Kona 2016: Part 1 with Dan

17 Oct

FRIDAY morning (10.13.16) we were set to leave Portland to Kona (via Seattle shuttle).  Long story long: We got to the airport; the first flight to Seattle (8:30, we were on the 9) was delayed; air traffic controllers weren’t letting any planes into Seattle.  That made me nervous.  They were trying to get as many people onto the flight as possible because they didn’t know how many of the shuttles were going to get to go out.  We secured a spot on the 8:30(BARELY).  We were on the plane ready to take off…late as it was.  Then we deboarded…Seattle wasn’t ready for us!  It was going to be 90 minutes.  (Kona flight was at 11:10)  Everyone off the plane, into the line to be rebooked, people were going to miss their connecting flights.  Dan gets on the phone and AK Air says if you leave by 10, you will be ok.(if not call back)  (cue the tears…I knew there was zero chance of us leaving by 10)….Dan stayed positive…I on the other hand was pissed and sad!!

We re-boarded at 9:55 and were off at about 10:15 for the 35 minute flight…we got to Seattle at 11.  There were quite a few of us on that flight that was going to Kona, I knew if we could get to Seattle and had to run it would be fine.

We ran through one terminal, got to the in-airport shuttle to the other terminal, thought we were on the wrong one, literally got to the gate and the doors were shut…and you know when the doors are shut you are in trouble….BUT….she let us on…along with the 15 or so other people from our flight that didn’t run, that weren’t sweaty, about 15 minutes after us.  I knew in my gut we would be ok…but I thought if we don’t run and we miss it, I would be even more sad!!

We made it!!! I was just happy to be here!!! We weren’t sure that our baggage had made it. But it finally made its way out the baggage carousel!!

We had a nice afternoon of relaxing, walking around Kailua-Kona, we hit up Kona Brewing Company for pizza.


Our first Kona sunset!


SATURDAY: Ironman World championship

We got up super early. We didn’t know how hard it would be to get a good spot to watch the swim.  We grabbed some coffee and checked out a few spots before settling on what turned out to be a great one!!


We got a few viewing tips for the guy sitting by us.  We saw all the waves go off.  By the time the AG women went off, the pro men were coming in.  We went up to Kuakini Hwy to see the bikes and we got there right in time to see the first mens pro go by.  You can barely recognize them.  They go by in a blink of the eye.  I knew what some of my faves were wearing so I could cheer for them.


Top left clockwise: Jan Frodeno, Jessie Thomas, Ben Hoffman, Heather Jackson, Miranda Carfrae

We walked down to the hot corner to see a bit more of the racers come down and up Palani.    I wanted to see Erin before we headed back to the condo.  I cheered for her 3 times before I actually cheered for her.  All the Coeur Sports ladies were in the same kit on the same bike.    It wasn’t until that 3rd time, I knew it was her. I cheered extra loud for her and then headed for breakfast.

We were staying on Ali’i drive at the 2 mile marker of the run (and 8 mile on the way back).  We had a perfect viewing spot for the run.  We went to the pool to get cool before we would need to be back to see the pros.  We did some serious cowbelling.  It was so fun seeing Jan and Sebastian running neck and neck.  We saw all of our faves.  I cheered extra loud for Jessie, Ben, and Andy!!  Finally the pro women were coming through and it was kind of hard because we had to be paying attention to both directions now!! Heather, Rinny, and Linsey come through.  So fun to see them. (You like how I didn’t use last names like they were all my best friends) 😉

It was so hot.  Like miserable hot. Every single racer looked MISERABLE. Not comfortable. Not happy. MISERABLE.  We went back to the pool to cool down again.

Everyone is so fast.  Of course they are fast, they have to be fast to get themselves there!!  We waited for Erin to come through.  Like a totally bad-ass loving life, she cruised by us at mile 2 and 8 with a huge smile on her face.


So much fun.  What a day of spectating.  Spectating really is hard!! Dan said that I should try to get a legacy slot to Kona.  I thought it would be pretty cool to try to work up to that point but it just looks so hot and miserable!! #neversaynever

**I will get back to this legacy business later*


We got up and went for a run.  I thought well I am going to have to run at some point.  I better get it done.  You can’t tell in this picture but I was dripping in sweat and it was 7:30 in the morning.  I texted the girls and said you better be ready to run in your sports bras cause the heat is no joke!!


We headed (on foot) to Kahaluu Beach.  We snorkeled and saw a ton of fish.  There was 6 honu(turtles) there.  It was so awesome.  I love turtles.  I could watch them all day!

That afternoon we walked back to Kona Brewery Company for their brewery tour.  It was super fun.  They started in Portland and made their way to the big island.  We met a gal who got a slot as a legacy racer.  It was fun chatting to her about the race and how many IMs she has done(15).  (Of course I started to think that legacy would be a good idea. #whatiswrongwithme)



We picked up the rental car and headed north.  Our first stop was Hapuna Beach. Lots of sun and waves.  We soaked up a ton of sun this day.  We went up further north to Hawi to get some ice cream. We read about Kohala Coffee Mill.  They have Tropical Dreams ice cream, which is a local brand.  It was nice to have a break from the sun and perfect treat for such a hot day.

That night, definitely the highlight of the trip, was a night snorkel trip with the manta rays.



We went with the Kona Honu Divers.  We had so much fun with Captain Frank and his crew.  They were super fun, knowledgeable, and helpful.  We got to snorkel before it got dark and then back to the boat for a manta talk.  We learned about the mantas and the story behind them.

We got back in the water with our wetsuits on.  It took a little bit of time to see our first one but when we did we were all really excited!! I was nervous we weren’t going to see any. I was like well at least we got to see 1.  Then we saw Big Bertha.  She is the largest one down there with a 17 foot wingspan.  (There is 250 documented mantas around the island) She came up under us and it was insane.  So awesome!!!!!  We got to see 4 total but they put on quite a show for us.  We were in the water for an hour.  What an hour it was!!!


Another early morning.  We were set to go down south to the black sand beach and volcano.



We hit up Punalu’u Beach.  We walked around a bit.  Not a lot of snorkelers and not a lot of sun.  This beach has more cold water due to the offshore freshwater.  We decided we didn’t want to snorkel. So we didn’t take anything with us to the opposite side of the beach.  Once we got over there.  We saw a family snorkeling and I said I bet there is a turtle(s) here.  Sure enough one popped his head out of the water right then.  I was so excited and in the 10 minutes it took us to walk over there, the sun had come out.

Back to the car to get snorkel gear, towels, and sunscreen.  We swam(it wasn’t too cold), hung out with the turtles, and soaked up some more sun!


We finally made our way to the Hawai’i Volcano National Park.  We had planned to be there after dark to see the lava but there was no way we were going to make it 5 more hours until dark.  We opted to go over to the Visitor Center, Jaggar Museum to see the Kilauea Caldera, and hiked the Kilaueu Iki Trail/ Thurston Lava Tube.



It was a super fun trip with Dan.  #livinthedream We both packed up Tuesday night.


I was sad to take Dan to the airport at 9am but excited to go back to the airport at 11am to pick up the girls for a different adventure.  Ragnar Hawaii here we come!

Have you been to the Big Island?  Any favorite spots?






12 Responses to “Kona 2016: Part 1 with Dan”

  1. Kecia October 18, 2016 at 7:31 AM #

    SO MUCH FUN!! I would love to vacation on the Big Island, but am awaiting the day when I qualify to get there. In the mean time, I’m going to keep dreamin’ and working hard to get myself to the start line of the Ironman World Championships one day (hopefully sooner than later)!!

    • Leslie @ TriathleteTreats October 20, 2016 at 8:09 PM #

      It was fun! And crazy to be there for the “big dance”!!! I know you want to qualify but are you thinking about legacy at all?

      • Kecia October 21, 2016 at 4:16 AM #

        I have thought about it…I still have many races to do to get to 12 though!

      • Leslie @ TriathleteTreats October 23, 2016 at 8:11 PM #

        I’m only 1 ahead of you!! 🙂

      • Kecia October 24, 2016 at 4:23 AM #


  2. Kamie October 18, 2016 at 9:42 PM #

    I loved reading this post. Kona is our favorite. We were introduced to it when we were in college. That is when my brother competed in his first Ironman. How fun for you to be there. The start of the swim was my favorite. Kona holds great memories for me and my family. I have never done the manta ray tour, but is on the list for next time….

    • Leslie @ TriathleteTreats October 20, 2016 at 8:08 PM #

      I remember when Chris and your family went to Kona!! So funny how I didn’t even know what an Ironman was…but I totally remember you taking that trip!! 🙂
      Yes!! the manta ray snorkel trip was definitely my fave! Everyone should do it!!

  3. Lee @ Tri*Inspired*Life October 21, 2016 at 6:03 AM #

    You know I have been and you did one of my favorite things….Swim with the Manta Rays! When we were there back in 2013, it was during the government furlough and all the National Parks were closed. Therefore, we were unable to visit Volcano National Park. We really had a great time visiting Mauna Kea and of course, spectating at the IM World Championships was awesome as well! When we visited we flew into Hilo, which is on the opposite side of the island and spent our first night there and then made the drive over to Kona (while stopping at lots of fun spots). I was glad that we took that route since we were able to see lots of other things that we would not have had time to see.

    Glad you two had a fun time and look forward to reading all about the relay adventures!

    • Leslie @ TriathleteTreats October 23, 2016 at 8:09 PM #

      It is so funny how the climate can change within miles of each other on the big island. The drive is super pretty almost everyone on the island too!!
      Sounds like you guys had a great trip too!! 🙂

  4. Heather October 24, 2016 at 9:27 AM #

    I loved Kona! What a fun trip! Snorkeling and seeing turtles was one of my favorite parts! So was going to a Luau 🙂 You should totally get in the legacy way! How awesome that that’s even an option!

    • Leslie @ TriathleteTreats October 24, 2016 at 9:32 PM #

      It will take a lot of time and money to get a slot through the legacy program…i’m not sure that I want to compete that bad! 😉

      • Heather October 25, 2016 at 5:38 AM #

        Oh you do!

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