Lavaman and SCUBA

Michele and I have been to Hawaii five times now and each time it brings its own sense of adventure and excitement. This past week we travelled to the Big Island to shake off some of the winter dust and get ready for summer.
 
Honestly, I had no business going on this trip. I slipped and fell on the icy stairs two weeks before and broke a rib in my back just inches from by spine and dislocated most of the cartilage in the front. It still hurts like hell on every breath three weeks out. It was a weak story to tell, I know. 
 
Last year I signed up to compete in the Lavaman as a team with a friend of mine from UAA and Michele. It was too late to pull out and I did not want to let them down. We had already spent a lot of money on plane tickets and hotels.
 
My job was to ride the bike portion of the tri, 40K or a little over 25 miles in the ninety degree heat. The day before I left I couldn’t even get on the bike and lean over in riding position because of my stupid ribs. I knew I could do it training-wise but I didn’t think I could do it health-wise.
 
When I saw Jennifer running up to the transition area after her swim I knew it was time to do my part. I was already amp’d up on 5-hour energy shots, and 6 advils and jumped on the bike. I started riding and riding and riding. When I passed the 10-mile mark and up a long hill I knew I was going to make it. Almost at the top of the hlll a guy in a tri-suit and a fancy dancy 10 thousand dollar bike pulled up beside me and called out, “doin’ it old school! Love it!” He was referring to my choice of dress (I’ll get to that in just a second) my mountain bike helmet and my pedals.
 
On the ride back the guy was pulled over on the road and was gassed and I rode up and he jumped back on his bike and we rode for a couple miles. It was a great ride back.
On a side note, there is a running jab about me amongst Michele and our friend Mirada about the term, “Cotton kills.” I call total bullcrap. In the past six months I have ran sled dogs in -25 degrees, scuba dived in 39 degree water in the middle of a snow storm and rode a bike in 91 degree heat. Each and every time I was wearing a 100% cotton Life is Good shirt. This “cotton kills” crap is just a way for us to buy uncomfortable fabrics that cost too much in an effort to look cool and fit in. The wool isn’t smart when you are just one of the sheep. Remember, they were running the Iditarod in jeans in the 1970s. I will continue to wear cotton, I’m not dead yet.
 
I pulled into transition 3 in less than two hours and beating what I thought I would do time-wise by more than a half hour and there was Michele waving and smiling and ready to do her part, the 10K, or over 6 mile run. It was hot, dang hot, and I knew she was going to walk most of the way.
 
Jennifer and I waited for Michele just outside of the finish and we all ran under the banner together, finishing our goal of doing the Lavaman. It was a great day and I am glad we were all able to do this together. We finished in about four hours and we weren’t last! 
 
The following day Michele was scheduled to do her open water portion of her scuba certification. I went along with her with intention of diving too but I could not hold up the gear on my back. Michele had a great couple dives and I snorkeled in the clear blue waters. I know she was nervous and scared but she rocked it and gained valuable experience and confidence. That night I was so sore from the bike ride and the rocking and rolling on the dive boat that I could hardly move. I went to bed at 7:30 and didn’t move until 6 the next morning.
 
On her second day of the dive, Michele went alone and I stayed back at the hotel to get some school work done and hang out at the pool. She had a couple epic dives and saw a shark (jealous) and finished her certification! We finished the trip by going to a luau with Jennifer and her husband and had a great time.
 
The moral of this little story is two-fold. If you go to Hawaii, or anywhere, don’t just be a resort tourist and hang out at the hotel. Get out and go on adventures. You are in a place that most people can only dream about. You can stay at a hotel anywhere. Secondly, keep your word. I had so many reservations in going on this trip but I knew people in my team were counting on me and it was important to all of us to be there together.
 
I think we will take a break from Hawaii for the next few years and maybe head to the Florida Keys to do some diving. I hear there are some epic spots to see.
Life is Good.

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