Coaches Steph and Christine in B78 cycling gear

Ironman Texas training in Kona? What the Big Island Taught Me

We have just returned from the Big Island together for #campawesome – a crew of B78 athletes who are training for Ironman Texas or other awesome start lines, relatively early in the season. This island has a special kind of energy, our training buddies are a special kind of awesome and the suffering that occurs on the QueenK is second to nowhere! We’ve returned home buzzing with aloha – super excited to go back there for #campawesome, super grateful for the training that we were able to put in, super sad we are losing our tans so quickly! However, the training itself was actually not all rainbows and unicorns. Not at all. So before I published my report on how 2weeks in Kona transformed my world, I thought it only fair to tell you the real truth.

Here’s what happened: we arrived late in the week and after our first monster weekend, we emailed CoachJazz with a “no aloha love” report. (You can find my personal tale over here) …to which we were served up some serious #coachbombs…check it out:

Kona is a special place. It’s special because it’s not easy. In Kona you learn how powerful mother nature is and how small you are in comparison. No place I have ever raced or trained has taught me more than the big island.

Here are some things the big island will teach you (or remind you):

Gratitude: be thankful that you are likely in a more stressful situation with the heat and wind in Kona than you will be in Texas. The big Island is providing conditions for you that will lead you to greater success. It is far better to be over-prepared for heat and wind than it is to be underprepared for it. Aloha spirit is all about gratitude.

Acceptance: there is absolutely nothing you can do to change the conditions there so you must change the way you think about those conditions. If it’s windy- accept that, if it’s hot-accept that. With acceptance comes the power to choose how you are going to deal with it. You must always be at peace with what the big island throws at you…if you are not then you have lost before you even start.

Fuel: if you haven’t already figured it out you may need to reconsider where you are getting your fuel from. As sweat rates and water loss increase your need to replenish becomes vital for performance and eventually survival. Consider doubling your fluid intake- this may mean you do not need solid food or gels to meet your caloric needs.

Pacing: if it’s 40 degrees and you have a 90 mile an hour head wind who cares- you can only do the effort you can do and if that means you are going downhill in your easiest gear at 10km/hr accept that if your effort is on track. The biggest mistake people make is putting their effort into something they cannot control like speed. You can only control effort (watts/hr)- focus on those things and it won’t matter whether you are going 90km/hr with a tail wind or 10km/hr with a head wind. Control what you can control.

Adaptation: Kona is teaching your body to adapt. Heat acclimation is like altitude- it adds a level of stress that forces your body to adapt- the beauty is that you don’t even have to try and adapt your body will just do it.

Who you are: all of this amounts to who you are. Who you really are comes out when you are tested. It’s in the darkest moments on the hardest training days that you will learn about who you are because it strips away all the superficial bullshit that we usually associate with who we are. The best part is that who we are is really a choice. When you are in those moments you will be faced with a decision. The choice is between someone who is a fighter and a champion and can control how they feel about the situation and between someone who flies off the handle and loses control of how they deal with the situation. Both of these people are always in us all the time- you have to keep making the decision to be the first person. When life is too easy we are never forced to make this decision….we can just float along being mundane.

The tough days are a gift.

And what I know for sure is that none of this is specific to only Ironman. I think, in fact, it is most relevant to our entire lives and the beautiful thing about sport is that it creates an opportunity to show up and deliver for a moment in time how you live every other moment of your life.

Mahalo to Coach Jazz for being SO much more than a man of swimbikerun.

Kona…we’re comin’ back for you!

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