*Cracks knuckles, thinks about writing, gets distracted, walks away and comes back 10 minutes later*
Ahhh Kauai…. In my mind one of the most beautiful spots on the planet. And here I am again waiting for EPIC5 to begin, but this time I am different. I have grown so much as an endurance athlete since EPIC5 2011. I have learned so much about myself. Last time I wandered blindly into the unknown and the experience opened my eyes to many things. I was the youngest and least experienced and I let that play out. I watched and learned lessons…good and bad, and I was inspired by things that I never saw coming. It was one of the greatest adventures in my life to this day and I took all of my newly acquired knowledge and transformed my being. I cut back to the basics while recovering from injury and I rebuilt my training around all of the qualities I wanted to see in myself. I was calm, patient and focused.
With a full day in Hanalei before the event started we found a bar and I enjoyed a few beers with my friend Colin Cross of Hawaii Race Photos. He was coming with us not only to photograph the entire journey, but to be our head bicycle mechanic. It was nice to chill out and not discuss the upcoming week. Then we headed back to the lodge to meet with my solo crew Amy Harpstrite to whom I owe the entire week! She took care of me before taking care of herself most times and I thank you Amy! This kind of event is 90% crew and 10% athlete.
Day one is different because of time constraints. We fly out the same day and have to be finished by a certain time, which means we run first, then swim and then bike. Our morning started on the dark streets of The Princeville Resort in Hanalei Bay - Athletes and crews joined hands at 3AM for a prayer circle lit by headlamps and car headlights before heading out on the marathon course. The temperature was perfect and the stars lit the sky. I had an awesome run and entered transition to swim at Hanalei Bay, which was the most enjoyable swim of the week with it’s stunning scenery, great water temps and great company as Amy swam with me. We had a paddle boarder that led the way so sighting was easier. There were ice cold pockets of fresh water every 10 yards out by the turn around and all I started thinking about was how I wanted all of my drinks for the rest of the trip to be that ice cold and refreshing.
The bike course is a trip across the island and back halfway to the airport cell phone waiting lot where you pack up and leave for Oahu. I really forgot how beautiful Kauai is and I also forgot how hot is can be. Every stop on the bike I had ice cubes put into the vents on my helmet and topped off my bottles with ice cubes too. There are many hills in Kauai and I loved every second of it. Hills build skills and I’ll take them any day over flat ground.
I finished the bike and felt leaps and bounds from where I was last year. I felt strong and ready for the next day. Everything went just how I wanted it too. I had a better perspective on my own event and played everything smart. I managed my fuel and energy properly and it payed off. The hard part is that you are eating for the next day without over doing it for the current moment, but now I was hungry so I shared a beer and some dinner with my crew and helped pack up for our flight. We flew back home to Oahu where I got a couple of hours of sleep in my own bed!
Planet Sun Sunscreen - All 5 days in the hot Hawaiian sun with full protection and not a single trace of sunburn!!!! Thanks John!
Hawaii Race Photos - Day 1