Back at work, in my cubicle, drinking the “coffee” from office kitchen, looking out the window at the rain, I think about where I was a week ago today:
So, just a little background, two weeks ago I traveled to the Big Island of Hawaii to do the Honu 70.3 with my friend Alix and her sister Catherine. It was my first time to Hawaii. On the plane, I pretty much ignored the rules to turn off electronic devices as we were landing.
Alix’s parents are pretty frickin amazing and let me crash with the family at the house they had rented. They also fed me delicious delicious food to prep us for the race. It was…ridiculously awesome.
We all arrived 2 days before the race. Our first day there we went to this beach near Puako for a 30 minute swim, as instructed by Coach Allison.
I miss swimming in the ocean. A lot. And swimming in this particular part of the ocean, I considered never getting out. We saw clownfish, parrotfish, pufferfish, butterflyfish, humuhumunukanuka’apua’as (yes for real, they’re everywhere), and (the best part) a SEA TURTLE…or honu, in Hawaiian, which I took as a sign of good luck for our race. I was in love.
But before we could have any real fun, there was bike maintenance, race registration, transition bag drop off, and, of course, the race. A short race summary with pretty much all you need to know:
Honu 70.3: A Haiku
Blow blow blow great wind
Make waves, knock me off my bike
I saw Lance Armstrong
I was a ways off my goal time, and Alix got 2 flats (and fixed both of them herself…way impressive), but it was a pretty awesome experience and we all survived.
After the race Alix rented a truck and we took a trip around the whole island. There were more beaches…
…some with black sand…
…and some paddleboarding at Kona where we ended up smack in the middle of a pod of dolphins for about 10 minutes. It was amazing, but nobody brought a camera.
There was some camping in the higher altitudes at Volcanoes National Park…
…where the ground smokes…
…and volcanoes live.
Some hiking through the jungle along the Kilauea Iki Trail…
…down to the hardened lava lake below that was created by an eruption in 1959.
(steam still spills out of a lot of the fissures along the ground, it’s awesome)
We also walked through a lava tube.
From there we headed north towards Hilo, into the rain…
…then back around to Kawaihae, to our final camping spot at Spencer Beach Park (which, btw, closes it’s gates at 9pm…for future reference).
We found a little secret path and decided to follow it…
…that took us to a little, empty, white sand beach.
We got to spend our final evening with a family of sea turtles that were hanging out in the shallow water. After that we headed out to a dinner of unbelievable sushi. On the way out there were rainbows rainbows everywhere.
It was going to be the perfect ending to an amazing trip.
Then, while trying to get back into the campsite after dinner, I fell in a lava field and we spent the rest of the evening in the Kona ER.
20 stitches in this unassigned tourist’s right arm. We all flew out the next day.
I felt pretty bad about ruining the last night in Hawaii. At least someone was happy to see me when I got home.
But seriously, a major thanks goes out to Alix and her family for their generosity and all of their help with everything. The whole trip was a truly amazing experience and I absolutely wouldn’t have been able to do it (especially in such style) without them. Far above and beyond anything I expected.
I’ll leave you with a pic of my favorite sign in Kona.
More pics of the trip here.
For a real, full, looooong race report, go here.