Kona Day 1 – Dolphins

Kona11.jpgLast night I stayed up quite late so I almost slept through to my alarm. Hoping that will speed my move to normal sleeping patterns here. What a great first day.

Each year things seem to be getting ready earlier. Already there were a fair few Ironmen here for the swim – only just room for Roger and my bags on the little rack. The info tent was already up with water and energy drink and then out on the swim there were safety kayakers and loads of orange buoys including an extra one between halfway and the turn – looks like it may remove the feeling of adventure there always was swimming the full course.

Even though I kept telling myself the water is always colder than you expect it was still colder than I was expecting. Half course we were planning so I swam following the orange buoys to halfway, swimming well and looking at the fish. I stopped and looked for Roger. I saw some dolphins so swam towards them. Then noticed Roger by the permanent halfway marker buoy which is always a little ways off from the marked course so most don’t go to it. It’s always proved a good spot for spotting dolphins, it’s like they avoid the crowds.

I chat with Roger there and say I’d seen dolphins but there was no sign then. Minutes later we’re in amongst a pod of about 40 including young. It was amazing, just Roger and I as all the other swimmers were sticking to the orange buoys about 30m away and just not noticing. We were diving down with them, swimming in amongst them and seeing them break the surface and spin. Gobsmacking !

We made the most of being here early and went to Lava Java for breakfast and got a table straight away. Next week we’ll be giving it a wide berth. Kailua Pork omelette … boy it was good.

Next we went for a short ride. Roger had some bike stuff he wanted to check prices on. Interesting to find none of it was cheaper than in the UK. When asked the guy in the shop said it was the shipping costs. Interesting that the price of oil is having an evening effect on the prices perhaps indicating how much the USA has been benefiting from how cheap they’ve been getting oil compared to us in the UK. Those days are probably nearing a permanent end (is there another type of end ?)

I was feeling pretty perky and hammered along till I got to the Four Seasons turn. We then road back friendly, chatting and stopping at Kona Mountain Coffee – seen it loads of times but not stopped there – the coffee was very nice. I followed my ride with running the Ali’i Drive section of the run. From my hotel it’s just under 10 miles. I managed to negative split the run finishing in 72 minutes. Really enjoyed it and was running well. Cooled off in the Pacific.

Then I started my plan to try and avoid sunburn in the race for once. Decided I need to make an effort to get a good tan ahead of the race. So despite the overcast skies I headed to the pool to give myself about 30 minutes each side ;o) … not sure how much effect it had. Certainly no one else in the hotel felt it was the weather for sunbathing !

Day finished off with a meal at Huggos On The Rocks accompanied by a Ukelele player and Hulu dancer … you’d never guess we’re in Hawaii !

Star spotting as started. Coming in from my ride I gave a cheery hello to a triathlete like guy  in the hotel lobby who gave me an equally cheery hello back at which point I realised it was Rasmus Henning. On my run I saw Caroline Steffen coming back the other way just before the turn. She was looking very lean. I was planning to negative so decided to see if I could reel her in. You probably know the outcome … at best I kept her in sight but that did mean she was pulling away. For reference I was running 4:30 Ks.  The day finished by bumping in to Rachel Joyce and wandering to the supermarket with her. Even though I know her I still think she ranks as one of the stars at Kona ;o)

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