Yup, it's pretty much here, the big day, the K to the ONA day is allllmost here. It's that time where I can start packing without feeling like an idiot. I leave in just a little over a week. I travel to San Jose Friday the 30th and then onto Kona the morning of October 1st. Michelle and I have a cute little one bedroom apartment on Alii for a week, then our families come in right before the race. Every place we seem to be renting together recently says "romantic getaway."

This place said "perfect for romantic walks on the beach holding hands." I'm totally holding Michelle to that one...

Last year I went to Kona from Wednesday to Wednesday and I cried getting on the airplane to come home, I wasn't ready to leave. This time there will be no tears, we are staying on the island until Sunday Oct 16th which will leave plenty of time to swim with the turtles and lay on the beach. Bring it on!

Today was a sad day. It was the first big long ride day that Michelle and I didn't have Chuckie with us. The weather has turned cold here in Denver which means they were off to Tucson to chase the heat. It was like all of the sudden we were without our coach on our wheels and there was an obvious void. We even stopped an hour into the ride to get ready for the hard stuff and we said "Okay....Chuckie is telling us what to do right now." It was like he was still there with us and we both sat there for a minute and imagined what he would be saying.

At some point the baby birds gotta fly and while we know what we are supposed to do and we were able to execute that today on the ride, it was still just...different. We couldn't help missing him and Angela. I can't say I blame them though, the cold weather is a drag and we were bundled up like a pair of Eskimos...but hopefully it will make the Kona heat that much sweeter.

There has been lots of reflecting going on recently in my brain. This year has been so different than last year leading up to Kona. Sure some of the rides and runs and swims have been the same, but I've had a bit tougher time with things this year. Last year I was just so excited to be going, so appreciative, and this year I've been more focused on doing better there. I can't say that's totally a good thing. It's a fine line I think you ride. In the end, doing the work and listening to your body is really all you can do. Putting in the good time, trying to stay out of the bucket, and trying to keep some semblance of perspective. I've struggled on all these fronts this year, but I've also learned from the struggles.

It's hard not to let this sport totally consume you. Then again, try to get better without letting it consume you. It seems that just letting it in the door, letting it fill the room, and living in the sport can be both great, and also hard. Hard on a family, hard on a social life. Hard when results don't stack up. You put together the best training you can, you put together the best race plan you can, you buy all the gear you think will help you out there, and all for a chance to do well at a race that takes place on one little day of the year.

They say that true champions are the ones that rise to the occasion when the conditions are the worst, when the competition is the best, when adversity is around every corner. I believe this is true and I believe there is a certain part of all that which isn't trainable. You have to have that something in you that wants to hurt, craves to hurt, stares down into the well and wants to jump in.

I have 16 days to bring all that to the surface. 16 days to reflect upon the work that has been done, and prepare to tackle the day that I am faced with.

You can see why my family is flying in the day before the race....best to leave the athletes alone before Kona!