Holomua…

When I started this blog nearly 6 weeks ago it seemed like IRONMAN World Championship was so far away. Now that the race is just days away, I realize it didn’t seem real then. Yet, my stomach and mind are constant reminders that it is very real.

Travel to Hawai’i (the Big Island) was uneventful and Faith (my bike) along with all my other gear and support crew arrived unscathed.

Since being here, I have scouted the bike course by driving all of it. Faith and I even rode a few of the sections. One section is at about the halfway point where there is a big climb into the city of Hawi. The winds there are unpredictable with a headwind that strangely gusts at times from the left or right without warning. Crazy! And hard to believe until you experience it.

The second section was on the Queen K highway coming back into Kona. It’s rolling hills but known for its constant headwind and barren landscape. With black lava rock all around, it’s desolate. This comes at the last 35 miles of the 112 mile bike so this section will be an absolute mind game. Having seen the bike course and ridden 15-20 miles of it, I feel better about the bike but know it will still be a challenge.

After this my mind jumped to worrying (A LOT) about the swim. I’ve been in the ocean but never to swim, let alone swim 2.4 miles in it. IRONMAN is kind enough to put on a practice swim where you can swim the entire course, so I signed up for it. My dreams the night before were insane…a talking shark and dolphin welcomed me to the Pacific and then left me wide awake for several hours. I kept telling myself this is a PRACTICE swim and there were no expectations except to learn the course and get comfortable in the ocean. IRONMAN calls this the Hoʻāla swim, meaning awakening and I found the title to be fitting.

It was a beautifully calm morning with gentle ocean swells and about 1,000 people participating. Once in the water, I noticed several things…how warm it was (78 degrees), how salty (oh so salty), how soft and forgiving the water felt (a nice added buoyancy). I settled into my practiced breathing routine to calm my nerves and I began passing swimmers, feeling more and more confident. It was gorgeous blue water, and I could see the coral below with yellow tang or Lau’ipala. No sharks! Phew. Sadly, no talking dolphins either. I heard some people saw a manta ray…maybe on race day.

And now that I have the practice swim behind me, my mind has shifted to what Mother Nature will bring the day of the race. There is nothing I can do to change it, and everyone will be faced with the same conditions, so might as well be prepared mentally for heat, humidity and winds. I will just continue to Holomua or move forward.

We’ve done some sightseeing this week and learned a little of the Hawaiian culture. What I know is this place is very spiritual and I’m trying to soak it all in. IRONMAN hosts a Heroes of Hawai’i event where I had the luxury of meeting and hearing from some of the IRONMAN legends, but also experienced the culture of Hawai’i, including several hula dances and the meanings behind them. They performed a blessing at the end of the evening, which involved us all joining hands in huge circle. The emcee likened us to a big lei, which historically symbolizes love, honor, and friendship. The blessing was beautifully sung and left me rather teary-eyed.

Hawaiians love and respect their land and have asked us to take the pono pledge, a statement of Mālama, or care, for the land and sea. Having been here for only a short time, I see the importance of such a declaration and gladly took the pledge (learn more here – Hawaii Pono Pledge – The Island of Hawai‘i’s Pono Pledge).

I’m a firm believer that if you put good out there, you will receive good back. The word Aloha embodies this feeling – it is viewed as the most important Hawaiian cultural value. Without Aloha, all the other cultural values are not complete. Defined as a noun, it means love, affection, compassion, charity, grace, empathy, and much more.

So, as I enter my finally days of relaxation and race prep, I’ll be doing my best to live it with Aloha and spread it to the other women competing Saturday as I’m chasing my dream of crossing the famous IRONMAN finish on Ali’i Drive.

So many of you have already shared your Aloha via kind and humbling words, a thumbs up or a heart and, of course, your charitable support of Sky Foundation. I’m nearly to my super lofty goal of raising $20,000 for this nonprofit that creates awareness for pancreatic cancer and funds innovative research into the detection and treatment of pancreatic cancer. If you have the ability to donate and want to support this important cause, please donate at SHANNON’S IRONMAN – Campaign (classy.org).

If you’d like to track my progress on race day, you can download the IRONMAN tracker app (Athlete Tracker App (ironman.com), find the World Championships and enter my name or bib #2123. You can also watch the event live (Live Broadcast (ironman.com)). Two things to keep in mind, my wave doesn’t go off until 7:20 AM Hawai’i time and this event could take me anywhere from 12 to 17 hours.

Aloha!

P.S. During my time here, I’ve already made some incredible memories with friends and family. Here are just a few snapshots from my trip so far.

12 Comments

  1. Mercy Zepp on October 10, 2023 at 6:10 pm

    I’m super excited for your opportunity to not only compete but to clearly understand the culture. It’s an amazing experience. I always found when I visit there, I just want to bring everyone!! Have a great race Shannon. Enjoy it all. Aloha!! 🌺

    • Shannon Crone on October 10, 2023 at 7:53 pm

      Thanks Mercy! I will enjoy every minute!

      • Patricia Daniel on October 11, 2023 at 4:24 am

        I’m so damn proud of you!! I love that you are soaking it all in. What an amazing adventure!!💜

  2. BKTS on October 10, 2023 at 6:41 pm

    🏝️ 🩷💦🚴🏼‍♀️🏃🏼‍♀️🤘🌸✅💯

  3. Melanie on October 11, 2023 at 7:59 am

    I am so excited for you!!!

    • Shannon Crone on October 11, 2023 at 9:22 am

      Thanks Mel!

  4. Bill Newman on October 11, 2023 at 5:20 pm

    Hang loose 🤙🏼 and enjoy the moment. Aloha 🌺

    • Shannon Crone on October 11, 2023 at 7:18 pm

      Will do my best!

  5. Dani O on October 11, 2023 at 6:15 pm

    Shan — you are aloha to me! You’ve got this — beautiful friend! So excited for you!

    • Shannon Crone on October 11, 2023 at 7:18 pm

      Thank you DO!!

  6. Dave Kwon on October 13, 2023 at 2:51 pm

    You are an absolute inspiration. In so many ways!!!!!

    • Shannon Crone on October 13, 2023 at 6:12 pm

      Thank you Dave! Appreciate your support

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