So... This morning I raced a Christmas tree. Also a giant present, a man with a holiday wrapped box around his package, two snowballs, and 614 other runners. In it's 10th year, Penn and Rani Henderson's Jingle Bell 5k and mile have taken over Ali'i Drive. If you're not running, you're out watching or volunteering. If that's not your cup of coffee, you're at least drinking coffee at Huggo's or Humpy's watching the action. Other than Ironman, this is the rare opportunity to run Ali'i without traffic!
It's also the perfect excuse to wear green and red. The outfits were truly amazing this morning. It was like a parade of elves and Santa, jingle bells, and cool socks. This morning was 2 weeks post Ironman Western Australia and the half way point of my off season. That means I've surfed more than swam, ridden bike all of two miles to buy bananas, and ran maybe a 5k to prepare for the 5k. My wake up jog was literally from home to the start line. And then I was ready.
As with most all athletes, I still have my goals, perhaps as simple as "just have fun". That was mine, and break an 18. I missed the 18 by 10 seconds and wanted a redo. For me, that means I'm perfectly situated in my off season. Hungry but out of shape. Motivated but mentally recharging. Having fun without pressure. Able to lose and not focused on the missed time goal.
This race is so special to me, as it's put on by the woman who was my main source of inspiration and competition when I started running. Rani was always (and still is) the girl to beat most every time she puts foot on a start line. I remember chasing her till I'd land walking from going out too hard. She has always been so giving of her talents and now her time by hosting this event for Kona town.
If you have ever been to Kona you know him. He is a legend in his own way and the host of our monthly biathlon series. His swim/run events are still my favorite today and were the start to all of this life I now know. I did one, fell in love with swimming and lacing my shoes, and the rest is history. He makes sure to attend nearly every single event ever put on, so of course I had to have my moment with him this morning, knowing full well the only reason I was in Australia just two weeks prior, doing what I do now, is because of the launching pad his biathlons were for me.
Top 3 ladies...
And the youth...
Today was so cool in the way that one of the young boys who began the Peaman biathlons about the same time as me is now in high school and ultimately one of the best runners on the island. Today was the first time in years and years of running against him that he beat me. He was close to breaking a 17 this morning and its clearly only the start for him. That's good stuff if you ask me...
Happy holidays and happy running!!