Baker and I left my house at 5am on Wednesday morning to make the trip to the big island they call Hawaii. 22 hours later, we reached our destination. Yes, that's right - 22 hours. My math tells me that we should be in Beijing, but no, we are in Hawaii. We flew from Westchester to Chicago first and it was great - we had the emergency exit rows. Then, we boarded the full flight to Honolulu. The plane was a 2 seat, 5 seat, 2 seat deal. Baker sat in the dead middle of the 5 seater, I in the same spot directly behind him. I had some guy to my right that slept the whole time on this 9 hour portion of our trip, and the guy on my left I could tell wanted to talk right away. That is why I put on my headphones. Then, we get stuck in Honolulu for 6 hours because an island hopper plane broke down.
We made it to our hotel 22 hours after leaving my house, in the dark of the night. I was anxious, tired, and a bit frustrated, as was Baker.
I awoke today, first at 2am, then at 3am, finally getting up at 4 am here which is 10am back east. I put on my running clothes and took my swim goggles and ran from our hotel out to Alii drive and down into the pit. It didn't take long before I was smiling, glad to be back on this incredible small piece of earth in the middle of the pacific. This place is therapeutic for me. I ran down into the pit, remembering back in the 90's the original course that was, in my opinion, better and more challenging than the new course. Don't get me wrong, the new course is still great. The sun came up as I climbed out of the pit and I saw a legendary familiar silhouette running on the opposite side of the road. Dave scott and I exchanged waves - the guy seems to have the fountain of youth figured out. I ran along Alii, seeing the many fit athletes doing the same on both sides, and taking in the views of the pacific rolling in on my right. My mind went to thoughts of my past races on this road. I have left a deep part of myself here, digging into places - reserves I didn't know I had.Yet I still view this all as fond memories - memories that I strive to remember rather than nightmares I want to forget. I was naturally smiling as I ran down Alii which is very cool. I'm extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to learn about myself in such an amazing event and place.
I reached the busy pier and changed into some swim gear and dove in. This is where I decompress from the long flight out and really just relax. I've discussed this swim here before in detail in previous journals and posts, so I won't bore again. Everyone needs to find one special personal thing that grounds them, and this swim is it for me. Even though there are usually a bunch of swimmers in the water around me, I don't see anything but the ocean and the fish. I swam out to the catamaran serving coffee at the 1/2 mile buoy where Scott Molina handed me a nice shot of espresso - cool and cool, before swimming back in.
The underwear run went off at 8am and I told Baker earlier that we should get some people participating in it to wear My Athlete devices and get some photos. When it came time, instead of soliciting, I took one for the team and participated in my black boxer briefs. Brennan, you hear that?! I've boycotted this event since it's inception in 97' or 98' but I have to admit, it was liberating. Megan S., one of my athletes participated as well. She's ready to roll here and if you get a chance, check out her blog at http://www.runlikeamother.org/.
Ok, so a busy day/trip thus far, and it's not even 9am here yet. Baker and I hit Lava Java before the expo began. As I awaited in the line out the door, I saw a special table section set up here with some woman wearing the team shirts for Norman Stadler's German team. His team manager had contacted me inquiring about My Athlete and was one of the people I needed to meet up with today. I went over and introduced myself and they called Jan (the team manager) and then asked me to wait and fed me. I sucked down three iced Kona coffees during my productive meeting with Jan and discussed the opportunities with My Athlete and his European based team. He's a smart business guy and is really fired up about the potential of My Athlete. While meeting with him, Desiree Ficker strolled into Lava Java and I met with her quickly and set her up with her race day device. She's a contender for top three on race day. I spent time in a bunch of other meetings and the enthusiasm of business people behind this product is amazing. It's been fun for me to delve into another business and experience.
The Cannondale guys had a full cooler of beer at the expo thanks to Wolfie, Faris Alsultan's bud, so we hung out there for a bit shooting the shit at the end of the expo.
After a nice dinner at Huggos, I'm sitting out on water at the moment watching the Manta Rays swimming in the moonlight. There are five of them circling around, and I just convinced two woman that the guy at the end of the patio in the Hawaiin shirt (Andy) is going to swim with them in 15 minutes like he does every evening.