This is experience was so rich, instead of rushing to write about it, I felt it needed to breathe a bit. I hear this is what you do with wine to enhance the flavor, so maybe it will work here as well.
Let’s start where all good love stories do with a proposal…
“Would you like to go to Hawaii with Oakely?”
Assuming this was a trick question, I nearly didn’t respond. But it wasn’t and I did.
Day 1 – We Begin
We’ll skip Wednesday which involved mostly flying, chatting with Michele of NYC Running Mama on our layover and wondering what the heck we’d really be doing.
Pulling back the curtains, I spied a fog hanging over the mountains and nothing but blue water for miles. A perfect morning to head to the famous Underpants Run!!Our cab didn’t get there in time for the start, so Michele and I enjoyed the show and then decided the only logical way to get back to the hotel was to run! What we thought was roughly 5.5 miles ended up being about 7 miles…entirely uphill.
I swear everything is uphill both ways there! However, even though I’m ridiculously slow compared to her speedy legs, I could just FEEL the oxygen! Even at a sweat because you’re alive level of humidity coming down from altitude certainly works for better running.
Highlight: Suddenly a blur streaked past us and our heads snapped towards each other with cartoon saucer sized eyes as we both mouthed “THAT’S DESI!!!” Yup, Desi Linden was doing her run while her husband prepped to race in Kona!
Right so now we’ve made it to 9AM on day 1…breakfast, shower, time to explore the Ironman Expo.
For us the Expo was our first chance to meet Oakley Radar Pace (yeah I think of it like a person) and to create some custom eye wear ourselves with the Hawaiian islands etched on the front. The booth was slammed all weekend with athletes looking to get their eye wear game on point.Later in the afternoon we met with the Oakley inventors and Intel team to set up our own Oakley Radar Pace. SOOO much to say on this, look for a post later this week.
Then it was time for an epic show.
I know epic is overused by many, but this really was insane.Diving with manta rays!! All right it’s called diving, but let’s be real here we are arms extended holding on to a surfboard with noodles around our waists!
The goal is to stay still at the surface, the light attracts the plankton which is the main food source for these majestic creatures…and if you’re lucky they decide to feed, which means swimming right up and along your body!
- I learned manta rays are different than sting rays, they can’t sting you (whew)
- I learned that manta rays are like 1300 lbs and span up to 60ft (yikes)
- I learned that they’d swim within inches of us
- I realized we were jumping into the ocean in the dark
- I remembered I get sea sick
- I decided the sickness was 100% worth it
Day 2 – We Sweat
Now it was time to put the Oakley Radar through it’s paces.
The group divided roughly in half with part of the group gearing up and heading out to cycle. They looked so professional in matching kits, it was awesome to see them!!!Our group consisted of me and well a bunch of superstars like one of the worlds fittest men, 3 time Ironman Champion Craig Alexander, who also happens to be smart, kind and clearly driven.Luckily, I don’t just spout the mantra “Forward is a pace”, I live it. In the past, I probably would have felt bad about my speed or tried desperately to keep up without success. Instead, I just ran my own pace and when they moved ahead I looked around and thought “damn I’m running in Hawaii, it’s a good day”.
Then I said “Ok, Radar, tell me my pace” and she responded I was doing a 9:30, then promptly told me my cadence was only 82 and I should try increasing that to 88. She’s driven!
After our morning workouts, we headed to the ocean for Craig to provide some tips on our swimming form. Diving in to the clear waters, my years of swim team kicked in and I was off from one buoy to the next. While I no longer have the same endurance, he stated that my form looked great!With that final glowing comment, I was ready to head to our dinner at the Oakley Safe House….but first I had one more run to do with Radar.
Highlight: Near our hotel, I found a lava shelf where locales go to leap into the ocean. That was too terrifying for me, so I just enjoyed the nuance of black and white rocks set off by the clear blue waters and green shores. While of course opting for the perfect #RTTFpose moment.
Back to the safe house….
A safe house is what brands provide for their athletes at any large competition as a place to relax without media, without fans, with food and places to simply let go for a bit. Rolling up to this little shack, it was clear they picked a real dump HA!A lush green lawn dotted with perfectly placed palm trees backed up to the crashing waves of the ocean, where we watched as the sun slowly dipped in to the water.
Then a local picked up his ukulele as we settled into our bamboo chairs for a meal of mashed purple sweet potatoes, coconut shrimp, fresh greens and oh so many more delectable bites.
Day 3 – We Cheer (and Sweat)
It’s Ironman day and this deserves it’s own post, so you’ll have to wait!! Seriously I can’t tell you all the tear jerker moments in a post so packed with other awesomeness!! A bunch of the gang, also took an excursion later in the day to see lava flowing in to the ocean and I have to share a photo because it was INSANE!!!! I definitely wanted this experience, but it was more important to me to see the elites finish and be there at the midnight cut off for the real party and tear fest.
So just like you I’m living this one through anther’s photos!!
Day 4 – We Relax
Technically, our week was done, but until I caught a cab at 6:45PM for a red-eye the day was mine!
Perfect time for another morning run, breakfast with the gang, hitting the ocean for some open water swimming while the guys attempted stand up paddle boarding, eating more fish and overall just fully taking in the moment of being in Hawaii.And because I also like to ensure you know how amateur I am…here is a video produced by their team and my attempt at a video as well. My skills are progressing, but yeah I don’t have a drone or the talent that this team did!!!
Now my recap…because honestly even photos aren’t enough to tell this story and I know you don’t want to read any more!
Have you been to Hawaii?
Would you enjoy watching the Championship in person? Do you watch it on tv?
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