Ironman Kona is the pinnacle of all triathlon races, equivalent in this sport is like the Super Bowl, the Wimbledon or the World Cup, the big Kahuna so to speak. You have to qualify by placing at the top of your age group at an Ironman race. It’s a challenge to just do an Ironman, but this race brings the best of the best in the sport. This was my husband’s second time competing in Kona and I was just along for the ride, as his biggest cheerleader!
The second time at a race is always more enjoyable for everyone involved. We knew to have someone go early to get a spot on the pier, to go to ‘hot corner’ after the swim, what restaurant to go after seeing him take off on his quest of 112 miles on the bike and how to split up on his marathon run, to optimize our cheerleading squad. There were 14 #teamdovey supporters and we were in full force cheering our Ironman on! Even Jackson’s grandparents were there, second year in a row! #lifegoals
Jackson’s mom rented a house in Kona, a few miles from the race. The house was a sanctuary for all to meet up to: relax, watch the sunset on the balcony and have family dinners. There is something about being with family that lets you be an authentic you and have belly laughs for days.
The first night we got to Kona, Jackson and I planned a date night at the Four Seasons. We knew this was a must before family got there and Jackson’s Ironman obligations started. When we got to the Four Seasons we felt worlds away, their grounds are prestine and you immediately feel relaxed with the tropical decor and quietness of the grounds. We ate at ULU Ocean Grill + Sushi Lounge and everything that touched our lips was a true mouth explosion! Jackson and I watched the sunset and while sipping on my pina colada, I slipped into vacation mode.
The next day was the Underpants Run, a pre-race tradition. Jackson’s team all meet in their Everyman Jack speedos and no one was disappointed! I spectated the race, which was the best people watching ever; the costumes and lack their of was a sight to see.
Friday was a day for Jackson to relax and check-in his bike with his team, so I left with my parents to the Four Seasons for lunch. After lunch we shopped around in Waikola. It was nice to getaway because the day before a race is never a fun day for the significant other of an Ironman and understandably so…tomorrow was a big day! Friday night we had everyone over to the house and Jackson bbqed his prerace meal for everyone. After dinner he made a speech to all of #teamdovey, it was a very touching moment. After the speech he passed out a hand written note to everyone…melt! We all got our Everyman Jack shirts, a lei, a whistle and Jackson’s mom gave the girls a beaded bracelet with his race number, so special! We laid our stuff out and got to bed early, I prayed for Jackson’s guardian angel and was actually really excited for the race (I’m usually a bit nervous and can’t sleep).
We woke up early and Jackson’s parents took him to the race start. I followed soon after with my parents. Jackson’s mom declared a space on the pier as we anxiously awaited the canon to go off. The swim start is a spectical in and of itself, 1400 men swimming in the distance, the water looks like thousands of fish flopping at the surface of the ocean. Jackson said the swim is a real fight, with men punching and kicking trying to gain that front position. I’m just thankful my husband is a good swimmer and can handle his own.
After the swim we quickly hopped off of the pier wall and raced to the ‘hot corner’ to see Jack race by on his bike. We saw him up-close at the start of the bike and then we raced to the other side to see him wize by us, then to the other side to see a better view as he was peddling his heart out to look his best amongst hundreds of people as he was going up a steep incline. This part reminded me of a small glimpse into the Tour de France with hundreds of people trying to get as close as they can to the cyclist they are cheering on. After we saw Jackson on his trek uphill, that was the last time we saw him for the next 4.5 hours.
This is normally a nerve racking time for me because the bike is the only real danger during a triathlon. We walked to Daylight Mind Coffee Company, where all #teamdovey and a few Everyman Jack cheerleaders were. Meeting new people and being around family passed the time quickly and I wasn’t worried once, guilty yes…we ate breakfast while my husband was riding his bike through wind, intense heat and let’s not forget about the tiny seat he’s sitting on. From there, Team Dovey met outside the restaurant to see Jack on the run and it ended up being a perfect spot to cheer him on.
His splits started to drop on the run and I was getting worried because I knew the pace he wanted to keep. I didn’t give up, I marched to a spot where I could catch him before the finish. Although I was exhausted and feeling bummed that he wasn’t reaching his ultimate goal, I pushed on and cheered my @$$ off and then sprinted down to the finish. The finish chute is magical, flags line the chute from every country, music blaring and Mike Reilly exclaiming “you are an Ironman,” to everyone that crosses the finish line it is an emotional and spectacular thing to to be a part of. Jackson raced down the chute and I got to witness my man crossing the finish line as tears streamed down my face, I was one of the most proud wives. My husband accomplished something most humans can’t fathom to even think about doing in a lifetime. Jackson found me amongst the sea of people and gave me a kiss; a kiss that meant the thank you for the endless hours of support, dedication to his training and finally excited about off season. He did it, another race under his belt, one to be proud of and he crossed the finish line with pride! This year he finished 9th in the US!! Team Dovey is so proud and now it’s time to party!