Since before I was born my dad has been trying to qualify for the IRONMAN World Championship. If you’re unfamiliar with IRONMAN, it’s the Ultimate Triathlon: 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 (yes thats a marathon) run. AKA a crazy person challenge.
There are IRONMAN competitions all over the world and if you’re in the top 3 of your age group you qualify for IRONMAN World Championship in Kona. In 1993, my dad got 4th, missing his dream by one place.
He put racing on hold for a few years since he got busy with work and kids (sorry dad) but on a trip to Kona 10 years ago, he met some people on the plane who were going for an Olympic distance IRONMAN and he decided even though he hadn’t trained in 14 years that he was going to do it. and he did. and that’s what got the fire going again for him to make it back to Kona for the World Champs.
5 IRONMAN’s later my dad won his age group and QUALIFIED FOR KONA!! a week before I left for Miss America!! GO DAD. I was so proud. My mom face timed me into the finish line and I was sobbing so hard because I was so proud and so happy for him.
I’m so glad I was able to go to Kona and cheer him on! Seeing the culmination of hours, and I mean HOURS of dedication and training amount up to this spectacular event was indescribable. Being there for the World Championship was like being at the Olympics because there were so many people there from all over the world!!
We woke up at 2:30am to get a good spot to view the swim and watched the sun come up as all the athletes took off in the water. The rest of the day we ran around town finding good spots to see my dad in the race and cheer him and the others on.
My Gosh I can’t begin to explain how inspiring this was and it truly left me wanting to start training for some kind of race. Anyone want to do one with me?!
What impressed me most were the athletes that didn’t have legs who did the entire race with their arms!!!! Seeing them cross the finish line gave me so much perspective and encouraged me greatly because if they can do that then I can accomplish my goals too.
I volunteered at the photo stop at the end of the finish line so I was able to see all the racers right when they completed the race and congratulate them as they lay flat on the grass. I even got to put the medal on my dad!!
What a special memory.
The rest of our trip was spent in the sunshine, with family eating the yummiest fruits I think my body has ever known.
I mean come on. This mango woke up like this and doesn’t even need a filter.
I think I could get used to a colorful breakfast like this every morning.
Check out this acai bowl from Basik Acai. It definitely wasn’t basic but without a doubt one of the best acai bowls I’ve ever had. Check this place out if you go!
There are so many flowers on the island I was in Heaven. Even the IRONMAN! TBH I almost asked if I could take this home with me as my carry on.
IRONMAN living his best life, making Washington so proud.
We had dinner at Lava Lava Beach Club on the beach and saw the most ridiculous sunset and ate the most yummy food!! I had fish with veggies and coconut rice. 10/10 would recommend.
Also, this cat was about ready to pounce on my food.
On race day we grabbed breakfast after dad got on the bike but by that time it felt like lunch time since we had been up for so long!! Daylight Mind Cafe was so charming and took such good care of us.
The day after race day we went to relax at the beach to give dad some much needed R&R. There were gale warnings that day so sand was blowing in our faces the whole time but that didn’t stop me from posing with my pineapple and ridiculous floaties clearly.
Daylight Mind Cafe was so good my mom and I went back for lunch and this time got a Hawaiian BBQ Kalua Pork Sandwich and Papaya Chicken salad with goat cheese, guacamole and homemade lilikoi (passion fruit) dressing. HOLY YUM.
We did a fun hike down to Black Sands Beach (I did it in flip flops, I would not recommend that)
The island has so much lava EVERYWHERE, the whole time I felt like I was in a scene from Star Wars or something.
Because of that, there aren’t too many “beachy” parts of the island because it’s mostly still rock.
I quickly learned to save time washing dishes, just ditch the bowls and stuff your fruit with yogurt and more fruit and the famous Mauna Loa macadamia nuts.
The Waipi’o Valley Lookout was stunning and I was so mesmerized by the beauty of this state.
This trip was the first time since Miss America I’ve truly let myself relax and rest and it was so good for my soul.
It was so nice to throw a dress and flip flops on and go out with a naked face letting the wind blow your hair all over and not care about what it looks like.
I want to take more time to enjoy moments where I’m with my loved ones even if there’s sand whipping us in the face and surround myself with strong, determined people like the IRONMAN triathletes that inspire me and push me to be better.
Hawaii, you were way too good to me and I hope to be back soon.
Thanks for reading today. I hope you know how much I appreciate you!! If you’re not already signed up to my blog, go to the homepage and enter your email so you can get all my recipes and adventure updates! I have lots of fun trips coming up and I don’t want you to miss a thing!
Go out there and #DoStuff and inspire some else too as well!
Nicole xx #DoStuff