It’s been ten days. Ten days since I crossed that magical finish line on Ali’i drive. I was in Kona long enough to see the race stuff get cleared, the athletes leave town, the fish reenter the swim course. I actually ran into a turtle on my last day swimming. I never realized just how little you watch the surface when you are swimming. I was looking at the fish below and then I thought I ran into a buoy…but it was a turtle…and I felt horrible. He (she?) was just fine though.

I got to experience a super cool trip to the Waip’io valley. I wanted to be dropped off down there for good, I was ready to move there for the rest of my life. Insane. Someday Troy and I will live in Kona….someday, mark my words. I may be 80, but someday we will call that town home. Β Chase your love.

I’ve had lots of time to sit on the beach and swim in the ocean and just think. The whole year, all the training, the things I said “no” to, was it all worth a 9 minute PR? It’s easy to stand back and look at things that way when you have your results in hand. Suddenly, life feels like a book with a tidy little ending.

It was. It definitely was. It was worth just the opportunity of lining up at the start line. I like to think that I live my life to the fullest, but there are times when frankly, I don’t. There have been times this year where I just trained, to train, to check the box. Treading water in that bay, and going through what I did out there reminded me that living that way is no bueno. No bueno at all. Once you live that way too long…as the Hawaiians say…Pau. Done.

This Kona experience has been a wake up call for me. Find the peace in life, but hang on tightly to your love. Hang on to what gives you an inner grin and never reduce it to “going through the motions.” After all, the Ironman will ask you questions out there in the middle of the Queen K, and you better have the answers to them.

It’s this lesson that Chuckie has been trying to teach me all along. Don’t squander, don’t complain, keep your love (I don’t think he would say that last part…I totally added that…creative discretion). I haven’t always been the most receptive. I was better last year, less good this year. I’m just being honest here, honest with myself. I thought I had more to loose this year. But if every day wasn’t fun, then I’ve already lost…Pau. I preached a positive attitude, but there were times when I didn’t have one…Pau.

I hurt badly out there on IM day, but I rejoice in that pain, for never have I felt so alive. I retreated into myself, I focused on completing the task at hand. Chuckie once wrote to me:

The main thing to remember is that it’s a long day at Kona, and that the swim has to be fairly enjoyable and relaxing. The bike not so much. The run not at all.

-Chuckie V

Push is supposed to come to shove. I was fitter, I was ready. I realize that now.

Another one of my favorite quotes.

If being uncomfortable is inevitable and the only way out is forward…through the misery…then we must embrace it.

-Jonathan Basham

My season is not over yet. I have Ironman Cozumel in a few weeks, six actually, but I do feel like a chapter has closed and I am moving towards 2012 now. I feel good about taking the lessons I have learned and applying them forward, with some added joy. More Aloha, less Pau.

Thank you Chuckie for helping me stand on the start line, and for all your guidance in the good times and the bad.

 

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10 Comments

  1. Very nice post. I wish I had more answers out there. Still have too many questions.

    P.S. We went to the Waip’io Valley, too! Wasn’t it amazing?

  2. Marvelous post, Sonja. Absolutely marvelous. Love love love the “Hang on to what gives you an inner grin and never reduce it to ‘going through the motions.’ ” For longtime ultrarunner me, that inner grin = lots and lots of slow easy time on feet and the simple joy of pressure-free finish line after pressure-free finish line. I’m totally cool with this. And in my 36th year of the running game, I know this is all that really matters.

  3. Great post Sonja! I can’t believe you ran into a turtle! What a unique experience. Just an idea, at some point you need to be out of balance in order to understand/know what it means to be in balance. We can’t worry about having been there, just put the knowledge from the experience to good use. Good luck at Cozumel and Congratulations on an amazing season!!! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

  4. I just read all your Kona blogs, and I’m so bummed I didn’t get to help catch you, especially since I’d had that plan all along. (They suddenly got inundated with racers and needed all catchers immediately — to the point that I was actually escorting athletes by myself, instead of one catcher on either side.) You set a solid PR in Kona, and that in itself is a victory. I did a lot of running while I was in Kona, and good lord, it was tough on Ali’i Drive. The fact that you can run a BQ marathon in Kona, AFTER the swim and bike, is so impressive to me.

    I didn’t know why my volunteer shirt said “Keep your love,” but after reading this blog post, I get it. One of my main mantras for the past 14 months has been, “Life is short; live it.” It’s the same concept: Find what you love, and don’t lose it. So, thanks for unknowingly explaining it, and for being an inspiration. And congratulations on a job well done in Kona.

  5. love the idea on how to organize all the Tri -related cords!!!! Great job in Kona. I was there too…. I’m impressed you’re going back for more already in Cozumel! Good luck!

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