I love The Parade Of Nations at Kona. I think it’s amateurishness of it that I love. People get together behind their nations flag, they try to march in alphabetical order by nationality but normally it’s not quite right. A few nations get organised (namely NZ & Oz) and have team t-shirts but most don’t. The Brits have tried in the past and sometimes worked, last time not since the t-shirts didn’t make it, this time we didn’t even try. The whole thing allows you to meet some of the other athletes and is over in about 20 minutes. It gives a genuine feeling of the event starting. There are so many athletes out there that don’t come along, some are probably here to win and thus can’t afford to attend but the rest have no excuse. That said … if a significant proportion turned up it would be mayhem.
Day started early with a full course swim in very rough seas. It was really good fun but the clarity of the sea was poor meaning we only saw some dangerous looking jelly fish things. I stopped to look and show Kerri hoping she may know what they are but I’m guessing she’s not had many people bring jelly fish in to her veterinary surgery. I swam friendly for about 2 thirds of the way out with Kerri, Mel and Nick on my toes. Kerri hadn’t agreed I’d managed to drop her the previous day so I then swam hard but without kicking initially so that it would be a sneak attack. I got the gap and held it to the turn buoy – I only arrived 15s before them but there was no denying it was a gap.
We swam back friendly and via the Coffees Of Hawaii boat. It was rammed … I didn’t even get a coffee though I did get to say hi to Albert. Swimming back in is now quite treacherous but we managed to avoid any collisions. Breakfast was excellent at splashers again.
Following breakfast was phase one of my tanning double header. 20 minutes each side in great sunshine. Then it was meet up for a run – the full troop was out – Roger, Brett, Mel and Kerri and we ran together chatting. I was happy with the 4:45 KMs we were doing and even happier when the GPS boys pointed out it was actually 4:30s ! We split a little and I ran and chatted with Kerri. We turned and stopped at the muscle milk stand. Nice energy drink and ice cold recovery drinks. Got some freebies for later but I must admit that it’s still not as good as For Goodness Shakes … though I didn’t tell them that.
On the way back I bumped in to Rob Hill nad had a good old natter. Then John and Bevin. In fact, the bumping in to old friends has really taken off and has been great fun. It’s another aspect of this race that is like no other – because so many people want to and try to attend here you get loads of familiar faces all at the same race.
Our troop re-grouped in Lava Java for recovery shakes and watching the world go by before heading to register – super efficient as ever.
Then phase two of the tanning – rather overcast but with Pete, Brett and Mel for company it was very pleasant. We watched the IronKids race which was great fun before heading to the parade and then expo.
Evening finished off by continuing my relaxed approach with dinner in the Canoe Club washed down by two beers and followed by two scoops of ice cream (one the awesome Volcano) at Kope Lani. The worry is that I’ll race a PB on saturday and then have to follow this race week regime going forward …. actually thats not really a worry.