From the moment I landed in Kona, I knew that it was going to be an incredible week. As I stepped off the island hopper plane from Maui to Kona, I felt the excitement and emotion rush over me (as I would time and time again during the week). I have never experienced something like it before, so inspiring and awesome. I am so thankful to be a part of the Tri Sirena ohana (family) because it was a once in a lifetime experience I will ever forget.
I volunteered throughout the week at the Tri Sirena tent in the Ironman Village. I was so proud to show off all the gear and tell everyone about the great UPF/SPF 50 activewear we have. With my history of melanoma, I feel it is so important to raise awareness of sun safe practices. I was thankful to have Tri Sirena supporting my voice, the Ironman World Championship as my platform, and a very receptive audience! So many people we talked to have had a skin cancer scare or know someone close to them who has.
I even got a chance to chat it up with Rinny Carfrae, talk about girl crushing! I had the opportunity to meet a fellow Siren, Mandi Nilson, who was racing in the Kona kit! One of the coolest things about being a Luminary is being connected to all these amazing women throughout the world, creating these positive and supportive relationships through email/Facebook/Instagram; then when you finally get a chance to meet it’s like this magical forever friendship!
During the week, we got out on the run course for the Underpants Run, such a blast! We also hopped in the water to swim part of the OWS course. What a rush -- there were so many athletes in the water that day! We swam up to the Clif Kona Coffee boat, hung out there for a bit then made our way back and explored Kona. The entire town was abuzz with the most insane feeling and it was still a few days out from race day!
Of course, the most amazing day was race day! We made our way down to the water for the 6:35 am swim start. There was the loudest cannon boom I’ve ever heard, and the professional men were off! A few minutes later the professional women followed, then the age groupers. After a quick coffee, we made our way to the bike course and it wasn’t long before we saw the pros were heading out. I couldn’t believe how fast they were! The age groupers were not far behind and it was so fun cheering for them as they hopped on their bikes and took off toward the Lava Fields. One team I was most excited to see was Team Hoyt, I remember seeing them run a half marathon about 15 years ago when I was lifeguarding on Cape Cod, amazing to see them make the transition to tri over the years and cheer them on in Kona!
We soon made our way to the run course. Tri Sirena was set up around the 5k point on the run. Hearing the helicopter overhead meant that the leader was approaching. I still can’t wrap my head around how fast they were running, after riding a bike for 112 miles. Absolutely insane watching the professional pass by! Soon the age groupers made their way onto the course, and every athlete that ran by had something in common. They were smiling. They were enjoying the crowd, they were happy they had made it this far, and though I’m sure they may have been in some pain, you could tell that they were so happy to have the cheers and support around them. It was time for our girl Mandi to pass us on the course, WOW, she looked amazing, I’m pretty sure I lost my voice from cheering her on!
Being melanoma warriors, we stayed in the shade of our tent on the run course until the sun had set then made our way towards the finish line. It was about 7:30 pm by the time we got there and it was packed, the crowd was still going nuts, and the music was booming. The energy was UNREAL -- I started to tear up as we walked towards the chute to find our perfect cheering spot, the feels were SO real and something fierce!
The athletes were all shapes, sizes, ages, everything, coming through and crossing the finish line with the biggest smile I’ve ever seen. They did it. They were an IRONMAN. I watched as one guy fell to his knees and just sobbed when he crossed the finish line. It was really inspiring to see so much emotion from these athletes and just knowing that they left everything out on the course.
I am so honored and humbled to have had the opportunity to be a part of the Kona experience with the Tri Sirena team. Not only is Tri Sirena apparel sun safe, comfy, flattering, and stylish but the people behind the brand make it what it is. As I sit here in the quiet of my living room, I reflect on all that just happened, the support and friendships made through Tri Sirena, and dream of the day that I might too become an IRONMAN!
Do you have champagne wishes and Kona dreams? Tell us in the comments below!
Written by Lynsey Capone-Smith
Follow Lynsey on Instagram! @rylyn.tri.hi