Exactly 4 weeks till race day in Kona, 3 weeks until we depart. This has become much bigger than originally anticipated. Turns out my complete family is flying in from Germany to be with us in Hawaii. So all of a sudden I have a support team of 7 people around me. I am super stoked, haven’t seen my brothers in 3 years I think. So, it will be a great family reunion, throw in Finns birthday on the 14th (midnight at the end of race day – so we will be celebrating his birthday by welcoming the last finishers) and it will be a party for 2 weeks straight 😊

Thanks to the heart and stroke foundation folks we will be all dressed in matching T-shirts and caps (well not all the time, but for the important events for sure) and the kids are already signed up for the kids splash and dash

With all the fun coming up I have to remind myself that there is such a thing as a race to be done on that particular Saturday. I have heard how easy it is to get completely side tracked once in Kona and I am starting to see why.

Truth be told: Looking back to pre-Whistler times I already knew there is no way for me to podium in Kona, or even play any kind of challenger role in my AG given the depth of the field at the world championship. So, prior to Whistler I said, and I think I have the right to quote myself here: “If I make it to Kona, I just want to go there to take it all in and enjoy, hell, I’ll take a camera and stop during the swim bike and run to take scenic pictures.”
Well then came Whistler, and I did indeed qualify, but given the challenging conditions I was much, much slower than I had hoped for. So, knowing in what kind of shape I was and how (relatively) poorly I did (In all fairness I still came 54th overall and 3rd in my AG) these thoughts came up in me…well if I can work on my run some more in the weeks leading up to Kona and pace it right, I should be able to do much better, at least stay in the 9 hour realm…somehow the thought of being a tourist on race day had all but disappeared. I can go and kick some ass in Kona, right? So I made my plans and started training…only 8 weeks to go…
But then life provided a reality check that I really didn’t need. For some freak reason I developed pain in my left heel after a mid-length run. I never had anything like this before and my training was greatly reduced at the time this happened. I am not sure why my body decided to pull the brake right then and there. Anyhow, I took a week off but it did not go away, actually became worse. A few physio appointments and doctor’s visits later turns out I most likely have a small tear in my plantar fascia (the tendon that forms the bottom of the foot). Nothing threatening but rather painful because that is the very part of the body that has to stop my heel from crashing into the pavement with 3 times my body weight around 20 – 30,000 times in a marathon. As a result my running has been extremely limited in the past few weeks, I can only jog 6-7 km max with a heavily taped foot at the moment, spend a lot of time with the foot on ice and doing all kind of stretches etc. and my main diet consists of anti inflammatory drugs… The shittiest of all timings really given that running was really the one thing I wanted to focus on and improve upon prior to Kona. After a few weeks of deep depression, I started to see the silver lining. I know now (for sure) that I will not be able to run well in Kona – as a matter of fact I may not be able to run at all beyond 10 or 12 km if this thing doesn’t heal up until then. But somehow this takes the pressure away a bit, I have the perfect excuse to go back to the original plan, go to the island, enjoy being with my family and enjoy the race, taking it all in and celebrate the fact that this lifelong dream of both myself and my dad is finally coming true – 22 years after I did my very first Ironman and 21 years after my dad and I did the first one together.

I also need to confess this: It also gives me a reason to keep training after Hawaii 2018. To become a better (and less injured) runner in the next few years and come back, with all the information I will have from my reconnaissance trip this year I should be perfectly prepared for a future race 😊 This year I’ll simply swim and bike as best as I can and will hopefully jog the marathon home without doing any further damage and with the least amount of pain possible.

But for now I am simply looking forward to hanging out there with my family, especially the kids taking in the craziness of race week in and actually getting a real vacation and an opportunity to explore the island after the race – Hawaii here we come…