TLDR – I went to Hawaii for vacation and I found my mojo! Yay.
As I wrote in July, I’ve been tired and low on mojo. What I was experiencing was more than physical fatigue. I was mentally and emotionally depleted and needed a break from race preparation and big-volume training sessions. Also, I was tired of eating for 3 people all day every day. So, I deferred my November Ironman and slowed down. Throughout July and August, I slept in and ate less. I didn’t know how long this feeling would last, nor did I worry about it. Instead, I simply took things week by week. There was no plan. I felt confident that I would know when I was ready to begin serious training again.
In August, my family spent two weeks on vacation in Hawaii. One week in Kauai and the second in Kona. Kauai, the “garden island” was uber chill. It’s lush and rural with beautiful trails everywhere. We explored the forests, canyons, beaches, and lots of delicious food. Of course, I brought workout clothes but took things day by day. If the family wanted to leave early and explore the island all day, I skipped training and focused on enjoying all the time that we had together.
I did get an easy run while watching a beautiful sunrise.
While on Kauai, I didn’t swim but I did join a local cycling group for their Sunday ride up to Kokee State Park (~3,000 feet of elevation). The warm hospitality of the group was amazing. They provided me with a road bike, helmet, cycling shoes, and nutrition. All I had to do was show up and pedal. They were an experienced group and were doing a social stay-healthy ride. Meaning that no one was in a rush or trying to outperform anyone else. The warm, friendly attitudes, moderate tempo, and beautiful scenery filled me with happiness as I rode.
Everything was great until it wasn’t. I began feeling nauseous around 1300 feet. I hoped it would pass. When it didn’t, I stopped at 1500 feet to throw up and hoped that my gut would calm down for the remainder of the ride. After riding a little more, the feeling worsened and decided to turn around and return to the car. I informed one of the guys and he chose to ride back with me. Once he knew that I was ok, he headed back up the mountain to meet the rest of the group! I drove to the hotel knowing that not all days are good days while also feeling humbled and embarrassed.
Kona, the big island
Although the island of Hawaii is a totally different environment, its beauty is undeniable. Fields of lava flows that go into the ocean are unique. Compared to Kauai we didn’t spend as many days exploring the island, but we did take a day to visit the Kilauea volcano. Most of our time was spent relaxing on the beach and watching our son surf.
I wasn’t going to miss the opportunity to train on the world-famous Ironman Kona race course. We were in the land of champions and I wanted to immerse myself in that spirit. Surprisingly, the hotel we chose was the Ironman headquarter hotel which was located right at the swim start. So, the first thing I did was get up early and go swimming.
The route is labeled with buoys and has a “swim lane” that progresses into the ocean! Just as the hotel waiter told me, there were plenty of people swimming each morning. The water was clear and relatively calm as I swam to the half-ironman buoy. Along the way, I passed over coral and enjoyed watching all the colorful fish and freezing up briefly as a small shark swam underneath me. After I’d passed it (or it swam away), my mind began worrying about the great unknown. I began to wonder if there were any larger predators just out of my view. My heart rate shot up and I had to accept that I was a visitor in the middle of the ocean. Worrying about what might be there was totally counterproductive. So, I focused on enjoying the water and appreciating being able to be out there. After becoming distracted by more colorful fish, I forgot about the sharks, and remainder of the swim was beautiful.
Since I didn’t have bike shoes, and bike shops don’t rent them, I decided to forego a cycling experience and do some running instead. I chose a sunset run along the portion of the Ironman course that skirted the water. As I ran, I imagined being out there running with the best triathletes in the world. Time flew by as I occasionally stopped for photos and the sights along the route. I became a little intoxicated with the idea of racing here.
The combination of the time relaxing with my wife and son as well as some inspiring training sessions got me excited about racing and my fitness again. Being in the land of “anything is possible” reminded me how much I love exploring my limits and chasing new challenges. For about 48 seconds I even thought that I would like to train and qualify for the Ironman World Championships. You know, earn a spot on the course. However, I quickly remembered how much work is required just to make incremental gains with my current level of fitness. Frankly, I’m not really not motivated by a championship slot. My ego is drawn to the idea, but I’m experienced enough to know not to hop on that train “just because”.
After a few sessions on Kona, my wife remarked that I was noticeably happier (actually, she said I was acting like a 5yr old). She was correct, I felt full of delight and excited about getting back to work 🏊🏽♂️🚴🏽♂️🏃🏽♂️.
Mojo reloaded! Yay