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.  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 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.