Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Day Before

The day is just beginning and kids are still asleep. I don't find it easy to sleep in this heat. The sun rises early and IM seems to be up. Now he has headed off for to Dig-Me beach for a final stretch of his swim arms, some ART (active release technique - whole tent of practitioners here to work on athletes every morning) and soak up the the tension filled atmosphere. I sit and contemplate the day.

The day before is one of organising and planning for the support crew. IM needs to be well feed and hydrated. The race bags need to be packed and often you can help by talking thru what is needed and rechecking before they head off for check-in. They need to rest, ideally stay off their feet and start to focus on the big day ahead.

At the same time, you may have kids who need to be entertained and other family and friends who want to be organised for race day -  planning view points, meetings points, and cheer squad essentials!

When you have young kids, these days can be stressful no matter how much you organise but you do just need to take a deep breath and go with the flow.

Our kids - aged 4 and 7 - are at age where unfortunately they just don't quite get it. They are on holiday and just want to chill out, while mum and dad drag them off to expos and parades and shops and dinners which mean late nights (and often grumpy kids). They do have fun most of the time and they are having experiences you hope they will cherish but what I have rediscovered this week is that you can't fit it all in and you can't always be with your IM soaking it all up as it just doesn't work for the kids. Ideally, with kids this age, having other family members with you helps to manage this, but it's not always possible. It's also great if you have other families you know nearby with kids of similar ages, so together you can manage the kids and give each other some adult time. So you work it out as best you can.

Come race day, kids also require planning. Waking them up early for swim start can be tricky, too much time out in the sun and on their feet results in moody kids, the crowds can be overwhelming (and the stress of thinking you might lose them!) -  so there is a lot of coming and going and making sure you have food, drinks and entertainment (apart from the crowds and the race!)

Today, we will think this all through. Work out best viewing positions, head down to the expo to make supporter signs, iron-on names and numbers for our supporter tees, take kids out to write colourful chalk messages on the roads, and keep IM as calm as possible. Head is spinning but it will all fall into place and I just remind myself that at least I am not racing! There is a lot more for the IM to think about today in preparing themselves to tackle one of the toughest races on earth.

So now I will get stuck into my supporter role, knowing that for all of us -  the wives, kids, families and friends, as well as our IM - the day that has been planned for for so long is finally upon us, and I am sure it will be filled with memories that we will cherish in our lifetimes.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Entering the Race Zone...

Well here we are in Kona with just three sleeps until the Big One! I can now say we are officially entering and experiencing the Ironman Race Zone.

I wrote a while back about my IM entering the zone - the zone of serious training, watching what he eats, thinking about the race and planning the road to Kona. Now that we are here and so close to race day, a new zone is upon us.

This is the period of serious focus and planning. Final short taper sessions in all three sports, checking and rechecking race kit, registration, the hype of expos and race banquet, a fair bit of pro-spotting, relaxation when you can get it and a lot of thinking through the experience they are about to endure. The hype, the talk, the build up - it results in an energy around town that is hard to describe and a focus on one day not like any I have experienced before.

As I heard a Pro say today, your race year all comes down to your performance in Hawaii - and I think the age-groupers probably feel just the same.

You hear it all - it's like no other, everybody suffers, it will strip you down to your core, you need to focus to go beyond the pain, you may go to where you have never been before, leave your time expectations on the pier....yet the competitors are saying just Bring It On!

I can't even imagine what I might be writing about come Sunday. In the meantime, we are trying to remember to soak it all up, take it all in and get all we can out of our first Kona experience because as we all know, the first time is always the best.

See our latest snap shots from our day in our Flikr Album

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Well it still seems like a dream but we are here! -  and today it all became very real. It's hot and humid, there are fit bodies riding and running everywhere, Kona is swelling with people and the atmosphere is building. Today we had the Athletes Parade and opening of the Ironman Expo. I will write a more detailed post soon of what is happening in Kona and what we have been up to, but in the meantime, check out my photos of our first few days in the new TriCrew Flikr Album.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

A Weighty Issue

I bought a great little gadget this week - and very cheap compared to most gadgets in our house! It's a bag weigher....

This is not so I can cram as many clothes as possible into our suitcases (or to take with us so I can keep track of all the things I can buy while away) but to make sure our bags are not over weight and we don't get slammed with a huge excess baggage bill - like we did going to China Ironman earlier this year!

Big lesson to be learned from China trip was to ALWAYS check and double check with travel agent and airline about their polices on baggage allowance, excess and oversized items like bikes! Seems all airlines handle this slightly differently...

We are flying Hawaiian Airlines and they charge for an oversized item but then it has it's own weight allowance and does not need to be considered when packing our bags - and their bag allowance per person is huge! On the other hand, I know when we went to NZ the weight of bike in box was part of our baggage allowances with QANTAS  - which works alright if you have kids but tips you over if there is just one or two of you. Result is bags being filled with all the tri kit and gadgets and very little of anything else - who needs extra undies or high heels or toiletries?!?

This is the frustrating thing travelling with a triathlete - there is so much kit to be considered with it's own list required, that competitor concentrates on this and the other half (ie; wife/me) thinks about the rest!

My lists are currently out of control, as is our bedroom floor that has last years summer clothes spread across it for contemplation. A holiday in Hawaii does require some thought re.clothes, kids and r & r  - not just the race!

Back to packing and weighing bags. Best to weigh at home so you don't have to juggle between bags in check out or pay a huge excess. Make sure competitor has list to go by for all the race essentials - and suggest you double check them as all you all need is a melt down about forgotten items when on the other side of the country or world! I have put together a support list for cheer squad items and supporter gear you may need on the day.

Today is our packing day - I am almost done but IM just starting! Below are a few useful things I mustn't forget when travelling OS and a few tips when packing competitors bag - will help me today also :-)

Don't forget:
Documents relating to all bookings.
Web addresses and passwords to access email,etc
Electricity converter for country you are visiting
All charger cords for all the gadgets.
Bike :-)
Kids :-)

Remember when packing Tri Gear:
Don't overpack bike bag.
Put all gels, powder and creams in sealed plastic bags.
You can buy some things over there!!

Have a few funny stories to tell about travelling with bikes and kids but that's another post one day - would love to hear your stories or tips too.

Must sign out - and get packing!