Sunday, October 26, 2014

Never Quit.....But If You Do, It's Best to Check if Any Little Girls Are Watching First

"But you just started?!"

Ouch.  I had just taken the first steps of tonight's run when I felt a pain on the inside of my knee.  I knew immediately the run wasn't gonna happen. Turning around, one of the little girls from next door was right there.  "But you just started?!"  Well, crap.  I think I just got crossed off a list of potential heroes.....

Running has been going well actually.  I've been going out for 3 mile jaunts here and there with nothing more than a little tendonitus or ITB flare-ups for discomfort - the kind that you can bear.  So at the beginning of this week I decided on a goal: I would do four 3 milers within the week, which would be a reasonable step up in mileage from where I was.  The fun thing about starting over in running is that you improve a  The first 3 miler of the week took over 28 minutes.  The second just under. The third, on Friday, was just over 27 minutes.  Every run's a PR these days!

But the last half mile of Friday's run came with a little bit of that medial knee pain, right where Mr Peabody's golden cartilage donation is, and I thought about walking.  But the PR was in sight and I just didn't want to beat myself up all night if I gave in.

I was surprised but not all that disappointed when I felt it flare up again at the start of tonight's run.  I hate I fell short of my goal for the week, but I'm happy I'm just setting goals again!  I'm sure by Wednesday I'll be ready to give it a try again, and I still get another shot at completing that goal......before I make newer, bigger ones! Heh.

I've been asked now that I'm running again if I cherish each step I take.  Of course I do!  But no more than I did before I found out I had a turd for a knee. I honestly in those final years of running better and better, of 55 mile weeks, burying myself in training, and realizing my dream of qualifying for Kona, finished every run with the exact same sequence: as soon as my foot hit the concrete of my driveway I thumped my chest twice, put my hands together, lifted them up, looked to the sky and thanked God for allowing me the gift to run.

I still do.  Still a runner.......

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Still a Runner, Even If It's a Bit Ugly and Slow

Cleared to run!

But that doesn’t mean I just strap on the sneakers and start rolling.  It’s painful.  Ugly.  Slow.  And I have to walk a little bit between each ¼ mile jog.  And if I make a full 2 miles of that I’m really having a good day.  Today was a good one.......10:13 for the second and final mile in the grass.  I made it through the last mile and a half without stopping even.  Cheers to small victories.  

 Off for a thingie in my Ronald McDonald shoe thingies and my bionic knee brace thingie.  It evidently takes lots of thingies to get the knee moving again.

I've mapped out a route that goes for a mile in my ‘hood, and noted landmarks at every quarter mile.  I try to jog to a landmark then walk to the next one.  I turn around at the mile mark.  The jogging hurts.  My IT Band hurts.  And the medial side of my knee hurts, which has been the scary one since the pain is right at the site of my cartilage graft.  But from today’s x-rays everything looks good in there.  It’s just still a messed up area of my knee, and the cartilage is still trying to grow, and there’s no way to know for sure at this point if it’s really fixed or not.  So I’m to keep the mileage low, monitor the pain, and run through it when I can or back off when I have to. 

More x-rays today!  My "Screwed Up Knee."  Heh.  All looks great at this point.  Mr. Peabody's donated bone and cartilage is all mine now. 

I hate that it’s so vague and nothing is definitive yet.  It makes it very difficult to proceed and feel like I’m progressing to anything.  It just seems like floundering around, trying to run, telling myself it doesn’t hurt or at least not that much.  I wish I could sign up for a race – even if it were next summer – so I could have a goal to train for and get my fitness back on track but I have no idea how I’ll progress in the next month, let alone year.

But at least I do have hope.  The door to being able to compete again in triathlons hasn’t been shut yet.  So, I don’t know what else to do but get out there and run.  So here goes nuttin'.  Time to go put my big ass knee brace and Hokas on and get this fun over with!!!!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Coolest Thing Ever: Dave Mirra and the P5

A week ago from last Wednesday night, Angie and I were chilling watching tv.......right about the time when you start asking yourself how much longer are you gonna stay up before you go to bed.  There was a faint knock at the door and we exchanged that look that says, "Were you expecting anybody?"  Angie ran to the bedroom to get a bra on.  I was in my boxers, but I figured if anyone was willing to knock on our door at that hour they probably could handle a man in his drawers.

Maybe I should have put something on over those drawers.  It was Dave Mirra's wife and daughters!  With fresh baked muffins!  Thrilled as always to have a bite of the Mirra's tasty treats I invited them in and after I went to my room and put some shorts on we all sat around casually chit-chatting.  And then like a bull in a China shop here comes Dave busting through the front door with his Cervelo P5 and booms, "Here ya go, man!  She's all yours!"  What do you think you would look like if that happened to you?  Might I suggest this:

My jaw dropped and I could taste the cat hairs in the carpet.  A P5?!?!  You're giving me your P5?!?!? Who does that? 

Absolutely amazed.  This is mine?!?!?!

Dave and I have become great friends over the last couple years, but I haven't saved his daughters from a burning building yet.  I never performed an emergency trachiotomy on Rex or Rocky, the Yorkies.  What an unbelievable gift from an amazing friend, model father, and phenomenal athlete.  If you have no idea who Dave Mirra is, you can Google him.  It probably won't say "Bruce's Friend" but I wish it would.

The muffins.  One's already missing.  That didn't take long.....

Wait!  We gotta get a shot together with the bike.  Lemme put some real clothes on!  Lemme put my race wheels on the bike!!!!

I so wanted to wear the Cervelo shirt they handed out to those that rode #SimplyFaster at the Ironman World Champs but I couldn't squeeze into it.  I was in a bit better shape last October......

I suggested Dave puff out his belly like this for the shot to make me look smaller but I couldn't convince him.  Lauren was pretty quick with the camera of course so this little shenanigan kinda backfired on me.

To put this in perspective, a Cervelo P5-6 is my dream bike.  I was actually quite jealous when Dave bought it.  Not only did he get one but he had it spec'd out with every option I had dreamed of.  Conveniently, it was exactly my size.  I won't say how much this bike costs.  You can Google that too.

So, since the Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram world is probably sick of me posting pics of the Cervelo P5 I'll post a few here.  Cuz it's my blog. 

I have gone on a few rides with it so far and all I can say is it's every bit the rocket ship that it looks.  I'm not near in shape enough yet to warrant such an awesome ride, so I kinda look like a poseur on it for now.  But I'm coming back.  Not to worry......

 Ready to roll! These are Dave's Dura Ace wheels from RAAM (Race Across America - which he and 3 others won the 4 Man Division of as part of a team called Legends of the Road) that I'm borrowing until I get something 11 speed compatible.  All my race wheels and components for the Cervelo P3 I've been riding are 10 speed.  I'm a little behind.....

The front end is super aero.  The brakes, which are hydraulic, are hidden behind carbon fiber covers.  The shifting is Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 electronic - just push a button and the derailleur moves accordingly.  No cables anywhere!

 I love the Rotor crank and aero disk chainring.  Just behind it and inside the carbon fiber frame is a compartment for the Di2 battery that runs the shifters. No pedals shown at the moment.  They were on my Cervelo P3 during the taking of these pictures.

Dav'es nametag from RAAM is still on the top tube.

 Dave had put Ceramic Speed pulleys on the rear derailleur.  Ceramic bearings reduce friction just that little bit more to make it extra slippery fast!  Me likey!

Enough talking about this rocket ship!  Time to go ride!

Thanks, Dave.  I know you had all kinds of options that you could have done with this bike yet you shared it with me out of the kindness of your heart.  It's been a long journey for me these last few months and I hope you're just as eager as I am for me to be back in shape and ripping down the roads with you as we train for the next adventure.  I am always amazed when I read how many comment about how much of a role model you are to them.  And I see it.  The P5 is something I will certainly respect and cherish, but nowhere near as much as the friendship we've put together.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Back on My Feet Again (11 Weeks Post-Op)

On my last day of crutches, a really sweet lady at work approached me with a look of sincere concern and asked, "So how much longer until you are all better again?"  I told her that it was my last day on crutches along with a few other details and then added, "The worst part is that the doctor says I'll never be able to wash dishes again or fold clothes or do stuff around the house."  She just looked at me with a blank look and then said, still concerned, "I am so sorry.  I feel really bad..." Uh oh.  She's buying this.  To let her in on the joke I added, "But I'll be able to run and swim and bike and stuff, so that's good, but I just won't be able to do chores ever again....."  Still that blank look, then, "Well, bless your heart.  I feel so bad for you!"

After 11 weeks of barely lifting a finger around the house, today I finally got some things done and scored a couple cool points with the wife.  Some of you won't believe anything in that last sentence that happened after the comma.  To that..........well, I've worked hard on this reputation and I'm not about to ruin it now.  The way I run my house is that women should know their place........and just because I'm sitting in the corner in the fetal position doesn't necessarily mean that Angie's just put me in mine.....
Viewing on an iPad?  Hold this up to your chest, look down and spell "attic." Heh!

I got back on the bike this week!  The first ride was not at all how I remembered it being:

- Did my belly always scrape the top tube?
- I've never been out of breath before right after coming out of my neighborhood.
- Something is definitely wrong with the bike computer.  For a while there I was flying!!!  Yet the computer said 12 mph.  I need to check that it's it's reading the satellites right.
- 11 miles at an average of 15 mph.  Good thing my bike is really aerodynamic.

Back on the roads putting in some mileage!

Actually, I managed to get 108 miles in this week (The Strava screen capture above includes the 11 miler from last Sunday) and there's been great progress.  Today's ride was 31 miles at 18 mph.  I've got a lot of work to do, especially on this gut thing.  If you knew nothing about me and I walked up to you completely naked, handed you a picture of me from a year ago, and said, "I had surgery.  Guess what they did," you would probably guess, "Evidently they gave you a belly implant.  But why did they go in through the knee?"

Physical Therapy continues, but now with New and Improved Methods of Finding Pain since I am weight bearing.  Kevin and Lauren of Young's PT have been good about accompanying the pain with appropriate music too ("Where the Bullet Meets the Bone," "Bad to the Bone," "I Would Walk 500 Miles," and my favorite one during the ice cool down, "Ice Ice Baby").

Walking once again, I'm back to where it hurts to do so, just like after the Microfracture surgery I had last October.  But they tell me this is normal and that I need to suck it up and tuck the string in, and I can live with that.  But walking around the factory at work is a bit much for me so I try to wear comfortable shoes (Hey, Hoka One One people, how about make one of your goofy pairs of shoes that go with slacks and a polo shirt?) and rely on the crutch on the longer treks.

What a High Tibial Osteotomy does.....comparing the blue line of the new tibia to the red line of the old one you can see about a 5 degree difference in angle.  So, I'm not as bowlegged as I used to be.  The cartilage allograft (I call it "My Precious") from Mr. Peabody the Unknown Donor is just above the gap that the arrow is pointing to, but you can't see it.  That's where the pain is, and all I have to do to feel it is take one measly step.

I'm happy where I am on this road to recovery.  The road is long.  Really long.  But I can do stuff now.  Cooking and biking will keep me sane for a while.  I have no goals or races I have one eye on.  I'm just focused on getting better, finding my fitness of old, and I'm really, really interested to see what running will be like when the time comes.  It appears that will be on August 26, sixteen weeks post-op.  And I'm fully aware it probably won't look like running either.  But for now, baby steps cuz every day I'm shuffling........

 I'm the one with the big butt.....

 On a separate topic, Angie and I were delighted this morning to run into Jose and Anita that used to run the Taqueria just up the street from our house in Simpson.  We've missed their authentic Mexican cuisine for several years, and were so excited to hear they opened up in a mobile unit on Greene St in Greenville.  Please stop by their stand and give it a try.  The food is amazing and they are the sweetest couple, always ecstatic when a gringo stops by for a bite.  It's right on the Thursday night group ride route, just past the grain elevators, so call in before the ride starts, order a chalupa, and surprise your riding buddies when you get the hand-off while they're all ripping into their boring vanilla bean gel packs......

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Week 9: Gentlemen, We Can Rebuild Him. I'm Just Not Sure Why We Should Bother.....

My last day of a week's worth of vacation squandered away.  I would have much rather waited to take this vacation when I'm back to being a true biped and can bike, run, jump, and pirouette, but our factory shuts down for a week every 4th of July and it is what it is.  In my boredom, my biological clock seemed to align with our cats, Maverick and Goose, as I found my daily schedule morphing to theirs:

7:00 am to 7:00:05 am: Try to scarf down breakfast before my brother can so I can get a few bites of his.
7:00:05 am to 9 am: Self grooming followed by staring outside the window.  I wonder what's for dinner...
9 am to 12 pm: Nap.
12 pm to 1 pm: Chase the fly that got in the house.  Myeh, I'll just go poo.
1 pm to 4 pm: Nap.
4 pm to 4:02 pm: Hack up a fur ball on the carpet.
4:02 pm to 7 pm: Stare outside the window.  Reflect on that awesome fur ball.
7 pm to 7:15 pm: Try to trip mom up and meow at her repeatedly until she feeds me.
7:15 pm to 7:30 pm: Self grooming.  Perhaps a poo.  Nope, my brother's in there.  I'll try later.
7:30 pm to 9 pm: Knead dad's leg until it's soft enough to sleep on.
9 pm to 7 am: Pounce on mom all night. Put my butt in her face. Meow a lot.  I don't know why she's sleeping.

We were all pretty bored at times.  Maverick and Goose, having more experience, were far more creative about what to do with their boredom though:


Last weekend I realized I hadn't tortured myself near enough after watching both Raleigh and Eagleman 70.3 triathlons, so Angie and I went to watch and support the racers at the nearby Washington Oly and Sprint races.  It turned out to be one of the more exciting triathlons to spectate at with dog fights and people fights in the crowds.  The Tricredibles were well-represented on home soil and I secretly hated every one of them for sweating it out there on the course, but by the end I found my torture tank thoroughly filled with jealousy and was ready to go wallow in my misery at home again.

Various Tricredible sightings at the Washington Sprint and Oly.

Tuesday the wheelchair and one of the crutches were fired and I started to enjoy a tad more freedom than the last 8 weeks had afforded me. 

Could you please hold the door for me?  I'm deformed.

I could now tote my own wine glass, so that was pretty important.  No longer did I have to slide it along the kitchen counter, go into a sort of "drinking giraffe leg stance" with the crutches to transfer it to the top of the liquor cabinet, grab the fireplace mantle and balance while moving it from the liquor cabinet to the coffee table, then ease it to the couch while sliding on my butt across the living room carpet.  It was like reaching a new level in a video game where the goal is depleting yourself of dignity.

My left crutch and I enjoy the breeze through our leg hair.  Neither of us wanted to bring up that the right crutch, once always within reach, was now amongst the rest of the junk in the garage. 

I did get some swims in this week, and that felt great.  The imminent shift towards cycling is causing a bit of a struggle internally though.  I've been cleared to pedal easy - let's quantify it at about 100 watts - but the consensus seems to be indoor pedaling only.  I like my odds of staying upright on a bike ride on our Eastern Carolina country roads but the consequences of getting brought down by something (a couple dogs and one elusive but incredibly ferocious cat seem to be the latest culprits within the confines of Pitt County) would be pretty devastating if it dislodged the late but revered Mr. Peabody's cartilage donation from surgery.  And Mr. Peabody - I imagine watching from his cloudy perch in Heaven - would be very upset if I disrespected his generous donation.  So, I'll be a good sport and try to confine myself to pedaling nowhere on my horribly ancient trainer in my pain cave in the least until I can stands it no more.

I love cycling, but this is just plain boring.  What you can't see on the computer screen is a real-time graph of how much I suck, artfully detailed out in units of wattage, speed, cadence, and amount of useless drivel I may have written about on my blog.

I've got to suck it up and mount that ugly pink stationary MBK steel turd though.  I had to buy a couple new pairs of shorts yesterday as my gut is threatening to bust through the threads of my old favorites.  Since Kona last October, I've gained 15 pounds through all this in and out of surgery stuff.  Still a long road ahead, but progress is progress no matter how tiny the baby steps I suppose.

 The amount that the right leg is now skinnier than the left is inversely proportional to the amount that the gut has swelled up since pre-op.

Well, there's still a little time left in this vacation to go stare out the window with Maverick and Goose.  I better go make sure I'm not missing out on anything.  See ya next time!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Lemme Tell You About Last Night's Shower......

Crutches are fun…..

I felt a little grimy after work yesterday, so I hopped in the shower.  Showering with one working leg is tricky but I have a system.  I keep a chair just in the right position outside of the shower stall (the fiberglass kind with a glass shower door) so I can plop myself down to dry off when I get out.  Next, I lay my crutches against the wall next to the stall so they’ll be handy when I get myself dried off and am ready to go prep my face for impending beauty.  Once everything is in position I swing the door open and plop myself down on my shower stool and I’m ready to lather, rinse, repeat.

So, there I was with the shower wand in my hand getting good and cleaned up when I heard this loud crash: BAM A LAMA BADA BOOM! Boom. Squeak.  What the hell?!?  My crutches had fallen over and wedged themselves between the shower door and the bathtub.  I was barricaded in and they were just laying there like the final two sticks in a giant game of Pick Up Sticks.  F’ing crutches!  I felt like I was in the next Final Destination movie waiting for the drain to clog itself and start filling the shower with water to my certain doom. When will Angie be home?  Oh crap, she has to work late!  I went ahead and finished my shower, trying to plan an elaborate escape like something out of a James Bond movie.  And I wanted to be clean when I busted outta there.  But I was butt-nekked, had no phone or tools, and only one leg to stand on.  And my shower stall is about the size of a medieval iron maiden. 

So I did the only logical thing I could think of…….I grabbed the scrub brush and cleaned the stall.  It had gotten a little mildewy during all this gimpy invalid stage of my life and was due for a good scrubbing anyway.  I scrubbed every inch of it and worked up a good sweat that completely negated the very reason I got in the shower to begin with.  So I turned the water to full cold and rinsed off all over again.

I had now been stuck in the shower for over 30 minutes and was starting to get antsy.  Still no sign of Angie.  I took inventory to see if I could fabricate something to save me like the NASA team did for Apollo 13.  I had a stool, a shower head, a scrunchy thing (red), a bottle of Axe soap (where were the ladies from the commercial now, Axe?????), some shaving cream, a razor blade, a toothbrush, a bar of soap, and a scrub brush.  The shower head was dangling by its hose and in my desperate state of mind I assessed whether it was long enough to throw over the glass door and try to hook it under the crutches and pull them out of the way.  For an engineer, it was a pretty faulty calculation, but there was nothing else to do so I gave it a shot.  I cut the water off, and let it drain a bit.  Now, have you ever turned the shower off and just when you think the head is completely drained it spits up an exhorbitant amount of water out of nowhere?  Well as soon as I flung the shower head over the door it decided to puke out an entire gallon of water all over the crutches and all over the floor.  Ffffffuuuuu……..!  And it wasn’t near long enough.  This was becoming comical.  I drew the shower head back in and let it dangle with me in my private, soaked (but very clean!) prison.

I needed Life Alert dammit.

I tried jiggling the door to jar the crutches loose.  I was successful if the goal was to make a whole heap of annoying rattling noise and work the crutches against the door even tighter.

So there I sat until Angie came home.  I think my yelling for her from the back of the house scared her into picturing some disaster of me laying on the floor hurt, but she got over it real quick when she found me stuck in a telephone booth in my birthday suit.  Sorry, no pictures.  NSFW.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Pictures from Kona 2013: The Week After the Race (Belated)

Well, this is rather late, but it occurred to me that I never finished my blogging intentions on the whole trip to Hawaii last October.  You can find my race report from the Ironman World Championship in an October 2013 blog post, and I did a separate post in November documenting the week prior to the race.  I meant to do one more about the week we spent on the Big Island after the race and I'm just now getting to it.  Clearly, speed isn't everything....

So, here it is, and I'll just throw it up here as a photo gallery with some captions.......

The vacation post-Ironman didn't start out too good.  Mom had busted her knee taking a spill in front of Lava Java the first day we were there.  I, of course, well......I've written about my knee enough.  Anyway, the day after the race neither of us were very thrilled to go anywhere.  The sisters hit the beach is their custom.....

I had heard that they served SPAM at Hawaiian McDonald's, so naturally I had to try it.  This is a SPAM breakfast, and it tasted as good as it looked.  I was surprised to see how many folks were eating it not for the novelty that I purchased it for.

After you finish the Ironman World Championship.......if you're REALLY good and place in the top 5 of your age get a special Hawaiian umeke bowl as a trophy.  It's a wooden salad bowl.  I didn't get one but our house we rented already came with one in the kitchen cupboard, so we goofed around and set up this picture in the back yard like I had just earned it the hard way.

 We wore out Lava Java pretty good after the race.  You can't beat the view anyway.

Where the magic happens inside Lava Java.

Mokuaikaua Church.  Hawaii's first Christian Church.  The steeple is always visible from the Ironman finish line and is in the background of almost every swim start photo I've ever seen.  As I dreamed over the years about one day making it to Kona the vision of its steeple has been burned in my mind.  It was always a big deal to me that if I ever qualified for Kona I would make it a point to visit this church.
At the foot of this great steeple that has been on my mind for a very long time.

 Inside Mokuaikaua Church.  Kinda reminded me of the one we visited in St Croix. 

 I was glad my mom and I got to see the inside of this church together.  I've shared a lot of pews with her.  A lot of P.U.'s too for that matter.  It was really peaceful though.

The other must-see church.  This one marks the turnaround of the marathon on Ali'i Drive.

 Angie and I loved this little sushi hut just a short walk from the pier in Kona.  Mike Beaman tipped me off about it and he was right about how good it was.  They make whatever you want and it's all take out.  When you see a lot of locals and Japanese there, that's a good sign.  The prices were more than reasonable too! 

 I didn't eat there.  I wasn't going all the way to Hawaii to eat from a chain restaurant.  But the obligatory photo op was too much to pass up....

 Cool drain spouts.  This is right across the street from Dig Me Beach.

Angie HATES it when I post pictures of her, but this one is fun and she is definitely my better half.  I love her very much and there are few things I can do without her help.  At the moment only chewing comes to mind......

This store owner asked me to sign his Ironman Race Program.  He tries to get everyone's signature every year.  So cool! 

Lunch at Kona Canoe Club with the Mirras, Eric Hinman and his girlfriend Jillian.  Mom looks like she's giving Dave a hard time.  Ha!

Madi and Kenz entertaining a tired old man.

 As soon as I saw this on the menu I had a sneaking suspicion it would end up on Dave's plate.....

 ......and here it is!

Eric, Dave and I and his bottle of Opus 1.  If anyone goes to Kona Canoe Club let me know if Dave's picture is on the wall for this.

I had a barbecue pork sandwich.  I should have had the wine and cheese burger.

The Four Seasons north of Kona to see how the other half live.  This was the adult only pool.  My lawn looks just like this.....

Rocky beach front at the Four Seasons.  In the distance is the NW horn shape of the island where the town of Hawi is, where the bike turnaround is on the Ironman course.

 Tide pools in front of the Four Seasons.  They reminded me of being a kid at Taechon Beach, Korea.  I used to love to forage through the tide pools looking for shrimp, crabs, and little fishies.

 The beach was a little rugged in front of the Four Seasons.

Dave Mirra and family came over to our crib one night for some casual grilling and wining.  Good times. I still had my race numbers on my arms like a complete dork.  This year they were "iron on tats" and they were a b!tch to get off.

 This is my brother-in-law, Mark, working the grill that night.  We kinda favor each other.  Meals at home were just as good as meals out.

We took a day drive most of the way around the Big Island.  It was amazing to see all the different climates on each side of the island.  This is in Waimea (not the one with the really big waves) on the north side.  The relaxed lifestyle can be seen all over the island, even in their stop signs!

A waterfall on the east side of Hawaii.  I didn't make the hike down to it.  Too far for the bum knee.

We completely stumbled on this place by getting the map wrong.  At the end of a dirt road on the NE side of the island we found this spot under a bridge where the ocean meets a river.  A couple locals were splashing in the water wondering how us haole found the place.

This is the view towards the ocean from that same spot.

A shrimp pasta thing I had at Cafe Pesto in Hilo.  This place was great and had really good cheesy baked bread.

 A cool waterfall in Hilo.  In the parking lot we came across a bunch of local Hawaiian dudes all passing around some weed.  It looked like a situation that could have gotten a little sketchy, but as soon as we walked by they were like, "Whoa, you did that Ironman?!  Cool!  Come hang out with us!"  I've never been to a friendlier place than Hawaii.

 I could make a living just being a fish taco taster all over the island.  I'm not sure where I got this one from.

I'm not much of a beach lover like my sisters Ginger and Cindy, but it seemed kind of silly to go to Hawaii and not sit on one beach at all.  Angie, mom, and I went with them to Hapuna Beach north of Kona.  It was pretty, yes.  But after 10 minutes I was ready to go do something.

Our beach setup.  Apparently you're supposed to just sit there.  I don't get it.

The coolest thing about Hapuna Beach was exploring this lava tube.  It was kinda creepy as the further you went inside it would get so dark you couldn't see anything at all.  I sat there for a bit letting my eyes adjust, but in the end the creepiness got to me and I headed back out.

The view as you exit the lava tube.  It takes you right out to the water's edge, and depending on the tide you have to swim to get to it.

Other than doing the World Championship itself and visiting Mokuaikaua Church, the other big bucket list item I had was going to the Kona Brewery!

What a bonus that Leanda Cave, last year's Ironman World Champion, was hosting too!  lol

Hawaii is known for many sacred places.  I'd say this is one of them.

Drinks at Huggos with my dear ol' mom!  She has been at the finish line for me at all 5 of my Ironman completions.

Our last dinner in Hawaii.  Mom, Angie and I went to Huggo's on Ali'i Drive while the sisters went back to the Four Seasons.  We sent pictures to each other competing for best dinner. I'm calling it a tie when you figure the long drive they took.

Our last sunset in Hawaii.  This is looking out on the swim course from Huggo's bar and restaurant.

Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Historic Park.  It was a place of refuge for those that had broken sacred laws, defeated warriors and such.  Whatever creepy things were in that lava tube couldn't get me here...

Mom and I locked in battle in some ancient Hawaiian chess game.  Supposedly, the winner of the game was allowed to kill the loser.  I just couldn't bring myself to it.  I guess I'm a lover not a fighter after all.

 Sebastian Kienle was on our flight out of Kona, so I chatted with him a bit.  I really like this guy and I want to see him take the Championship next year.  He was my pick this year, but another dog had his day.