Surprise! I Took Jason to Kona!

I've been keeping a secret for the past few weeks, and on Thursday picked Jason up from work, bag packed... and took him to Kona!  You see, he's raced there seven times but has never been a spectator, and has always wanted to "see" Ironman Hawaii.  So now he can check that off the list. We had an incredible weekend and packed a tonne into 57 hours.

Jason just learned we're headed to
Kona for the weekend!

We arrived in Kona Friday at noon (after a literal ferry, train, and airplane extravaganza - the price of living on an island and traveling to another island) and headed straight to the expo.  Jason got to fill up with all the latest and greatest gear and take in all the sights and sounds.  Of course I stopped by the Betty Designs booth and got some cool stuff from Kristin.  All of a sudden we were wondering how our two small carry-ons would work for the trip home!

The view from our host's, Steve, place -
sorry we couldn't stay longer and use the pool!

Later that afternoon we met up with Karlyn Pipes and group to swim the Ironman course.  We entered from the beach in front of the King Kamehameha hotel and swam around the pier to the where the course starts, and realized it would be a fun swim with some pretty serious swells and chop (I actually felt at one point that I might feed the fish...)!  The group took off, and soon I realized I was swimming with "real" swimmers... I'm not a bad swimmer and it's not often I'm fighting to hang on to the back of the group!  No surprise as Karlyn is an amazing swimmer, so of course her swimmer friends would be as well.  We ended up swimming through a bunch of jellies and got some stings; for Jason and I it wasn't so bad, but one guy had some pretty big welts when we saw him back at the beach.

Our swim group - thanks Karlyn for the invite!

Then it was off to dinner at one of our fave Kona haunts: Lava Java!  First we watched the sunset at Laverne's (which we call Lulu's as that's what it used to be called, and we can't seem to switch). After dinner it was up the hill to the suite we were staying in.

Saturday morning the alarm clock went off early - 5:30 am - but we were already awake as that's 8:30 am home time.  We headed down the hill into town and set up for the swim start in a beach park down the road from the seawall.  The excitement builds as soon as you hear the helicopters buzzing overhead, and Jason could barely contain himself for his experience as a first-time spectator. Once the swimmers were all past us, we headed up Kuakini Hwy to watch the first part of the bike. Then walked all over town to catch cyclists coming in, runners going out, runners coming in... spectating is hard work!

Waiting for the swim to start.

Jason pumped to be spectating.

Waiting for the first runners.

Finish line.
Lucky shot with my phone of the
men's winner running down the finish chute.

We actually headed back to Steve's for a nap as we knew we needed a rest before the midnight finishers.  The last couple of hours are the best, so once refreshed we headed back to the finish line and stayed right until the end.

Best part of the race - the finish line at night.

Sunday we had the entire day there as our flight didn't leave until after 9pm.  We headed to the pier in the morning to swim the course, went for a run in Keahou, did some more sightseeing in town and in Waikoloa, went to the Kona pool for another (!) swim, then closed out our time on the island at Huggo's on the Rocks.

The "big pool".

The "little pool".
A great end to a great weekend.

Best weekend ever.

Thanks to all my co-conspirators for your help in pulling off the surprise!


  1. Oh wow, that's the best surprise!! I would LOVE to spectate Kona one day!
    Crazy that you thought the swim was on the tough side when you're such a pro at it! All your photos are awesome. I bet you guys are exhausted after all the excitement and whirlwind :)

    1. Exhausted, yes - but it was so worth it! We will be doing it again (planned in advance next time) for sure.