Copyright: zVg by Matti Weitz
«And the second and last Kona slot in the age group 25-29 goes to… Matti Weitz!» I heard those powerful words on 5th November 2017. Ever since, I knew that I would be allowed to race on the big island of Hawaii on 13th October 2018.
After my first experience on the big island in 2016, where I enjoyed the race as a «tourist» i.e. did not push my limits, with respect to the heat, but more importantly, because I wanted to be aware of the whole race as it took place. I wanted to soak up the whole experience and see what it is all about. A few days after the race, I told myself that if I get the chance to come to Hawaii again, I will come as prepared as I can be and race to my absolute limits.
I hoped for an early qualification at a race almost a year before the big one. Then a steady season so I would not arrive overly fatigued on the island. After what I witnessed in 2016 during the race, I would say 8/10 athletes arrive there half over-trained, throw their race plan out of the window as soon as they sit on the bike and more - I learned valuable lessons and I established a great connection to the magical island of Hawaii. There are only two opinions about the race in Hawaii, either you love it or you hate it, along with its harsh conditions and unforgiving environment. I am on the «I love it» side of things. In fact, it has been my favorite experience regarding triathlon so far. The experience goes beyond the race itself, just being on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean with no land in sight, is stunning.
So, back to my initial plans for 2018. Qualify early, train hard and smart all year, arrive on the island fresh and give it my best shot. Solid plan, but destiny had other plans for me. A personally very challenging year with way more downs than ups followed. I constantly had to adjust and alter my life in a variety of ways. Once I realized I was back on track and ready to go, the next challenge awaited with a dive over my front wheel at 50km/h on a downhill bike ride. I walked away from it as lucky as anyone can be, with mainly a shoulder injury, which I have to still be aware of. Again, I did what I could in order to keep a healthy balance between giving my body the rest it needs and keeping it somewhat in shape (lots of gym bike riding after taking 3min to carefully climb on it – it was the only bike I could sit on somewhat pain free).
After taking time off from being coached, I accidently found my way to the greatest coach I have encountered so far. He covers all the angles I would like in a coach and most importantly he is very passionate, caring and aware of the athlete’s necessity to keep the joy at all times. I fully trusted him from the start, something I know is needed for any relationship to work. We rebuilt my body as well and progressively as it was possible, and I am just grateful to be able to race on Hawaii. Don’t get me wrong I would also have started with a waterproof cast on my arm swimming single armed (2:20 hours deadline for the 3.8 k swim) – there would have been very little that would have stopped my participation in this event. Obviously, health always comes first. That is why I am so happy that I am able to start.
I have had to re-adjust my goals, but will still execute my game plan as well as possible and give it my all until the finish line. Making sure I give it my best effort is the most important indicator for myself of how well I did - not a fast split or AG ranking.
Big hugs go out to all of you who sent me healing vibes and energy to find my way back! I will share as much Hawaii and Aloha spirit with all of you as is humanly possible!
Matti Weitz Kona Diary