Kona 2008 – Lentine Z.
Kona Here I Come!!
Where oh where has the year gone?
Less than 365 days ago, triathlon was merely a goal on my brain as I found myself sweating my stuff on a 1/2 Ironman course on Izena Island, Japan. Now, in just a few days time, I will be competing in the Ironman World Championship in Kona – with a year of triathlon education in my pocket, a couple thousand miles logged on my bike, and several pairs of running shoes destroyed by the pavement, I will again attempt the seemingly impossible on the world stage at the Mother of All Triathlons. And, most poetically, I am READY.
A few of you might recall my email sent as I prepared to leave for Ironman China in April – still doubtful of my capabilities to make it to the finish line and a bit nervous of the Ironman beast. I begged you all to close your eyes, imagine the tickle one feels when they sense the impossible, the unknown, the out of reach, the amazing. As you allowed those smirks for the unknown crossed your lips, I crossed the finish line in China, having endured the foremiddable course, the defeating heat, the gamut of inner monologue – the challenge was surely as great if not greater than anticipated. The following day, with smile on my face, I found myself invited to the World Championship. I accepted my invitation to Kona within the hour.
And so, for the past 5 months, I have been pushing deeper into my capability. Building upon the athletic base that I had developed while preparing for Izena, and China, I was able to make myself faster, more mentally tough, more READY to compete in Hawaii. This time around, my mind and body are in a different place. But, that is because I have traveled a different path as well. These past months have made all to familiar the brain numbing heat of Okinawa, the nausea associated with breaking through the wall, and the self-doubt one finds when they dwell on the opposite side of that wall for too long. None the less, once one knows that they can FINISH an Ironman, they set out to beat themselves, to surpass their expectations of self. This summer has allowed me to do just that. Pushing my limits in the heat has made me a stronger athlete, a bigger person, and hopefully a most graceful competitor, humbled by the challenge posed by the speed, serenity, and proficiency of my quick competitors…and the measures necessary to take to arrive at the finish line in such awe-striking speed. The last time around, the name of the game was to finish FAST and earn my spot to Kona — this time, the goal is to rock my way to the finish line, fast, and with a smile on my face and hope that my performance earns me a spot to compete less as a hobby and more as an occupation. But I have to strut what I have and hope that it cuts the mustard first. I am not too worried — with a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile ride and 26.2 mile run ahead, I feel as if I have plenty of time (hopefully not a minute over 11 hours) to do just that.
As I speed alongon my bike these days, I don’t think much of that same smirk creeping across my face, and those of my spectators in awe of the human spirit. In fact, I don’t hear much at all — with the exception of the beat of the song I happen to be singing, the birds, the waves on the ocean, the breeze. I have found a peace in this movement, in this goal….rather than an inner monologue, or an argument about where I am going, I feel that I am moving along choreographed lines, as I should be, in a routine my body and mind embrace, towards a goal well matched with my spirit. For whatever reason, Kona, this particular race, seems to be the final duck in this-years’-row. Among so many other things, spinning around us, this race, this work is my solace. And, I imagine, that will be solidified to the upmost degree as I cross the finish line on October 11th with a broad smile on my face.
I invite you all to watch me sweat away a day of my life, enjoy the energy involved in this sport and in this event in particular. Allow those smirks of awe to cross your mouth and twinkle your eyes, but, this time around, sing a little song, dance a little dance and welcome the peace into the seemingly unpeaceful and send it along to me, reminding me to enjoy the tropical fishes below me as I swim, the vast lava fields, and those final coastal breezes as I cruise to the finish on Ali Drive.
The race will kick off at 7am in Kona, Hawaii.
You can track my results and watch me finish at:
Follow links to “Track an Athlete.”
Your support, your encouragement and your well-wishes mean the world!!
With lots of love and thanks,