During out first week on the Big Island we had to take advantage of doing the tourist thing and seeing the whole island. We first went up to Volcano National Park to check our the sites and hike. The weather is much cooler at 3,500 ft above sea level, so it was a good transition for my training from frigid temps to the tropics. I got up early to get my workouts in and then the days were ours to do whatever. We did a bit of hiking through the lava tubes and volcano caldera, and some coastal off-roading through the Puna district, south of Hilo. There were hidden lava pools and even an active lava flow that was close to destroying someone's house. Very interesting how nothing can stop lava, and I mean nothing!
A few days later we traveled over to Waikaloa to relax on the beach and great open water swimming. We got an opportunity to spend time with some Colorado friends that we randomly found out were on the island at the same time. What a lucky and pleasurable surprise. I also got my first wheel out on the famed Queen K. In addition, Rob and I had our first paddle board lesson with some friends and were hooked. We paddled 3 more times over the next week. It was so fun to try something new and challenging. I didn't grow up around water so anything aqua-like is an adventure for me:)
Week two was the reason for planning the trip to Hawaii. I participated in a triathlon camp, put on by the Playtri company. I wanted to build some solid base for my training and gain strength before the training season really gets under way. We were invited to stay with our friend's, Tricia and Al , who own a home in Kona. It was just delightful to have a wonderful cozy place to stay and to build a wonderful friendship with two amazing people.
During the 5 day camp, we did focus on all three triathlon sports, but the majority of the week was spent on riding. I rode 17.5 hours in 5 days, which is the most I've done since before Ironman Wisconsin, in September. It was a challenge but every hill and push that we made really fulfilled that drive and love for the challenge of what triathlon is all about. Thank goodness for my Kestrel 4000. She really hung in there with me and took a beating. She will be getting a good bath when we get home.
During camp I was inspired by an amazing group of athletes. Our group was filled with all different ages and triathlon experience, but everyone had that heart and determination to give it their all while in camp. On parts of rides where I was hurting, I'd look over and see someone else who was slower or less experienced than me, pushing harder and giving everything they had, determined to not give up. Our camp group was a total of 30, and a total of 30 made the complete Ironman ride from Kona to Hawi and back. Half of the group had never rode over 3 hours, let a lone over 100 miles. All I can say is WOW! This camp is really what I needed to kick start my training and my inner drive for the year. I am grateful for the opportunity to log good hours early in the season, to built new friendships, and share my passions with others who feel the same about this amazing sport.