What everyone wants to hear about Kona:
It was an incredible experience. Everything was awesome! There was no drafting! The heat wasn’t so bad! It was the best day ever!
How Kona actually is:
Swim out to start. Tread water and fight for position for 15 minutes. Elbow and kick everyone around you. BOOM!!!! The cannon just went off. They didn’t give us any warning. Spriiiiiint. Sprint. Sprint for your life so you don’t get crushed. Stay with pack. Start hitting dudes. Lose pack. Swallow lots of water. Get stung by jellyfish. See a shark. Keep swimming around more dudes. Swallow more water for good measure. Exit swim. Run through showers. Know you didn’t get all the salt water off and you might regret this decision later. Get through transition as quickly as humanly possible. Get on the bike. Avoid as many draft packs as possible. Hit head winds. Force yourself to eat and drink. Head winds. Side winds. Maybe when I turn around there will be a tail wind. Negative. Still head winds here. I dropped my nutrition. I’m so hot. Where is the next aid station? Still chilling in this head wind. Mocha is a flavor of gu? Who thought that was a good idea? That was the worst thing ever. This is actually miserable. I don’t want to be in aero anymore. Vortex of wind and heat. Finally get off bike. Get out of transition before I stay here forever. Maybe this run won’t be so bad. I’m actually melting. I think I’m going to die. My stomach hurts. I’m going to faint. Yep, I might just pass out right here on the side of the road. Keep going. You’ll feel better at some point. Hit Palani. Walk Palani. Be humbled by Palani. Basically 6 miles of up hill misery and construction. Stomach still doesn’t feel good. Continue to drink everything in sight and stuff all the ice everywhere it will go. Where the hell is special needs? Oh, we get a down hill into the Energy Lab. That will be a nice break. Nope. Nope. This.is.actually.terrible.too. Oh there’s special needs on the other side of the road. You can have it in 2 miles, don’t worry. Finally. Special needs. Shove Advil and Pepto into mouth. It’s actually not hot out here once the sun goes down. Ok. Back up and out. It will be a gradual down hill back. It won’t be so bad. If I run just 9 minute miles for the next 6 miles I can go break a 4 hour marathon and this won’t be the second slowest Ironman of my life. Nope. Nope. That hurts way too much. How about 10 and 11 minute pace. That feels much better. Let’s prolong this suffering just a little while longer. Oh, I finally want something to eat. Kid at aid station has a pretzel. Yes I want that. He snatched it away from me and laughed at his friends??? Who does that? I can’t stop or I will never start moving again. The sunset is actually beautiful and the best thing I’ve seen all day. Hey this Australian woman has a nice pace. Let’s run with her. Yes, we can do this for the last 3 miles. Where is Palani? That will basically be the end. People with beer. No that sounds like the worst thing ever right now. Run, run, run down Palani. Australian woman is booking it. Go ahead girl. You’re crushing it. Now I’m on Ali’i. This is actually the World Championships. There is a bright light. Go towards the bright light. I’m not dying, right? Nope, this is just the finish line. But that woman does sort of look miserable and she is falling down the finisher’s chute. High five everyone. Smile like it didn’t all hurt. Smile like it was the most amazing day ever. Walk through the chute.
“Barbara Perkins, you are an Ironman.”
Crap. That was it.
*Side effects may include: Nausea, vomiting, dizziness, shortness of breath, passing out, questioning the will to live and your sanity, the worst/best experience of your life. The desire to do it all again.