Your First Kona

Coach P and Family, Back in the Day!

In a little less than two weeks, the world’s fittest triathletes will gather for the annual ritual that is the Ironman® World Championships. The week is a virtual who’s who of the endurance world, with the roster of participants and spectators including all manner of superstars. But all the marketing money and hype aside, there’s something else that makes the event unique — it’s the fact that on Saturday, one day, everyone from PROs to lottery winners line up to test themselves against the elements and the world’s best.

There are very few places or moments in our lives where we can honestly say, on this day, I competed against the best in the world and earned my finishing place among them. This is both a monumental challenge and precious gift.  Without a doubt, the Ironman® in Hawaii is the ultimate personal test of endurance. Here’s a quick set of tips for all of you competing in Kona for the first time. You might get back again, but you’ll never have another first time…think about it.

Do Everything
There is a ridiculous set of activities lined up all race week. Make sure all your gear is ready, etc., but otherwise get out and mingle. Take pictures. Explore the scenery (both human and otherwise). Walk in the parade of nations. Do a luau. Swim at Dig Me Beach. Soak it all up, for there are thousands of other folks less fortunate than you who couldn’t be there.

Set Basic Expectations
Kona is a special place; the combination of barren terrain, brutal winds and stifling humidity amplify the nature of the competition, forcing you to be at your best even just to finish. Going into your first race, know that speed is secondary to the sights and sounds of the event itself. Being able to race here is a lot like being able to wander onto the set of your favoirite TV show — you recognize people and places and feel at home even though you’ve never been. Absorb everything; learn the course, the winds, watch others for tips. Don’t pressure yourself..if you’ve been here once, you’ll make it back. If not, the last thing you want is one big depressing day of memories to carry with you.

Respect the Island
Much is made of the mystical elements of the Big Island and the spirits who reside there. Everyone knows not to take the white rocks that line the side of the Queen K (you did know that, right?). But you can extend this island style to all aspects of your stay from being friendly and courteous to simply wearing a great smile. Try it, it’s contagious. And if you work hard enough, you might just be able to bring some of that aloha home with you.

Take Time to Explore
Wherever you are coming from, Kona is probably a long way from home. Don’t let the race take away from a really unique trip. You can take waterfall tours, explore Hawi, cross the island to explore Hilo, hike the volcano or tour a coffee plantation. You can also chill on one of the many beaches (hint: all beaches have a place for public access), or spend your days eating shave ice. Ask your friends and family what they want to do, and do it. This is your chance to show just how much their support has meant on the journey to Kona.

If you are racing, good luck! Go fast, be safe, and have fun…you deserve it!

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Want To Learn More About Ironman® Kona? Then sign up to download our 45 minute Course Talk movie where Coach Patrick walks you through the critical elements of constructing a solid race on the Big Island! Register for your FREE Kona Course Talk here.

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AUTHOR

Coach P

All stories by: Coach P
4 comments
  • Jyanoschik
    REPLY

    There are so many non triathlon things to do also. Swim with the dolphins at the Hilton in Wailkola (about 30 minute drive toward Hawi), ride horses on Parker Ranch, helicoptor tour of the island, snorkeling with sea turtles, night diving with the manta rays, etc…….

  • Jyanoschik
    REPLY

    There are so many non triathlon things to do also. Swim with the dolphins at the Hilton in Wailkola (about 30 minute drive toward Hawi), ride horses on Parker Ranch, helicoptor tour of the island, snorkeling with sea turtles, night diving with the manta rays, etc…….

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