot woot! Bring on the prenatal yoga, prenatal step aerobics, and strong mamas classes! I am looking forward to trying different ways to mix up my exercise routine (now that I can’t run like I used to) and to meeting other like-minded fit mamas-to-be!
Lastly, there is a mini-camp tonight for the Rocketchix Triathlon at Woman’s Fitness Center. I just heard about this morning, but since I will need all the help I can get to get through this triathlon, I better make sure I am there! Plus, its FREE!
Tri New Roads this morning was wonderful! While I was only spectating, I was still really excited to go and see the competitors. Every triathlon I watch only makes me more and more motivated to try my best at the Rocketchix Triathlon next month. Plus, it never hurts to watch people transition…there are always tips and techniques you can pick up just by studying others.
I woke up at 5:00AM (which was as early as I was getting up since I didn’t sleep good AT ALL), but lucky for me it was already starting to be a beautiful morning! I arrived to False River as the sun was coming up and the sun and water were beautiful. It made me appreciate being able to be healthy enough to get up and go out there this morning.
Most of today’s participants were either first-time triathletes or at least first-time open water swim triathletes. Everyone seemed really excited about getting in the water. The swim portion started at the boat dock at Satterfield’s Restaurant on False River. The boat dock made for a slipperier entry for the swimmers but they just took extra care not to fall. Because it was so slippery, the swim started in the water at a waist-deep level. Personally, I’m still enjoying being able to push off the wall in the pool so I’m not sure how I would have liked a waist-deep start. There was a strong enough wind coming off the water, so even though the swim portion was only 400m, the swimmers definitely had to push it.
All of the swimmers did well and made it out of the water! Success! Before I knew it, transition was bustling and all of the racers were out on the bike route. Each portion of the 400m swim/12mi bike/2mi run were out and back courses. The start of the bike and run routes started uphill. I think that gave some of the racers a bit of trouble gaining momentum in the short distance between the bike mount line and the base of the hill.
Going into the run, all of the participants looked strong. There was a great representation by Venom Multisport Racing, Fitbird Fitness, and BR Tri. I even saw a few children of racers sporting Rocketkidz t-shirts! It is always fun to see a whole family involved in running, triathlons, or just being active in general.
While the official results have not yet been posted, I look forward to checking them out as soon as they were up! These racers finished FAST!
At the end of the event, finishers were greeted by cheering family members, friends and volunteers, cold beer, water, or sports drink, and some seriously delicious-smelling jambalaya! Satterfield’s was very gracious to host the Tri New Roads event and Multisport Fitness and Fleet Feet of Baton Rouge did a great job of organizing and managing it! It certainly seemed as if all of the finishers had a great experience. I look forward to making this event my first open water swim triathlon next year!
To see all of my photos from Tri New Roads, click here!