ED: Have you heard? Kona is less than 4 weeks away!!
"Kona"... just saying the word to a triathlete inspires visions of grandeur, glory, triumph, achievement, lava, heat, pain, sorrow, death, pooping.... yes all of this things. ALL OF THOSE THINGS are part of the dream. Each. And. Every. One.
Trevor could never get to Kona, not in a million years, unless he got rich and bough his way in like that dude who played Samwise Gamgee in the Lord of the Rings. I mean fair play, Samwise. All finishers are finishers and you earned it. But yeah Trevor, not so much.
Brandon could maybe get in. If he wasn't so lazy and bad at swimming and running. Like 8 months solid coaching I bet he'd be close
Tammy, she could do it, but doesn't like the attention. She prefers to run up hills
Vanessa, she could do it too, if they had a "Kona" for obstacle course racing. Which they probably do.
Alex, Alex is too happy to torture herself with that much training.
Mat, Mat is like a more naturally gifted Trevor. Plus he's got kids, have you heard.
So that leaves John. And not only did John qualify for Kona, he qualified on his first solid attempt and in spectacular fashion!!
And because we've been getting so many requests, I though we'd do a Q&A for all you aspiring Kona competitors. So what about it, John? What does it really take to place yourself amongst the top endurance athletes on the planet?
Q&A Time (Like Peanut Butter Jelly Time, only more informative)
Q: Less than 4 weeks, how is the game plan coming together?
A: Hard to believe that it is 4 weeks out already. The game plan is having a little bump which my coach and I are having to make a slight adjustment for. After Coeur d”alene I took one week easy and then started bringing up the volume again. 2 weeks after the IM I did two back to back century rides and I thought I was back and recovered well. But the following weekend, my body said “Hey Bro, your muscles might be recovered by your nervous system is still a little fried” which resulted in fatigue hitting me pretty hard over the weekend. So, we are doing what we call a reverse taper, I am shutting it down significantly this week to let the brain, body, and nervous system recover. Then I will start to hopefully feel better and bring back some volume and a few more key sessions before race week. It’s not the original plan, but I am still confident in the plan and it’s important to know that adjustments always need to be made. No plan is ever perfect.
Q: What are your reflections on your journey to this point?
A: I don’t like to reflecting too much because it stops me focusing on what is ahead, and what I can do now and in the future to improve. But looking back, I guess my Ironman journey has been short in my opinion. I got really into triathlon just 3 years ago. I did my first Ironman in 2016, and the year of training going into that one was nothing compared to what I did this year. I have realized how much more my body has to give and that I am really able to push it more than I originally expected. The more I have trained, the more I know I can do and my expectations have gone up as well. I have learned a lot about myself as a person and an athlete over the past year but I know there is so much to learn still.
Q: Any reflections on your journey to come over the next 4ish weeks?
A: The journey has gotten me this far I guess. But now it’s time to just enjoy the final few weeks and go out and do what I can do with the [Angry] Unicorn.
Q: Are you making any changes from Coeur d'Alene. If so, why?
A: I’m not making any real changes from Coeur d’Alene. It was a hot race and I did an okay job on most aspects of the race. If anything, I will try not to lose a lot of my salt pills this time and just make sure I follow a similar game plan as Coeur d’Alene. There isn’t enough time to test anything too different. “If it ‘aint broken, don’t change it”
Q: How do you deal with the heat?
A: I spend a lot of time in the Sauna! I do this for multiple reasons, the main one is to get used to suffering mentally. After 30+ min the mind is telling you to get out. But I force myself to suck it up and deal with it. This is very similar to what the mind will be telling you on race day. The second reason is just to get used to being in the heat. I also focus heavily on hydration the week of the race! But really, I don’t know if I will be ready for the Kona heat and humidity… Race day will tell me.
Q: How do you deal with the travel?
A: This will be my first time really traveling for a race. All races I have done up to this point have been within driving distance and at most 6 hours of travel. This will be a much bigger travel day for me so I am interested in seeing how the body will be feeling in Kona. I will try to do similar things as when I travel to China for work though. I wear compressions socks during the entire travel to keep blood from pooling in the legs, and I drink a ton of water. Drinking a ton of water makes me have to get up and go to the bathroom which helps keep my body moving a bit and helps move some blood around. I also just ordered a pair of compression boots which I hope will help with travel recovery once I get into Kona.
Q: Who is your biggest support?
A: My biggest support is of course my fiancé Bre. Not in the way of being a crazy Sherpa following me around to every race, she has her own life as well. But allowing me to pursue my dreams and supporting me mentally and not allowing me to take myself too seriously. Triathlon isn’t easy for relationships, especially Ironman training when I take off for 6+ hours on weekend days to get in big training, but she has been amazing through the whole process at the same time of keeping me grounded!
Q: What do you most look forward to on race day?
A: This has changed this year. It used to be the finish. But now, I can’t wait to get to the run! I am a much stronger runner than I used to be and I look forward to getting to this part of the race where I can show what I am made of. Plus it is the last part of the race, so the finish line is so close!
Q: What do you most dread on race day?
A: The start, waiting to start the swim is the worse part of the race. I am just standing there asking myself why? Luckily the answer usually comes back as “I want to know what I am capable of”. But waiting for that gun to go off feels like eternity.
Q: Do you really pee on the bike?
A: So much pee! If I don’t have to pee on the bike, then I know I am way too dehydrated and I am going to suffer on the run. I do time it though when I am going downhill and I look around to make sure no one is too close to me. I’m not that mean.
Q: Is TUSA the best team ever?
A: Not even a question. You need to move the “is” from in front of the “TUSA” Because “TUSA is the best team ever!”
Q: If you could pass on one piece of advice to that person afraid to enter this triathlon world, what would it be?
A: If it scares you, then it must mean you are growing. There is no time in life where you should be comfortable, that only shows that you have stopped trying to get better. When it comes to triathlons, it will give you a chance to push beyond barriers that you thought you had. No matter if they are physical or mental you can do it.
Q: Who would you like to thank?
A: I would like to thank my fiancé first of all just because she puts up with all my training and racing and even though she thinks I am crazy. She accepts my craziness and supports me through it all. My family and friends have been behind me all the way and I can’t thank them enough. And of course, Team Unicorn Sparkle Adventure, this team has been truly amazing! Who knew that a guy from Oregon could join up with a team of Canadians all through the sport of Triathlon. It just goes to show how amazing this sport can be! Here is to year 1 of being on Team Unicorn Sparkle Adventure!
Q: Anything else?
A: Did you know that Cards Against Humanity raised over $90,000 in donations to dig a hole for no reason.
ED: Thanks John. We can't wait to live track you on race day. You are and will continue to be an inspiration.
ps. Trevor once spent three days digging a big hole by hand. He was paid $5.90/hour to do so. It was not the worst job he's ever had. The whole was quite impressive (he had to dig his own stairs to get out). Think what he could do with $90k!