Kona 2017 recap

Time flies… I have been into triathlon for the best part of the last 12 years or so. I did my 1st Kona in 2009…

Kona 2009Ali i drive (Kona 2009)

IM Australia, IM WA, IM Malaysia (08), IM China (08), IM China (09), IM Japan, IM Kona (09), IM South Africa, IM Germany, IM Switzerland, IM Malysia (15), IM Kona (17)

There is a strong appeal to go to Kona… (+) Beautiful island, tough course, only qualified athletes to race there, origins of the Ironman (1978), locals are the nicest people on earth and many more good reasons (diving and snorkeling is awesome, surfing, active volcano, lava, manta rays…) Although (-) it is a long journey with connecting flights to get there, everything is fully booked and expensive during race week, hard to place well given the depth of the field, not such a fast course, very hot and humid, definitely not ideal for big units, overall it costs an arm!

Anyway long story short I was tempted to come back and got very lucky to qualify in Xiamen 2016 with an engine firing on only one leg basically.

Since November 2016 I could not do much and did not do much…Did PRP injection to improve my Achilles after 5 years of pain and limited running. Went up to 97kg by April 2017 literally doing nothing and questioned whether it would make any sense to even fly to Kona 6 months later!

Started some long rides to lose weight. A few jogs in May and June and step by step getting back to some kind of shape.

KONA: I would assume It would require me to train between 15 and 20h weekly for at least 6 months so I could get maybe 9h30 and finish top 100-150, and since I would start from so far behind, probably sub 10 at best…which to be honest is not really satisfying after you’ve been gone (so much) faster and felt (so much) fitter. // Maybe it is exaggerated since I’ve never been really good at IM distance, my heavyweight frame cannot handle the marathon and the heat.

Since I did not have the time (only 2/3 months left) and to keep motivated and make things interested I decided I would focus on the RUN and attempt a sub-3h run. For this I would save my energy and my legs on the swim and the bike legs, also take long transitions to rest and put on some comfy gear. Kona (run) training kicked off in September (calf tear end August did not help tho). last 6 months

Some treadmill runs are missing (Sept.) from summary. Based on past experiences and fitness level (tests) I was probably at 2h50 level by the end of Sept, except this would be for a fast & flat marathon, with fresh legs, pacers and cold weather conditions. Thus, in all fairness, it would probably equates a 3h10 at best in Kona…

Enough, too much writing & talking, let’s go quicker with some pics…

HKG Team in KONA17


Bike arrived!

Bike & gear finally arrived on Thursday…Relieved!


when you know you need a miracle…

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Slow easy swim 1h09, long transition to get cycling gear / gloves / shoes … you name it! A very long bike ride 6h40 that felt more like a tourism outing than a race! I set a 200w instant power limiter and a 160w avg power on my legs 🙂 Another long transition (45min total) to rest and recover. Off to a fast run at 4’10 pace which saw me blew up after 5km! No regrets, came to give it a try, tried, pushed until half way in case there was a 2nd wind coming up but I was already on a predicted 3h30 finish, way off target…and eventually slowed down to walk the back end of the marathon. 

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Kona 2017

Overall a great time on the big Island! Lots of parties and chances to meet up with passionate athletes, supporters and volunteers. Largest Hong Kong delegation ever. Always surreal to ride in the middle of the lava field with strong winds. 

Special kudos to Grace for executing her race plan very well despite the harsh conditions, broken goggles and mechanical! The hard work and all these long rides done in the past 6 months paid off.


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