I headed out for a run at 7am. Same plan as yesterday - a 1 hour run followed by a nice ocean swim. Finishing up my run, I ran into Mandy, John H. and Megan. I chatted with them for a bit - Mandy and Megan are ready to roll. Look out for them tomorrow! - then I jumped into the pacific at the pier with Megan for an easy swim. I told her I was swimming out to get a coffee and she thought I was going to swim a mile up, hop out of the water and go to Lava Java in my speedo and get a coffee! I mean, I'm a freak Megan, but come on! I took my waterproof camera with me and Megan and I swam out to the swim up coffee boat. On the return trip, I ran into this swimming partner:
Baker and I grabbed some breakfast at Lava Java - this place has gone over the top in popularity! then expo time. I had some more meetings and made sure that Desiree is all set for tomorrow with her My Athlete device. Make sure you track her on http://www.myathletegps.com/ , username and password ma1 and ma1.
The expo ended at noon, and after breaking everything down and a stop at Fed Ex, I took Baker and Andy up to Hapuna Beach. Hapuna Beach is just an amazing place. It's beautiful, clear water, soft, fine sand, and is encapsulated in a crescent shaped cove. The wind was low so the break was calm, and we just floated around in the ocean for awhile. My first year racing in Hawaii, Lisa and I spent some time here at this beach. I remember going there the day after the race in 96' when I wore socks that were too thick and blistered so bad that I basically lost a bunch of layers of skin on the bottom of both feet. These raw, open wounds didn't take kindly to the hot sand and salty water. Anyways, besides the fact that this is one of the worlds best beaches, I have incredibly fond memories of the great times that Lisa and I have spent on this island. As I floated around, it lead to these thoughts:
Sure, this is an incredible Island, but my experiences on this island are what created my fondness here, and I can't expect others to appreciate it the way I do, even though I hope they do. The fact that this incredible event takes place on this island has been great, but the real fondness comes from the experiences that Lisa and I have shared here. Her witnessing me through the Ironman, us exploring the cool places on this island - it's always been consistent and has created a deep memory base of great times that I'll never take for granted.
I spoke with my father today. He asked if I was bummed about not being a participant this year. I told him that last year I came here and though "man, I'm kind of glad I'm not racing this year!" This year, my thoughts are "man, I wish I was racing this year!". Interesting what a year or two off will do.
Many have discussed the effects of the vog from a health perspective. My take is that on race day, you'd much rather deal with the potential health issues created by the vog and have cloud cover and cooler temperatures than have that intense sun beating down on you. If it stays like it has the last few days here, there will be some very fast times tomorrow. However, I have raced here enough to know that the weather one day is no indication of what you will get the next.