Have I mentioned the heat? No, I don’t think I have because something occurred to me while out on my run yesterday morning. All those many years ago when I was in Kauai, my cousin and I didn’t hit the waves early just because the waves were good then, it was also because it gets stinkin’ hot here from late morning through early afternoon. I left for my run just after 8:30 am and it felt like high noon in August at home but this heat does not feel precisely like the stifling humidity of Philadelphia and Baltimore summers. This heat whacks you on the side of the head and makes you just want to lie down. Of course, as I gasped through my run, I couldn’t help but think about Tom and the conditions he would face during the race on Saturday but whereas I just went out for a quick run, Tom has been training for exactly this over the last months and he’s ready. My aunt, who you’ll remember lives on Kauai, had a name for this heat: Polynesian Paralysis, the cure for which, as best as I can tell, is a nap. So we headed to the pool late morning enjoyed the relief of the shade and the cool water.
Now, it may appear to the uninitiated that we had a quiet, uneventful day but to Tom and I, it felt like anything but that. The kids would say that we didn’t do much but I would beg to differ because yesterday at approximately 1:30 pm, we entered the King Kam hotel, Tom showed his driver’s license and he was given his RACE PACKET! If the twelve hour flight, the daily workouts, the bike sitting in our condo didn’t make real the reason for us being here – the race packet sure did. Tom started doing triathlons in the mid-80’s when the sport was new, weird even. The idea of swimming and then jumping on a bike in your bathing suit following that with a run was absurd. I know, I know, to many of you it still seems like a strange way to spend a day but the difference is that you’ve heard of triathlon now. Since Tom started doing triathlons, it’s become an Olympic sport, there is tri-gear in most sports stores and every other guy sports an ‘Ironman’ watch. But think about it: this race, the Hawaii Ironman, is just celebrating its 30th anniversary. All those years ago in the 80’s, Tom had a frustrating experience at a race in Baltimore (flat tires) and he backed off of the sport, only returning to it as a way to get back in shape after years of focusing on career, education and parenthood. Almost immediately, he fell back in love with triathlon and has enjoyed racing as much as we’ve enjoyed visiting new places where he races. Our trips to New Hampshire, the Adirondacks and even Disney were built around races and if it weren’t for those races, we might not have bothered to plan those trips. So yes, picking up the race packet to the World Championship Ironman felt like a very big deal indeed.